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Cattle futures mixed to end the week

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were mixed waiting for direct business to develop. April live cattle closed $.15 higher at $186.72 and June live cattle closed $.25 higher at $183.97.  March feeder cattle closed $.30 higher at $247.15 and April feeder cattle closed $.15 lower at $251.77. 

It took all week for direct cash cattle trade to develop, but it was worth the wait.  A light round of business developed late in the day Friday.  Live deals in the South were at $182, $4 higher than the previous week’s weighted averages.  There were also a handful of live deals reported in Iowa Thursday at $176 to $179. 

At the Mobridge Livestock Exchange in South Dakota, the USDA says there was good demand for the day’s large offerings.  The best demand was for cattle suitable for grass or backgrounding.  Most of the offering was home-raised, vaccinated, and long-time weaned.  Flesh varied from light to moderate plus, and quality ranged from plain to attractive.  The market was active.   Receipts were up from the recent week and on the year.  Feeder supply included 58% steers and 62% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 650 to 689 pounds brought $284.50 to $304.50 and feeder steers 760 to 788 pounds brought $248 to $252.50.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 566 to 595 pounds brought $266.50 to $286.75 and feeder heifers 603 to 641 pounds brought $251 to $270.

Hay movement was good in Missouri this past week.  According to the USDA hay usage in January saw an uptick.  Supplies are light to moderate, demand is moderate to good, and prices are mostly steady.  Alfalfa, supreme, medium squares brought $250 to $300.  Alfalfa, supreme, small squares brought $10 to $15.  Alfalfa, premium, medium squares brought $200 to $250.  Alfalfa, good, large rounds brought $150 to $200.  Alfalfa, good, small squares brought $5 to $10.  Alfalfa, fair, large rounds brought $125 to $150.  Mixed grass, good/premium, large rounds brought $150 to $225. Mixed grass, fair/good, large rounds brought $100 to $175.

Boxed beef closed mixed on light to moderate demand for moderate offerings.  Choice was $.97 lower at $294.04 and Select closed $.96 higher at $285.08.  The Choice/Select spread is $8.96. Estimated cattle slaughter was 117,000 head – down 4,000 on the week and down nearly 5,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 4,000 head – down 7,000 on the week and down nearly 10,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures were up on oversold signals, along with cash and wholesale support during the session. April lean hogs closed $.80 higher at $81.15 and May lean hogs closed $.40 higher at $86.22.

Cash hogs closed lower with a very light negotiated run.  The market has struggled to find consistent support and instead is following the path of least resistance.  Export sales were solid this week, with China upping its purchases, which is good for the global demand picture.  But there are still a few factors limiting any upside potential.  Higher hog weights, ample supplies of market-ready hogs, and sluggish domestic demand. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct were $1.27 lower with a base range of $60 to $68.50 and a weighted average of $63.79.  Prices at the Regional Direct Markets were not reported due to confidentiality.

According to the USDA’s National Direct Feeder Pig report, early–weaned pigs were $6 per head higher.  All feeder pigs were $10 per head higher.  Demand was good for moderate offerings.  The weighted average for early-weaned pigs were $50.05 and the weighted average for all feeder pigs was $67.47.    

At Illinois, slaughter sows are $4 higher with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $37 to $49.  Barrows and gilts were $3 higher with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $37 to $47.  Boars ranged from $15 to $25 and $8 to $15. 

Pork values closed modestly lower – down $.39 at $85.97.  Loins, picnics, bellies, and hams were all lower.  Butts and ribs were higher. Estimated hog slaughter was 484,000 head – down 3,000 on the week and up about 12,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 181,000 head – down 68,000 on the week and up about 96,000 on the year.

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