Market News

Cattle futures under pressure to start the week

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle futures ended the day lower, pressured by supply and demand concerns.  April live cattle closed $1.12 lower at $93.52 and June live cattle closed $1.20 lower at $85.10.  April feeder cattle closed $1.20 lower at $118.32 and May feeder cattle closed $2 lower at $117.27.

Direct cash cattle trade is off to a quiet start again this week.  Showlists are mixed, larger in the South, and smaller in Nebraska/Colorado.  Bids and asking prices have yet to be established.  Business is expected to be very light again this week, and it will likely be delayed until the latter half of the week. 

At midsession at the Oklahoma National Stockyards feeder steers under 850 pounds were $4 to $8 higher, over 850 pounds, steady to $2 higher.  Feeder heifers were $6 to $10 higher.  Steer calves under 500 pounds were not well tested, over 500 pounds $5 to $10 higher.  Heifer calves 500 to 600 pounds were $6 to $8 higher, other weights were not fully established.  The USDA says demand was moderate to good and quality was average to attractive.  Receipts were up on the week and down on the year.  Feeder supply included 55 percent steers and 75 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 603 to 645 pounds brought $136 to $152.50 and feeder steers 750 to 793 pounds brought $117 to $128.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 651 to 696 pounds brought $112.50 to $124 and feeder heifers 809 to 841 pounds brought $99 to $105. 

Boxed beef closed sharply higher on good demand for moderate to heavy offerings.  Choice is $9.39 higher at $248.28 and Select is $10.79 higher at $237.99.  The Choice/Select spread is $10.39.    Estimated cattle slaughter is 90,000 head – down 2,000 on the week and down 23,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day higher, supported by the recently higher trend in pork.  May lean hogs closed $2.65 higher at $40.60 and June lean hogs closed $2.52 higher at $46.25.

Cash hogs closed steady with light negotiated purchases.  The cash hog market has been under extreme pressure as supplies are heavy and processing disruptions are growing.  Domestic demand is struggling and until social distancing measures are lifted, it is very likely to remain sluggish.  More processing plants have shuttered, reducing the daily slaughter capacity and with the heavy supplies it won’t be long before the back up causes trouble throughout the supply chain.  Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.21 lower with a base range of $30 to $33 for a weighted average of $31.83.  Prices at the regional direct markets were not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are at $24. 

At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were weak with moderate to good demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $18 to $30.  Barrow and gilt prices were weak at $10 to $18 with light demand for light offerings.  Boars brought $2 to $10.

Pork values closed sharply higher – up $6.55 at $66.68.  All of the primals were sharply higher with bellies closing up $22.31 and Picnics up $7.25. Estimated hog slaughter is 370,000 head – up 70,000 on the week and up 43,000 on the year.  Friday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 425,000 head. 

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