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Cattle futures higher ahead of On Feed numbers

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day higher ahead of Friday’s On Feed numbers.  Sharply higher boxed beef prices were also supportive.  February live cattle closed $.75 higher and April live cattle closed $1.07 higher at $119.95.  January feeder cattle closed $.57 higher at $135.87 and March feeder cattle closed $1.62 higher at $139.15. 

A light to moderate direct cash cattle trade took place on Thursday.  Deals in Eastern Nebraska were at $173 dressed, which are all marked for delayed delivery, the week of February 1. Those deals are about steady with last week’s weighted averages basis.  Live deals were at $109, which is fully steady with the light deals on Wednesday.  The rest of cattle country was quiet.  Asking prices were at $112 live in the South and $176 to $178 dressed in the North. 

At the Huss Livestock Auction in Nebraska, compared to last week steers and heifers were steady to $3 higher with the exception of heifers 650 to 750 pounds which were steady to $2 lower.  The USDA says demand was good from the buyers in the crowd.  Receipts were up on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 61 percent steers and 82 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 652 to 698 pounds brought $141 to $147 and feeder steers 750 to 799 pounds brought $136 to $143.25.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 653 to 697 pounds brought $127 to $131.25 and feeder heifers 702 to 746 pounds brought $123.50 to $129. 

Boxed beef closed sharply higher on good demand for moderate offerings. Choice closed $2.29 higher at $221.20 and Select closed $3.00 higher at $210.28. 

Estimated cattle slaughter is 120,000 head – even on the week and down 2,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures closed mostly higher, supported by sharply higher wholesale values during the session.  February lean hogs closed $.32 lower at $68.10 and April lean hogs closed $.82 higher at $73.90. 

Cash hogs closed lower with a solid negotiated run.  The industry continues to monitor the supply and demand situation.  With the ample supplies of market-ready hogs, it has been very difficult for prices to push higher consistently.  Daily slaughter totals continue to run at near-record levels, and while that’s keeping supply chains moving and preventing a backlog of hogs in the production system, it’s also adding more pork to an already saturated market.  At the same time, the market does have long-term demand concerns.  Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.18 lower with a base range of $46 to $57 and a weighted average of $54.90; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.34 lower with a weighted average of $56.06; the Western Corn Belt closed $.26 lower with a weighted average of $56.05.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $40.  At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were firm with good demand for heavy offerings at $32 to $44.  Barrow and gilt prices were firm with good demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $30 to $38.  Boars ranged from $15 to $20 and $5 to $10. 

Pork values closed higher – up $1.24 at $80.26.  Bellies ended the day $13 higher.  Butts are sharply higher.  Ribs closed higher.  Hams were steady.  Loins and picnics closed sharply lower. Estimated hog slaughter is 498,000 head – up 14,000 on the week and up 7,000 on the year. 

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