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Cattle futures higher heading into Friday

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day higher, supported by stronger boxed beef prices during the session.  October live cattle closed $.97 higher at $125.75 and December live cattle closed $1.30 higher at $130.30.  October feeder cattle closed $.77 higher at $158.42 and November feeder cattle closed $1.17 higher at $162.15. 

It was a relatively quiet day for direct cash cattle trade activity.  Bids surfaced at $124 live and $196 dressed.  Asking prices for cattle left on showlists were around $125 live in the South and $198 dressed in the North.  Deals this week have been at mostly $124 live, about steady with last week’s weighted averages.  Northern dressed deals were at mostly $196, also generally steady with last week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska. 

At the Huss Livestock Market in Nebraska, compared to last week, steers under 650 pounds were steady to $6 higher and heifers were steady to $4 higher.  The USDA says demand was good from the buyers in the crowd.  Receipts are down on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 57% steers and 37% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 566 pounds brought $183 and feeder steers 623 to 641 brought $167.50 to $170.85.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifer 505 to 525 pounds brought $155.50 to $160 and feeder heifers 550 to 593 pounds brought $151 to $158.50. 

Boxed beef closed higher on good demand for moderate offerings.  Choice closed $.30 higher at $280.32 and Select is $1.98 higher at $260.68.  The Choice/Select spread is $19.64.  Estimated cattle slaughter is 119,000 head – down 1,000 on the week and even on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day lower, pressured by the recent decline in cash prices and long-term demand uncertainty.  October lean hogs closed $.45 lower at $88.20 and December lean hogs closed $.82 lower at $77.32. 

Cash hogs closed firm with a solid negotiated run. Packers had to work a little harder on Thursday to move their desired numbers.  The industry continues to monitor the availability of market-ready barrows and gilts.  And while demand for US pork on the global market and domestically has been strong, there are long-term demand concerns and that is pressuring prices. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct are $.14 higher with a base range of $66 to $71 and a weighted average of $68.32; the Iowa/Minnesota closed with a weighted average of $69.42 and the Western Corn Belt had a weighted average of $69.53.  The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $60. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were mostly $1 to $2 lower with moderate demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $48 to $57.  Barrows and gilts were $1 lower with moderate demand for heavy offerings at $40 to $48.  Boars ranged from $20 to $25 and $9 to $15. 

Pork values closed higher – up $1.21 at $106.06.  Bellies and ribs were sharply higher.  Picnics were higher and hams were firm.  Loins and butts were lower and sharply lower. Estimated hog slaughter is 477,000 head – down 1,000 on the week and down 5,000 on the year.  Wednesday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 473,000 head. 

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