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Cattle futures higher ahead of direct business

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle were higher and feeders were mostly higher watching corn and getting ready for the week’s direct business. December live cattle closed $.90 higher at $134.42 and February live cattle closed $1.27 higher at $138.97. January feeder cattle closed $.77 higher at $161.70 and March feeder cattle closed $.72 higher at $164.10. 

It was a quiet Monday for direct cash cattle trade activity.  Early asking prices were at $136+ live in the South, while the North was quiet.  Bids have yet to surface.  If this week follows recent trends, look for business to be stronger and at higher prices.  Showlists are lighter in Nebraska/Colorado and steady to somewhat lighter in Texas and Kansas. 

At the Midsession, at the Oklahoma National Stockyards, compared to last week, feeder steers were steady to $2 higher.  Feeder heifers were steady to $4 higher.  Steer calves were $2 to $6 higher.  Heifer calves were $4 to $10 higher.  The USDA says demand was moderate to good for feeder cattle. Demand was very good for calves.  Quality was average to attractive.  Receipts were down on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 50% steers and 44% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 553 to 590 pounds brought $165 to $188 and feeder steers 600 to 644 pounds brought $144 to $172.50.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 501 to 549 pounds brought $137.50 to $164 and feeder heifers 605 to 648 pounds brought $140 to $158.25. 

Boxed beef closed mixed on light to moderate demand for moderate offerings.  Choice closed $.84 higher at $279.35 and Select closed $.10 lower at $263.73.  The Choice/Select spread is $15.42.  Estimated cattle slaughter is 122,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and 2,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures were supported by commercial buying and the higher midday pork.  December lean hogs closed $.90 higher at $74.65 and February lean hogs closed $.55 higher at $83.02. 

Cash hogs closed about steady with a solid negotiated run. Cash prices have been on a continuous slide, with all eyes watching to see when they start to rebound. Processors continue to monitor the availability of market-ready barrows and gilts and are still moving their desired numbers at much lower prices.  Demand for US pork on the global market has been strong, which is expected to continue.  However, there are some long-term concerns and has been adding pressure to prices. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.04 lower with a base range of $53 to $55 and a weighted average of $54.91; the Iowa/Minnesota had a weighted average of $54.87; the Western Corn Belt had a weighted average of $54.86.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

Pork values closed sharply lower – down $3.57 at $86.25.  Hams dropped more than $10.  Bellies and butts were both sharply lower.  Loins, ribs, and picnics were firm to higher. Estimated hog slaughter is 480,000 – even on the week and down 21,000 on the year.  Friday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 473,000. 

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