Market News

Live cattle mixed ahead of widespread cash trade

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle were mixed, and feeders were higher watching corn, and waiting for direct cash business to develop.  April live cattle closed $.07 lower at $164.60 and June lives closed $.02 lower at $160.20.  March feeder cattle closed $.67 higher at $187.32 and April feeders closed $.25 higher at $191.15. 

It was another quiet day for direct cash cattle business.  Bids never surfaced.  Asking prices were at $163 live in the South, while not established in the North.  If this week’s business follows the recent trends, significant trade volume will be delayed until late Thursday or Friday.  Wednesday’s Fed Cattle Exchange had an offering of 1,152 head, of which 84 sold at $158.75.  The rest did not meet reserve prices of $162 to $164. 

At the Kingsville Livestock Auction in Missouri, steers and heifers were mostly steady with spots of $5 higher with some consignments of high-quality yearling heifers being sold as replacements.  The USDA says demand was good to very good with several bigger groups and loads of similar cattle offered.  Most were long-weaned with backed by a solid health program and were in attractive condition.  Receipts were down on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 50% steers and 63% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 600 to 646 pounds brought $204 to $217.75 and feeder steers 711 to 749 pounds brought $187 to $198.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 504 to 649 pounds brought $198 to $217 and feeder heifers 600 to 648 pounds brought $175 to $191.50. 

Boxed beef closed sharply higher on solid demand for moderate offerings.  Choice was $3.61 higher at $275.67 and Select closed $2.41 higher at $261.19.  The Choice/Select spread is $14.48. Estimated cattle slaughter was 125,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and the year.

Lean hog futures ended the day lower on profit-taking.  April lean hogs closed $.75 lower at $86.50 and May lean hogs closed $.35 lower at $95.70. 

Cash hogs closed mixed with a solid negotiated run. Processors are going at their own pace to move their needed numbers.  Some days they aren’t very aggressive in their procurement efforts, others they have to bid up.  The industry continues to monitor the availability of market-ready hogs.  There is a significant winter storm moving across much of the country, which could slow livestock movement.  Hog weights are down 0.3 pounds on the week to 285.6 pounds and down 3 pounds on the year. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $1.17 higher with a base range of $67 to $80 and a weighted average of $77.36; the Iowa/Minnesota was $.09 lower with a weighted average of $78.86; the Western Corn Belt was $.01 lower with a weighted average of $78.76; the Eastern Corn Belt closed $.62 higher with a weighted average of $75.83. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $60 and lower in Red Oak, Iowa at $56 to $57. 

Pork values closed lower – down $.94 at $80.94. Bellies were sharply lower, more than canceling out sharply higher ham prices.  Picnics, loins, and ribs were lower.  Butts were higher.  Estimated hog slaughter was 483,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and up 10,000 on the year. 

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