Market News

Cattle, hog futures slide at the end of the week

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were lower watching direct business develop. December lives closed $.80 lower at $183.87.  January feeder cattle closed $2.42 lower at $239.75. 

There was a light direct cash cattle trade that developed later in the day Friday.  Business was mostly in the North at $292 to nearly $293 dressed, $2 to nearly $3 higher than the previous week’s business.  The South was quiet, with not even a token bid that surfaced.

At the Mitchell Livestock Auction in South Dakota, feeder steers up to 700 pounds sold with a lower undertone, steers 800 to 1000 pounds sold with a higher undertone.  Steers over 1000 pounds were $2 to $5 higher, except steers 1100 to 1200 pounds which were $5 to $10 higher.  Heifers mostly had a steady to higher undertone, but heifers 900 to 950 pounds were $7 higher.  The USDA says demand was good, but flesh and shots determined prices.  Receipts were down on the week and up on the year.  Feeder supply included 57% steers and 65% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 500 to 540 pounds brought $290 to $306 and feeder steers 559 to 586 pounds brought $265 to $289.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 906 to 935 pounds brought $216.75 to $220 and feeder heifers 950 to 981 pounds brought $214 to $215.50. 

In Nebraska, alfalfa and grass hay were steady.  Ground and delivered hay and alfalfa pellets were steady. The USDA says demand is mostly light.  There are a lot of cane, millet, and sudan bales across a large portion of the region.  There are readily available bales in eastern Colorado and northern Kansas that have put some pressure on the hay market in most parts of the state.  End users are watching feed costs as prices have been on the rice.  Alfalfa, good/premium, large squares brought $210.  Alfalfa, good, large rounds brought $160.  Cane, large rounds, brought $125.  Forage mix-four way, good, large rounds brought $145 to $175.  Prairie/Meadow grass, premium, small squares brought $8 per bale and good quality large rounds brought $150 to $160. Alfalfa, premium, medium squares brought $130 to $140 and small squares brought $10.  Alfalfa, pellets 17% sun-cured brought $330.  Grass, good, large rounds brought $200.  In the Platte Valley area, alfalfa, good, large rounds brought $170 to $175.  Alfalfa, ground brought $215 and pellets 17% dehydrated brought $375 to $385.  In the West, alfalfa, premium, large squares brought $210.  Alfalfa, ground, brought $150 to $185. 

Boxed beef closed lower on light demand for solid offerings.  Choice was $2.19 lower at $302.34 and Select was $2.33 lower at $272.01.  The Choice/Select spread is $30.33. Estimated cattle slaughter was 122,000 head – up 4,000 on the week and down 3,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill was 14,000 head – down 2,000 on the week and down 15,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures were lower on profit-taking and pressure from the lower cash and wholesale business during the session.  December lean hogs closed $1.52 lower at $71.75 and February lean hogs closed $.75 lower at $75.47.

Cash hogs ended the day lower with a light negotiated run.  With readily available supplies of market-ready hogs, packers have the upper hand right now.  Processors don’t have to get aggressive in their procurement efforts.  It’s likely processors had met their needs for the week, resulting in a slow Friday.  Demand for US pork has been relatively strong on the global market, helping provide at least some price support.  But, there are long-term demand concerns that add uncertainty to the market. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $1.31 lower with a base range of $65 to $69 and a weighted average of $61.18.  Prices at the Regional Direct Markets were not reported due to confidentiality. 

According to the USDA’s Weekly Feeder Pig report, early-weaned pigs were steady to $1 higher.  All feeder pigs were steady.  Demand was moderate for moderate to heavy offerings.  The Total Composite cash range for early-weaned pigs were $14 to $30 and the Total Composite formula range for early-weaned pigs were $25.42 to $57.49 for a weighted average of $43.36. The weighted average for all early-weaned pigs was $32.47 and the weighted average for all feeder pigs was $36.88. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $55 in Dorchester, Wisconsin. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $2 higher with moderate demand for light offerings at $37 to $50.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $40 to $50.  Boars ranged from $18 to $21 and $5 to $10.

Pork values closed weak – down $.13 at $87.28.  Loins, hams, and butts were all lower.  Picnics, ribs, and bellies were all higher. Estimated hog slaughter was 486,000 head – up 4,000 on the week and up 21,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 260,000 head – up 69,000 on the week and up 95,000 on the year. 

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