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Cattle futures pressured heading into Friday

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day lower on profit-taking, the higher corn, and the less than stellar export sales report.  August live closed $1.47 lower at $135.40 and October live cattle closed $1.35 lower at $139.92.  August feeders closed $1.90 lower at $178.90 and September feeders closed $1.45 lower at $181.62. 

There was some scattered direct cash cattle business reported on Thursday.  Live deals were at $140 in Nebraska and Colorado.  The rest of cattle country was quiet.  Asking prices for cattle left on showlists are around $138 plus live in the South and $234-plus dressed in the North.  While it’s likely the bulk of the week’s business has wrapped up, some scattered trade could trickle in before the end of the day Friday.  For the week, Southern live deals have been at mostly $137, about steady with last week’s weighted average.  Northern dressed deals have been marked at mostly $230, about $2 below last week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska.  

At the Hub City Livestock Auction in South Dakota, there was no adequate price trend compared to two weeks ago, but higher undertones were noted on both steers and heifers.  The USDA says demand was good to very good for the day’s offering.  Quality varied, especially on packages, from plain to attractive.  The market was active.  Ample rains recently have helped grass conditions improve significantly compared to year-ago levels.  Receipts were down from two weeks ago and on the year.  Feeder supply included 72% steers and 98% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 912 to 949 pounds brought $179 to $181.50 and feeder steers 985 to 997 pounds brought $156 to $167.25.  Medium and large 1 feeder heifers 850 to 876 pounds brought $153 to $156.50 and feeder heifers 952 to 968 pounds brought $145.50 to $154.50. 

Boxed beef closed mixed on light to moderate demand for fairly light offerings.  Choice closed $.30 lower at $267.75 and Select closed $.65 higher at $241.91.  The Choice/Select spread is $25.84. Estimated cattle slaughter 123,000 head – down 3,000 on the week and up 3,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures closed lower, pressured by long-term demand uncertainty.  August lean hogs closed $.92 lower at $109.57 and October lean hogs closed $.20 lower at $93.35. 

Cash hogs closed mixed with a solid negotiated run. Processors have been fairly aggressive this week, and in many cases bid up to move their desired numbers.  Demand for US pork on the global market has been strong, helping provide price support.  However, there is some long-term demand uncertainty adding volatility in prices. The industry continues to monitor the availability of market-ready hogs. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $2.97 lower with a base range of $110.50 to $127 and a weighted average of $119.45; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.44 higher with a weighted average of $124.90; the Western Corn Belt closed $.55 higher with a weighted average of $124.94; the Eastern Corn Belt closed $2.29 lower with a weighted average of $116.

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $80. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $42 to $54.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $74 to $83.  Boars ranged from $45 to $50 and $10 to $15.

Pork values closed firm – up $.23 at $118.51.  Bellies, hams, butts, were higher.  Picnics were about steady.  Loins were lower and ribs sharply lower.  Estimated hog slaughter is 453,000 head – down 13,000 on the week and down 8,000 on the year. 

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