Market News

Cash hogs close higher as wholesale demand remains solid

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were lower and feeders finished mixed ahead of this week’s direct business. The live pit did see some profit taking, while the firm corn had a minimal impact on feeders. April live was down $.37 at $187.72 and June was $.52 lower at $183.57. March feeders were down $.05 at $253.00 and April was up $.05 at $258.95.

Direct cash cattle trade was very quiet Tuesday afternoon with just a few early asking prices noted around $185 to $186 in the South, but they are still not established in the North. Significant trade volume will likely be delayed until Wednesday or later.

At the Callaway Livestock Center in Missouri, lighter weight feeder steers sold steady to $15 higher compared to the most recent sale. Feeder heifers 400 to 500 pounds were $5 to $10 higher. USDA says demand was good on the steers and moderate to good on the heifers with a moderate supply. The best demand was on steers weighing 400 to 650 pounds and heifers weighing 400 to 550 pounds going to grass. Feeder supply included 57% steers and 50% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 503 to 547 pounds brought $317 to $337. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 603 to 638 pounds sold for $257 to $261.25.

Boxed beef cutout values were mixed at the close with Choice down $.05 at $301.74 and Select up $2.41 at $290.40. The Choice/Select spread was $11.34.

Estimated cattle slaughter was 125,000 head – unchanged on the week and down more than 1,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures were mixed on spread trade and profit taking, largely ignoring the cash and wholesale business during the session. April was $.37 lower at $85.90 and May was down $.37 at $90.37.

Cash hogs were steady to higher with moderate closing negotiated numbers for the major direct markets. Many buyers needed to raise bids to move the needed near-term numbers, with help from continued relatively solid wholesale demand. Also, Monday’s delayed Cold Storage numbers for January were nominally bullish, especially considering the year-to-year decline in monthly pork production. Some of those buyers might have been trying to get ahead of possible weather-related movement issues in parts of the Midwest Wednesday.

Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct were up $1.79 with a base range of $67 to $75 and weighted average price of $72.70. The Iowa/Minnesota was up $.63 with a weighted average price of $72.68. The Western Corn Belt was $.179 higher with a weighted average price of $72.70. The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality.

Midwest butcher hogs are steady at $55. Illinois direct sows are steady at $39 to $51 with moderate demand for heavy offerings. Barrows and gilts are steady at $37 to $47 on moderate demand and offerings. Boars range from $8 to $25.

Pork values closed higher – up $.88 at $91.87.

Estimated hog slaughter was 491,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and up just over 3,200 on the year.

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