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Lean hog futures contracts close sharply lower

Cattle country was typically quiet on Monday after the distribution of the new showlists. The new offering appears to be mixed, somewhat larger in Texas but smaller in Kansas and Colorado, and about steady in Nebraska. A few of the showlists have been priced around 150.00 plus in the South and 240.00 plus in the North. The Kill was estimated at 116,000 head, 3,000 more than last week, but 7,000 less than a year ago.

Boxed beef cutout values were higher on moderate to fairly good demand and moderate offerings. Choice boxed beef was up 2.37 at 234.24, and select was 2.39 higher at 226.11.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 22 higher to 17 lower. Although contracts showed some gains at midday they closed narrowly mixed with only winter futures higher. Traders were unwilling to commit to additional support given the softness in outside markets and uncertainty to how boxed beef prices would respond to last week’s higher cash trade. The sharp losses in hog futures allowed some traders to move positions to nearby live cattle contract months. June settled .15 lower at 147.45, and August was down .17 at 146.45.

Feeder cattle contracts settled 55 to 130 points higher after trading mixed for much of the session. But markets closed higher on support following the follow-through pressure in the grain markets. Additional spillover support moved into the nearby contracts from the pressure in the lean hog complex. August feeders settled .55 higher at 208.70, and September was up .77 at 209.50.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Joplin Regional Stockyards on Monday totaled 6,000 head. Compared to last week, steer and heifer calves sold 3.00 to 6.00 higher, yearlings were not tested early but there was a higher undertone. Demand was good and the supply was moderate. Feeder steers medium and large 1 weighing 500 to 600 pounds brought 229.00 to 250.00 per hundredweight. 5 to 6 weight heifers’ traded from 207.50 to 227.50.

Lean hog futures settled 75 to 300 points lower. The pressure in the complex continues to focus on nearby lean hog prices being so far above historical, index values and uncertainty of just how much longer tight hog supplies will continue. DTN says it is still too early to determine if the bubble has yet popped, or if this is just the market letting off some steam before the next round of panic buying develops. July settled 2.75 lower at 124.25, and August was down the 3.00 limit at 128.27.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .95 higher at 117.45 weighted average on a carcass basis, the West was up 1.11 at 117.33, and the East was 1.25 higher at 114.22. Missouri direct base carcass meat price closed steady from 102.00 to 110.00. Barrows and gilts at Midwest markets were steady with an instance of 2.00 to 4.00 higher from 76.00 to 82.00.

The pork cutout value ended 1.66 higher at 123.34 FOB plant in the afternoon report.

Chain speed cutbacks by pork processors turned out to be more modest than originally advertised. When everything was said and done, hog slaughter last week totaled 1,915,000 head, head, down 0.6% from the previous week and down 1.8% when compared with last year. Market hog numbers are thinning, but possibly no more than the seasonal average.

The Monday hog kill was estimated by USDA at 379,000 head, 18,000 more than last week but 11,000 less than last year.

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