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Cattle futures slide ahead of widespread direct trade

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle were lower, waiting for the week’s direct trade to get underway. Feeders led the way down on the higher move in corn. October live was down $1.00 at $183.15 and December was $.60 lower at $187.85. October feeders were $2.20 lower at $259.05 and November was down $1.32 at $261.57.

Direct cash cattle business was extremely light. The USDA says there were a few sales in the north at mostly $184 live and $286 to $290 dressed, but not enough to establish a trend. The south has been inactive. Aside from a few asking prices at $183 on the live basis, things are poorly defined with widespread activity not expected until Thursday or Friday. Show lists generally look smaller in most of the major feeding areas.

At the Winter Livestock Auction feeder cattle sale in Kansas, compared to the previous test, 650-to-950-pound feeder steers were $6 to $7 higher, while 400-to-650-pound steer calves were as much as $20 higher. 500-to-800-pound feeder heifer were up $6 to $7. Some lighter fleshed steers and heifers were as much as $15 higher. The USDA says demand was good with receipts below last week and last year. 58% of the feeder offering were steers and 88% of all feeder cattle weighed more than 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 700 to 800 pounds ranged from $241 to $256.50, with thin fleshed steers in that category at $259.50 to $261. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 800 to 900 pounds brought $218.50 to $236.75 with thin fleshed heifers weighing 863 pounds at $229.

Boxed beef closed mixed with solid movement. Choice was down $.48 at $307.55 and Select beef was up $3.41 at $287.19 for a spread of $20.36. The estimated cattle slaughter of 126,000 head was unchanged on the week and down 3,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures were mostly modestly lower on spread trade and profit taking, with uncertainties about sustained pork demand. October was down $1.30 at $83.97 and December was $.55 lower at 476.35.

Cash hogs were mixed with a firm close and aggressive negotiated sales at the major direct markets. It looks like buyers had to raise bids to move the needed near-term numbers and were successful at not raising those bids all that aggressively due to uncertainties about sustained pork demand. The average barrow and gilt weight in the Iowa/southern Minnesota/South Dakota reporting area for the week ending September 9th was 279.0 pounds, up 3.3 on the week, but down 1 on the year.

National direct barrow and gilts closed $.53 higher with a base price range of $73.50 to $80 for a weighted average of $79.09, with Iowa/Southern Minnesota up $.51 at $79.37 and the Western Corn Belt $.46 higher at $79.29. The Eastern Corn Belt had no recent comparison with a weighted average of $76.64. The butcher hog market in Dorchester, Wisconsin was $2 lower at $58. Illinois direct sows were down $2 at $34 to $45 with moderate demand for heavy offerings. Barrows and gilts were $2 lower at $42 to $52 on moderate demand and offerings. Boars ranged from $10 to $25.

Pork closed $2.98 lower at $98.22. Picnics, hams, and bellies were down sharply, canceling out firm to sharply higher moves for loins, butts, and ribs. The estimated hog slaughter of 476,000 head was down 4,000 on the week and 11,000 on the year.

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