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The cash cattle trade was very light this week

The cash cattle business remained light on Friday afternoon with scattered sales reported at 125.00 to 126.00 live and 202.00 to 203.00 dressed. We could see light trade continue through the remainder of the afternoon, but it feels like the business is done for the week. Given limited trade volume totals we should assume that packers will start out next week short bought and facing somewhat larger showlists. The weekly cattle kill was estimated at 624,000 head, 105,000 above last week and 22,000 less than 2012.

Boxed beef cutouts were firm on choice and weak on select on light to moderate demand and offerings. Choice boxed beef was up .43 at 194.24 and select was down .47 at 183.49.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 30 to 95 points lower. Although traders looked at the higher corn prices affecting overall production costs, very little directional shift was seen in the live cattle futures market following the crop production report release. The lower prices in the cash market appeared to be the main focus of traders. February settled 95 points lower at 130.60, and April was down .52 at 134.55.

Feeder cattle settled 72 to 147 points lower due to the moderate to strong support in the corn market following the crop report. Pit trade remained quiet for most of the session. January was down .97 at 149.87, and March was .02 lower at 87.12.

Feeder cattle receipts at Missouri auctions totaled 57,606 head this week. There were not enough auctions or feeders the previous week for a good market test as many were still observing the holiday break. Looking back to the last full week of business, three weeks ago steers and heifers sold steady to 5.00 higher with some light weight calves a full 5.00 higher. Feeder steers, medium and large 1 weighing 500 to 600 lbs. averaged 170.31 per hundredweight, 7 to 8 weights 149.22. 500 to 600 lb. heifers brought 149.89 per hundredweight, and 7 to 8 weights traded at 139.52.

Lean hogs settled 25 points higher to 40 lower. Most traders remained on the sidelines as they awaited the movement in grain futures following the release of the USDA report. It seemed that the lack of limit moves in the grain complex following the report left the market disappointed. February settled .40 points lower at 84.20 and April was down .02 at 87.12.

There was slow market activity with light demand in the hogs on Friday. Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed 1.13 lower at 82.65 on a carcass basis, the West was down 1.39 at 82.30, and the East closed 2.05 lower at 79.69. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was steady on a light test from 74.00 to 76.00. Terminal hog prices were steady from 51.50 to 56.00 live.

Pork trading was moderate with mostly moderate demand and moderate to heavy offerings. Pork carcass cutout value was up .43 at 83.90.

Most packers have adequate numbers of hogs to start the week and prices on Monday are expected to be no better than steady. Supplies could begin to tighten as the numbers of hogs held over from the holidays are processed.

The weekly hog slaughter was estimated at 2,284,000 head, 215,000 more than last week and 66,000 greater than last year.

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