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Cattle futures move sharply higher to end the week

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were sharply higher, supported by the week’s strength in boxed beef and spillover from feeders as traders got ready for what was expected to be a bullish set of cattle on feed numbers. February was $262 higher at $116.72 and April was up $2.57 at $122.52.

Feeder cattle were sharply higher on the strength in beef and the drop in corn, along with pre-report position squaring. January was $1.37 higher at $137.25 and March was up $5.00 at $144.15.

Direct cash cattle trade was slow on Friday.  Northern dressed deals ranged from $166 to $176 and mostly came in around $172 which was steady to a dollar lower than last week’s weighted averages. Southern live deals came in at $108 to $111, mostly steady with last week’s weighted averages.

Boxed beef closed higher with good demand for moderate offerings. Choice closed $1.62 higher at $222.82 and Select closed $3.06 higher at $213.34.  The Choice/Select spread is $9.48.  

Estimated cattle slaughter is 119,000 head – up 4,000 on the week and down 2,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 69,000 head – up 2,000 on the week and 36,000 on the year.

At the Mitchell Livestock Auction in South Dakota, a higher undertone was noted on steers up to 550 pounds, steers 550 to 700 pounds were steady to $3 higher, steers 700 and up were $1 to $4 higher.  There was an unevenly steady undertone noted on heifers up to 550 pounds and heifers 550 to 900 pounds were steady to $2 higher, heifers 900 to 950 pounds were $6 higher.  The USDA says demand was good.  Receipts were down on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 47 percent steers and 76 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 709 to 738 pounds brought $137.50 to $145.50 and feeder steers 756 to 799 pounds brought $130.50 to $136.75.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 607 to 643 pounds brought $134.25 to $139 and feeder heifers 710 to 749 pounds brought $125.50 to $133.50. 

Lean hog futures were higher on the cash and wholesale business during the session, along with the solid weekly export sales numbers and spillover from cattle. February was up $1.82 at $69.92 and April was $2.25 higher at $76.15.

Cash hogs closed higher with moderate negotiated purchases. Buyers and sellers continue to monitor the availability of market-ready hogs, which remains more than ample.  Processors are also pushing daily slaughter runs at or near-record levels. And while that’s keeping the supply chain moving, it also adds more pork to a heavily saturated market.  While there is some uncertainty surrounding demand, the industry remains optimistic strength will hold on both the global and domestic markets.  Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.56 higher for a weighted average of $55.46; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $1.69 lower for a weighted average of $54.37; the Western Corn Belt closed $.98 lower for a weighted average of $55.07.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality.  

Pork values closed higher – up $2.57 at $82.83.  Bellies, picnics and loins are sharply higher, butts, ribs and hams are higher.

Estimated hog slaughter is 490,000 head – up 112,000 on the week and even on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 327,000 head – up 42,000 on the week and down 2,000 on the year. 

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