Cattle futures start the week mostly higher
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day mostly higher on spread trade and the recent strength in boxed beef prices. February live cattle closed $.20 lower at $116.52 and April live cattle closed $.42 higher at $122.95. January feeder cattle closed $.70 lower at $136.55 and March feeder cattle closed $.30 lower at $143.85.
Direct cash cattle trade activity started the week off quietly. Bids and asking prices were hard to find. Showlists this week are higher in Texas, but lower in Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado. Look for significant trade volume to develop midweek or later.
At midsession at the Oklahoma National Stockyards, compared to last week feeder steers were steady. Feeder heifers were steady to $2 higher. Steer and heifer calves were steady to $4 lower. The USDA says demand was moderate and quality was average to attractive. Receipts were down on the week and the year. Feeder supply included 56 percent steers and 55 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 553 to 594 pounds brought $154 to $169 and feeder steers 702 to 748 pounds brought $127 to $142. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 50 to 548 pounds brought $135 to $140 and feeder heifers 650 to 697 pounds brought $123 to $132.
Boxed beef closed sharply higher with strong demand for moderate offerings. Choice is $3.91 higher at $226.73 and Select is $2.87 higher at $216.21. The Choice/Select spread is $10.52. Estimated cattle slaughter is 118,000 head – up 6,000 on the week and down 4,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures were supported by technical buying and the steady to firm cash business during the session. February lean hogs closed $.70 higher at $70.62 and April lean hogs closed $.47 higher at $76.62.
Cash hogs closed steady to weak with a solid negotiated run. Supply and demand continue to be the focus of the market. The industry has concerns that the recent demand strength could wain in both global and domestic markets. At the same time, supplies of market-ready barrows and gilts are more than ample and daily slaughter totals continue to push higher. That is keeping the supply chains running and preventing any additional backlogs of hogs in the production system. But, it’s adding more pork to an already saturated market. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.16 lower with a base range of $48 to $55.95 and a weighted average of $55.30. The Iowa/Minnesota closed $.04 lower with a weighted average of $54.33; the Western Corn Belt closed $.48 lower with a weighted average of $54.59. The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets had no comparison, but are at $40.
Pork values closed lower, down $.70 at $82.13. Bellies were sharply lower, butts were lower. Hams were steady. Picnics and ribs were sharply higher and loins were higher. Estimated hog slaughter is 486,000 head – up 59,000 on the week and down 13,000 on the year.