Market News

Hog futures mixed, caught between cash and the cutout

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle were mostly lower and feeders were down, watching corn and waiting for the week’s direct business to take shape. December live was down $.52 at $151.95 and February was $.57 lower at $155.25. November feeders were $.70 lower at $176.92 and January was down $1.25 at $178.20.

Direct cash cattle markets generally remained at a standstill. Very limited trade was reported at $152 live, not enough to establish a trend. This week’s show list looks mixed, larger in Texas, at least a little higher in Nebraska and Colorado, and lower in Kansas. Asking prices are $152 on the live basis in the south, unestablished in the north, with widespread business not expected until Wednesday, if not Thursday, depending on how much buyers are willing to spend for the tighter supplies.

Boxed beef closed lower with heavy movement. Choice was down $1.02 at $262.63 and Select beef was $1.73 lower at $232.73. The estimated cattle slaughter of 128,000 head was down 1,000 on the week, but up 5,000 on the year.

At the North Platte Stockyards Livestock Auction feeder cattle sale in Nebraska, compared to the previous week, steer and heifer calves were steady. The USDA says demand was moderate to good for mostly packages and a few weaned calves. Receipts were up on the week and the year. 75% of the offering were steers and 73% of the total run weighed less than 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 515 to 600 pounds sold at $189 to $205.50 and 600 to 666 pound steers ranged from $192 to $202.25. Medium and Large 1 unweaned feeder heifers weighing 400 to 500 pounds brought $176 to $194 and unweaned 500-to-600-pound heifers were reported at $166.50 to $185.

Lean hog futures were mixed on the steady to higher cash during the session against the lower midday move in pork. Contracts were up early on technical buying but failed to follow through in several months after the midday pork report. December was $.27 higher at $85.20 and February held at $88.45.

Cash hogs were steady to higher with good, not great, closing negotiated numbers for the major direct markets. After the typically slow start to the week, most buyers increased bids to move the needed near-term numbers but might have to raise those bids even further to keep chain speed running at a high level. The industry is also monitoring the bearish trend in the wholesale market and average live weights.

National direct barrows and gilts closed $1.41 higher with a base price range of $83 to $95 for a weighted average of $89.75, with Iowa/Southern Minnesota up $2.61 at $92.52 and the Western Corn Belt $1.75 higher at $91.88.

Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets were steady at $58. Illinois direct sows were steady at $59 to $71 with light demand for moderate offerings. Barrows and gilts were steady at $58 to $68 on moderate demand and offerings. Boars ranged from $9 to $35.

Pork closed $2.73 lower at $97.21. The primal cuts were weak to sharply lower, except for a modestly higher move in bellies. The estimated hog slaughter of 489,000 head was down 1,000 on the week, but up 8,000 on the year. Monday’s slaughter was revised to 486,000 head, 5,000 less than the original projection.

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