Market News

Cattle futures drop sharply

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were sharply lower on speculative and technical selling. April live cattle closed $3.10 lower at $183.10 and June live cattle closed $3.22 lower at $178.37.  April feeder cattle closed $5.00 lower at $245.45 and May feeder cattle closed $5.37 lower at $247.25. 

Direct cash cattle trade activity picked up Tuesday afternoon.  Some deals have been reported in Kansas at $186 live, but it’s too early and the week and too small of numbers to determine if that is an accurate price trend.   Bids surfaced at $184 live.  Asking prices were around $188-plus live in the South, while the North was quiet.  Look for more business to develop over the balance of the week.

At the West Point Livestock Auction in Nebraska, compared to two weeks ago, steers were slightly lower and heifers were trending steady.  The USDA says demand was strong with a good number of buyers in house and online.  Receipts were down from the most recent sale and on the year.  Feeder supply included 55% steers and 94% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 859 to 892 pounds brought $240 to $246.50 and feeder steers 910 to 923 pounds brought $243.25 to $245.50.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 656 to 697 pounds brought $244 to $266 and feeder heifers 801 to 839 pounds brought $225.50 to $236.50. 

Boxed beef closed mixed with light to moderate demand for solid offerings.  Choice was $.20 higher at $311.09 and Select closed $1.70 lower at $300.26.  The Choice/Select spread is $10.83. Estimated cattle slaughter was 125,000 head – up 3,000 on the week and down nearly 1,000 head on the year.

Lean hog futures closed mixed watching demand and waiting for Thursday’s quarterly inventory numbers. April lean hogs closed $.42 higher at $85.57 and May lean hogs closed $.17 lower at $91.75. 

Cash hogs closed lower with solid negotiated purchases. While lower Tuesday, the cash hog market has found some support recently as packers have been more aggressive in their procurement efforts.  Demand for US pork has been solid on the global market and is finding some strength domestically as well.  All eyes are on Thursday’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report, especially production efficiency.  Meanwhile, the industry continues to monitor the availability of market-ready hogs and hog weights, along with the inconsistency in pork values. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.54 lower with a base range of $75 to $83 with a weighted average of $80.63; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.55 lower with a weighted average of $80.62; the Western Corn Belt closed $1.58 lower with a weighted average of $79.59.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $60. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $50 to $62.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $43 to $53.  Boars ranged from $15 to $25 and $8 to $15. 

Pork values closed lower – down $.41 at $95.33.  Bellies were sharply lower.  Butts were lower.  Loins, picnics, ribs, and hams were higher. Estimated hog slaughter was 490,000 head – down 1,000 on the week and up nearly 9,000 on the year.

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