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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 broader market support.  Cattle futures have been trying to gain back some of last week’s sharp losses.  Feeder cattle closed sharply higher on the same factors with additional support from the day’s weaker move in corn.  April live cattle closed $4.50 higher at $92.82 and June live cattle closed $1.87 higher at $86.67.  April feeder cattle closed $4.95 higher at $119.87 and May feeder cattle closed $5.57 higher at $119.37. 

There was another round of light trade across cattle country on Thursday.  Live deals in parts of Kansas, Texas, and Eastern Nebraska are at $105, fully steady with yesterday, but still $4 lower than last week’s weighted averages basis.  There was a light dressed trade in Iowa and Nebraska at $168, that’s $6 lower than last week’s weighted averages.  Asking prices are still holding in most areas at $112 plus live in the South and $180 plus dressed in the North.

At the Kingsville Livestock Auction in Missouri, compared to last week, steers and heifers sold steady to $5 lower.  The USDA says demand was moderate for a moderate to light supply of both yearlings and new crop calves.  Receipts are down on the week and a year ago.  Feeder supply included 48 percent steers and 37 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 519 to 543 pounds brought $154 to $161 and feeder steers 605 to 626 brought $150.10 to $154.50.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 509 to 540 pounds brought $135 to $147.50 and feeder heifers 610 to 625 pounds brought $127 to $135. 

Boxed beef closed sharply lower on light demand and light to moderate offerings.  Select and Choice chuck and loin cuts were lower.  Choice rib cuts were weak, while Select was firm.  Choice closed $5.54 lower $222.34 and Select closed $5.98 lower at $211.77.   Estimated cattle slaughter is 102,000 head – down 14,000 on the week and down 19,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day lower on profit-taking, long-term supply and demand concerns, and weakness in wholesale values.  April lean hogs closed $1 lower at $43.12 and May lean hogs closed $2.47 lower at $45.90. 

Cash hogs closed steady to weak with light negotiated purchase.  Domestic demand has tapered off at a time when supplies of market-ready hogs are more than ample.  The industry, however, is optimistic demand will come back once social distancing restrictions are lifted, but how long those will remain in place remains unknown.  The global demand picture continues to provide a glimmer of hope for the pork sector. Global protein supplies are short and as long as there isn’t a major disruption to US pork production, the US is still well-positioned to meet the world’s pork and protein needs.  Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.30 lower with a base range of $40 to $40.46 for a weighted average of $40.32; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.09 lower for a weighted average of $40; the Western Corn Belt closed $.15 lower for a weighted average of $40.  The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $33. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with good demand for heavy offerings at $20 to $37.  Barrow and gilts were weak with light demand for moderate offerings at $18 to $23.  Boars are $5 to $15. 

Pork values closed sharply lower – down $3.32 at $51.41.  Butts dropped more than $10 and ribs more than $9.  Loins, bellies, and picnics were also sharply lower.  Hams closed weak.  Estimated hog slaughter is 478,000 head – up 2,000 on the week and down 2,000 on the year. 

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