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Cattle futures end the week lower

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day lower ahead of the Cold Storage and Cattle on Feed reports, which came out Friday.  Lower wholesale values and Thursday’s bearish Livestock Slaughter report also pressured prices.  Feeder cattle were lower on the same factors.  December live cattle closed $.65 lower at $118.67 and February live cattle closed $1.20 lower at $123.85.  January feeder cattle closed $3.32 lower at $138.27 and March feeder closed $3.20 lower at $139.60. 

Direct cash cattle trade activity ended the week quietly following the light to moderate business that had developed earlier in the week.  There were reports of some scattered trade across some of the cattle feeding areas, all deals were mostly steady with the week’s previous business. Heading into the end of the day, asking prices for cattle left on showlists were at $117 to $118 live in the South and $188 plus in the North. 

For the week in Missouri, steers and heifers were mostly steady to $3 lower.  However, weaned calves with good condition brought a premium to their unweaned, fleshy counterparts.  The market has seen an abundance of calves entering the market, putting pressure on prices.  Receipts of 44,980 were up on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 52 percent steers and 44 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 600 to 649 pounds brought $125 to $166 and feeder steers 750 to 798 pounds brought $121 to $157.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 500 to 549 pounds brought $129 to $149 and feeder heifers 650 to 698 pounds brought $118 to $150. 

At the South Dakota Hay market, compared to last week, alfalfa hay was steady, and all other kinds of hay were not well compared.  There was a very good demand for dairy quality hay in large squares, most notably from out of state dairies that were not able to put up high-quality dry hay this year.  There was only moderate demand for lower quality round bales – those are in heavy supply.  The market for high-quality large squares is very active.  Demand for straw is also good.  Alfalfa: Supreme large squares brought $300; Premium large squares brought $250; small squares brought $6 per bale.  Good to premium large squares brought $240.  Good large rounds brought $150, Fair large squares brought $200.  Sun-cured alfalfa pellets 15 percent protein brought $220 and 17 percent protein brought $225.  Alfalfa meal 17 percent protein brought $230.  Grass: Good to premium small squares brought $6 per bale; good large rounds brought $120.  Alfalfa/Grass Mix: Premium small squares brought $7 per bale and $252 per ton; large squares brought $225. 

At the Fort Atkinson Hay Market in Iowa, prices were up on the week and quality was comparable to the prior week’s auction.  First crop small squares brought $240 per ton and third crop small squares brought $205 to $240 per ton.  New seeding big squares brought $285 per ton.  First crop rounds brought $125 to $200, second crop rounds brought $130 to $235, and third crop rounds brought $100 to $235 per ton.  Boxed beef closed sharply lower on light demand and moderate offerings.  Choice closed $2.29 lower at $232.57 and Select closed $2.54 lower at $211.32.  The Choice/Select spread is $21.25.    

Estimated cattle slaughter is 114,000 head, down 3,000 on the week and down 1,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 81,000 head, up 8,000 on the week and down 10,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day mixed to mostly lower on long-term supply and demand concerns and weakness in the cash market.  It was a tough week for pork as it relates to USDA reports, Thursday’s Livestock Slaughter showed record pork production and Friday’s Cold Storage report had pork supplies up nearly 8 percent on the year.  Belly stocks were up 72 percent year-over-year. December lean hogs closed $.57 higher at $61.22 and February lean hogs closed $.20 higher at $67.65. 

Cash hogs ended the day weak with strong negotiated purchase numbers.  Cash prices are struggling to break out of their current pattern which is being driven primarily by heavy supplies.  The industry is still hoping to see demand for US pork on the global market increase substantially, but that has yet to be realized.  At the same time, pork supplies are at record levels and slaughter totals continue to hit record or near-record totals almost daily.  And increasing demand for pork is about the only way for prices to shift and move higher.  Barrows and gilts at the Iowa/Southern Minnesota closed $.62 lower for a weighted average of $41.80; the Western Corn Belt closed $.62 lower for a weighted average of $41.82; the Eastern Corn Belt had no comparison but a weighted average of $42.22; the National Daily Direct closed $.66 lower with a base range of $40 to $43.03 for a weighted average of $41.91. 

According to the USDA, early-weaned pigs were $1 per head lower and all feeder pigs were $3 per head lower.  Demand was light to moderate for moderate offerings and receipts included 48 percent formulated prices.  The total composite formula range for early-weaned pigs was $36.14 to $53.59 for a weighted average of $45.17.  The total composite cash range was $27 to $42 for an average of $32.51.  The total composite cash range for all feeder pigs was $34 to $53 for an average of $46.69.  The total composite weighted average for all early-weaned pigs was $39.12 and the average for all feeder pigs was $46.69. 

At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady at $25 to $26 with moderate demand for light offerings.  Barrow and gilt prices were steady at $25 to $30 with moderate demand for moderate offerings. 

Pork values closed higher – up $1.60 at $83.07.  Hams and loins closed sharply higher.  Picnics are higher.  Ribs are firm.  Butts and bellies closed weak to lower. 

Estimated hog slaughter is 488,000 head, up 3,000 on the week and up 30,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 306,000 head, down 48,000 on the week and the year. 

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