Market News

More business develops in cash cattle country on Thursday

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle futures were lower, watching direct business develop at steady prices on the live basis. April live was down $.77 at $185.35 and June was $.95 lower at $181.22. March feeders were $.60 lower at $249.00 and April was down $1.37 at $253.72.

Some light business was reported in cash cattle country Thursday afternoon. Dressed deals were marked at $290, $2 lower than the previous week. In western Nebraska, live business was steady at $183. In the South, a few deals have been reported in Texas, but Kansas remains relatively quiet at this time.

At the Hub City Livestock Auction in South Dakota, feeder steers 550 pounds and up trended $1 to $5 lower compared to the most recent sale. Feeder heifers 650 to 849 pounds were $3 to $6 lower with other weight classes not well compared. USDA says there was good to very good demand for backgrounding type cattle. Feeder supply included 69% steers and 90% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 758 to 798 pounds brought $247.50 to $260.50. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 712 to 748 pounds sold for $238.50 to $257.

Boxed beef closed higher with Choice up $1.17 at $304.20 and Select up $1.24 at $294.18. The Choice/Select spread was $10.02.

Estimated cattle slaughter was 123,000 head – unchanged on the week and down nearly 1,300 on the year.

Lean hog futures were modestly higher on short covering, the firm midday pork, and a good weekly export sales total. April was up $.62 at $86.62 and June was $.65 higher at $100.20.

Cash hogs were higher with light closing negotiated numbers for the major direct markets. It looks like some buyers need one last push to get the near-term numbers in hand, but with very light overall interest because of negotiated prices and sales earlier in the week and the questions about sustained pork demand. Pork exports of 32,400 tons were 12% higher than the previous week, but 11% lower than the four-week average, primarily to Mexico and South Korea.

Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct were up $1.02 with a base range of $68 to $76 and a weighted average price of $75.49. The Western Corn Belt was up $.72 with a weighted average price of $75.49. The Iowa/Minnesota and Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality.

Midwest butcher hog markets are closed. Illinois direct sows are $1 higher at $42 to $54 on moderate demand for heavy offerings. Barrows and gilts are up $1 at $40 to $50 with moderate demand and offerings. Boars range from $8 to $25.

Pork values closed lower – down $.12 at $90.22.

Estimated hog slaughter was 491,000 head – up a thousand on the week and up more than 3,000 on the year.

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