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Cattle futures close week sharply higher

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle futures were sharply higher on technical buying and the higher midday move in beef. Feeder saw additional support from the modest losses in corn. April live cattle were up $3.10 at $188.45 and June was $2.77 higher at $184. March feeders were $3.97 higher at $252.97 and April was up $4.27 at $258.

Direct cash cattle trade had a few bids on the table Friday afternoon. Asking prices were around $184 plus in the South and $292 plus in the North. Southern live deals on the week were marked at mostly $183, steady with the week prior. Northern dressed sales were at mostly $290, down $2 week to week.

At the Ogallala Livestock Auction in Nebraska, most weights of feeder steers were selling $5 to $10 higher compared to the most recent sale two weeks ago. The majority of feeder heifers were $4 to $6 higher. USDA says demand was good on the overall offering. Feeder supply included 68% steers and 68% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 603 to 648 pounds brought $297.50 to $317.50. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 652 to 693 pounds sold for $245.50 to $262.

Boxed beef closed higher on Friday with Choice up $1.08 at $305.28 and Select up $1.56 at $295.74. The Choice/Select spread was $9.54.

Estimated cattle slaughter was 100,000 head – down 19,000 on the week and down more than 6,000 on the year.

At the Rock Valley Hay Auction in Iowa, receipts were below the previous week, but above a year ago. Large squares of premium alfalfa brought $205 per ton with large rounds of good at $175, large rounds of fair to good at $145 to $162.50, and large rounds of fair at $130 to $142.50. Large rounds of fair to good alfalfa and grass mixed sold at $135 to $147.50 with large rounds of good to premium grass at $180 to $185, large rounds of good quality at $157.50 to $175, and large rounds of fair to good at $140 to $152.50.

For the week in Missouri, prices for high quality hay were steady to firm, with mid to lower quality hay steady to weak. The USDA says the supply was light to moderate for moderate demand. The warmer weather has allowed producers to cut back on hay feeding, but there are concerns about abnormally to moderately dry conditions in most of the state. Asking prices on large rounds of good quality alfalfa were $150 to $200 per ton and $125 to $150 for large rounds of fair quality. The asking prices on large rounds of good to premium mixed grass were $150 to $225 and $100 to $175 for fair to good.

In Nebraska, hay sold with a lower undertone, while ground and delivered hay and alfalfa pellets were steady. The USDA says demand was very light and some previously purchased hay had even been reportedly returned to the producer. There were some reports of hay heading to the Texas panhandle to aid farmers and ranchers hit by wildfires. For central Nebraska, large rounds of good quality meadow and prairie grass sold at $140 per ton with large rounds of utility to fair at $100. In the eastern part of the state, small squares of premium alfalfa brought $100 per bale, with 17% protein sun cured pellets at $330 and small squares of good brome grass at $12 to $14. In the Platte Valley, large rounds of premium non-GMO/organic alfalfa sold at $170 per ton, asking prices for ground alfalfa at $190 and sun cured and dehydrated 17% pellets at $300. For western Nebraska, large squares of utility to fair alfalfa were reported at $130 per ton, with medium squares of utility alfalfa orchard mix at $115, large rounds of millet at $125 and large squares of oat hay at $90.

The USDA says alfalfa hay in South Dakota was steady to weak. Demand was moderate for dairy quality alfalfa, much better on large squares, but with lower demand for round bales due to mild weather. Large squares of good to premium alfalfa sold at $250 per ton with large rounds of good to premium alfalfa and grass mix at $205, large rounds of premium grass at $180 and large rounds of fair quality at $140. Rounds of corn stalks ranged from $60 to $80 with small squares of oat hay at $6.

Lean hogs were up solidly on the midday strength in pork. April was $1.45 higher at $88.07 and June was up $1.85 at $102.05.

Cash hogs were steady to lower with light to moderate closing numbers at the major direct markets. It looks like most buyers had the needed numbers in hand after the mostly higher trend and moderate negotiated movement earlier in the week and were able to save a little money at the end of the week. Export demand is solid and wholesale pork demand continues to hold up relatively well, surging Friday. There were wide swings in the individual pork primals throughout the week, especially bellies.

Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct were down $2.82 with a base range of $67.50 to $75 and a weighted average of $72.67. The Iowa/Minnesota was down $1.33 with a weighted average of $74.16. The Western Corn Belt was down $1.42 with a weighted average of $74.07. The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality.

Midwest butcher hog markets are closed. Illinois direct sows are steady at $42 to $54 on moderate demand for moderate to heavy offerings. Barrows and gilts are steady at $40 to $50 with moderate demand and offerings. Boars range from $8 to $25.

Pork values closed lower – down $.12 at $90.22.

Estimated hog slaughter was 484,000 head – up 2,000 on the week and up more than 18,000 on the year.

The USDA says early weaned feeder pigs were up $1 on the week, with feeder pigs $7 higher, on good demand for moderate offerings with receipts above the previous week and last year. For early weaned pigs, the cash composite range was $43 to $63 for a weighted average of $56.50, while the formula range was $47.25 to $68.47 for a weighted average of $57.48, leaving the average for all early weaned pigs at $56.85. For feeder pigs, the cash composite range was $72 to $100 for a weighted average of $85.45.

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