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Beef value jumps higher but pork slides

Cattle country was typically quiet on Tuesday with bids and asking prices poorly defined, a few showlists have been priced around 127.00 to 128.00 in the South and 205.00 plus in the North. Significant buying interest will probably be delayed until late in the week. The kill totaled 121,000 head, 2,000 below last week, and 5,000 less than last year.

Boxed beef cutout values were firm to higher on light to moderate demand and light offerings. Choice boxed beef was up 1.57 at 184.31, and select was .71 higher at 179.72.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 52 points higher to 15 lower. Even with the sharply higher boxed beef values at midday, cattle futures contracts were unable to gain additional traction according to DTN. The focus of the market continues to be based on the light commercial buying that developed in spot February, with only narrow gains in April. There are concerns about just how much demand growth can be expected in retail beef markets over the summer months given the current price levels. But the tight supplies are unlikely to allow for significant price reductions on the retail end of the market either. February settled .52 higher at 127.60, and April was up .02 at 132.30.

Feeder cattle settled unchanged to 37 points lower on incredibly light trade. There was very little activity in pit traded futures, but the electronic markets saw light to moderate support early in the session on the lower corn values, but the market failed to hold the gains into the close. March was down .35 at 148.52, and April was .37 lower at 152.02.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Oklahoma National Stockyards on Monday totaled 7500 head. Feeder steers and heifers were mostly steady with the exception of 800 lb. and heavier steers 1.00 to 3.00 lower. Steer and heifer calves were steady to 3.00 higher, with 4 weight heifer calves up to 10.00 higher. Demand was moderate to good for all classes. Feeder steers medium and large 1 averaging 824 lbs. brought 141.52. 769 lb. heifers averaged 137.10.

Lean hogs settled 60 to 87 points lower on weaker cash prices in the morning report, expected softness in pork values and a lack of support in the outside markets. The February contract was the only one to close higher. February settled .12 higher at 88.32, and April was down .65 at 87.70.

There was slow market activity with light demand in the direct hog trade on Tuesday. Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed 1.31 higher at 88.88 on a carcass basis, the West was up 1.57 at 88.71, and the East was 1.28 higher at 84.75. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was steady to 2.00 lower from 81.00 to 82.00. Terminal hogs closed steady with an instance of 2.00 lower from 57.00 to 60.00.

Pork trading was moderate, with mostly light demand and moderate to heavy offerings. Pork carcass cutout value was down 1.62 at 84.16.

Tuesday’s hog kill was estimated at 421,000 head, 6,000 greater than both last week and last year. The Saturday kill is predicted to be 55,000 to 65,000 head. Pork demand is slow and little improvement is expected until consumers light the grills for another season of outside cooking.

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