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Cattle, hog futures lower on profit-taking

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, cattle futures ended the day lower on profit-taking and the USDA’s projections for growth in beef production from the Ag Outlook Forum.  Feeder cattle were mostly lower on the same factors.  The USDA’s latest livestock slaughter report was bearish to prices.  February live cattle closed $1.20 lower at $120.10 and April live cattle closed $1.65 lower at $119.15.  March feeder cattle closed $.02 higher at $140.80 and April feeder cattle closed $.50 lower at $142.52. 

Another round of light direct cash cattle trade has been reported.  Live deals in parts of Nebraska are at $119 to $120, steady to $1 higher than last week’s weighted average basis.  Dressed deals are at $190, about steady with last week.  A light trade in Colorado is being reported at $120 live, fully steady with last week.  A handful of deals have also been reported in Iowa at $190.  Some asking prices remain firm at $122 live and $195 plus dressed. 

At the Huss Livestock Market in Nebraska, compared to last week steers over 600 pounds sold $2 to $8 higher, heifers under 600 pounds were $2 to $6 higher, 600 to 700 pounds were mostly steady and heifers over 700 pounds were $1 to $3 higher.  The USDA says demand was good from the buyers in the crowd.  Receipts were down on the week.  Feeder supply included 62 percent steers and 78 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 651 to 686 pounds brought $155.25 to $166 and feeder steers 707 to 748 pounds brought $149.50 to $160.75.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 551 to 599 pounds brought $152.50 to $161.60 and feeder heifers 651 to 681 pounds brought $134 to $145. 

Boxed beef closed steady to lower on light to moderate demand and heavy offerings.  Choice closed $1.07 lower at $204.50 and Select closed $.16 lower at $201.60.   Estimated cattle slaughter is 122,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and 7,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day lower on profit-taking, weaker cash prices, and the expectations for increased pork supplies in 2020.  The USDA had pork production hitting another record level.  April lean hogs closed $.70 lower at $66.87 and May lean hogs closed $.82 lower at $74.47. 

Cash hogs closed weak with moderate to negotiated purchases.  Supplies of ready barrows and gilts remain more than ample and slaughter runs are at record or near-record levels almost daily.  The demand picture is somewhat shaky.  Overall, optimism that demand for US pork will see a big boost on the global market remains.  But, there are some concerns as the impact of the coronavirus to China’s demand needs are unknown.  And reports that China’s sow herd has shown some increases, doesn’t help prices. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.54 lower with a base range of $45 to $52.50 for a weighted average of $49.81; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.35 lower for a weighted average of $49.66; the Western Corn Belt closed $.41 lower for a weighted average of $49.66. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are $2 lower at $34 and $32.  At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate to good demand for heavy offerings at $17 to $26.  Barrow and gilt prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $27 to $34.  Boars range from $5 to $20. 

Pork values closed firm – up $.43 at $64.44.  Hams closed higher.  Loins and butts closed firm.  Picnics were steady.  Bellies and ribs were weak to lower.  Estimated hog slaughter is 492,000 head – up 2,000 on the week and up 17,000 on the year. 

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