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Strong close for cattle futures

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures hit new eight month highs on solid beef demand and spillover from the outside markets. Traders were also encouraged by Wednesday’s solid cash business. December was up $.87 at $128.95 and February was $1.10 higher at $132.72.

Feeder cattle futures were up on spillover from the live pit but gains were limited by the firm corn. January was $.50 higher at $147.87 and March was up $.45 at $150.42.

Direct cash cattle business was wrapped up the week with packers taking a long post-holiday weekend. Wednesday, trade was light to moderate in most of the major feeding areas. Live trade in Texas was up $2 on the week at $128 on the live basis and Kansas was mostly $2 higher at $127 with a few up to $128. In Nebraska, live sales were $2 to $2.50 higher at $127 to $128.50 and dressed trade was $4 to $5 higher at $201. Live trade in Iowa was up $2.50 to $3 at $127.50 to $128 and dressed activity was $4 to $5 higher at $200.

DTN reports negotiated trade volume was better than expected with 41,422 head moving in Nebraska, 15,625 head traded in Kansas, and 3,325 head moving in Texas. USDA states negotiated sales for the week were 113,692 head, up sharply from a week ago but down from a year ago.

The estimated slaughter of 127,000 head was up 12,000 on the week and 1,000 on the year. Boxed beef was mixed on light to moderate demand and offerings. Choice was up $1.44 at $196.33 and Select was down $.20 at $174.17.

Lean hog futures were supported by spillover from hogs and good export demand. While USDA did report a record amount of pork in cold storage at the end of October, the number was lower than expected, indicating good export demand. December was up $.72 at $82.47 and February was $.25 higher at $87.37.

Coming back from the holiday, cash hog business was slow with light demand as an eastern plant and a few sow processors were closed for an extended weekend. The National Direct market was $.84 lower at $66 to $78 with the weighted average at $74.08, the Eastern Cornbelt was up $.92 at $66 to $77 for an average of $72.74, the Western Belt was down $.26 at $66.50 to $78 with the average at $76.18, and Iowa/Southern Minnesota was $.23 higher at $66.50 to $78 for an average of $76.75.

Butcher hogs at the terminal markets were steady in a very light test, with Peoria steady at $49 and Sioux Falls unchanged at $53.50. The Missouri Direct base carcass meat price was steady at $73 with limited bids and supply and demand both called light to moderate. Missouri Direct sows were steady on limited bids at $50 to $55.

The estimated slaughter Friday was 406,000 head, down 24,000 from a week ago and 10,000 below a year ago. The pork carcass cutout value was up $.22 at $81.92 in very slow trade with light demand and mostly light offerings.

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