Cattle futures lower ahead of widespread direct business
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were lower ahead of the week’s direct cash business and Friday’s On Feed numbers. Feeders had additional pressure from the higher move in corn. April live cattle closed $.50 lower at $163.05 and June lives closed $.45 lower at $157.75. April feeders closed $1.32 lower at $195.75 and May feeders closed $1.10 lower at $201.30.
It was another quiet day for direct cash cattle business on Tuesday. There were a handful of live heifers that sold at $164, fully steady with the week’s earlier business. It’s looking like significant trade volume will likely be delayed until the back half of the week. Bids didn’t surface and asking prices were around $166-plus live in the South, while the North was quiet. There was a very light, scattered trade that took place in Kansas at $164 live and in Nebraska at $265 dressed on Monday. Live business was $1 lower than the prior week’s weighted averages and dressed deals were steady in comparison.
At the Callaway Livestock Center in Missouri, steer calves 400 to 500 pounds were fully steady to firm, 500 to 650 pounds were $5 to $10 higher with spots of $12 higher, steers 650 to 800 pounds were firm to $5 higher and steers over 800 pounds were not well tested. Feeder heifers 400 to 500 pounds were steady to firm, heifers 500 to 600 pounds were firm to $5 higher, and heifers 600 to 700 pounds sold with a sharply higher undertone on few comparisons. The USDA says demand was good for a moderate supply with the best demand on 450-to-650-pound steers. It was a very attractive offering of steer and heifer calves and a nice offering of yearlings, all of which sold on an active market. Receipts were up on the week and the year. Feeder supply included 67% steers and 49% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 563 to 596 pounds brought $233 to $255 and feeder steers 660 to 690 pounds brought $202 to $216.50. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 552 to 598 pounds brought $197 to $208.75 and feeder heifers 607 to 648 pounds brought $196 to $205.25.
Boxed beef closed higher on solid demand for light offerings. Choice closed $1.05 higher at $285.91 and Select was $.94 higher at $274.56. The Choice/Select spread is $11.35. Estimated cattle slaughter was 127,000 head – even on the week and up 3,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures ended the day lower as long-term demand uncertainties continue. April lean hogs closed $.82 lower at $85.40 and May lean hogs closed $.87 lower at $93.70.
Cash hogs closed higher with a big negotiated run. The cash hog market continues its struggle to find some consistency. Processors appear to be short-bought and had to get more aggressive in their procurement efforts and bid up to move their desired numbers on Tuesday. Market-ready hog supplies are ample, which gives packers a little bit of an upper hand. Demand on both the global market and domestically has been strong, but it does face some uncertainty as the global economy remains under pressure. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $2.71 higher with a base range of $66.40 to $82 and a weighted average of $78.11; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $3.24 higher with a weighted average of $80.45; the Western Corn Belt closed $3.19 higher with a weighted average of $80.38. Prices at 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 $58. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for light offerings at $51 to $63. Barrows and gilts were $2 lower at $48 to $60. Boars were $15 to $25 and $8 to $15.
Pork values closed $.43 lower at $88.37. Hams, loins, and butts were lower, while picnics, bellies, and ribs were higher. Estimated hog slaughter was 485,000 head – even on the week and up 8,000 on the year.