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Cattle futures bounce back, hogs consolidate

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were higher, seeing an oversold bounce and light commercial demand. That was despite bearish midweek cash and wholesale fundamentals. During the session, the Fed Cattle Exchange weighted averages were down from last week, the reported direct business in the north was below a week ago, and boxed beef at midday was lower. June was up $.55 at $122.45 and August was $.57 higher at $118.82.

Feeder cattle futures were higher, following the lead of the live pit. May was up $1.02 at $141.97 and August was $.02 higher at $147.72.

Light direct cash cattle business is reported at $210 to $215 on the dressed basis in Nebraska and Iowa, with DTN citing a regional buyer. That’s down $6 to $11 from Nebraska’s weighted average last week. The big uncertainty this week was if last week’s activity was an indication prices have topped out for now. Asking prices are $138 to $142 in the south and $220 to $222 in the north, with bids at $130 live in Nebraska and $131 live in Texas.

Boxed beef closed lower on light to moderate demand and moderate offerings. Choice was down $1.71 at $248.17 and Select was $2.46 lower at $221.93. The estimated cattle slaughter was 114,000 head, down 1,000 from a week ago, but up 2,000 from a year ago.

At the Loup City Commission feeder auction in Nebraska Tuesday, compared to two weeks ago, steers weighing 600 to 750 pounds were $10 lower and steers over 800 pounds were mostly steady. 600 to 750 pound heifers were $4 lower. The USDA says activity was moderate with moderate demand. 55% of the feeder supply were steers and almost 74% of the total run weighed more than 600 pounds. 600 to 650 pound steers sold at $163.75 to $174.00 and 105 head with an average weight of 896 pounds brought $134.25. 101 feeder heifers with an average weight of 681 pounds were reported at $146.75.

The Fed Cattle Exchange had an offering of 2,379 head, 1,621 of which sold. Kansas ranged from $134 to $135.75, Nebraska trade ranged from $130 to $134.25, Texas was reported at $133.75 to $135.75, and a few sold in Oklahoma at $134. Sales for 1 to 9 day delivery were 814 head with a weighted average of $135.16, down $3.56 on the week, 1 to 17 day delivery sales were 570 head with an average of $134.28, $3.60 lower, and 17 to 30 delivery sales were 237 head with an average of $130.84, down $1.16.

Lean hog futures were mixed with cash business during the session steady to lower and pork at midday sharply higher. Also, several of the more active contracts failed to break what had been overhead resistance. June was up $.17 at $78.90 and July was down $.47 at $79.00.

Cash hogs were just about unchanged. Margins have narrowed this week, with wholesale business not gaining as fast as cash. DTN says those margins are expected to continue to tighten over the next couple of months. Saturday’s kill is expected to be around 80,000 head. The average Iowa/Southern Minnesota hog weight for the week ending May 13th was 282.0 pounds, down 1 pound on the week and 1.3 on the year. The head count of 758,000 head was 7,000 less than the previous week, but 356,000 larger than a year ago.

Iowa/Southern Minnesota direct barrows and gilts closed unchanged at $68 to $72.50 for a weighted average of $71.99, the Western Cornbelt was $.10 lower at $68 to $72.50 with an average of $71.31, and national direct business was $.05 higher at $66 to $72.50 for an average of $71.24. The butcher hog market was mostly steady at $45 to $50, along with trade at Red Oak, Iowa called higher at $50. Missouri direct butchers were steady at $62 to $63 on light to moderate supply and demand. Sows were steady at $38 to $50. Illinois direct sows were steady at $40 to $52 on moderate demand for heavy offerings. Barrows and gilts were firm at $46 to $52 on good demand for moderate offerings. Illinois direct boards ranged from $7 to $27.

Pork closed $2.18 higher at $87.26. Bellies were weak, all other primals were sharply higher. The estimated hog slaughter was 438,000 head, down 4,000 on the week, but up 8,000 on the year.

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