Market News

Cash hog business remains quiet

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle were up and feeders were sharply higher, preparing for the week’s direct business and Wednesday’s USDA Cattle Inventory report. The trade thinks those semi-annual numbers could be bullish, but there is always the chance of a bearish surprise. February live was $.65 higher at $178.02 and April was up $.52 at $181.75. March feeders were up $2.70 at $241.32 and April was $2.40 higher at $247.00.

It was another very quiet day in cash cattle country on Tuesday with bids and asking prices yet to be established. It appears significant trade volume will likely be delayed until the second half of the week.

At the Tri-State Livestock Auction in Nebraska, feeder steers sold $3 to $15 higher compared to the most recent sale. USDA says feeder heifers were steady to $9 higher, except for 500 to 600 pounds at $1 to $2 lower. Demand was good with a strong selection offered all day. Feeder supply included 59% steers and 72% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 8111 to 835 pounds brought $231 to $240.50. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 872 to 899 pounds sold for $197 to $210.

Boxed beef cutout values were lower at the close with Choice down $3.35 at $296.07 and Select was down $1.77 at $287.05. The Choice/Select spread was $9.02.

Estimated cattle slaughter was 127,000 head – up 2,000 on the week and up 1,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures were supported by technical buying and demand expectations. Still, it’s been an extremely quiet week so far for cash business and while near-term demand could stay solid, there are long-term uncertainties. February live was $.57 higher at $75.85 and April was up $1.47 at $84.90.

Cash hogs were steady with moderate closing negotiated sales for the major direct markets. It looks like business might be picking up a little after the slow start to this week following last week’s aggressive movement. Slaughter levels are trending above a year ago, so buyers are moving through those numbers rapidly, and while pork is showing some signs of turning lower, early 2024 performance has been better than some were expecting.

Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed steady with a base range of $50 to $64.50 and weighted average price of $59.40. The Iowa/Minnesota had no comparison, but a weighted average price of $60.96. The Western Corn Belt had no comparison, but a weighted average price of $60.80. The Eastern Corn Belt also had no comparison, but a weighted average price of $57.28.

Butcher hogs at the Dorchester, Wisconsin and Garnavillo, Iowa markets are steady at $48; slaughter sows are steady at $26 to $29, and boars are marked at $10. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices are steady at $23 to $35 and boars are priced at $5 to $20.

Pork values closed lower – down $.52 at $88.55

Estimated hog slaughter was 490,000 head – up 7,000 on the week and up nearly 16,000 on the year.

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