Market News

Cattle futures pressured by decline in boxed beef

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were lower on technical selling and the recent slide in boxed beef.  February lives closed $.72 lower at $171.12 and April lives closed $.45 lower at $174.30.  March feeders closed $1.37 lower at $225.65 and April feeders closed $1.27 lower at $231.27.

Direct cash cattle trade was relatively quiet again for much of Thursday.  Bids did surface at $275 dressed in the North.  Asking prices were firm around $175-plus live in the South and $276-plus dressed in the North.  Look for business to pick up over the balance of the week.

At the Hub City Livestock Auction in South Dakota, the USDA says there was good to very good demand for calves depending on flesh and hide color.  There were a lot of packages and loads of home-raised calves on offer with the majority of calves long-weaned.  Flesh varied, from moderate to heavy at times.  Receipts were up on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 58% steers and 74% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 770 to 796 pounds brought $222 to $233 and feeder steers 816 to 848 pounds brought $230.50 to $237.25.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 60d to 648 pounds brought $228 to $246 and feeder heifers 660 to 690 pounds brought $219 to $240.   

Boxed beef closed lower with light demand for heavy offerings.  Choice was $2.13 lower at $275.90 and Select closed $.03 lower at $258.82.  The Choice/Select spread was $17.08. Estimated cattle slaughter was 126,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and down 2,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures ended the day higher on oversold signals with additional support from the higher move in pork.  February lean hogs closed $3.75 higher at $69.05 and April lean hogs closed $2.75 higher at $74.95. 

Cash hogs closed mixed with a moderate negotiated run.  There have been a couple of days of solid business this week, but overall, the cash hog market has continued its struggle. There are a couple of factors coming into play: hog weights are up and supplies of market-ready hogs are ample.  Both provide plentiful amounts of pork allowing processors to move needed numbers without having to get aggressive in their procurement efforts.  Demand for US pork has been relatively strong on the global market, but still appears to be struggling domestically.  Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.43 higher with a base range of $42 to $47 and a weighted average of $45.31; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.40 lower with a weighted average of $45.60; the Western Corn Belt closed $.70 lower with a weighted average of $45.29.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash market are steady in Dorchester, Wisconsin and Garnavillo, Iowa at $44.  Prices are also steady in Red Oak, Iowa at $34. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $28 to $31.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $25 to $35.  Boars ranged from $10 to $20 and $5 to $10.

Pork values closed higher – up $1.72 at $84.50.  Bellies, picnics, and ribs were all sharply higher.  Butts and loins were firm.  Hams were lower. Estimated hog slaughter was 491,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and up 5,000 on the year.  Wednesday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 469,000 head.

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