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Cash hogs close mixed as wholesale market inconsistency continues

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle were sharply lower on fund liquidation and technical selling, waiting for widespread direct business to get established. December live was down $2.55 at $178.77 and February was $3.55 lower at $178.42. January feeders were $5.60 lower at $230.82 and March was down $5.85 at $233.25.

Cash cattle country was very quiet on Tuesday without even a token bid on the table. Asking prices have not been established and significant trade volume is expected to be delayed until the second half of the week. Last week’s trade volume totals were rather small, leaving some packers short bought, especially in the South.

At the Joplin Regional Stockyards in Missouri, feeder steers and heifers sold $3 to $9 higher compared to the most recent sale. USDA says supply was heavy with good demand. Total receipts were up sharply on the week and in-line with year-ago levels. Feeder supply included 58% steers and 55% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 717 to 748 pounds sold for $237 to $254. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 717 to 748 pounds brought $230 to $239.25.

Boxed beef closed lower on Tuesday. Choice was down $1.34 at $300.38 and Select was $.88 lower at $269.48. The Choice/Select spread was $30.90.

Estimated cattle slaughter was 125,000 head – even on the week and down 3,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures were steady to modestly higher on spread trade and short covering. Most contracts were able to eke out those modest gains despite a big midday drop in pork. December was up $.50 at $72.90 and February was $.07 higher at $76.02.

Cash hogs were mixed with solid closing negotiated numbers for the major direct markets. It looks like some buyers had to follow through on those higher bids from Monday to secure the needed near-term supplies, while some were able to remain content with their available ready numbers and limit spending. The wholesale market has been unable to build on what was a promising start to the week.

Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct were down $.58 with a base range of $63 to $71 and weighted average price of $68.07. The Iowa/Minnesota was up $.26 with a weighted average price of $67.71; the Western Corn Belt was unchanged with a weighted average price of $67.47; and the Eastern Corn Belt was down $.05 with a weighted average price of $69.64.

Butcher hogs at the Dorchester, Wisconsin markets are called steady at $55. Slaughter sows are steady at $36 to $42, and boars are $12 to $18. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices are trending $1 higher with moderate demand for heavy offerings at $40 to $53; barrows and gilts are steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $40 to $50; boars are $18 to $21 and $5 to $10.

Pork values were lower at the close – down $3.84 at $87.77. Ribs were higher. Bellies, hams, picnics, butts, and loins were all lower.

Estimated hog slaughter was 489,000 head – up 2,000 on the week and even on the year.

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