Market News

Live cattle futures down ahead of direct business

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were lower ahead of the week’s direct business, while feeders were supported by the losses in corn. February live was $1.12 lower at $169.27 and April was down $.47 at $172.97. January feeders were up $.92 at $224.47 and March was $.82 higher at $225.40.

Direct cash cattle markets were essentially at a standstill. There were a few bids at $270 on the dressed basis in Nebraska, but otherwise, the major feeding areas remained quiet, with no reported asking prices. Packer inquiry should continue to improve with widespread business not expected until Thursday, if not Friday. This week’s show list is mixed, somewhat larger in Nebraska and Colorado, smaller in Texas, and about steady in Kansas.

Boxed beef closed lower with moderate movement. Choice was down $1.83 at $291.48 and Select beef was down $.87 at $260.32. The estimated cattle slaughter of 125,000 head was up 2,000 on the week and 1,000 on the year.

In Nebraska last week, compared to the week before that, feeder steers were mostly steady. Feeder heifers weighing less than 600 pounds and more than 900 were steady, with 600-to-900-pound heifers $7 to $10 higher. The USDA says it was a diverse pre-holiday offering with receipts down on the week and up on the year. 58% of the feeder offering were steers and 65% of all feeder cattle weighed more than 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 600 to 700 pounds sold at $240 to $299.50 and 700-to-800-pound steers were reported at $221 to $254. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 500 to 600 pounds ranged from $240 to $287 and 600-to-700-pound feeders brought $216 to $257.

Lean hog futures were mostly lower on spread activity and contracts’ premium to the cash index in light trade. February was $.57 higher at $69.87 and April was $.15 lower at $75.92.

Cash hogs were narrowly mixed with solid closing negotiated numbers for the major direct markets. It looks like some buyers had to bid up to move the needed numbers, while continuing to hold plenty of leverage. Buyers and sellers are watching possible movement issues in some areas this week along with demand ahead what should be another slow week next week. The average barrow and gilt weight in the Iowa/Southern Minnesota/South Dakota reporting area last week was 289.3 pounds, down 0.4 on the week, but up 6.1 on the year.

National direct barrows and gilts were $.29 lower with a base price range of $40 to $48 for a weighted average of $46.26, while the Western Corn Belt was $.11 higher at $47.02. The Eastern Corn Belt had no recent comparison with a weighted average of $44.97. Iowa/Southern Minnesota was not reported due to confidentiality. Midwest butcher hogs were steady at $44. Illinois direct sows were steady at $28 to $40 on moderate demand and offerings. Barrows and gilts were steady at $25 to $35 with moderate demand for moderate offerings. Boars ranged from $5 to $20.

Pork closed $.40 higher at $82.52. The USDA reported gains in loins, butts, ribs, and hams, against losses in picnics and bellies. The estimated hog slaughter of 488,000 head was up 10,000 on the week and 4,000 on the year. Tuesday’s slaughter was revised to 451,000 head, 12,000 less than the initial guess.

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