Market News

Cattle futures gain ahead of direct business, on feed report

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle were sharply higher ahead of widespread direct business and the USDA’s Cattle on Feed report. February live was up $1.72 at $174.82 and April was $2.02 higher at $177.65.

Direct cash cattle markets were generally quiet. A handful of sales were reported at $170 on the live basis in Iowa. Asking prices were $174 to $175 live, with bids of $273 to $275 dressed. Otherwise, bids and asking prices were not established. Buyers and sellers continue to monitor weather in the major feeding areas while waiting for that widespread direct business and preparing for the USDA’s Cattle on Feed report. December placements will be watched closely with the potential for consecutive month-to-month declines. The report is out Friday at 3 PM Eastern/2 PM Central.

At the Lamoni Livestock feeder cattle sale in Iowa, compared to the last week, steers were mostly $5 to $13 higher in a light test, while heifers were mostly $5 to $8 higher. The USDA says demand was moderate to good for a moderate supply, with receipts down on the week and the year. 54% of the offering were steers and 65% of all cattle weighed more than 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 600 to 700 pounds sold at $230 to $282 and 700-to-800-pound steers ranged from $224 to $254.25. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 500 to 600 pounds brought $221 to $260 and 600-to-700-pound heifers were reported at $220 to $242.

Boxed beef closed mixed with heavy movement. Choice was down $2.16 at $296.29 and Select beef was up $.74 at $283.76 for a spread of $12.53. The estimated cattle slaughter of 121,000 head was up 1,000 on the week and 1,684 on the year.

Lean hog futures were mixed, adjusting spreads, with uncertainties about sustained pork demand. February was down $.35 at $71.10 and April was up $.47 at $78.45.

Cash hogs were steady to higher with light closing negotiated numbers at the major direct markets. After the quiet start to the day, buyers needed to bid up to acquire the near-term supplies, while watching wholesale business and attempting to get ahead of probable weather-related late week and weekend movement issues in parts of the Midwest. The USDA’s weekly export sales numbers are out Friday, delayed by Monday’s holiday.

National direct barrows and gilts closed $.97 higher with a base price range of $47 to $48.50, while Iowa/Southern Minnesota was up $.90 and the Western Corn Belt was $.81 higher, with all averaging $48.04. Midwest butcher hogs were steady at $36. Illinois direct sows were steady at $23 to $35 on moderate demand for moderate offerings. Barrows and gilts were steady at $24 to $34 also on moderate demand and offerings. Boars ranged from $5 to $20.

Pork closed $.77 higher at $88.73. Gains in picnics, ribs, hams, and bellies canceled out losses in loins and butts. The estimated hog slaughter of 489,000 head was up 10,000 on the week and 54,377 on the year.

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