Market News

Cattle futures supported by boxed beef strength

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were higher ahead of the week’s direct cash business with some additional support in the strength in boxed beef prices.  June live cattle closed $.62 higher at $165.20 and August lives closed $.45 higher at $163.85.  May feeder cattle closed $1.25 higher at $211.52 and August feeders closed $.62 higher at $231.57.

Thursday got off to a slow start for direct cash cattle trade activity.  There was another round of light to moderate business that took place with dressed deals in the North at $283 to $285, $3 to $5 lower than the previous week’s weighted averages.  The South remained at a standstill.  This follows Wednesday’s light, scattered trade that took place.  Dressed deals had a huge range of $275 to $285 and Southern live deals were at $171 to $172.  Look for more substantial trade to develop over the balance of the week. 

At the Huss Livestock Market in Nebraska, steers under 750 pounds were $2 to $10 higher than the most recent sale, and steers over 750 pounds were steady to $5 higher.  Heifers were steady to $5 higher.  The USDA says demand was good from the buyers in the crowd.  Receipts were up on the week and down on the year.  Feeder supply included 42% steers and 76% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 560 to 586 pounds brought $253.50 to $265 and feeder steers 916 to 944 pounds brought $190.25 to $195.25.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 700 to 739 pounds brought $190 to $198 and feeder heifers 752 to 785 pounds brought $188 to $190.50. 

Boxed beef closed higher on solid demand for light offerings.  Choice was $1.83 higher at $311.07 and Select was $1.15 higher at $289.09.  The Choice/Select spread is $21.97. 

Estimated cattle slaughter was 122,000 head – down 6,000 on the week and down 1,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures ended the day mixed on spread trade, despite cash and wholesale strength and a strong export sales report from the USDA.  May lean hogs closed $.15 lower at $78.12 and June lean hogs closed $.17 lower at $90.10. 

Cash hogs closed sharply higher with another strong negotiated run. This marks three consecutive days where packers have had to get more aggressive in their procurement efforts and bid up to move needed numbers.  Demand strength is holding for US pork on the global market, which was highlighted in this week’s Export Sales report from the USDA.  The industry remains optimistic that the proximity to the summer grilling season will provide a pop in demand and give prices a nice little bump.  However, the issue that remains is that supplies of market-ready hogs are ample and the market is at the will of processors. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $2.46 higher with a base range of $62 to $77 and a weighted average of $72.05; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $3.15 higher with a weighted average of $74.73; the Western Corn Belt closed $3.03 higher with a weighted average of $74.61.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are $1 lower at $44. At Illinois, slaughter sows were $2 lower with moderate demand for heavy offerings at $17 to $27.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $40 to $50.  Boars ranged from $15 to $25 and $5 to $10. 

Pork values were higher – up $.44 at $78.81.  Hams, ribs, and bellies were all higher.  Loins, picnics, and butts were lower.   Estimated hog slaughter was 474,000 head – down 9,000 on the week and up 2,000 on the year.   

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