Market News

Cattle futures higher waiting for direct business to develop

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle were supported by the discount to cash, and feeders were up on the lower move in corn.  Both are waiting for the week’s direct business to develop. June live cattle closed $1.90 higher at $175.72 and August live cattle closed $1.80 higher at $172.92.  May feeder cattle closed $2.97 higher at $240.97 and August feeder cattle closed $2.57 higher at $252.35. 

Direct cash cattle trade activity was quiet again Tuesday.  Bids didn’t surface.  Asking prices were around $184-plus live in the South, while the North remained quiet.  It’s likely significant trade volume will be delayed until later in the week.

At the Joplin Regional Stockyards in Missouri, feeder steers under 625 pounds were $2 to $12 lower and heavier weights were steady to $3 higher.  Feeder heifers under 550 pounds were $4 to $12 higher with some 3-weight and light 4-weights going as much as $20 higher.  Heavier weights were steady to $3 lower.  The USDA says supply was moderate with very good demand.  Receipts were down on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 49% steers and 42% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 500 to 545 pounds brought $205 to $330 and feeder steers 903 to 942 pounds brought $211 to $219.50.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 452 to 499 pounds brought $285 to $320 and feeder heifers 503 to 549 pounds brought $264 to $290.   

Boxed beef closed mixed with light to moderate demand for solid offerings.  Choice was $2.86 lower at $298.02 and Select closed $1.30 higher at $292.64.  The Choice/Select spread is $5.38. Estimated cattle slaughter was 124,000 head – down 1,000 on the week and down about 5,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures ended the day mostly higher on spread trade. May lean hogs closed $.40 higher at $94.72 and June lean hogs closed $.37 higher at $102.82. 

Cash hogs closed sharply higher with a moderate negotiated run. Demand remains the key to the cash hog market right now. Processors are having to get a bit more aggressive in their procurement efforts and bid up to move needed numbers. Global demand for US pork has been strong, and domestic demand is also showing a spark of excitement. Both are good for prices. The industry is also monitoring the availability of market-ready hogs and hog weights. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $3.33 higher with a base range of $82 to $92 and a weighted average of $89.04; the Iowa/Minnesota had a weighted average of $90.90 with no comparison and the Western Corn Belt had a weighted average of $90.36, also with no comparison.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality.

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $52. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices are steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $47 to $59.  Barrows and gilts were steady, with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $51 to $61.  Boars ranged from $15 to $25 and $8 to $15.

Pork values closed sharply lower – down $4.04 at $99.35.  Bellies dropped nearly $23 on Tuesday.  Hams were also sharply lower.  Ribs, picnics, loins, and butts were higher. Estimated hog slaughter was 486,000 – down 13,000 on the week and up about 4,000 on the year.

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