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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, ignoring the mostly bearish cash and wholesale values.  Feeder cattle were higher on the same factors with additional support from the day’s lower move in corn.  February live cattle closed $.50 higher at $119.45 and April live cattle closed $.67 higher at $118.52.  March feeder cattle closed $1.27 at $136.32 and April feeder cattle closed $1.77 higher at $138.95. 

A light to moderate round of direct cash cattle trade developed in the North.  Dressed deals are at $190, $3 lower than last week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska.  Some live deals were also reported in Iowa at $118.  Aside from a little cleanup trade, business looks to be essentially be completed in the South for the week.  Asking prices for cattle left on showlists are around $121 live and $193 to $194 dressed. 

At the Hub City Livestock Auction in South Dakota, compared to last week steers 450 to 500 pounds were mostly steady, 550 to 800 pounds were steady to $3 lower with instances of $5 lower on 550 to 600 pounds.  Heifers 500 to 550 pounds were steady to $3 lower, 551 to 700 pounds were $4 to $5 lower.  Other weight classes were not well compared.  The USDA says demand was good for the large offering of packages and loads of mostly home-raised steers and heifers.  Quality and flesh were similar to last week as well, with most of the average to attractive quality calves in light to moderate plus flesh.  A moderate to active market for the day’s offering.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 653 to 697 pounds brought $150 to $159.75 and feeder steers 703 to 746 pounds brought $145 to $153.75.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 609 to 649 pounds brought $133.50 to $148.75 and feeder heifers 656 to 696 pounds brought $130.50 to $145. 

Boxed beef closed mixed – steady on Choice and lower on Select on light to moderate demand and offerings.  Choice closed $.14 higher at $206.45 and Select closed $1.51 lower at $203.79.    Estimated cattle slaughter is 121,000 head – even on the week and up 2,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day mostly higher on an oversold bounce and demand optimism.  February lean hogs closed $.32 higher at $56 and April lean hogs closed $.30 higher at $64.07. 

Cash hogs closed mixed with moderate to solid negotiated purchases.  The market is struggling to find direction.  The industry remains largely optimistic that demand for US pork will continue to increase significantly on the global market.  But with heavy supplies, concerns about China’s commitment to the Phase One Trade agreement and the impact of the coronavirus on the country’s demand, prices are struggling to move higher. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.28 higher with a base range of $42 to $51.64 for a weighted average of $48.68; The Iowa/Minnesota closed $.37 lower for a weighted average of $48.33; the Western Corn Belt closed $.25 lower for a weighted average of $48.32; the Eastern Corn Belt closed $1.14 higher for a weighted average of $49.22. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $38.  At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were firm with moderate demand for heavy offerings at $14 to $25 and barrow and gilt prices were $1 lower with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $27 to $35.  Boars range from $5 to $18. 

Pork values closed weak – down $.86 at $63.10.  Bellies closed $5.97 lower.  Hams and picnics were weak to lower.  Butts were steady.  Loins and ribs were higher.  Estimated hog slaughter is 490,000 head – down 3,000 on the week and up 19,000 on the year.  Wednesday hog slaughter has been revised to 492,000 head. 

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