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Cattle futures lower ahead of USDA’s On Feed numbers

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were lower waiting for Friday’s Cattle on Feed report from the USDA.  The report could be considered supportive for prices long-term.  October live cattle closed $.87 lower at $124.10 and December live cattle closed $1.22 lower at $128.32.  October feeder cattle closed $.82 lower at $155.42 and November feeder cattle closed $2.17 lower at $156.90. 

Direct cash cattle trade activity was quiet ahead of Friday’s Cattle On Feed report.  There was light to moderate business that took place throughout the week with the bulk of live deals in the South at $124 with Northern dressed deals marked at mostly $196, fully steady with the previous week’s weighted averages.   

At the Ogallala Livestock Auction in Nebraska, compared to last week steers were $4 to $9 lower and heifers were $2 to $9 lower.  The USDA says demand was moderate in most classes.  Receipts were up on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 64% steers and 43% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 550 to 559 pounds brought $160.50 to $180.50 and feeder steers 600 to 646 pounds brought $151 to $171.50.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 552 to 598 pounds brought $140 to $158 and feeder heifers 600 to 647 pounds brought $135.50 to $146. 

This week’s Hay Report out of South Dakota has all classes of hay steady.  The USDA says demand remains good for all types and qualities of hay as extreme drought has increased the need for supplemental feedings.  A fourth cutting of alfalfa was available for areas lucky enough to get late-summer rains.  Cattle producers in the west continue to sell off calves early, some are even liquidating cows as forage supplies remain very short in those areas.  Calves are arriving in feedyards, keeping the demand for high quality grass hay very high.  Alfalfa, premium/supreme large squares brought $250.  Alfalfa/grass mix, premium large squares brought $225.  Grass, fair large rounds brought $140. 

Boxed beef closed higher on good demand for light offerings.  Choice closed $1.16 higher at $281.82 and Select closed $.39 higher at $263.11.  The Choice/Select spread is $18.71. 

Estimated cattle slaughter is 112,000 head – up 5,000 on the week and up 8,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 67,000 head – up 8,000 on the week and up 5,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day mixed on spread adjustments waiting for Friday’s Cold Storage numbers.  Bellies in cold storage declined again due to the ongoing strong demand for bacon.  December lean hogs closed $.12 higher at $73.32 and February lean hogs closed $.05 lower at $76.62. 

Cash hogs closed firm with a moderate negotiated run.  Packers had to bid up a little Friday afternoon to move their desired numbers.  However, the supply of market-ready barrows and gilts has been more than ample, and processors have been moving big runs at lower prices recently.  Demand for US pork on the global market and domestically has been strong.  While that is expected to continue, there are some long-term demand concerns and that is putting some pressure on prices. 

Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.20 higher with a base range of $63 to $68.50 and a weighted average of $65.63; the Iowa/Minnesota had a weighted average of $67.71; the Western Corn Belt had a weighted average of $67.56.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

According to the USDA’s Feeder Pig Report, early-weaned pigs were steady to $2 per head higher and all feeder pigs were steady.  Demand was moderate for moderate offerings and receipts included 47% formulated prices.  The Total Composite cash range for early-weaned pigs was $35 to $60 with a weighted average of $51.95.  The Total Composite formula range for early-weaned pigs was $43.56 to $56.09. and a weighted average of $48.75.  The weighted average for all early-weaned pigs was $50.25 and the weighted average for all feeder pigs was $70.64. 

At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were firm with good demand for light offerings at $48 to $58.  Barrows and gilts were steady to $1 lower with good demand for moderate offerings at $40 to $47.  Boars ranged from $20 to $25 and $9 to $15. 

Pork values closed about steady – down $.01 at $98.27.  Bellies and picnics were both sharply lower.  Ribs, loins, hams, and butts were higher to sharply higher. 

Estimated hog slaughter is 476,000 head – up 6,000 on the week and down 11,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 229,000 head – down 22,000 on the week and down 13,000 on the year.  Thursday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 473,000 head. 

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