Market News

Cattle futures pressured by profit taking

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle futures were pressured by profit taking ahead of this week’s widespread direct business. April live was down $.75 at 4187.25 and June was $.25 lower at $183.27. April feeders were $1.30 lower at $255.87 and May was down $.92 at $257.77.

Direct cash cattle trade had some packer bids at $182 in the South on Wednesday, but given that feedlots are asking $186 to $187, no cattle have been traded. A few head have sold in Iowa, but given that only a handful traded, the market still remains unestablished in both regions.

At the Kingsville Livestock Auction in Missouri, feeder steers and heifers were selling steady to $5 higher compared to the most recent sale. A nice offering of yearlings made up the majority of a moderate supply, but there were some consignments of calves as well. USDA says 68% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 759 to 798 pounds brought $248 to $262.25. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 711 to 730 pounds sold for $241.50 to $250.35.

Boxed beef closed higher with light to moderate movement. Choice was up $.12 at $304.91 and Select was up $.22 at $295.09. The Choice/Select spread was $9.82.

Estimated cattle slaughter was 124,000 head – down a thousand on both the week and year.

Lean hog futures were lower with contracts at a premium to the cash index. April was down $.17 at $85 and June was $1.10 lower at $100.50.

Cash hogs were steady to higher with relatively large closing negotiated sales for the major direct markets. It looks like buyers were still in need of some near-term numbers and while there are questions about sustained pork demand, the wholesale and export markets continue to hold up well, maybe even better than expected on the domestic side of things. The USDA’s weekly export sales numbers are out Thursday morning. The average barrow and gilt weight in the Iowa/Southern Minnesota/South Dakota reporting region last week was 287.3 pounds, down four tenths from the prior week, but up 1.4 from a year ago.

Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct were up $1.59 with a base range of $72 to $78 and a weighted average price of $76.22. The Iowa/Minnesota was up $1.88 with a weighted average price of $76.79. The Western Corn Belt was up $1.84 with a weighted average price of $76.40. The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality.

Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets were steady at $55; sows were steady at $45 to $48; boars were $18. At Illinois, slaughter sows were steady at $45 to $57; barrows and gilts were steady at $43 to $53; boars ranged from $8 to $25.

Pork values closed higher – up $.06 at $91.49.

Estimated hog slaughter was 488,000 head – down 3,000 on the week and up nearly 9,000 on the year.

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