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Cattle futures continue slide

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were lower, pressured by follow through selling and demand uncertainties. A number of contracts have recently moved below what had been support. The trade’s waiting for this week’s direct cash business and Fed Cattle Exchange results to see if those markets have seen their seasonal tops. June was down $.55 at $121.90 and August was $.55 lower at $118.25.

Feeder cattle were lower, also on follow through selling and demand uncertainties. May was $1.57 lower at $140.95 and August was down $1.57 at $147.70.

Direct cash cattle markets are quiet. DTN did report scattered asking prices on the live basis in the South at $138 to $140 and a few bids at $130 live and $208 dressed in Nebraska. Buyers and sellers will continue watching the CME futures trade ahead of this week’s business, which could wait until after Wednesday’s Fed Cattle Exchange results.

Boxed beef closed mixed on light to moderate demand and offerings. Choice was up $.48 at $249.88 and Select was down $1.11 at $224.39. The estimated cattle slaughter of 115,000 head was unchanged on the week and up 3,000 on the year.

Monday, at the Eastern Missouri Commission Company feeder auction in Bowling Green, Missouri, compared to the special two weeks ago, steer calves weighing less than 550 pounds were steady, while 550 to 800 pounders were $3 to $7 lower, except for the 700 to 750 pound category which was steady to $3 lower. Feeder heifers weighing 400 to 450 pounds were $3 to $4 higher, with 450 to 650 pound heifers steady to $3 higher, 650 to 700 pounds mostly $4 to $8 lower, and heifers over 700 pounds were not tested. Demand was moderate to good for a moderate supply The feeder supply was 68% steers and bulls and about 57% weighed less than 600 pounds. 500 to 590 pound steers ranged from $170 to $195 and 600 to 690 pounders brought $157.50 to $170.50. 515 to 596 pound heifers were reported at $144 to $161.50 and 600 to 700 pounders ranged from $135.50 to $153.50.

Lean hog futures were higher, supported by the recent cash and wholesale trends. Bullish technical momentum was also a factor. June was $1.47 higher at $78.72 and July was up $1.12 at $79.47.

Cash hogs were mixed at midday, but the major direct markets rallied to close steady to higher. Buyers are watching the generally tighter market ready numbers and solid wholesale business. Cash has been gaining faster than the wholesale market though, which is narrowing the processing margins. Market ready numbers have gotten tighter, but not by a big degree, with this week’s slaughter projected at more than 2.25 million head.

Iowa/Southern Minnesota barrows and gilts closed $1.05 higher at $66 to $73 with a weighted average of $71.98, the Western Cornbelt was up $1.18 at $66 to $73 for an average of $71.94, and national direct business was $1.36 higher at $66 to $73 with an average of $71.28. The Eastern Cornbelt had no recent comparison with a range of $68.76 to $73 and a weighted average of $70.09. Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets were steady to $1 higher at $45 to $50. Missouri direct butchers were $1 to $3 higher at $62 to $63 with supply and demand both called light to moderate. Sows were steady to $2 higher at $38 to $50. Illinois direct sows were $1 to $3 higher at $62 to $63 with supply and demand called light to moderate. Sows were steady to $2 higher at $38 to $50.

Pork closed $1.11 higher at $85.08. Loins and hams were weak, butts, picnics, ribs, and bellies were higher. The estimated hog slaughter of 439,000 head was 4,000 less than a week ago, but 7,000 more than a year ago.

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