Hog futures up on demand hopes
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were sharply lower, pressured by the week’s direct cash business and losses on Wall Street. April was down $2.90 at $105.75 and June was $2.62 lower at $100.02.
Feeder cattle were down sharply on the same factors as the live pit. March was $2.92 lower at $130.70 and April was down $3.60 at $130.05.
Direct cash cattle markets were quiet Friday after the light to moderate trade earlier in the week. Thursday’s live trade was mostly at $113, steady with Wednesday, but down $2 on the week, which was down $5 from the week before that. Dressed business ranged from $180 to $182, $4 to $6 lower than the previous week. Asking prices for what’s left on the show list were around $115 live and $184 dressed. The wholesale market has held up relatively well, but futures have dropped on the decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and demand concerns linked to the spread of coronavirus.
Boxed beef closed firm to sharply higher on moderate to fairly good demand for light to moderate offerings. Choice was up $.22 at $207.47 and Select was $1.51 higher at $202.57. The estimated cattle slaughter of 119,000 head was up 4,000 on both the week and the year.
For the week in Missouri, feeder steers and heifers weighing less than 700 pounds were mostly steady to $5 higher, with some light weights suitable for grazing as much as $8 higher, while weights over 700 pounds were steady to $3 lower with a limited test. The USDA says the supply was light to moderate with moderate to good demand for lighter weights. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 500 to 600 pounds brought $135 to $184 and 600 to 700-pound steers ranged from $125 to $169. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 500 to 600 pounds sold at $122 to $166.50 and 600 to 700-pound heifers were reported at $120 to $148.
The USDA says prices for supreme and premium alfalfa, alfalfa and grass mix, and grass in Iowa were fully steady, with all other grades steady. Supreme large squares of alfalfa ranged from $250 to $335, with premium large squares of alfalfa and grass mix at $195 to $250 and small squares at $265 to $280, while premium large squares of grass brought $175 to $260.
Hay prices in Missouri were steady with light to moderate demand for a moderate supply. The USDA says some producers are trying to move old crop hay before the new crop arrives and while there has been some movement, it was generally a slow winter for sales. Supreme quality alfalfa sold at $180 to $200 per bale with premium at $160 to $180. Good quality mixed grass and hay were pegged at $80 to $120 with good quality brome grass at $80 to $120.
For Nebraska, alfalfa hay was steady to $5 lower, while grass hay, ground and delivered hay, and alfalfa pellets were steady. The USDA says demand has softened a little on large rounds of alfalfa but remains good for large squares that can be shipped out of state. Demand was light to moderate for grass hay and ground and delivered products, but good for alfalfa pellets. In eastern and central areas, fair to good large squares of alfalfa were reported at $150 to $165 with a few good to premium large rounds at $110 and fairly to mostly good large rounds at $80 to $95. Good large rounds of prairie hay brought $90 to $100 with premium small squares at $170 to $180. 17% protein dehydrated alfalfa pellets sold at $320 to $330 with 15% protein sun-cured pellets at $300. In the Platte Valley, good large rounds of alfalfa sold at $90 with ground and delivered alfalfa at $135 to $140, ground and delivered alfalfa and corn stalk mix at $120 to $132.50 and ground and delivered corn stalks at $90 to $105. 17% protein dehydrated alfalfa pellets brought $270 to $285 with 15% protein sun-cured pellets at $250 to $270. In western areas of the state, supreme large squares of alfalfa were reported at $200 with good large squares at $160 to $175 and good large rounds at $140 to $150. Ground and delivered alfalfa ranged from $153 to $158.
Lean hog futures were modestly higher, supported by commercial and technical buying, shrugging off the bearish broader market activity and fundamentals during the session. The trade is waiting for China to start issuing tariff waivers for U.S. pork, expecting to see good demand. April was up $.55 at $65.92 and June was $.37 higher at $79.75.
Cash hogs were steady to lower with moderate closing negotiated numbers for the major direct markets. Buyers were able to limit spending while still moving the needed numbers and keeping an eye on margins and demand. Export demand has been good overall, with the possibility of China issuing tariff waivers for U.S. pork, and domestic demand looks solid, for the most part, as wholesale buyers prepare for widespread grilling season. Market ready numbers are slightly tighter than earlier this year and Saturday’s kill is projected at 207,000 head. The USDA’s attaché in the European Union says nearly two-thirds of the pork purchased by China in 2019 came from the E.U., leading to record exports and expansion in the breeding herd, and projects another record year for exports in 2020.
Pork closed $.18 lower at $66.86. Picnics and ribs were weak, with hams and bellies sharply lower. Loins and butts were sharply higher. The estimated hog slaughter of 493,000 head was up 7,000 on the week and 22,000 on the year.
National direct barrows and gilts closed $.60 lower at $45 to $52.75 with a weighted average of $50.90, Iowa/Southern Minnesota was down $1.14 at $51.22 and the Western Corn Belt was $1.22 lower at $51.06. Illinois direct sows were steady at $19 to $28 on good demand for light offerings. Barrows and gilts were firm at $27 to $35 with moderate demand for moderate offerings. Boars ranged from $5 to $18.
The USDA says early weaned pigs were $2 lower and all feeder pigs were $2 lower with light receipts. Demand was moderate for moderate offerings. For early weaned pigs, the formula range was $31.94 to $54 with a weighted average of $44.03 and the cash range was $11 to $37.50 with an average of $28.00, for a weighted average of $35.55 on all early weaned pigs. The cash range for feeder pigs was $54 to $56 with an average of $55.48.