Market News

Cattle, hog futures higher to start the week

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder were higher ahead of the week’s direct cash business.  Boxed beef was higher at midday. April live cattle closed $1.90 higher at $164.90 and June lives closed $2.27 at $158.87.  April feeder cattle closed $2.82 higher at $197.62 and May feeders closed $3.82 higher at $201.37. 

It was a typically quiet Monday for direct cash cattle business.  Bids and asking prices were slow to surface.  It’s likely significant trade volume will likely be delayed until midweek or later. 

At mid-session, the Oklahoma National Stockyards, feeder steers were $3 to $5 higher, 6-weight steers were $12 to $16 higher, steer calves were steady to $4 higher.  Feeder heifers were steady to $1 higher and heifer calves were $6 to $8 higher.  The USDA says demand was moderate and quality was average.  Receipts were upon the week and down on the year.  Feeder supply was 61% steers and 53% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 454 to 494 pounds brought $237 to $256 and feeder steers 801 to 828 pounds brought $181 to $188.50.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 554 to 588 pounds brought $190 to $209 and feeder heifers 600 to 629 pounds brought $193 to $206.50.

Boxed beef closed higher on solid demand for relatively light offerings.  Choice was $.48 higher at $280.36 and Select closed $.97 higher at $269.72.  The Choice/Select spread is $10.64.  Estimated cattle slaughter was 125,000 head – even on the week and up 5,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures were higher on oversold signals and the sharply higher pork values during the session.  The USDA’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report comes out on Thursday.  April lean hogs closed $1.45 higher at $78.62 and May lean hogs closed $1.05 higher at $86.72. 

Cash hogs closed lower with a fairly light negotiated run.  The cash hog market has been anything but consistent lately and has struggled to find support.  Supplies of market-ready hogs have been ample, giving packers a little more leverage.  Demand, overall, has held relatively strong both globally and domestically.  But, uncertainty surrounding the economy creates volatility for prices.  Much of the market is looking ahead to Thursday’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report to see if there has been contraction or some growth in the industry. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.74 lower with a base range of $69 to $77 and a weighted average of $76.03; the Iowa/Minnesota had no comparison but a weighted average of $75.81; Western Corn Belt closed $.36 lower with a weighted average of $75.73. Prices at the Regional Directs were not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are sharply lower than the last reported test at $40. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $45 to $57.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $46 to $58.  Boars ranged from $15 to $25 and $8 to $15. 

Pork values closed firm – up $.17 at $81.22.  Bellies closed sharply higher.  Picnics and ribs were also higher.  Hams, butts, and loins were all lower. Estimated hog slaughter was 486,000 head – up 27,000 on the week and up 8,000 on the year. 

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