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Cattle futures up waiting on direct business

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were up ahead of widespread direct business and Friday’s USDA cattle on feed report.  June live cattle closed $1.20 higher at $184.17 and August live cattle closed $1.25 higher at $181.67 and August feeder cattle closed $3.07 higher at $262.90 and September feeders closed $2.62 higher at $263.75. 

Direct cash cattle trade activity was relatively quiet again Wednesday. There were a few deals reported in Kansas at $187 live, but it wasn’t enough to establish an accurate price trend. Asking prices were around $188 to $190 live in the South, but the North was not been established.  Buyers and sellers could be headed to a standoff, especially with Friday’s Cattle On Feed report from the USDA.

At the Hub City Livestock Auction in South Dakota, the best test was on steers 900 to 949 pounds, which were $3 to $4 lower.  The best test on heifers was 900 to 949 pounds which were mostly steady.  The USDA says demand was good to very good for loads and strings, and moderate to good for packages, many of which were home-raised fall calves.  Flesh varied.  There were a lot of big cattle offered this week and quality was mostly average to attractive, similar to last week.  The market was active.  Receipts were down on the week but up on the year.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 856 to 898 pounds brought $243.50 to $255 and feeder steers 901 to 933 pounds brought $239 to $241.75.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 851 to 887 pounds brought $226.50 to $242.50 and feeder heifers 920 to 943 pounds brought $224 to $237.25. 

Boxed beef closed lower on light demand for solid offerings.  Choice was $.85 lower at $312.17 and Select closed $1.26 lower at $299.61.  The Choice/Select spread is $12.56. Estimated cattle slaughter was 122,000 head – down 2,000 on the week and about even on the year.

Lean hog futures ended the day lower, pressured by the steady to lower cash business and the lower midday move in pork.  June lean hogs closed $1.00 lower at $95.40 and July lean hogs closed $1.20 lower at $98.12. 

Cash hogs closed mixed with a fairly light negotiated run. Processors aren’t aggressive in their procurement efforts.  Demand has been strong for US pork on the global market and domestically. That continues to drive the market.  Hog weights were even on the week but are still nearly 4 pounds above year-ago levels.  Slaughter pace is running about 0.5% above last year and that uptick is also helping keep the market active.  The industry continues to monitor the availability of market-ready hogs. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.37 lower with a base range of $84 to $90 and a weighted average of $87.83; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.23 higher with a weighted average of $88.52; the Western Corn Belt closed $.18 higher with a weighted average of $88.34; and the Eastern Corn Belt had no comparison but a weighted average of $86.10.

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $50. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $35 to $47.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $51 to $61.  Boars ranged from $18 to $28 and $8 to $15. 

Pork values closed lower – down $.62 at $100.07.  Ribs were sharply lower, and butts, picnics, and hams were lower.  Bellies were about steady.  Loins were higher. Estimated hog slaughter was 484,000 head – up about 4,000 on the week and up about 14,000 on the year.

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