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Broader markets drive cattle futures lower

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day lower pressured by the continued decline in wholesale values and the broader markets which were lower in anticipation of the President’s announcement on China.  Feeder cattle were lower on the same factors, but losses were limited by the modestly lower move in corn.  June live cattle closed $1.75 lower at $99.72 and August live cattle closed $1.57 lower at $99.60.  August feeder cattle closed $.15 lower at $135.35 and September feeder cattle closed $.50 lower at $135.75. 

A very light direct cash cattle trade has been reported to end the week.  Deals in parts of Nebraska were at $190 dressed and $120 live.  That’s steady with the top end of this week’s business.  There was a wide spread for deals with live trade ranging from $110 to $120 and dressed business at $174 to $190. 

In Missouri this past week, compared to the prior week feeder steers and heifers were steady to mostly $5 higher.  The supply of feeders was lighter this week as many early-week sales were closed in observance of Memorial Day.  The USDA says demand was good and bidding was active at bars all week.  Receipts were down on the week, but up on the year.  Feeder supply included 54 percent steers and 41 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 500 to 549 pounds brought $147 to $188 and feeder steers 550 to 598 pounds brought $143 to $174.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 500 to 549 pounds brought $128 to $156.50 and feeder heifers 550 to 599 pounds brought $122.50 to $147.

In Nebraska this week, compared to the previous week all reported forages sold steady.  The USDA says demand was light for alfalfa, grass hay and ground hay going to feedlots.  There was a good demand for small square bales.  Some producers are reporting a lot of damage to the first cutting of hay from weevils and aphids.  In Eastern/Central Nebraska: Alfalfa: fair to mostly good large rounds brought $85 to $95.  Prairie hay: good large rounds brought $70 to $90.  Large rounds of brome hay brought $100 per bale and small squares brought $5 to $6.50 per bale.  Dehy alfalfa pellets 17 percent brought $210 and sun-cured alfalfa pellets 15 percent brought $285.  In the Platte Valley area, Alfalfa: good large rounds brought $85 to 90.  Ground and delivered alfalfa brought $115 to $120.  Ground and delivered alfalfa/cornstalk mix brought $95 to $110. Dehy alfalfa pellets 17 percent protein brought $280 to $285.  In Western Nebraska, Alfalfa: good large squares brought $135 to $150 and good large rounds brought $115. 

Boxed beef closed sharply lower on light demand for moderate to heavy offerings.  Choice closed $6.22 lower at $365.57 and Select is $4.02 lower at $340.07.  The Choice/Select spread is $23.27.  Estimated cattle slaughter is 111,000 head – up 9,000 on the week, but down 13,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 83,000 head – that’s up 27,000 on the week and down 13,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day mostly higher, supported by higher wholesale values during the session and an improved weekly export sales report.  June lean hogs closed $.07 lower at $56.85 and July lean hogs closed $1.37 higher at $57.02. 

Cash hogs ended the day weak with moderate negotiated purchases. Pork processors are working to increase their daily slaughter capacity, but at the same time supplies of market-ready barrows and gilts are more than ample and there are still a lot of hogs backed up in the supply chain.  The industry remains hopeful demand for US pork will remain strong both domestically and on the global market. But, there are concerns the latest actions by President Trump could further strain the relationship with China and impact the Phase One trade deal with the country.  Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.42 lower with a base range of $29 to $38.50 for a weighted average of $36.92; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.63 lower for a weighted average of $37.11; the Western Corn Belt closed $.67 lower for a weighted average of $37.09.  The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality. 

In this week’s Feeder Pig Report early-weaned pigs were steady, and all feeder pigs were $1 per head lower.  The USDA says demand was light for moderate to heavy offerings and receipts included 36 percent formulated prices.  Total composite formula range for early-weaned pigs was $7.03 to $40.49 for an average of $27.92 and the cash range was $1 to $11 for an average of $7.05.  The total composite weighted average for all early-weaned pigs was $15.47 and the average for all feeder pigs was $17.47.   

Midwest cash markets are closed today.  At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $7 to $20.  Barrow and gilt prices were steady with moderate demand for heavy offerings at $16 to $20.  Boars ranged from $1 to $5. 

Pork values closed lower – down $1.26 at $88.20.  Butts dropped nearly $22 and hams nearly $18.  However, loins jumped nearly $19.  Picnics and ribs were also sharply higher.  Bellies closed firm.  Estimated hog slaughter is 414,000 head – up 34,000 on the week, but still down 59,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 302,000 head – up 125,000 on the week and up 52,000 on the year. 

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