It looks like the cash cattle trade will once again wait until Friday, and may not significantly develop until after the release of the cattle on feed report at 2:00. Private sources report a few bids in Kansas at 121.00 live and Nebraska and Iowa at 192.00 dressed. Asking prices remain at 125.00 in the South, and 196.00 plus in the North. The Thursday slaughter was estimated at 121,000 head, 8,000 greater than last week, but 5,000 less than a year ago.
Boxed beef cutout values are weak on choice and firm on select on light to moderate demand and offerings. Choice boxed beef is down .28 at 183.01, and select is up .39 at 176.90.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 40 to 77 points higher. At one point in the session live cattle contracts saw aggressive support develop and the October contract moved above the 126.00 per hundredweight level but failed to hold those gains. There was growing focus on the ability to sustain and increase boxed beef values through the end of September which could help to firm previous concerns of slipping demand. October settled at 125.92 up .65, and December was .77 higher at 129.72.
Feeder cattle contracts ended the session 57 to 107 points higher. The building support in the live cattle futures sustained interest in feeder cattle futures with much of the emphasis placed on the deferred contract months. October settled 1.07 higher at 159.37 and November was up 1.02 at 160.02.
Feeder cattle receipts at the Hub City Livestock Auction at Aberdeen, South Dakota totaled 5384 head on Wednesday. Compared to last week, feeder steers and heifers were mostly steady. There was very good demand this week for the large offering of yearling steers and heifers, along with a few spring born calves. There were several large consignments of yearling cattle off grass in light to moderate flesh, as well as long strings of feedlot back-grounded yearlings in fleshy condition. 851 head of feeder steers with an average weight of 908 pounds brought 157.32 per hundredweight. 251 heifers weighing 919 averaged 147.74.
Lean hogs settled 45 points higher to 65 lower. Moderate losses held in the front month contracts. Trader interest for the most part was undeveloped despite the moderate to strong support seen in the cattle markets. The support in the market that developed on Wednesday seemed to spark another round of protection, at least in the nearby contracts. Traders focus was on pork values as well as getting a better longer term direction on cash hog prices through the end of the week. October settled .57 lower at 91.15 and December was down .65 at 87.30.
Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed 1.48 higher at 95.75 on a carcass basis, the west was up 1.64 at 95.70, and the East was 1.47 higher at 94.96. Missouri direct base carcass meat price closed steady from 89.00 to 90.00. Terminal hogs were .50 lower to 1.00 higher from 62.00 to 68.00 live.
Pork carcass valued was lower FOB plant at 99.30 down .22 on a negotiated basis.
Iowa barrow and gilts last week averaged 270.9 pounds, only 0.2 pounds heavier than the prior week and 2.9 pounds larger than 2012. Both seasonal and modest, the week-to-week increase hardly suggested that slower chain speed has backed-up finishing floors.
Thursday’s hog kill was estimated at 429,000 head, 2,000 less than last week and down 4,000 from last year