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Hog futures mixed to end the week

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were lower, waiting for the rest of the week’s direct business to develop. April live cattle were down $1.12 at $187.60, and June live cattle were down $1.17 at $183.42. April feeder cattle were down $2.20 at $254.10, and May feeder cattle were down $1.70 at $256.75.

There was another round of direct cash cattle trade that took place on Friday.  Live deals in the South were reported at $185, that’s $2 higher than the previous week’s weighted averages.  There was some light business reported in the North on Thursday with a wide range of $290 to $300 with the bulk of sales at $294, $4 higher than the previous week’s weighted average basis.

At the Herreid Livestock Market in South Dakota, the best test on steers was 750 to 849 pounds which were $2 to $5 higher.  The best test on heifers was 600 to 649 pounds and 700 to 799 pounds which were mostly steady.  The UDSA says demand was good to very good for the offering which sold on an active market.  There were quite a few loads and many packages on offer.  The majority of the cattle were home-raised.  Flesh varied but was mostly moderate to moderate plus.  Receipts were down on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 59% steers and 89% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 606 to 645 pounds brought $300 to $311 and feeder steers 759 to 781 pounds brought $260 to $266.75. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 605 to 633 pounds brought $265.50 to $275 and feeder heifers 755 to 792 pounds brought $239.75 to $248.

In South Dakota, the market for alfalfa hay was weak.  There was moderate demand at best for dairy quality alfalfa and light demand for alfalfa round bales.  The mild winter, even in South Dakota, has allowed beef cattle operators to feed less hay.  Temperatures remain above normal with no snow in the forecast.  Alfalfa, good/premium, large squares brought $250.  Alfalfa/grass mix, good/premium, large rounds brought $205.  Grass, premium, large rounds brought $180.  Grass, fair, large rounds brought $140.  Corn stalks, round bales, brought $60 to $80.  Oat straw, small squares, brought $6.

Boxed beef closed higher on solid demand for moderate offerings.  Choice was $.43 higher at $307.04 and Select closed $1.17 higher at $297.43.  The Choice/Select spread is $9.61. Estimated cattle slaughter was 97,000 head – down 3,000 on the week and down nearly 17,000 on the year. Saturday’s estimated kill is 2,000 head – down 2,000 on the week and down more than 14,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures closed mixed on spread trade, with sharply higher pork values and steady to lower cash business.  April lean hogs were $0.15 lower at $84.37 May lean hogs down $.12 at $91.35.

Cash hogs closed lower with a fairly light negotiated run. Processors likely had needed numbers on hand and didn’t need to do much business Friday.  Demand for US pork on the global market continues to be a bright spot.  The US is also benefitting from declining production in the EU.  Concerns do linger about long-term demand certainty.  The industry continues to watch the availability of market-ready hogs and hog weights. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.99 lower with a base range of $71 to $78 and a weighted average of $76.18; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $1.07 lower with a weighted average of $76.35; the Western Corn Belt closed $.92 lower with a weighted average of $76.25.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

According to the USDA’s Weekly Feeder Pig report, early-weaned pigs were steady and feeder pigs were $7 higher.  Demand was good for moderate offerings.  The weighted average for all early-weaned pigs was $56.19 and the weighted average for all feeder pigs was $92.74.

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $55. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $1 higher with moderate demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $46 to $58.  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 higher – up $.96 at $92.11.  Bellies and ribs were both sharply higher.  Butts and picnics were higher. Hams were about steady.  Loins were lower. Estimated hog slaughter was 442,000 head – down 42,000 on the week and down more than 41,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 105,000 head – down 1,000 on the week and down around 5,000 on the year.

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