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Cattle futures mixed, lean hogs sharply lower on Wednesday

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were narrowly mixed ahead of the week’s direct business and Friday’s USDA Cattle on Feed report. Feeders were up on the lower move in corn. February live was down $.20 at $156.80 and April was up $.12 at $160.22. March feeders were $.42 higher at $181.72 and April was up $.42 at $186.30.

Direct cash cattle trade ended the day quiet with the balance of business expected to pick up over the rest of the week.  There have been a few bids so far, but are being passed.  Asking prices are around $158-plus in the South , and $250 to $254 in the North.

At the Kingsville Livestock Auction in Missouri, compared to last week, steers sold fully steady expect for specifically the 500-to-600-pound steers trading $5 higher. Heifer calves sold steady to $7 lower following last week’s higher market and some of the extreme top prices seen last week weren’t quite reached on a very heavy supply, yearling heifers traded steady to $2 lower.  The USDA says demand was good to very good and trade was active.  Receipts were up on the week and year.  54 percent of the feeder supply was steers and 51 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 Feeder steers 551 to 587 pounds brought $204 to $225. Feeder steers 652 to 695 pounds brought $184 to $193. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 573 to 584 pounds brought $158 to $166 and feeder heifers 650 to 693 pounds brought $170 to $176.25.

Boxed beef closed lower with Choice $2.58 sharply lower at $247.08 and Select $.67 lower at $253.86.  The Choice/Select spread is $20.22

Estimated cattle slaughter is 120,000 head, 7,000 below last week, but 4,000 more than a year ago.

Lean hog futures were sharply lower on profit taking, along with the cash and wholesale business during the session. February was down $1.12 at $77.32 and April was $1.92 lower at $86.20.

Cash hogs closed lower. The lackluster business in the cash hog market continues.  Prices have been lower and processors aren’t bidding up to move large numbers.  The industry continues to monitor the availability of market-ready hogs and the overall demand picture.  And while demand has held relatively strong on the global market and domestically, there are concerns any pressure to the global economy could impact it and ultimately push prices lower.  Hog weights this week are down on both the week and the year.

Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct are $.18 lower with a base range of $69 to $74 with a weighted average price of $71.21; Iowa/Southern Minnesota were $.24 lower with a weighted average price of $71.66; the Western Corn Belt closed $.30 lower with a weighted average price of $71.61; the Eastern Corn Belt did not report due to confidentiality reasons.

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $56. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $30 to $44.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $54 to $64.  Boars ranged from $15 to $20 and $10 to $13. 

Pork Values closed $.45 higher at $77.89.  Loins, ribs, hams and bellies were higher.  Butts were lower and picnics, sharply lower.

Estimated hog slaughter is 487,000 head, down 3,000 on the week and up 26,000 on the week.

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