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Cattle, hog futures finish Friday higher

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were higher on short covering in pretty low trade volume. There weren’t exactly a lot of friendly fundamental influences during the second half of the week. June was up $.52 at $123.45 and August was $1.40 higher at $121.05.

Feeder cattle futures were higher, supported by the same factors as the live pit. May was $1.07 higher at $143.35 and August was up $1.10 at $150.45.

Direct cash cattle markets were quiet Friday. Business in the south was wrapped up after Thursday’s light to moderate activity, mainly at $134 on the live basis, down $3.50 to $4 from previous week. Dressed activity in the north was relatively light, mostly at $213, down $8 on the week. Given the recent sharply lower trade, it’s looking more and more like prices have topped out for now. That probably also limited buying interest. DTN says the coming week’s showlist should be larger, but more because of seasonal increases than unsold cattle.

Boxed beef closed modestly lower on moderate demand and moderate offerings. Choice was down $.07 at $247.14 and Select was $.24 lower at $221.42. The estimated cattle slaughter was 110,000 head, down 4,000 on the week and 1,000 on the year.

At Lamoni, Iowa on Thursday, feeder cattle had no comparison as no sale had been reported for three weeks, but trade was active for very good demand. Receipts of 2,807 head were 61% feeder cattle weighing more than 600 pounds and 64% of the total offering were steers. 500 to 600 pound steers sold at $173 to $190 and a load of feeder steers averaging 732 pounds ranged from $161 to $168.75. 500 to 600 pound heifers were reported at $151.75 to $163.50 and a load of heifers averaging 718 pounds brought $147.25 to $150.50.

The USDA says hay baling in Missouri was in-line with the five year average. Supplies are moderate, movement and demand are both light, and prices are mostly steady. Supreme quality alfalfa sold at $180 to $225 with premium at $160 to $200 and good quality at $120 to $160. Good quality mixed grass hay brought $75 to $100 with fairy quality at $20 to $30 per large round bale.

For Nebraska, compared to the previous week, the USDA says alfalfa, grass hay, ground and delivered hay, and dehydrated alfalfa pellets were steady. Haying was limited in parts of the state by a storm system, but some new crop alfalfa was baled. Demand was light for baled hay with the USDA reporting many cattlemen have opted to allow their animals to graze. The Platte Valley’s standing hay price has been set at $45 per ton. In the Platte Valley, good round bales of alfalfa were reported at $60 to $70 with ground and delivered alfalfa at $90 to $100 and 15% protein sun-cured alfalfa pellets at $160. In Eastern and Central Nebraska, premium large squares of alfalfa came out at $130 to $140 with good large squares at $120 to $125 and good quality round bales at $65 to $70. Good large rounds of grass hay sold at $60 to $70. Premium small squares of grass hay brought $120.

Lean hog futures were higher on short covering and the firm midday pork. Cash business was steady to lower during the session and most contracts are at a premium to the cash index. June was up $.35 at $79.50 and July was $.90 higher at $80.17.

Cash hogs were steady to modestly higher. It looks like market ready numbers have not shrunk as fast as expected, but the ability of the market to hold up as well as it has in the face of those ready numbers reflects just how solid domestic and export demand are right now. Saturday’s kill is expected to be just about 80,000 head with a weekly slaughter of about 2.24 million head.

Iowa/Southern Minnesota direct barrows and gilts closed $.22 higher at $66 to $72 for a weighted average of $71.35, the Western Cornbelt was up $.14 at $66 to $72 with an average of $71.21, and national direct business was $.23 higher at $66 to $72 for an average of $70.86. Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets were steady at $48 to $50. Missouri direct butcher trade was steady at $63 to $66 on light to moderate supply and demand. Sows were steady at $38 to $50. Illinois direct sows were steady at $40 to $52 on moderate demand for moderate offerings. Barrows and gilts were steady at $46 to $52 on good demand for moderate offerings.

The USDA says early weaned pigs were down $2 per head on the week, while all feeder pigs were $5 lower on light receipts. Demand was called moderate for moderate offerings. For early weaned pigs, the formula range for the total composite was $30.67 to $46 with a weighted average of $36.70, with a total composite cash range of $20 to $35 and a weighted average of $29.123. That’s an average of $33.10on 84,990 head. The total composite cash range for 40 pound feeder pigs was $45.50 to $56 with a weighted average of $51.71, with receipts of 6,735 head.

Pork closed $.26 higher at $87.26. Butts, picnics, and ribs were higher, loins, hams, and bellies were lower. The estimated hog slaughter was 419,000 head, up 1,000 on the week and 38,000 on the year.

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