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Cattle futures higher on cash optimism

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day higher, supported by cash optimism, higher boxed beef at midday, and lower corn prices.  December live cattle closed $1.70 higher at $131.65 and February live cattle closed $1.42 higher at $136.65.  November feeder cattle closed $1.60 higher at $159.17 and January feeder cattle closed $2.20 higher at $159.22. 

Direct cash cattle trade was in a standoff most of Wednesday as buyers and sellers refused to budge toward common ground.  There was a little scattered trade at mostly $128 live in the South and $202 dressed in the North. Bids in all major feeding areas were at $128 live and were at $202 to $203 dressed in the North. However, sellers passed on those offers with asking prices firm at $130 live and $205 dressed in the North.  There was a light trade that took place on Tuesday with deals marked at $128 to $130 live, $1 to $3 higher than last week’s weighted average basis.  Wednesday’s Fed Cattle Exchange had an offering of 1,752 head, of which 289 actually sold at $128.50 in Texas. 

At the Ozarks Regional Stockyards in Missouri, compared to last week steer and heifer calves were unevenly steady from $4 lower to $4 higher.  The USDA says demand was moderate on a moderate supply.  The quality of the offering was average at best.  Receipts were up on the week and the year.  Feeder supply was 47% steers and 33% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 550 to 595 pounds brought $161 to $177 and feeder steers 601 to 631 pounds brought $153 to $159.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 500 to 548 pounds brought $137.50 to $146 and feeder heifers 562 to 593 pounds brought $137 to $146. 

Boxed beef closed higher with solid demand for strong offerings.  Choice was $1.11 higher at $288.49 and Select closed $1.59 higher at $267.72.  The Choice/Select spread is $20.77. 

Estimated cattle slaughter is 122,000 head – even on the week and up 2,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures were supported by the sharply higher pork at midday and the higher cash business.  December lean hogs closed $1.70 higher at $75.95 and February lean hogs closed $1.40 higher at $78.55.

Cash hogs closed lower with a strong negotiated run.  While prices were higher to start the day, they fell off in the afternoon.  Processors continue to be able to move their desired numbers at lower prices.  They also are monitoring the availability of market-ready barrows and gilts.  Demand for US pork on the global market has been strong.  And while that is expected to continue, there are long-term concerns, which has been pressuring prices. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.30 lower with a base range was $59.50 to $61.75 with a weighted average of $60.68; the weighted average for the Iowa/Minnesota was $61.55; the weighted average for the Western Corn Belt was $61.44.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are $4 higher at $70.  At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $1 higher with good demand for heavy offerings at $54 to $65.  Barrows and gilts were steady with light demand for moderate offerings at $37 to $43.  Boars ranged form $15 to $25 and $10 to $20. 

Pork values closed sharply higher – up $6.23 at $100.44.  Hams jumped more than $23 dollars on Wednesday.  Ribs, bellies, and butts were higher to sharply higher.  Loins and picnics were lower.  Estimated hog slaughter is 480,000 head – even on the week and down 7,000 on the year. 

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