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Cash trade, demand expectations support hog futures

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle were mixed ahead of the week’s direct business, while feeders were sharply lower on the higher move in corn. December live was down $.30 at $151.27 and February was up $.50 at $153.05. January feeders were $2.42 lower at $177.02 and March was down $1.97 at $179.80.

Direct cash cattle markets were generally very quiet. Asking prices are $151 to $152 on the live basis in the south with a handful of bids at $238 dressed in the north and widespread business not expected to start until Wednesday or Thursday. A handful of sales were reported at $154 live, not nearly enough to establish a trend. There is the possibility of fully higher prices with some buyers likely to try to get ahead of next week’s slow down for Thanksgiving. This week’s show list looks mixed, larger in Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska, smaller in Texas. Last week’s trade was mostly at $150 live and $242 dressed, both basically steady with the previous week.

Boxed beef closed mixed with heavy movement. Choice was up $.38 at $258.36 and Select beef was down $1.45 at $231.76. The estimated cattle slaughter of 129,000 head was unchanged on the week and up 6,000 on the year.

At the Tri-State Livestock Auction feeder cattle sale in Nebraska, compared to the previous test, steers were $6 to $19 higher and heifers were up $1 to $2. The USDA says demand was good with receipts up slightly on the week and the year. 56% of the offering were steers and 67% of the total run weighed less than 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 480 to 550 pounds ranged from $194 to $232 and 550 to 650 pound steers brought $172 to $200. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 425 to 500 pounds sold at $181 to $191.50 and 530-to-585-pound heifers were reported at $174.50 to $181.50.

Lean hog futures were supported by the steady to higher cash during the session and pork demand expectations. December lean hogs were up $.45 at $85.32 and February was $1.10 higher at $90.07.

Cash hogs were steady to higher with solid negotiated movement at the major direct markets. On the direct market, most buyers raised bids to move the needed ready numbers, with an eye on holiday demand and slower business next week due to Thanksgiving. There has been some snow in parts of the Midwest this week, but probably not enough to really impact movement in most of the region.

National direct barrows and gilts closed $1.46 higher at $78 to $90 for a weighted average of $85.54, with Iowa/Southern Minnesota up $2.19 at $86.88 and the Western Corn Belt $1.94 higher at $86.63. The Eastern Corn Belt had no recent comparison with a weighted average of $83.75.

Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets were steady at $60. Illinois direct sows were steady at $59 to $71 on light to moderate demand for light to moderate offerings. Barrows and gilts were steady at $58 to $68 with moderate demand for moderate offerings. Boars ranged from $9 to $35.

Pork closed $.86 lower at $95.70. Loins, butts, ribs, and hams were weak to sharply lower, while picnics and bellies were higher. The estimated hog slaughter of 490,000 head was down 1,000 on the week, but up 7,000 on the year. Monday’s slaughter was revised to 485,000 head, 8,000 less than the initial projection.

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