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Hog futures mixed ahead of quarterly inventory report

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle were mostly higher, and feeders were higher waiting for direct business to develop, bouncing just a little bit off of Tuesday’s sharp moves lower.  April lives closed $.50 higher at $183.60 and June lives closed $.30 higher at $178.67.  April feeders closed $1.42 higher at $246.87 and May feeders closed $1.02 higher at $248.27. 

There was a light round of direct cash cattle trade that took place on Wednesday.  Live deals in parts of Kansas were at $185.  Bids surfaced in other parts of the South at $184 to $185 live and in the North at $296 dressed.  Asking prices were firm around $188-plus live.  Significant trade volume could easily hold out until sometime Thursday or Friday. 

At the Ozarks Regional Stockyards in Missouri, steer and heifer calves under 700 pounds were $3 to $6 lower on a light test.  Feeder calves and yearlings over 700 pounds were not well tested, but undertones were lower.  The USDA says demand was moderate on a light supply.  Receipts were down on the week and the year following the much-needed rain.  Feeder supply included 51% steers and 43% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 600 to 630 pounds brought $291 to $302.50 and feeder steers 788 to 796 pounds brought $236 to $240.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 557 to 599 pounds brought $260 to $275 and feeder heifers 745 pounds brought $234. 

Boxed beef closed lower with light demand for solid offerings.  Choice was $2.51 lower at $308.58 and Select closed $1.83 lower at $298.43.  The Choice/Select spread is $10.15. Estimated cattle slaughter was 124,000 head – up 8,000 on the week and down a little more than 1,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures closed mixed ahead of Thursday’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report.  April lean hogs closed $.52 higher at $86.10 and May lean hogs closed $.65 higher at $92.40. 

Cash hog prices were lower with a moderate negotiated run. Demand for US pork on the global market and some rebound to domestic demand has been a bright spot.  Processors weren’t aggressive in their procurement efforts Wednesday and prices reflected that.  The industry is looking to tomorrow’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report –production efficiency has been an area to watch.  The industry also continues to monitor available supplies of market-ready hogs and hog weights, which were up slightly on the week and down slightly on the year. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $1.37 lower with a base range of $76 to $83 and a weighted average of $79.23; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.76 lower with a weighted average of $79.86; the Western Corn Belt closed $.38 lower with a weighted average of $79.21.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality.

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $60. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for heavy offerings at $50 to $62.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $43 to $53.  Boars ranged from $15 to $25 and $8 to $15. 

Pork values closed lower – down $1.27 at $94.06. Hams, picnics, butts, ribs, and loins were lower.  Bellies were higher. Estimated hog slaughter was 490,000 head – even on the week and up about 13,000 on the year.

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