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Cattle mostly higher ahead of cash trade, USDA reports

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were mixed, mostly modestly higher on spread trade, the weak corn, and the higher midday boxed beef. The trade was also watching the distribution of this week’s direct cash showlist, while prepping for the USDA’s cattle inventory and on feed numbers out Friday. August was the exception, down $.85 at $116.95, and October was up $.05 at $118.62.

Feeder cattle were modestly higher on the weak corn and higher midday boxed beef, along with position squaring ahead of Friday’s USDA numbers and the week’s direct cash business. August was $.15 higher at $154.42 and September was up $.30 at $154.37.

Direct cash cattle markets were quiet and the big feature was the distribution of this week’s new showlist. Initially, the showlist looks pretty much steady with last week, a little bigger in the South, maybe smaller in Nebraska. Formula sales and total trade volume were larger last week, with the biggest increases in Texas, and prices on the live and dressed basis were both up about $2 from the previous week. Asking prices this week are expected to be around $122+ on the live basis in the South and $192+ dressed in the North. Widespread business isn’t expected get underway until at least Wednesday, maybe waiting until after Friday’s USDA numbers.

Boxed beef closed mixed on moderate demand for moderate to heavy offerings. Choice was down $.30 at $209.05 and Select was up $.39 at $195.81. The estimated cattle slaughter of 110,000 head was down 9,000 on the week and 1,000 on the year. Friday’s cattle slaughter was revised to 115,000 head, 3,000 less than the initial USDA report.

Monday, at the Joplin Regional Stockyards feeder cattle sale in Carthage, Missouri, compared to last week, steer calves were $2 to $5 higher and heifer calves were steady and yearlings were firm to $3 higher in a light test. The USDA says demand was moderate to good for a light supply. 48% of the of offering were heifers and 61% of the total run weighed more than 600 pounds. 600 to 700 pound feeder steers sold at $151 to $167, with calves at $142 to $166, and 700 to 800 pounders ranged from $143 to $153, with calves at $143.50 to $145.50. 600 to 700 pound feeder heifers brought $140 to $151.10, with calves at $133 to $147, and 700 to 800 pound heifers were reported at $137 to $140.

Lean hog futures were higher on the higher midday pork and contracts’ discount to the cash index. USDA’s monthly livestock slaughter numbers are out Thursday and the cold storage report is due Monday, July 24th. There was also spread activity out of the lightly traded July contract, which expired at $92.40, down $.20. August was up $.87 at $80.77 and August was $.87 higher at $68.05.

Cash hogs were mostly steady to lower. Buyers have started the week assessing the available numbers and wholesale demand, with an eye towards bearish seasonal factors. Market ready numbers are due to start expanding within the next couple of weeks to a month and the wholesale market could be near a seasonal top. Even if demand continues to be solid, those increased market ready numbers would put a lot more pork on the market.

Iowa/Southern Minnesota direct barrows and gilts closed $.41 lower at $81 to $87 for a weighted average of $86.42, the Western Cornbelt was down $.47 at $81 to $87 with an average of $86.34, and national direct business was $.57 lower at $81 to $87.50 for an average of $85.82. Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets were steady at $57 to $64. Missouri direct butchers were steady at $81 with light to moderate supply and demand. Sows were steady at $45 to $62. Illinois direct sows were firm at $60 to $68 on very good demand for moderate offerings. Barrows and gilts were $2 higher at $57 to $65 with good demand for moderate offerings. Boars ranged from $10 to $41.

Pork closed $.29 lower at $104.19. Hams were up modestly, while ribs and bellies were sharply higher, but loins, butts, and picnics were sharply lower. The estimated hog slaughter was 417,000 head, a decrease of 22,000 on the week, but an increase of 7,000 on the year. Friday’s hog slaughter was revised to 407,000 head, a decline of 7,000 from the USDA’s original guess.

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