Market News

Live cattle lower, feeders mixed ahead of Friday’s Cattle on Feed report

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures closed lower and feeders finished mixed ahead of widespread direct business and Friday’s USDA Cattle on Feed report. Live cattle and deferred feeders closed at or near the day’s lows after failing to break overhead resistance. April live was down $1.15 at $186.55 and June was $.60 lower at $182.70. March feeders were up $.70 at $252.05 and April was $.77 higher at $256.70.

Cash cattle country was relatively quiet on Thursday with a few bids on the table in parts of Kansas and Nebraska. Most were passed. Asking prices are around $184 plus in the South And $292 plus in the North.

At the Hub City Livestock Auction in South Dakota, feeder steers 600 pounds and up were selling $3 to $12 higher compared to the most recent sale. Feeder heifers above 600 pounds were mostly steady with occurrences of $10 to $15 higher. USDA says demand was very good for a large offering of loads and packages. Lighter cattle suitable for summer grass continue to be very sought after as numbers decline each week. Feeder supply included 63% steers and 80% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 802 to 846 pounds brought $242.50 to $252.75. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 701 to 743 pounds sold for $240 to $258.

Boxed beef closed higher on Thursday with Choice up $1.99 at $299.79 and Select up $1.35 at $285.81. The Choice/Select spread was $13.98.

Estimated cattle slaughter was 123,000 head – unchanged on the week and up nearly 3,000 on the year.

Lean hogs were mixed, with nearby contracts hitting multi-month highs, supported by spread trade and the cash and wholesale business during the session. The USDA’s weekly export sales and monthly cold storage numbers are out Friday. April was up $1.22 at $87.20 and June was $.95 higher at $98.92.

Cash hogs were steady to higher with light to moderate closing negotiated numbers at the major direct markets. It looks like business had one last round of mostly higher prices and increased negotiated movement left in it this week as buyers tried to move the numbers needed to keep chain speed at an acceptable level. Export demand continues to be a consistent source of support, with the delayed weekly sales numbers out Friday morning. The USDA’s monthly Cold Storage is out Friday afternoon.

Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct were up $.58 with a base range of $66 to $75 and weighted average price of $66 to $75. The Iowa/Minnesota was up $.93 with a weighted average price of $73.74. The Western Corn Belt was up $.79 with a weighted average price of $73.62. The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality.

Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets are called steady at $50; slaughter sow prices are steady at $39 to $42; boars are $14. At Illinois, slaughter sows were steady with moderate demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $38 to $50; barrows and gilts were steady wit moderate demand for moderate offerings at $37 to $47; boars were marked at $8 to $25.

Estimated hog slaughter was 490,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and up more than 128,000 on the year.

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