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Cattle futures lower to start the week

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were lower ahead of the week’s direct cattle business.  December live cattle closed $2.55 lower at $181.32 and February lives closed $3.25 lower at $181.97.  January feeders closed $3.32 lower at $236.42 and March feeders closed $3.25 lower at $239.10. 

It was a typical Monday for direct cash cattle trade activity.  Showlists this week are mixed, significantly higher in Kansas, higher in Texas, while lower in Nebraska/Colorado.  Bids and asking prices didn’t surface.  Significant trade volume will likely be delayed until midweek or later. 

At midsession, at the Oklahoma National Stockyards, feeder steers and heifers were mostly steady to $3 higher.  Steer and heifer calves were $3 to $9 higher.  The UDSA says demand was very good for all classes of cattle offered.  There’s been an uptick in precipitation, that combined with warmer temps have wheat pasture grazing cattle in very good demand.  Receipts were up on the week and down on the year.  Feeder supply included 60% steers and 54% of the offering was over 600 pounds.   Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 508 to 539 pounds brought $275 to $307 and feeder steers 703 to 746 pounds brought $235 to $256.50.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 568 to 596 pounds brought $231 to $252.50 and feeder heifers 605 to 646 pounds brought $229 to $245. 

Boxed beef closed lower on light demand for moderate offerings.  Choice was $.62 lower at $301.72 and Select was $1.65 lower at $270.36.  The Choice/Select spread is $31.36.   Estimated cattle slaughter was 122,000 head – down 3,000 on the week and even on the year.

Lean hog futures ended the day mostly higher, supported by sharply higher pork values during the session.  December lean hogs closed $.65 higher at $72.40 and February lean hogs closed $.47 higher at $75.95. 

Cash hogs ended the day higher with a moderate negotiated run. The cash hog market has struggled to find any consistent support.  Slaughter runs have been large, indicating there’s ample supplies of market-ready hogs available, putting packers in a position of advantage.  As a result, they haven’t had to be aggressive in their procurement efforts and haven’t been bidding up move desired numbers.  Demand for US pork has been relatively strong on the global market, but there are long-term concerns that do create added uncertainty in the markets. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $1.47 higher with a base range of $64 to $71 and a weighted average of $68.65.  No comparisons at the regional directs.  The Iowa/Minnesota had a weighted average of $67.45; the Western Corn Belt had a weighted average of $67.47; the Eastern Corn Belt had a weighted average of $69.69. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $55. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $2 higher with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $39 to $52.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $40 to $50.  Boars ranged from $18 to $21 and $5 to $10.

Pork values closed sharply higher – up $4.33 at $91.61. Bellies jumped nearly $15 for the day.  Picnics, butts, loins, and hams were all higher.  Ribs were lower. Estimated hog slaughter was 487,000 head – up 12,000 on the week and down 4,000 on the year.  Friday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 480,000 head.

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