Cattle futures lower heading into Friday
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle were mostly lower and feeders were lower ahead of the bulk of the week’s direct cash business. December live cattle closed $.55 higher at $151.95 and February live cattle closed $.02 lower at $154.87. January feeders closed $.57 lower at $179.42 and March feeder cattle closed $.15 lower at $181.77.
There was substantial direct cash cattle trade that took place on Thursday. Live deals were marked at $150 in the South and $153 in the North, about steady with last week’s weighted averages. Dressed business was marked at $242, $2 above last week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska. Expect a little more cleanup trade to take place on Friday.
At the Mitchell Livestock Auction in South Dakota, compared to last week an unevenly steady undertone was noted on steers up to 850 pounds. Steers 850 to 900 pounds were $2 higher, and steers 900 to 1,100 pounds were $2 lower. There was a lower undertone on heifers up to 750 pounds. Heifers 800 to 900 pounds were steady to $2 lower, and heifers 900 to 1000 pounds were $2 higher. The USDA says demand was good. There were many large load lots of yearlings. Receipts were down on the week and the year. Feeder supply included 45% steers and 87% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 870 to 877 pounds brought $175.75 to $181 and feeder steers 968 to 994 pounds brought $171.50 to $175.50. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 862 to 898 pounds brought $162.50 to $164 and feeder heifers 960 to 978 pounds brought $160 to $163.60.
Boxed beef closed mixed. Choice closed $1.71 higher at $265.18 and Select closed $.10 lower at $233.06. The Choice/Select spread is $32.12. Estimated cattle slaughter was 128,000 head – even on the week and up 5,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures closed mostly lower, adjusting spreads. December lean hogs closed $.07 higher at $83.37 and February lean hogs closed $.02 lower at $87.17.
Cash hog closed sharply lower with fairly light negotiated purchases. Processors were able to move their desired numbers at much lower prices. The pattern recently has been a couple of days with huge runs and higher prices, but the market has been softer this week. The industry continues to monitor the availability of market-ready hogs along with demand. There’s ongoing concern that a slowing global economy would impact demand and ultimately push prices lower. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $3.36 lower with a base range of $84 to $97.50 with a weighted average of $85.12; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $4.24 lower with a weighted average of $87.57; the Western Corn Belt closed $4.27 lower with a weighted average of $87.52; the Eastern Corn Belt was $1.23 lower with a weighted average of $86.26.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $58. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with light demand for moderate offerings at $59 to $71. Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $58 to $68. Boars ranged from $30 to $35 and $9 to $19.
Pork values closed firm – up $.13 at $96.36. Ribs, picnics, hams, and butts are higher. Loins and bellies were lower. Estimated hog slaughter was 489,000 head – down 2,000 on the week and up 12,000 on the year.