Market News

Cattle futures gain ground ahead of widespread direct trade

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle were higher, optimistic ahead of the start of this week’s widespread direct business. Feeders had additional support from the modestly lower move in corn. December live cattle was up $.07 at $183.62 and February was $.55 higher at $185.17. November feeders were $.87 higher at $238.57 and January was up $.82 at $238.02.

Direct cash cattle markets were quiet. Some light trade was reported this week at $181 to $185 on the live basis, most of that in the South, but not enough to establish a trend. Asking prices Wednesday were $188 live and $294 dressed. Aside from a few bids reported at $183 live in Kansas, packer inquiry continued to be light at midweek. Widespread trade will wait until Thursday or Friday.

At the OKC West Livestock Auction feeder cattle sale in Oklahoma, there weren’t enough sales for an accurate comparison to the previous test, but there was a higher undertone noted for feeder cattle and calves. The USDA says demand was good to very good, but receipts of 2,485 were down on both the week and the year. 53% of the offering were steers and 68% of the day’s supply weighed more than 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 665 to 685 pounds ranged from $234 to $243 and 700 to 760-pound steers brought $229 to $238. Medium and Large 1 unweaned feeder heifers weighing 500 to 535 pounds sold at $216 to $265 and unweaned heifers weighing 670 to 685 pounds were reported at $203 to $219.

Boxed beef closed lower with good movement. Choice was down $3.00 at $302.18 and Select beef was $.95 lower at $278.55 for a spread of $23.63. The estimated cattle slaughter of 122,000 head, down 4,000 on the week and 8,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures were pressured by profit taking after the recent gains, in addition to continued concerns about sustained domestic demand. December was down $1.57 at $70.15 and February was $1.42 lower at $73.45.

Cash hogs were steady to lower with solid closing negotiated numbers at the major direct markets. It looks like many buyers are comfortable with the near-term ready numbers and might not raise bids until those numbers get tighter or seasonal weather issues really start to surface. The wholesale pork market has shown some improvements recently but hasn’t found consistent support since the end of grilling season. The average barrow and gilt weight in the Iowa/Southern Minnesota/South Dakota reporting region for the week ending October 28th was 285.4 pounds, up two tenths on the week and 1.4 pounds on the year.

National direct barrows and gilts closed $.78 lower with a base price range of $66 to $72 for a weighted average of $68.85, while Iowa/Southern Minnesota was down $2.01 at $68.02 and the Western Corn Belt was $1.72 lower at $67.94. The Eastern Corn Belt had no recent comparison with a weighted average of $71.13. Midwest butcher hogs were $1 lower at $47 in Red Oak, Iowa and steady $55 in Dorchester, Wisconsin. Illinois direct sows were steady at $32 to $44 on moderate demand for moderate to heavy offerings. Barrows and gilts were steady at $40 to $50 with moderate demand for moderate offerings. Boars ranged from $5 to $21.

Pork closed $.02 higher at $86.50. Picnics were sharply higher and loins were firm, while butts, ribs, hams, and bellies were lower. The estimated hog slaughter of 487,000 head was up 1,000 on the week, but down 4,000 on the year.

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