Thomas Elwood: Early livestock comments
Showlists are mixed this week but a little smaller overall despite a big drop in sales volume last week. Asking prices start the week at $98.00 live in the south, and $98.00 live/$157 dressed in the north. Packer inquiry is light and feedlots have not yet seen a bid. If the beef continues Monday's rally, feedlots may be able to force packers to pay at
least steady for cattle this week, if not $1.00 higher.
The choice cutout was up $1.12 at $152.93 last night, with the select up $0.86 at $144.89. Volume was quite a bit larger than last Monday. That and the up money on most primals indicate packers may have found a price level that will clear supplies. We hear of growing interest in holiday cuts that is providing a lot of support to middle meats. Forward sales volume spiked again last week, which also is indicative of holiday interest. Rounds sound as though they are in better shape as well, and may be putting in a bottom.
Cash hog market calls are mostly $0.50 lower this morning, with some bids as much as $1.00 lower. Numbers remain more than adequate for packers' kill schedules. Weights continue to rise, putting producers at a distinct disadvantage.
The pork cutout lost $0.14 last night. Heavy hams came under pressure as supplies increase with rising hog weights and bigger kills. Lighter hams were steady. Fresh pork continues firm. Loins are seeing good feature activity domestically and butts are enjoying some seasonal export demand. Bellies were unquoted Monday night, but appear to be finding a bottom.