Market News

Cattle futures lower, waiting on direct business

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were lower, waiting for direct business to develop and Friday’s On Feed numbers. April live cattle closed $.25 lower at $187.80 and June lives closed $.22 lower at $184.77.  April feeder cattle closed $.15 lower at $254.92 and May feeder cattle closed $.12 lower at $258.80. 

Direct cash cattle trade has been slow to develop this week. There were a handful of deals reported in Kansas at $186. Asking prices were around $188-plus live in the South, but the North was quiet.  Packer inquiry has been limited, it’s more than likely significant trade volumes are going to hold out until sometime Thursday or Friday.

At the Interstate Regional State Regional Stockyards in Missouri, feeder steers were steady.  Feeder heifers were firm to $5 higher with spots of $10 to $15 higher.  Slaughter cows were $6 to $8 higher.  The USDA says demand was good to very good and supply was moderate.  Overall, the quality was not as attractive in the packages of calves under 600 pounds as recent weeks.  Receipts were upon the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 27% steers and 47% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 455 to 498 pounds brought $302.50 to $330 and feeder steers 616 to 636 pounds brought $277.50 to $298.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 527 pounds, value-added, brought $300 and feeder heifers 651 to 654 pounds brought $258.20. 

Boxed beef closed mixed with light to moderate demand for moderate offerings.  Choice was $.22 higher at $313.44 and Select was $.47 lower at $302.71.  The Choice/Select spread is $10.73. Estimated cattle slaughter was 116,000 head – down 2,000 on the week and up more than 11,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures closed lower, pressured by lower pork values. April lean hogs closed $.52 lower at $85.30 and May lean hogs closed $.97 lower at $90.97.

Cash hogs closed higher with a moderate negotiated run. Processors have been bidding up to procure needed numbers.  It remains to be seen just how long this will last.  Demand for US pork on the global market has been strong, and domestic demand is showing some strength as grilling season gets closer. The industry continues to monitor the availability of market-ready hogs and hog weights, which were down about a half pound on the week and 0.3 pounds above year-ago levels. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct were $.46 higher with a base range of $75 to $83 and a weighted average of $81.24; the Western Corn Belt closed $.59 higher with a weighted average of $81.14.  Prices at the Iowa/Minnesota and 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 $1.19 at $92.18.  Ribs were sharply lower.  Bellies, hams, butts, loins, and picnics were also lower. Estimated hog slaughter was 490,000 head – up 4,000 on the week and up about 7,000 on the year.

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