Market News

Light trade develops in cash cattle country

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle futures were sharply lower on technical selling, waiting for widespread direct cash cattle business. April live was down $1.60 at $186.12 and June was $1.40 lower at $182.17. March feeders were $3.40 lower at $249.60 and April was down $3.85 at $255.10.

Cash cattle country had some light trade develop on Wednesday in parts of the South at $183, fully steady with last week’s weighted averages. The North has a few live bids on the table but asking prices remain hard to find.

At the Kingsville Livestock Auction in Missouri, the majority of feeder steers sold steady to $5 higher compared to the most recent sale. Feeder heifers were steady to $5 lower. USDA says demand was good to very good with most of the offering still being long weaned yearling in attractive condition. Feeder supply included 45% steers and 69% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 655 to 691 pounds brought $269.50 to $289. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 705 to 733 pounds sold for $241.75 to $248.

Boxed beef was higher at the close with Choice up $1.29 at $303.03 and Select up $2.54 at $292.94. The Choice/Select spread was $10.09.

Estimated cattle slaughter was 125,000 head – up 5,000 on the week  and unchanged on the year.

Lean hog futures were modestly higher, with cash steady to higher during the session, ahead of the USDA’s weekly export sales report. Gains were limited by overbought signals and the lower midday move in pork. April was up $.10 at $86 and June was $.22 higher at $99.55.

Cash hogs were steady to higher with light closing negotiated sales at the major direct markets. Some buyers had to raise bids again to move the needed near-term numbers, but demand looks relatively light and if pork does start a lower trend, that could limit demand for the rest of the week, if not longer. The average barrow and gilt weight in the Iowa/Southern Minnesota/South Dakota reporting region was 287.7 pounds, down three tenths on the week, but up 2 pounds on the year.

Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct were up $1.77 with a base range of $67 to $75 and weighted average price of $74.47. The Western Corn Belt was up $2.07 with a weighted average price of $74.77. The Iowa/Minnesota and Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality.

Midwest butcher hogs are steady at $55. Illinois direct sows are $2 higher at $41 to $53 on moderate demand for heavy offerings. Barrows and gilts are up $2 at $39 to $49 with moderate demand and offerings. Boars range from $8 to $25.

Pork closed mostly lower – down $1.53 at $90.34.

Estimated hog slaughter was 491,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and up more than 20,000 on the year.

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