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Cattle futures mostly lower ahead of On Feed numbers

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day mostly lower ahead of Friday’s On Feed numbers from the USDA.  February live cattle closed $.22 lower at $138.32 and April live cattle closed $.17 lower at $143.17.  March feeders closed $.67 lower at $164.95 and April feeder cattle closed $.52 lower at $169.52.  

It was a relatively quiet Thursday for direct cash cattle trade activity following active days on Tuesday and Wednesday.   There was just a little scattered trade reported. Asking prices for cattle left on showlists are around $138 live in the South and $220 dressed in the North.  While the bulk of the week’s business has likely wrapped up, there could be some additional business trickle in before the end of the day Friday.  So far this week dressed deals in the North have been at mostly $218, fully steady with last week’s weighted averages.  Many of those are marked for delayed delivery.  Live deals in the South have been at mostly $137, $1 to $1.50 higher than last week’s weighted averages.  There was a special Fed Cattle Exchange this morning, with 3,398 head offered and 681 head sold at $137. 

At the Winter Livestock market in Kansas, compared to last week, yearling steers 600 pounds to 950 pounds were steady to $3 higher.  Steer calves 400 to 600 pounds were unevenly steady.  Yearling heifers 550 to 900 pounds were steady to $3 higher.  Heifer calves 400 to 550 pounds were unevenly steady.  The USDA says demand was good.  Receipts were down on the week and up on the year.  Feeder supply included 52% steers and 73% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 557 to 591 pounds brought $175 to $181.50 and feeder steers 651 to 692 pounds brought $165 to $170.75.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 612 to 641 pounds brought $153 to $158.50 and feeder heifers 750 to 797 pounds brought $146 to $153. 

Boxed beef closed higher with good demand for moderate offerings.   Choice closed $1.38 higher at $292.98 and Select closed $1.75 higher at $282.18.  The Choice/Select spread is $10.80. Estimated cattle slaughter is 116,000 head – up 2,000 on the week and down 6,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures were supported by technical buying, shrugging off sharp losses in cash and wholesale business at midday.  February lean hogs closed $2.62 higher at $84.92 and April lean hogs closed $2.65 higher at $94. 

Cash hogs closed lower with a moderate negotiated run.  Processors continue to monitor the availability of market-ready hogs.  Supplies have been ample, and processors are moving their desired numbers without having to be aggressive in their procurement efforts.  While demand for US pork has been strong on both the global market and domestically, there are some long-term concerns which have been adding pressure to prices.  Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct are $3.72 lower with a base range of $60 to $75 and a weighted average of $66.56; the Iowa/Minnesota had a weighted average of $68.90; the Western Corn Belt had a weighted average of $69.13.  Prices are the Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $47. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $28 to $40.  Barrows and gilts were $1 higher with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $41 to $47.  Boars ranged from $15 to $20 and $10 to $15. 

Pork values closed lower – down $3.23 at $92.24.  Hams and ribs were both sharply lower.  Picnics were lower.  Loins, butts, and bellies were all sharply higher. Estimated hog slaughter is 457,000 head – down 4,000 on the week and down 41,000 on the year. 

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