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Cattle futures higher on follow-through buying

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day higher on follow-through buying and stronger wholesale values during the session.  Feeder cattle were higher on the same factors with support from the day’s lower move in corn.  February live cattle closed $1.37 higher at $120.82 and April live cattle closed $1.80 higher at $120.32.  March feeder cattle closed $2.20 higher at $138.25 and April feeder cattle closed $2.42 higher at $141.37. 

A quiet end to the week for direct cash cattle trade.  Dressed deals in the North at $190, $3 lower than last week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska.  Wednesday’s business was mostly in the South with live deals at $118 to $119, $2 to $3 lower than the prior week’s weighted average basis. 

In Missouri this week, compared to last week steer and heifer calves were steady to $5 higher, with spots up to $10 higher on the attractive calves with good condition.  Yearlings were uneven, from $2 lower to $3 higher.  Feeder supplies are ample and demand for heavier weight feeders was light.  Receipts were up on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 56 percent steers and 50 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 550 to 599 pounds brought $140 to $181 and feeder steers 600 to 649 pounds brought $133 to $172.25.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 550 to 598 pounds brought $125 to $156 and feeder heifers 600 to 649 pounds brought $122 to $149.50.   

At the Nebraska Hay Market this past week, hay prices were unevenly steady, alfalfa pellets sold steady and ground and delivered hay was steady to week.  The USDA says demand was sporadic across the state and the best demand was for hay leaving the state in large square bales.  In Eastern/Central Nebraska, Good large square bales brought $176 to $200, good large rounds brought $100 to $115.  Premium small squares brough $170 to $180.  Alfalfa pellets 17 percent protein brought $320 to $33.  In the Platte Valley area, Alfalfa, Good large rounds brought $100 to $110.  Ground and delivered alfalfa brought $140.  Alfalfa pellets 17 percent protein brought $270 to $285.  In Western Nebraska, Supreme large squares brought $200.  Alfalfa pellets 15 percent protein brought $255. 

Boxed beef closed higher on good demand and moderate offerings.  Choice closed $1.64 higher at $208.09 and Select closed $1.92 higher at $205.71. Estimated cattle slaughter is 111,000 head – down 4,000 on the week and down 3,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 27,000 head, down 3,000 on the week and even on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day mixed on spread adjustments.  February lean hogs closed $.10 lower at $55.90 and April lean hogs closed $.22 higher at $64.30. 

Cash hogs closed firm to higher with solid negotiated purchases.  The market hasn’t had enough support behind it to move one direction or another.  On one hand, demand optimism remains and that’s helping to keep prices supported.  On the other hand, supplies are heavy and demand is uncertain – especially as the full impact of the coronavirus remains unknown.  While more pork has been making its way onto the global market, it isn’t quite as much as the industry had been expecting. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.92 higher with a base range of $44 to $52.90 for a weighted average of $49.56; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.50 higher for a weighted average of $48.79; the Western Corn Belt closed $.38 higher for a weighted average of $48.64.  The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality. 

The USDA says early-weaned pigs were $5 per head lower, all feeder pigs were $4 per head lower compared to two weeks ago.  Demand was moderate for moderate offerings and receipts included 55 percent formulated prices.  Total composite formula range was $40.50 to $58.46 for an average of $47.45.  Total composite cash range was $20 to $50 for an average of $41.24.  The weighted average for all early-weaned pigs was $44.89 and the average for all feeder pigs was $61.14. 

Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $38.  At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate to good demand for light to moderate offerings at $14 to $25.  Barrow and gilt prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $27 to $35.  Boars range from $5 to $18. 

Pork values closed weak – down $.35 at $62.75.  Loins and ribs closed lower.  Bellies were weak.  Picnics, butts, and hams were firm to higher. Estimated hog slaughter is 481,000 head, down 11,000 on the week and up 19,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 148,000 head – down 70,000 on the week and the year. 

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