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Cattle futures higher at midweek

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were higher, supported by boxed beef prices and some weakness in corn.  August live cattle closed $.27 higher at $120.05 and October live cattle closed $.55 higher at $125.25.  August feeder cattle closed $1.25 higher at $156.77 and September feeder cattle closed $1.52 higher at $159.30. 

A light direct cash cattle trade took place on Wednesday.  Live deals in Kansas and Nebraska were at $119, those are about $1 lower than last week’s weighted averages.  The North was quiet.  Asking prices held at $120 plus live in the South and $200 plus dressed in the North. 

At the Hub City Livestock Auction in South Dakota, compared to last week the best test on steers was on 850 to 950 pounds, they were $2 to $4 higher.  The best test on heifers was 650 to 700 pounds and they were steady to $2 lower and 900 to 950-pound heifers were mostly $1 higher.  There was good to very good demand for the day’s offering which included several strings and many loads and packages.  There was similar flesh as last week, varying from light to moderate plus with cattle coming both off grass and out of yards.  Quality varied from plain to attractive, but overall, less attractive than last week.  Drought conditions persist.  Receipts were down on the week and up on the year.  Feeder supply included 54% heifers and 98% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 862 to 897 pounds brought $148.50 to $159.50 and feeder steers 911 to 936 pounds brought $149.50 to $157.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 657 to 693 pounds brought $149.50 to 156.50 and feeder heifers 925 to 949 pounds brought $129.50 to $142.20. 

Boxed beef closed firm on moderate demand for moderate offerings.  Choice is $.36 higher at $265.24 and Select is $.19 higher at $248.77.  The Choice/Select spread is $16.47. Estimated cattle slaughter 117,000 head – down 2,000 on the week and up 1,000 on the year.  Tuesday’s cattle slaughter has been revised to 117,000 head. 

Lean hog futures ended the day mostly higher, supported by higher pork values and long-term demand expectations.  August lean hogs closed $1.57 higher at $106.57 and October lean hogs closed $1.37 higher at $92.40. 

Cash hogs closed sharply lower with a moderate negotiated run.  Processors continue to monitor the availability of market-ready barrows and gilts.  Strong demand for US pork on the global market and domestically has been largely supportive to prices, the industry doesn’t anticipate that changing anytime soon.  However, should a disruption occur, it would like cause prices to plummet.  Hog weights are at 278.2, that’s down 0.1 of a pound from last week and down 4.2 pounds on the year. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $3.06 lower with a base range of $103 to $111 and a weighted average of $106.78; the Iowa/Minnesota had a weighted average of $109.60; the Western Corn Belt had a weighted average of $109.53; the Eastern Corn Belt had a weighted average of $105.97.

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $75 and lower in Red Oak, Iowa at $72. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $2 to $3 higher with good demand for heavy offerings at $59 to $72.  Barrow and gilt prices were steady with moderate to good demand for heavy offerings at $71 to $76.  Boars ranged from $45 to $50 and $10 to $12. 

Pork values closed higher – up $1.75 at $122.09.  Bellies and hams were both sharply higher.  Picnics were higher.  Butts, loins, and ribs were lower to sharply lower. Estimated hog slaughter 474,000 head – up 7,000 on the week and up 2,000 on the year.  Tuesday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 469,000 head. 

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