The weekly hog slaughter was down sharply from last year

The cash cattle market was winding down on Friday afternoon following light to moderate business in the in the North. Southern packers apparently were satisfied with limited shopping late on Thursday. Live trade in the North was firm to 2.00 higher at 148.00 to 152.00 and dressed sales steady to 3.00 higher at 240.00 compared to last week’s weighted average basis Nebraska. The weekly kill was estimated at 564,000 head, 16,000 greater than the previous week and, but 44,000 less than last year.

Boxed beef cutout values were weak to lower on very light demand and light offerings. Choice beef was down .86 at 240.44, and select was .37 lower at 236.50.

Live cattle contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange settled 25 to 162 points higher on Friday. Aggressive buying support developed in the front month futures. Support in the futures came from greater cash stability. April settled 1.62 higher at 145.25, and June was up .97 at 137.85.

Feeder cattle ended the session 62 to 137 higher fueled by the aggressive front month support of the live cattle futures, strong buyer support developed. The focus on higher cash cattle trade and softness in the corn market firmed feeder cattle buying activity late in the week. March settled .62 higher at 174.60, and April was up 1.30 at 177.62.

Feeder cattle receipts at Missouri auctions this week totaled 36,469 head. Compared to the light offering from last week, feeder steers and heifers sold steady to 5.00 higher with several mid to heavy weight calves around 10.00 higher. This week’s supply was moderate to heavy. Buyers are still willing to bid aggressively for those grass type feeders, quick to gain on approaching green grass, and carrying the highest quality. Feeder steers medium and large 1 averaging 677 pounds traded at 189.97 per hundredweight. 673 pound heifers brought 168.13.

Lean hogs settled 60 points higher to 100 points lower as traders squared positions following the aggressive market surge seen on Thursday. Although there seems to be uncertainty about just how much gas is left in the tank of the rocketing market, there is no indication pork or hog markets are going to loosen up anytime soon. April settled .37 higher at 119.30 and May was up .60 at 123.80.

There was slow hog market activity with light to moderate demand. Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed 3.65 higher with a weighted average of 117.08 on a carcass basis, the West was up 3.19 at 116.77, and the East was not reported. Barrows and gilts at the terminals were steady from 72.00 to 78.00 live. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was steady to 1l00 lower from 74.00 to 75.00.

The pork carcass value ended sharply higher with belly primals $8.52 higher. The pork primal value was up 3.28 at 124.75 FOB plant on a negotiated basis in the afternoon report.

Though promoters of lean hog premiums are clearly expecting losses to be as high as 7% to 10%, the sad truth is that no one knows the real impact of PEDv on a national basis. If the actual impact is closer to 3% to 4%, then futures prices may be way too generous according to DTN analysts.

The weekly hog slaughter was estimated by USDA at 2,024,000 head, 43,000 less than last week, and down 127,000 from last year.


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