Market News

Feeder cattle find support in lower corn

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle were mostly lower watching direct business develop.  Feeder cattle were higher on the lower move in corn. February live cattle closed $.42 lower at $171.37 and April lives closed $.40 lower at $174.17.  March feeders closed $.30 higher at $227.70 and April feeders closed $.27 higher at $233.00.

There was a light round of direct cash trade across all of cattle country Friday.  Live deals in the South were at $172, $1 lower than the prior week’s weighted averages.  Live deals in Nebraska and Iowa were marked at $173 with a few at $174, about steady to $1 lower than the previous week’s weighted averages basis. Deals in the North were marked at anywhere from $272 to $275, the lesser prices were about $2 below the previous week’s weighted average and the high end was about steady.   Many in cattle country have been digging out from another snowstorm and preparing for brutally cold temperatures.

At the Ogallala Livestock Auction in Nebraska, steers under 600 pounds were $10 to $20 higher and steers over 600 pounds were $2 to $5 lower.  Heifers under 600 pounds were $2 to $11 higher and heifers over 600 pounds were $2 to $5 lower, except heifers 650 pounds which were $6 higher.  The USDA says demand was good to moderate with a lot of grass-cattle offered. The market was active both in-house and online.  Receipts were up on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 63% steers and 55% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 500 to 545 pounds brought $324.50 to $344 and feeder steers 709 to 749 pounds brought $231 to $252.50.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 602 to 646 pounds brought $235 to $254.50 and feeder heifers 661 to 689 pounds brought $233 to $246.

Boxed beef closed higher on solid demand for decent offerings.  Choice was $3.37 higher at $289.26 and Select closed $1.91 higher at $271.85.  The Choice/Select spread is $17.41. Estimated cattle slaughter was 105,000 head – down 19,000 on the week and down around 21,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures were lower on contracts’ premium to cash and long-term demand uncertainty. February lean hogs closed $.70 lower at $71.90 and April lean hogs closed $.42 lower at $78.62. 

Cash hogs closed lower with a very small negotiated run. Winter weather was a factor across much of the middle of the country.  There was heavy snow and blizzard-like conditions which made doing any sort of business less appealing on Friday. That will also likely push hog weights higher again.  Ample supplies of market-ready hogs give packers more leverage and they aren’t in a position to get aggressive in their procurement efforts.  Demand for US pork has been solid on the global market, but still continues to struggle domestically. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.53 lower with a base range of $41 to $48 and a weighted average of $44.96.  Prices at the Regional Direct markets were not reported due to confidentiality.

Midwest butcher hog markets are closed today because of severe winter weather. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for light offerings at $25 to $28.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $25 to $35. Boars ranged from $10 to $20 and $5 to $10.

Pork values closed higher – up $1.94 at $86.08. Most of the primals were higher to sharply higher.  Picnics were lower. Estimated hog slaughter was 332,000 head – down 157,000 on the week and down more than 143,000 on the year.

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