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Cattle, hog futures continue slide into the weekend

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day sharply lower on weakness in wholesale prices, broader market pressure, and follow-through selling.  Feeder cattle were lower on the same factors.  Feeder cattle will trade with expanded limits on Monday.  April lean hogs closed $4.50 lower at $100.95 and June live cattle closed $4.12 lower at $89.42.  April feeder cattle closed $4.50 lower at $120.60 and May feeder cattle closed $4.50 lower at $120.92. 

Direct cash cattle trade activity ended the week at a standstill.  Packer inquiry has been very limited.  Trade got off to an early start, at much higher price levels than the prior week’s weighted averages.  With the recent deterioration in the futures markets, the goal when trade resumes on Monday will be to keep cash prices supported at these levels.

In Missouri, compared to the previous week’s sales, feeder steers sold $15 to $20 higher and heifers sold $10 to $15 higher.  The supply of feeders was light again this week and no locations had sales with offerings that would be anything close to normal for this time of year.  However, demand for feeders was good and the load lots that were delivered had some pretty impressive numbers.  Sale barns are expecting much larger volumes of cattle in the coming weeks.  Receipts of 11,502 head were up on the week and down significantly on the year.  Feeder supply included 59 percent steers and 59 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 653 to 695 pounds brought $128 to $166 and feeder steers 753 to 799 pounds brought $121 to $158.35.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 400 to 447 pounds brought $125 to $153.50 and feeder heifers 551 to 596 pounds brought $116.50 to $137. 

In Nebraska, compared to last week alfalfa, grass hay, ground and delivered hay, and alfalfa pellets were all steady.  The USDA says demand is mostly light for instate usage with moderate to good demand for large squares going out of state. Demand is good for dehy and sun-cured alfalfa pellets.  In Eastern/Central Nebraska: Alfalfa fair large squares brought $100.  Prairie Hay: good large rounds brought $80 to $90; premium small squares brought $170 to $180.  Dehy alfalfa pellets 17 percent protein brought $320 to $440 and sun-cured pellets, 15 percent protein brought $300.  In the Platte Valley area: Alfalfa good large rounds brought $90.  Ground and delivered alfalfa brought $130 to $135.  Dehy alfalfa pellets 17 percent protein brought $270 to $285 and sun-cured alfalfa 15 percent protein brought $250 to $270.  In Western Nebraska: fair large squares brought $155. 

Boxed beef closed steady to weak on light to moderate demand and moderate to heavy offerings.  Select and Choice rib and chuck cuts are steady to firm.  Choice round cuts were steady, while select was lower.  Choice loin cuts were lower, while Select was firm.  Choice down $.73 lower at $252.84 and Select is $.21 higher at $242.38.    

Estimated cattle slaughter is 117,000 head – up 8,000 on the week and 10,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 75,000 head – up 5,000 on the week and 40,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day sharply lower on follow-through selling, weakness in the wholesale values, and broader market pressure.  April lean hogs closed $4.45 lower at $58.45 and May lean hogs closed $4.50 lower at $57.62. 

Cash hogs closed weak with strong negotiated numbers.  Packers continue to move big numbers as they’re trying to keep up with grocer demand.  There’s also been a concern as to a possible disruption to the supply chain should a plant be forced to shutter because of a Covid-19 outbreak.  An employee at a Smithfield facility in South Dakota has tested positive, and Smithfield is following the strict guidance of the CDC.  The industry continues to look for silver linings, one of those is the global demand picture as there are still holes that need to be filled in the global protein supply and the hope that US pork will see a demand boost to meet those needs. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.77 lower with a base range of $52 to $62.50 for a weighted average of $58.07; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.60 lower for a weighted average of $58.57; the Western Corn Belt closed $.63 lower for a weighted average of $58.46.  The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality. 

Early weaned pigs were steady to $1 per head higher this week and all feeder pigs were $4 per head lower.  The USDA says demand was moderate for moderate offerings and receipts included 39 percent formulated prices.  The Total composite formula range for early-weaned pigs was $26.21 to $48.02 for an average of $39.70, the cash range was $6 to $23 for an average of $16.09.  For feeder pigs, the total composite cash range was $39 to $49 for an average of $46.36.  The total composite weighted average for all early-weaned pigs was $25.73 and the average for all feeder pigs was $46.36. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are $1 higher at $43. 

Closing pork values were delayed due to technical issues as the USDA.  The numbers will be updated as soon as possible.

Estimated hog slaughter is 489,000 head – down 1,000 on the week and up 25,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 275,000 head – down 38,000 on the week and up 131,000 on the year.

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