Market News

Direct cash cattle trade picks up steam Thursday

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle futures were sharply higher, supported by the sharply higher direct business during the session, along with the USDA’s neutral to bullish Cattle Inventory numbers. Feeders had additional support from the modestly lower move in corn. February live was up $2.40 at $179.75 and April was $2.47 higher at $183.17. March feeders were $4.72 higher at $244.87 and April was up $4.37 at $250.52.

Cash cattle country had some light live trade reported in parts of Texas at $178, $3 higher than last week’s weighted average. In Kansas, trade was marked at $178 to $179, $4 to $5 higher than the previous week. Some deals were also reported in the North with dressed cattle selling for $280 in South Dakota and Iowa, up $3 on the week. Asking prices remain firm at $180 live and $280 dressed.

At the Hub City Livestock Auction in South Dakota, feeder steers and heifers were steady to mostly sharply higher compared to the most recent sale. USDA says demand was good to very good for a large offering that featured many loads and packages of both home raised and backgrounded cattle. There were many attractive cattle to choose from in various flesh condition. It was an active market with buyers and farmer feeders determined to get cattle bought. Feeder supply included 63% steers and 72% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 650 to 696 pounds brought $271 to $293. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 553 to 594 pounds sold for $263 to $285.

Boxed beef cutout values were mixed at the close with Choice up $.40 at $294.94 and Select was down $.92 at $283.25. The Choice/Select spread was $11.69.

Estimated cattle slaughter was 126,000 head – unchanged on the week and up more than 2,000 on the year.

Lean hogs were mixed, mostly lower, unwinding previously established spreads and monitoring demand. February was down $.55 at $75.80 and April was $1.07 lower at $83.75.

Cash hogs were steady to modestly higher with light closing negotiated numbers at the major direct markets. It looks like many buyers have the needed near-term numbers in hand after a midweek pop in prices and negotiated movement. Friday’s activity will depend on late week packer demand and the easy availability of supplies. The USDA says pork export sales of 42,900 tons were above a week ago, mostly to Mexico and China.

Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct were up $.79 with a base range of $54 to $67 and weighted average price of $63.35. The Iowa/Minnesota was $.65 higher with a weighted average price of $63.45. The Western Corn Belt was up $.19 with a weighted average price of $63.10. The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality.

Midwest butcher hogs were steady at $48. At Illinois, slaughter sows were $2 higher with moderate demand for moderate to heavy offerings; barrows and gilts were also $2 higher on the day with moderate demand for moderate offerings; boars ranged from $5 to $20.

Pork values closed $1.03 higher at $88.59. Loins, butts, ribs, and hams were higher. Bellies and picnics were lower.

Estimated hog slaughter was 482,000 head – up 2,000 on the week and down nearly 12,000 on the year.

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