Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were up modestly ahead of widespread direct business. February was $.20 higher at $121.32 and April was up $.05 at $119.80.
Feeder cattle were down on the firm move in corn. March was $.70 lower at $135.20 and April was down $.07 at $137.50.
By Friday afternoon, light to moderate direct cash cattle business developed at mostly $121 on a live basis, about $1 lower than the previous week’s weighted average. A few sales were also reported at $122 live in Iowa. Dressed trade was at $193, generally $2 lower than the previous week’s weighted average in Nebraska. Some of those dressed sales were for delayed delivery, the week of February 17th, which kicks off with Presidents Day. That should alleviate some of the concerns about a slow start to that holiday week.
Boxed beef closed lower on light to moderate demand and offerings. Choice was down $.81 at $210.12 and Select was $2.07 lower at $203.89. The estimated cattle slaughter of 115,000 head was down 7,000 on the week, but up 1,000 on the year.
For the week in Missouri, feeder steers were steady to $4 higher, while heifers weighing 400 to 700 pounds were steady to $2 higher, with a much lighter test for featherweights, and heavy yearlings were steady to $3 lower. The USDA says demand was moderate for light to moderate supply, with many sales impacted by another round of winter weather. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 600 to 700 pounds were reported at $127 to $171 and 700 to 800-pound steers brought $124 to $159.50. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 500 to 600 pounds sold at $120 to $162 and 600 to 700-pound heifers ranged from $118 to $146.25.
The USDA says hay sales in Missouri were steady with slow movement and light to moderate demand for a moderate supply. Large rounds of supreme quality alfalfa sold at $180 to $200 with premium at $160 to $180. Large rounds of good quality mixed grass hay ranged from $80 to $120 with fair to good at $60 to $80. Large rounds of good quality bromegrass brought $80 to $120 and large rounds of wheat hay were pegged at $40 to $55.
For Nebraska, hay and alfalfa pellet prices were steady with mostly light demand. The USDA says their contacts in the state said January’s demand and movement were the slowest for any month in recent memory and more hay has come up for offer over the last week in central areas. For eastern and central Nebraska, good large squares of alfalfa were reported at $176 to $200 with large rounds at $100 to $115, delivered at $120 to $125. Good large rounds of prairie hay sold at $90 to $105 and large rounds of corn stalks brought $53.50 to $55. 17% protein dehydrated alfalfa pellets were pegged at $320 to $330 with 15% protein sun-cured pellets at $290. For the Platte Valley, good large rounds of alfalfa ranged from $100 to $110 with ground and delivered alfalfa at $140 to $145 and ground and delivered alfalfa and corn stalk mix at $125 to $135. 17% protein dehydrated alfalfa pellets sold at $270 to $285 with 15% sun-cured pellets at $250 to $270. For western Nebraska, supreme large squares of alfalfa were reported at $200 with good large squares of $160 to $175 and good large rounds at $120 to $130, $170 for delivered. Ground and delivered hay brought $153 to $158 with 15% protein sun-cured alfalfa pellets at $255.
In South Dakota, alfalfa was steady to weak with moderate to good demand for all types and qualities, but with slower market activity. The USDA says demand was good for straw and corn stalks. Large squares of supreme quality alfalfa ranged from $250 to $300 with premium large squares at $300 delivered and good large squares at $200. 15% protein sun-cured alfalfa pellets sold at $220 with 17% at $225 and 17% protein alfalfa meal brought $230. Premium large squares of grass were pegged at $160 with good at $110 in western parts of the state, while large rounds of good quality grass were reported at $120 to $140. Premium alfalfa and grass mix brought $252.50 per ton with good quality large squares at $175 and large rounds at $140.
Lean hog futures were mostly higher on spread trade and follow-through buying linked to demand expectations. The deferred months were up sharply, but nowhere near the expanded trading limit after Thursday’s mostly $3 higher close. February was down $.60 at $57.10 and April was up $1.37 at $66.25.
Cash hogs were steady to modestly lower with light to moderate closing negotiated numbers. Market ready numbers are substantial and most buyers have leverage over business, but there’s a lot of pork available. China will lower its’ tariff on U.S. pork and Tyson reported strong first-quarter sales to China. However, the tariff is only moving from 60% to 55% and the 600% year to year increase reported by Tyson is only because of how little pork China bought a year ago. Greece has confirmed a case of African swine fever.
Pork closed $.54 lower at $64.81. Loins were weak, with picnics, ribs, and bellies sharply lower. Hams were firm and butts were sharply higher. The estimated hog slaughter of 492,000 head was up 8,000 on the week and 43,000 on the year.
National direct barrows and gilts closed $.18 lower at $44 to $51.52 with a weighted average of $50.01 and the Western Corn Belt was down $.55 at $48.65. Iowa/Southern Minnesota had no recent comparison with an average of $48.71. The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality. Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets were steady at $40. Illinois direct sows were steady at $13 to $22 on moderate to good demand for heavy offerings. Barrows and gilts were $1 lower at $28 to $36 with moderate demand and offerings. Boars ranged from $5 to $20.
The USDA says early-weaned pigs were $5 lower and there were too few feeder pigs for an adequate test. Demand was moderate for moderate offerings. On the formula basis, early-weaned pigs sold at $40.50 to $57.67 with an average of $48.88 and on the cash basis, early-weaned pigs ranged from $25 to $65.65 with an average of $45.99, for a weighted average of $47.36 on all early-weaned pigs. The cash basis on feeder pigs was $36 to $62 with an average of $52.67.