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Cattle futures higher ahead of widespread direct business

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were higher ahead of the week’s direct business.  There was additional support from stronger boxed beef during the session.  Feeders were also supported by the day’s lower move in corn. April live cattle closed $.50 higher at $165.47 and June lives closed $.47 higher at $161.35.  March feeders closed $.62 higher at $189.80 and April feeders closed $.85 higher at $195.07. 

Another quiet day for direct cash cattle business.  There was a very light trade reported in parts of Iowa at $165 live, $1 higher than last week’s weighted averages.  This isn’t enough business for an accurate price trend. There has been some thought buyers would get an early start to business this week because of the fairly light trade volume last week.

At the Callaway Livestock Center in Missouri, there was a light offering of very good quality steer and heifer calves.  Steer calves 400 to 550 pounds were $5 to $10 higher.  Steers 550 to 600 pounds were fully steady to firm with spots of $3 higher.  Steers 600 to 650 pounds and over 700 pounds sold with a higher undertone.  Feeder heifers 400 to 500 pounds sold on a very active market and were $10 to $18 higher with spots of $20 higher.  Heifers 500 to 550 pounds were $8 to $15 higher and heifers over 550 pounds sold with a firm to higher undertone.  The USDA says demand was very good on a moderate supply and the market was very active.  Receipts were down on the week and up slightly on the year.  Feeder supply included 64% steers and 51% of the offering was over 600 pounds.   Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 602 to 647 pounds brought $205 to $216 and feeder steers 853 to 867 pounds brought $179 to $183.75.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 463 to 486 pounds brought $217.50 to $235 and feeder heifers 505 to 546 pounds brought $226 to $231. 

Boxed beef closed higher and steady with light to moderate demand for light offerings.  Choice was $.61 higher at $288.95 and Select was unchanged at $279.25.  The Choice/Select spread is $9.70.  Estimated cattle slaughter was 126,000 head – down 1,000 on the week and the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day mixed, there are some lingering long-term demand uncertainties. April lean hogs closed $.45 higher at $85.17 and May lean hogs closed $.27 higher at $94.40. 

Cash hogs closed mixed with a large negotiated run.  Processors have started the week more aggressive in their procurement efforts, but have been able to move larger numbers without having to bid up significantly.  The increased activity is an indication that demand, both global and domestic, could be showing signs of improvement.  Much of that, however, depends on the global economy.  Should it slow down it could weaken demand and put pressure on prices.  The supply of market-ready hogs is ample, which gives packers a little more leverage.  Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.11 lower with a base range of $71 to $80 and a weighted average of $77.91; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.41 higher with a weighted average of $78.51; the Western Corn Belt closed $.53 higher weighted average of $78.57; the Eastern Corn Belt had no comparison but a weighted average of $77.22.

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $66. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $50 to $62.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $51 to $61.  Boars ranged from $15 to $25 and $8 to $15. 

Pork values closed lower – down $1.58 at $84.36. Bellies were sharply lower.  Ribs, butts, and picnics were also lower.  Hams and loins were higher. Estimated hog slaughter was 485,000 head – up 6,000 on the week and the year. 

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