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Cash hog interest slow ahead of Easter holiday

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were firm and feeders were weak, waiting for the week’s direct business. June live was up $.07 at $160.30 and August was $.20 higher at $159.97. May feeders were down $.17 at $202.10 and August was $.27 lower at $219.22.

Direct cash cattle business remained slow on Wednesday. A few bids came up in parts of the South, but were a couple dollars below current asking prices of around $170 in Kansas and Texas, but not fully established in Nebraska and Iowa, best guesses are that dressed prices will start out around $272-plus. Significant trade volume could be delayed until sometime on Thursday. Wednesday’s Fed Cattle Exchange had an offering of 892 head. None sold as reserve prices of $169 to $170 were not met.

At the Kingsville Livestock Auction in Missouri, demand was good to very good for yearlings and calves on a moderate supply. USDA says that compared to last week, steer calves sold mostly steady while heifer calves sold $5 to $10 higher, a nice offering of yearlings sold $2 to $6 higher. Slaughter cows and bulls sold steady to $2 higher. Feeder supply included 51% steers and 61% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 701 to 741 pounds brought $207 to $215 and feeder steers 753 to 774 pounds brought $206 to $207.75. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 503 to 547 pounds brought $218 to $230 and feeder heifers 655 to 698 pounds brought $189 and $202.35.

Boxed beef closed steady to higher. Choice was $.68 higher at $288.62 and Select was up $.21 at $278.16. The Choice/Select spread was $10.46.

Estimated cattle slaughter was 123,000 head – down 4,000 on the week and down 1,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures were mostly sharply lower on the unwinding of spreads, the steady to lower cash during the session, and pork demand questions. April was up $1.17 at $73.40 and June was down $1.20 at $88.37.

Cash hog business was steady to lower with moderate closing negotiated numbers for the major direct markets. Most buyers have been able to move the needed near-term numbers at lower prices this week including a solid negotiated run Tuesday, but a few might still have to bid up at some point this week to secure those supplies after the lighter movement Wednesday. Overall interest seems to be slow ahead of Easter weekend.

Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.80 lower with a base range of $66 to $74.50 and weighted average of $71.58; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.43 lower with a weighted average of $72.10; the Western Corn Belt closed $.93 lower with a weighted average of $71.74; and the Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality.

No price trends for butcher hogs with the Dorchester, Wisconsin and Garnavillo, Iowa cash markets closed this week.

At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $2 lower with good demand for heavy offerings at $36 to $48. Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $46 to $58. Boars were $15 to $25 and $8 to $15.

Pork values closed steady to lower at $76.56. Hams, rubs, picnics, and butts were higher. Bellies were sharply lower, and loins were lower.

Estimated hog slaughter was 477,000 head – even on the week and up 25,000 on the year.

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