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Cattle futures higher ahead of Friday’s reports

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were higher, supported by the sharply higher boxed beef prices during the session.  Markets are also preparing for Friday’s USDA and On Feed numbers.  December live cattle closed $.90 higher at $111.32 and February live cattle closed $1.55 higher at $113.57.  November feeder cattle closed $.10 higher at $137.37 and January feeder cattle closed $1.80 higher at $139.72. 

A very light direct cash cattle trade has been reported.  There have been a handful of deals in Texas at $110 live, fully steady with last week’s weighted averages.  It’s probably still too early to establish a trend for the week.  Asking prices in the South are at $112 live.  The rest of cattle country remains quiet.  It’s likely significant trade volume could be delayed until sometime Thursday or Friday. 

At the Tri-State Livestock Auction in Nebraska, compared to last week, steers were steady to $4 higher and heifers were steady to $8 higher.  The USDA says demand was good on all offerings.  Receipts were up on the week, but down on the year.  Feeder supply included 52 percent steers and 19 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 461 to 497 pounds brought $166 to $197.50 and feeder steers 556 to 592 pounds brought $149 to $159.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 450 to 486 pounds brought $148 to $165.50 and feeder heifers 507 to 542 pounds brought $139 to $152. 

Boxed beef closed higher to sharply higher on good demand for moderate offerings.  Choice closed $6.77 higher at $233.72 and Select is $1.61 higher at $213.96.  The Choice/Select spread is $19.76.

Estimated cattle slaughter is 121,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and the year. 

Lean hog futures were supported the recent higher trend in pork and optimism that global demand for US pork will remain strong. December lean hogs closed $.37 higher at $65.52 and February lean hogs closed $1.85 higher at $65.62. 

Cash hogs closed mixed with a solid negotiated run.  The industry continues to focus on supply and demand.  The availability of market-ready hogs is more than ample and daily slaughter totals continue to push higher.  While that’s keeping the supply chain moving and helping to alleviate some of the backlog of hogs in the production system, it also adds more pork to an already saturated market.  The industry remains optimistic demand for US pork will continue to see strength both globally and domestically.  Because without it, prices would tumble. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.24 lower with a base range of $52 to $60 with a weighted average of $58.66; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.40 higher with a weighted average of $58.88; the Western Corn Belt is $.87 higher with a weighted average of $58.67.  The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $40 and $44. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $2 to $3 higher with good demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $32 to $45.  Barrow and gilt prices were weak with good demand for moderate offerings at $39 to $42.  Boars ranged from $5 to $8. 

Pork values closed lower – down $2.55 at $78.60.  Bellies, picnics, and hams were sharply lower.  Ribs and butts were lower.  Loins closed steady. Estimated hog slaughter is 493,000 head – even on the week and down 5,000 on the year.  Monday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 477,000 head. 

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