Hog futures lower on profit-taking
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle closed mostly lower on profit-taking and spread adjustments. Feeder cattle were mixed on spread adjustments. April live cattle closed $1.17 higher at $94 and June live cattle closed $2.30 lower at $84.37. April feeder cattle closed $.35 lower at $119.52 and May feeder cattle closed $.42 lower at $118.95.
Direct cash cattle trade activity has been at a standstill. No bids have been renewed and asking prices are around $110 live in the South and $175 dressed in the North. There’s been a light to moderate trade this week at $105 live, that’s about $4 lower than last week’s weighted averages. Dressed business yesterday was mostly at $168, about $6 lower than the previous week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska.
At the Huss Livestock Market in Nebraska, compared to last week, on limited comparable offerings steers and heifers were $5 to $10 higher. The USDA says demand was good from the start to finish for calves and feeder cattle. There was a very good demand for Hereford replacement heifers at 700 pounds. Receipts were down on the week and the year. Feeder supply included 55 percent heifers and 65 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 551 to 576 pounds brought $160.50 to $172 and feeder steers 778 to 799 pounds brought $120 to $126. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 662 to 696 pounds brought $123.50 to $129.50 and feeder heifers 700 to 736 pounds brought $117.75 to $123.25.
Boxed closed mixed – firm on Choice and lower on Select on light to moderate demand and heavy offerings. Choice rib, chuck, round, and loin cuts were steady to firm. Select rib, round, and loin cuts were weak to lower while chuck cuts were firm. Choice closed $.33 higher at $222.67 and Select closed $4.20 lower at $207.57. The Choice/Select spread is $15.10.
Estimated cattle slaughter is 99,000 head – down 16,000 on the week and down 13,000 on the year. Lean hog futures ended the day lower on profit-taking. April lean hogs closed $.32 lower at $42.80 and May lean hogs closed $2.47 lower at $43.42.
Cash hogs closed steady to weak with moderate negotiated purchases. Supplies of market-ready hogs are ample and with uncertainty surrounding domestic demand, it’s making it difficult for prices to push higher. Social distancing restrictions are putting additional pressure on prices. The global demand picture remains a bright spot. Global protein supplies are short, primarily because of the hit to pork production in other parts of the world because of African swine fever. As long as US production isn’t disrupted, the US is well-positioned to meet the world’s pork and protein needs. The latest Export Sales report from the USDA was impressive for pork, with China purchases the majority of products last week. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.38 lower with a base range of $39.50 to $41 for a weighted average of $39.96; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.15 higher for a weighted average of $40.52; the Western Corn Belt is $.05 higher for a weighted average of $40.05. The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality.
Midwest cash markets are closed Thursday and Friday. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with good demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $20 to $37. Barrow and gilt prices were weak, with light demand for moderate offerings at $18 to $23. Boars brought anywhere from $5 to $10.
Pork values closed weak – down $.34 at $51.07. Picnics were sharply lower. Butts were lower. Bellies were steady. Loins, hams, and ribs were all firm to higher. Estimated hog slaughter is 472,000 head – down 16,000 on the week and up 41,000 on the year.