Cattle market: Cattle futures advanced last week, while Choice cutout values set a new all-time high. At the close of markets Thursday, live cattle futures settled $6.20 higher than the previous week at $153.75/cwt., and feeder cattle futures climbed $8.25 to $215.125/cwt. Choice beef cutout values landed at $245.01/cwt., while Select slipped last Thursday to trade nearly even for the week at $237.56/cwt. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported inactive trading for all feeding regions last week, with the established marketing holding at $148-150. The concern is sustaining demand as beef prices remain elevated.
Hog prices: Profit-taking action appeared to be the main activity in the hog market last week. Traders are still uncertain about the impact of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus on supplies but will soon have an answer. A new record for lean hog futures of $130.425/cwt. was established last Tuesday but then slipped to $129.85 by the close of markets Thursday. Pork cutout values also were unsettled last week and finished at $131.81 by the end of the week. Western Corn Belt prices were more than $2/cwt. higher last Thursday compared to the previous week and traded at $125.46, while prices for the eastern Corn Belt were up more than $7/cwt. to $124.09. Interestingly, Feedstuffs' hog-to-corn ratio, a calculation of current lean hog prices relative to cash corn costs, surpassed 27 last week, which typically signals industry growth.
Seasonal growth: Poultry prices, in general, are partaking in their traditional seasonal increase. The Georgia dock for whole broilers settled at $1.1175/lb., in contrast to $1.06 last year. Turkey prices held steady at $1.04-1.10/lb. for both hens and toms. On the other hand, egg prices tumbled last week, dropping 7-13 cents, with large eggs at $1.06-1.10/doz. delivered to the Northeast, $1.06-1.09/doz. to the Southeast and 99 cents to $1.02/doz. to the Midwest.