At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange cattle futures closed sharply higher again today and ended the week with large gains. While cash trade has been slow, creeping prices are lending some support with additional support also from boxed beef’s firm trade at the midday and some technical momentum. October Live Cattle closed up $1.10 at $107.62 and December Live Cattle closed up $1.72 at $112.85. Corn may have closed firm on Friday, but traded steady to modestly lower, providing some additional support to feeder cattle. September Feeder Cattle closed up $2.32 at $147.87 and October Feeder Cattle ended the day up $2.27 at $148.42.
Direct cash cattle trade has been slow. Light to moderate business developed late in parts of the North with live and dressed prices near steady with last week. For Friday – sales in Nebraska were reported at $163 dressed; in Iowa $163 to $165; and in Texas sales were reported at $102 live.
Boxed beef cutout closed weak on light to moderate demand and heavy offerings. Choice ended the day down $.25 at $191.88 and Select closed down $.19 at $189.97.
At the Cattleman’s Livestock Auction in Texas, compared to two weeks ago steer and heifer calves over 600 pounds were $3.00 to $5.00 higher. There was a much stronger undertone noted on feeder steers and heifers over 600 pounds. The USDA says there was very good buyer interest in all weight classes of steers and heifers. Trade was active and demand was good. The feeder supply included 66 percent steers and nearly 65 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds. Feeder Steers, Medium and Large 1’s 400 to 450 $177.00 to $184.00 with package 415 lbs, value added at $192.00; Medium and Large 1’s 700 to 760 pounds were $151.75 to $155.00. Feeder Heifers, Medium and Large 1’s 400 to 450 pounds were $163.00 to $167.00; Medium and Large 1’s 700 to 800 pounds were $137.00 to $142.00.
At the Iowa Hay Market, hay prices trended mostly steady to higher in some instances on mixed round bales. Trade activity was moderate with buyers willing to pay the prices for higher quality hay. Due to the abnormally dry summer in Iowa, some producers have been holding on to hay in hopes of higher prices this winter. Supreme quality small alfalfa squares brought $265, premium small alfalfa squares brought $210 to $222. Premium alfalfa/grass small squares brought $230 to $235. Small squares in good condition brought $125 to $160; large squares in good condition brought $130 to $155; and good quality large rounds brought $130 to $145. In Missouri, farmers baled several acres of fall grass hay. The USDA calls supplies moderate with light demand and steady prices. Supreme quality alfalfa brought $170 to $220 and premium quality alfalfa $150 to $180. Good quality mixed grass hay brought $75 to $100 and small squares brought $3.00 to $4.50 per bale.
Estimated cattle slaughter is 117,000 – that’s 1,000 greater than last week and 3,000 head more than last year. Saturday’s kill is projected at 86,000. That’s 45,000 greater than last week and 14,000 more than a year ago.