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Cattle futures end the week higher

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day higher the direct markets, feeders found additional support in the day’s lower move in corn.  February live cattle closed $.45 higher at $155.87 and April lives closed $.32 higher at $159.57.  January feeders closed $1.37 higher at $182.45 and March feeders closed $.97 higher at $185.27. 

There was a light round of direct cash cattle that developed Friday afternoon.  Live deals in the North were at $157. For the week, Southern live deals were marked at mostly $155, fully steady with the previous week’s weighted averages.  Northern dressed deals were at mostly $249, $4 higher than the prior week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska. 

At the Ogallala Livestock Auction in Nebraska, the USDA says demand was strong for the nice selection that was offered.  Receipts were up from the most recent sale, but down on the year.  Feeder supply included 65% steers and 32% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 353 to 394 pounds brought $2170 to $291 and feeder steers 654 to 698 pounds brought $184 to $206.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 550 to 596 pounds brought $177.50 to $198 and feeder heifers 602 to 645 pounds brought $164.50 to $184.50. 

In South Dakota this past week, all classes of hay remain steady to firm.  The USDA says demand is very good for all types and qualities of hay.  Calves are arriving in feed yards in need of high-quality grass hay to get them started on feed, which is adding strength to the grass hay market.  High-quality dairy hay remains tough to find as widespread drought conditions diminished the overall tonnage of alfalfa.  With the dry fall weather, a lot of corn stalks were baled this year and those have been met with strong demand as cattle producers are using them to grind and blend into the feed rations to help stretch forage supplies.  Alfalfa, supreme, large rounds brought $260.  Alfalfa, premium, large squares brought $260.  Alfalfa/grass mix, premium, large rounds brought $230.  Grass, premium, large rounds brought $200.  Grass, good, large rounds brought $180.  Corn stalks, rounds brought $100 per ton delivered and $75 FOB.  Large squares brought $100. 

Boxed beef closed lower with light demand for light offerings.  Choice closed $3.64 lower at $249.93 and Select closed $.44 lower at $224.56.  The Choice/Select spread is $25.37. Estimated cattle slaughter was 123,000 head – up 2,000 on the week and up 3,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 28,000 head – down 59,000 on the week and down 41,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day mostly higher, supported by strong pork values and demand optimism.  February lean hogs closed $1.22 higher at $90.42 and April lean hogs closed $1.57 higher at $95.82. 

Cash hogs closed lower a light negotiated run.  Demand has been relatively strong on the global market and domestically despite slowing economies.  However, that remains an industry-wide concern.  Processors remain in a pattern of a few days of more aggressive procurement efforts at sharply higher prices sandwiched between multiple days much smaller negotiated runs at lower prices.  That could very likely continue through the end of the year. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $3.04 lower with a base range of $74 to $88 and a weighted average of $82.22; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $1.18 lower with a weighted average of $86.04; the Western Corn Belt closed $1.17 lower with a weighted average of $86.04. Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

According to the USDA’s Weekly Feeder Pig report, early-weaned pigs were $4 per head higher and feeder pigs were $3 per head higher.  Demand was good on moderate offerings.  The Total Composite Cash range for early-weaned pigs was $37 to $53 with a weighted average of $46.90.  The Total Composite Formula Range for early-weaned pigs was $40.62 to $65.49 and a weighted average of $65.63.  The weighted average for all early-weaned pigs was $49.92 and the weighted average for all feeder pigs was $65.63. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $60. 

At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $45 to $56.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $58 to $68.  Boars ranged from $30 to $35 and $9 to $19. 

Pork values closed higher – up $2.42 at $88.44.  Picnics and bellies were both sharply higher.  Butts were also higher.  Hams, loins, and ribs were lower to sharply lower. 

Estimated hog slaughter was 486,000 head – up 21,000 on the week and up 14,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 138,000 head – down 180,000 on the week and down 122,000 on the year. 

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