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Cattle futures higher on technical support

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle closed higher on technical support.  February live cattle closed $.95 higher at $138.05 and April live cattle closed $1.80 higher at $141.90.  March feeder cattle closed $.95 higher at $160.80 and April feeder cattle closed $.92 higher at $166.20. 

There was another round of light trade reported in the South on Wednesday at mostly $136, $1 lower than both Tuesday’s and the prior week’s business.  Previous deals this week have been at $137 live in the South, fully steady with last week’s business and $218 dressed, also fully steady with the previous week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska.  Look for a little more business to develop over the balance of the week.  Today’s Fed Cattle Exchange had an offering of 2,904 head, all of which went unsold as they did not meet the reserve price.    

At the Ozarks Regional Stockyards in Missouri, compared to last week steer calves were $3 to $6 lower and heifer calves were steady to $4 lower.  Lightly tested yearling steers and heifers were steady to firm.  The USDA says demand was moderate on a moderate supply.  Receipts were up on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 50% steers and 43% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 607 to 632 pounds brought $160 to $171 and feeder steers 807 to 828 pounds brought $151 to $161.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 460 to 494 pounds brought $150 to $160 and feeder heifers 601 to 645 pounds brought $140 to $152. 

Boxed beef closed sharply lower on light demand for solid offerings.  Choice closed $2.92 lower at $289.46 and Select closed $3.60 lower at $279.72.  The Choice/Select spread is $9.74. Estimated cattle slaughter is 118,000 head – up 3,000 on the week and down 2,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures closed mixed, adjusting spreads. February lean hogs closed $.57 higher at $88.02 and April lean hogs closed $.80 lower at $96.45.

Cash hogs closed sharply lower with fairly light negotiated purchases.  Packers backed off their procurement efforts after the strong day on Tuesday.  The industry continues to monitor the availability of market-ready barrows and gilts. Demand for US pork has been strong on both the global market and domestically, which is expected to continue, at least for the time being.  However, there are some long-term concerns, which have added some volatility to prices.  Hog weights this week were up a tenth of a pound from last week and down a tenth of a pound from the previous year at 291.5 pounds. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed were down $3.84 with a base range of $61 to $82 and a weighted average of $68.29; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $2.72 lower with a weighted average of $74.93; the Western Corn Belt closed $2.02 lower with a weighted average of $75.37.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $47. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $1 higher with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $31 to $42.  Barrows and gilts were $1 to $2 higher with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $39 to $48.  Boars ranged from $15 to $20 and $10 to $15. 

Pork values closed higher – up $2.14 at $94.60.  Hams and picnics were sharply higher.  Butts were higher.  Bellies, loins, and ribs were lower to sharply lower. Estimated hog slaughter is 475,000 head – up 18,000 on the week and down 18,000 on the year.  Tuesday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 471,000 head. 

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