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Cattle futures tumble amid broader market pressure

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day sharply lower, pressured by the weaker cash trade, weakness in wholesale values, and the overall negative tone of the broader markets amid ongoing coronavirus concerns.  Feeder cattle were sharply lower on the same factors as the live pit.  April live cattle closed $2.37 lower at $103.07 and June live cattle closed $2.27 lower at $97.25.  March feeder cattle closed $4.42 lower at $123.32 and April feeder cattle closed $4.42 lower at $123.52. 

A light to moderate trade developed across all feeding areas on Wednesday.  Live deals in the South are at $110, $3 lower than last week’s weighted averages.  Dressed deals are at $175 to $176, $5 to $6 lower than last week’s weighted average basis.  Sales in Colorado were at $110, $3 lower than last week.  We will likely just see some cleanup business over the balance of the week. 

At the Philip Livestock Auction in South Dakota, compared to two weeks feeder steers under 650 pounds were steady, 650 to 750 pounds were $2 to $3 lower and other classes were not well tested.  Feeder heifers under 750 pounds were steady and 750 to 800 pounds were $3 higher.  The USDA says demand was good for several loads of replacement heifers and packages of attractive feeder steers and feeder heifers.  All sold on a moderate market.  Receipts of 1,391 were down on the week and the year.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 502 to 533 pounds brought $169 to $171.50 and feeder steers 667 to 699 pounds brought $141.75 to $152.50.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 561 to 580 pounds brought $147.50 to $155 and feeder heifers 619 to 647 pounds brought $145.75 to $148.50. 

Boxed beef closed mixed – steady on Choice and lower on Select – on light to moderate demand and moderate offerings.  Choice closed $.08 lower at $207.17 and Select closed $2.22 lower at $196.49.   Estimated cattle slaughter is 123,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and up 13,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day mixed, mostly lower on spread adjustment.  The market remains optimistic about the demand picture, but remains trapped under broader market pressure as concerns about coronavirus linger. April lean hogs closed $1.12 lower at $63.87 and May lean hogs closed $.80 lower at $70.20. 

Cash hogs closed higher with strong negotiated numbers.  Packers bid up to move their desired numbers.  The market remains cautiously optimistic demand for US pork will see a big boost on the global market, despite growing supplies of ready-barrows and gilts.  Domestic demand has been strong and that’s also been a supportive factor to prices.  Hogs weights are up .4 of a pound on the week at 286.7 pounds.  That’s compared to 286.3 pounds last week and 284.7 pounds a year ago.  Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $1.34 higher with a base range of $47 to $56 for a weighted average of $53.96; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $1.33 higher for a weighted average of $54.49; the Western Corn Belt closed $1.29 higher for a weighted average of $54.45.  The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $36 and $40.  At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with good demand for moderate offerings at $19 to $28.  Barrow and gilt prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $30 to $35.  Boars brought $10 to $20. 

Pork values closed higher – up $.86 at $68.82.  Bellies and butts were sharply higher.  Picnics and ribs were steady.  Loins and hams were weak to lower.  Estimated hog slaughter is 487,000 head – down 8,000 on the week and up 31,000 on the year. 

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