Market News

Cattle futures higher, lean hogs lower

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were up and feeders closed higher, supported by the week’s direct cash cattle business. Weekly beef export sales were up on the week and larger than average. June live was up $1.20 at $167.30 and August was $.65 higher at $164.77. August feeders were $.17 higher at $234.70 and September was up $.45 at $238.07.

A few scattered bids were left on the table in Nebraska Thursday, but there were no takers. Asking prices for cattle left on show lists are around $173 in the South, and $288 in the North. While it looks as if the bulk of business is completed for the week, a little cleanup trade would not be out of the question on Friday.

At the, St. Onge Livestock Auction in South Dakota, the USDA says demand was very good for a nice offering of feeder steers and replacement type heifer calves.  A few load lots of large packages of mostly home raised calves sold on an active market with buyers both on the internet and in the stands.  Several of the consignments were carry overs from the prior weeks, after storms impacted the region.  Despite the long winter, the condition on the calves was good. Receipts were down on the week and year. Feeder supply included 51 percent steers and 52 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 Feeder steers 577 to 582 pounds brought $241 to $258 with a weighted average price of $250.98 and feeder steers 684 to 688 pounds brought $299 with a weighted average price of $299.  Medium and Large 1 Feeder Heifers 455 to 491 pounds brought $221 to $235 with a weighted average price of $234.99 and feeder heifers 612 to 626 pounds brought $219 to $221 with a weighted average price of $220.15.

Boxed beef closed higher with Choice up $1.64 and Select $.75 higher.  The Choice/Select spread is $15.40. Estimated cattle slaughter is 125,000, unchanged on the week, but 3,000 more than a year ago.

Lean hog futures were sharply lower due to ongoing questions about sustained pork demand and a disappointing week for export sales. June was down $2.15 at $77.65 and July was $3.57 lower at $77.25.

Cash hogs closed lower.  Processors weren’t as aggressive in their procurement efforts as much of their business was done earlier in the week even with the inconsistent market. There is a good supply of market-ready hogs, which has kept packers in the driver’s seat.  Demand has been strong on the global market with hopes that the summer grilling season will give domestic demand a boost. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct were $2.73 lower with a base range of $73 to $86 with a weighted average price of $79.46; Iowa/Minnesota were $3.26 lower with a weighted average price of $83.62; the Western Corn Belt was $3.75 sharply lower with a weighted average price of $86.55. Those regional markets did not provide comparisons and the Eastern Corn Belt did not report due to confidentiality reasons.

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $60 and $66. Pork values closed $.32 higher at $81.19.  Loins, butts and bellies were higher, and picnics, ribs and hams were lower. Estimated hog slaughter 477,000 head, up 7,000 on the week and 2,000 on the year.

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