Market News

Live cattle lower waiting for direct business to develop

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle were lower and feeders were mixed ahead of widespread direct cash business.  April live closed $1.02 lower at $164.10 and June lives closed $1.15 lower at $159.45.  April feeders were unchanged at $193.85 and May feeders closed $.17 lower at $198.82. 

Thursday was another relatively quiet day for direct cash cattle business.  A few scattered bids surfaced at $262 dressed in the North, but the rest of cattle country was relatively quiet.  There’s been some light, scattered business throughout the week ranging from $161 to $166 live in Iowa, but it isn’t near enough to establish a trend.  It looks like the bulk of the week’s business will take place sometime on Friday. 

At the Hub City Livestock market in South Dakota, the best test was on steers 750 to 850 pounds and 900 to 950 pounds which were $3 to $5 higher.  The best test on heifers was 600 to 650 pounds, which were mostly steady.  Other weight classes of heifers were not well compared.  The USDA says demand was good to very good for the large offering that featured many load lots and packages.  There were several consignments of replacement-quality heifers, which were met with very good demand.  Flesh varied and quality ranged from plain to attractive.  The market was active despite the unpleasant weather conditions.  Receipts were up on the week and down on the year.  Feeder supply included 52% steers and 85% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 851 to 896 pounds brought $182.75 to $195.80 and feeder steers 904 to 940 pounds brought $178 to $186.75.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 651 to 697 pounds brought $176 to $193.50 and feeder heifers 759 to 793 pounds brought $160 to $178.50. 

Boxed beef closed higher on solid demand for moderate offerings.  Choice was $.67 higher at $288.50 and Select closed $1.15 higher at $277.58.  The Choice/Select spread is $10.92.  Estimated cattle slaughter was 125,000 head – up 4,000 on the week and down 1,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day lower, pressured by weak cash and wholesale business during the session and the less-than-stellar export sales report. April lean hogs closed $1.10 lower at $83.85 and May lean hogs closed $.65 lower at $92.87.

Cash hogs closed steady to lower with a big negotiated run.  It’s been a solid week for the cash hog market topped off by a huge run on Wednesday at much higher prices.  So it wasn’t any surprise to see the cash hog market back off some Thursday, especially with processors’ ability to move their needed numbers without having to bid up.  The ample supplies of market-ready hogs helps. Demand on both the global and domestic markets has been strong, and that’s been helping to provide some price support. But, this week’s Export Sales report wasn’t anything special, and showed a significant drop off in purchases. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.80 lower with a base range of $74 to $81 and a weighted average of $78.70; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.61 lower with a weighted average of $79.26; the Western Corn Belt closed $.79 lower with a weighted average of $79.06; the Eastern Corn Belt had no comparison but a weighted average of $78.05.

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $66 and $50 in Red Oak, Iowa. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $50 to $62.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $51 to $61.  Boars ranged from $15 to $25 and $8 to $15. 

Pork values closed firm – up $.19 at $85.73.  Higher prices for hams are were almost canceled out by drops in loins, ribs, picnics, butts, and bellies.   Estimated hog slaughter was 486,000 head – up 115,000 on the week and up 9,000 on the year. 

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