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Cattle futures mixed ahead of cash business

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day mixed on spread adjustment ahead of widespread direct cash business.  Feeder cattle were mostly higher on technical buying.  December live cattle closed $.30 lower at $119.87 and February live cattle closed $.17 lower at $124.57.  January feeder cattle closed $.12 higher at $141.65 and March feeders closed $.25 higher at $142.52. 

Direct cash cattle trade activity is still relatively quiet.  A few early asking prices have surfaced at $121 to $122 live with a few live bids at $118.  There were a handful of deals reported in Iowa and in Kansas around $118 live, but nothing near enough to establish a trend.  Wednesday’s Fed Cattle Exchange has an offering of 1,068 head.  Significant trade volume is likely to be delayed until the latter half of the week.

At the Callaway Livestock Center in Missouri, compared to last week, steer calves 400 to 600 pounds were fully steady to firm with instances of $3 higher, 600 to 700-pound steers sold $2 to $4 higher and yearling steers over 700 pounds sold with a firm undertone.  Feeder heifers 400 to 600 pounds were $2 to $5 higher and yearlings over 600 pounds were steady to firm.  The USDA says demand was moderate to good for the large offering of calves and yearlings.  The auction included plenty of packages, groups, and strings of good quality calves and yearlings.  Receipts of 3,040 head were up on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 56 percent steers and 47 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 658 to 698 pounds brought $146 to $152.75.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 671 to 678 pounds brought $132.50 to $141.50. 

Boxed beef closed lower to sharply lower on light to moderate demand and heavy offerings.  Choice closed $2.15 lower at $221.49 and Select closed $1.14 lower at $205.35.  The Choice/Select spread closed at 16.14.   Estimated cattle slaughter is 122,000 head – up 2,000 on the week and up 1,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures ended the day higher with support from sharply higher wholesale values during the session and the recently stronger cash trade.  Contracts were also oversold and due for a bounce.  December lean hogs closed $.47 higher at $60.47 and February lean hogs closed $1.27 higher at $67.97. 

Cash hogs closed firm to higher with solid negotiated purchases.  The cash market has been pushing higher recently.  And it’s largely in part due to the aggressiveness of packers to meet their end-of-year needs.  But, positive news on the trade front with both China and the USMCA are also providing a boost.  It couldn’t come at a better time as supplies of ready barrows and gilts are ample and slaughter runs aren’t pulling back any – which is adding more pork to an already saturated market.  Barrows and gilts at the Iowa/Southern Minnesota closed $1.10 higher for a weighted average of $47.85; the Western Corn Belt closed $1.02 higher at $47.74; the Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality; and the National Daily Direct closed $.62 higher with a base range of $42 to $49 for a weighted average of $47.68. 

Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $36.  At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady at $21 to $31 with moderate demand for heavy offerings.  Receipts were down on the week, but up on the year.  Barrow and gilt prices were $1 higher at $27 to $34 with moderate demand for moderate offerings. 

Pork values closed higher – up $1.14 at $83.12.  Picnics, ribs, butts, and hams were all higher.  Loins were firm.  Bellies closed lower.   Estimated hog slaughter is 494,000 head – down 1,000 on the week and up 19,000 on the year. 

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