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Cattle, hog futures end the week on a positive note

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were higher, supported by higher boxed beef at midday and Friday’s stronger cash business.  December live cattle closed $2.90 higher at $192.22 and February live cattle closed $2.55 higher at $182.95 and January feeder cattle closed $.40 higher at $236.90 and January feeders closed $.62 higher at $235.70. 

Direct cash cattle trade activity finally picked up in the South on Friday.  For the week, live deals were reported at $183 to $185, $2 lower to fully steady with the previous week’s business.  Dressed deals in the North were marked at $288 to $292, mostly $290, $4 lower than the prior week’s weighted average basis. 

At the Ogallala Livestock Market in Nebraska, steers under 550 pounds were steady to $11 higher.  Steers over 550 pounds were steady to $10 lower.  Lightweight heifers were steady to $9 higher.  Heifers over 550 pounds were $6 lower.  The USDA says demand was moderate to good with selective buying taking place.  Receipts were up on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 55% steers and 9% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 453 to 497 pounds brought $310 to $328 and feeder steers 557 to 599 pounds brought $270.50 to $286.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 410 to 448 pounds brought $285 to $308 and feeder heifers 500 to 527 pounds brought $260 to $278. 

In South Dakota, alfalfa hay was steady.  The UDSA says demand for alfalfa was steady and demand for high-quality grass to start calves on feed with was good. Alfalfa, supreme, large squares brought $300.  Alfalfa, premium, large squares brought $275.  Alfalfa, good, large squares brought $250.  Alfalfa/grass mix, good/premium brought $200.  Grass, premium, large roudns brought $200. 

In Missouri, hay prices have been steady as demand was moderate.  Producers are trying to move some hay as feeding season approaches.  Alfalfa, supreme, medium squares brought $250 to 4300.  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/grass mix, good/premium small squares brought $5 to $10.  Mixed grass, good/premium large rounds brought $150 to $225.  Mixed grass, fair good large rounds brought $100 to $175 and small squares brought $5 to $8.  Mixed grass, fair, large rounds brought $50 to $100. 

Boxed beef closed higher on good demand for solid offerings.  Choice was $.72 higher at $307.57 and Select is $.43 higher at $280.12.  The Choice/Select spread is $27.45.  Estimated cattle slaughter was 118,000 head – even on the week and down 5,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 16,000 head – down 2,000 on the week and down 15,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day higher on continued short-covering and the stronger pork values during the session. December lean hogs closed $1.85 higher at $70.47 and February lean hogs closed $1.67 higher at $73.50.

Cash hogs closed lower with a light negotiated run. There were a few days of decent business so packers probably had needed numbers on hand by the time Friday rolled around.  With supplies of market-ready hogs readily available in the near-term, processors have the upper hand and aren’t in a position where they need to get aggressive in their procurement efforts. Demand for US pork has held relatively strong on the global market, but there are concerns it could wane and that definitely adds pressure to prices. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.63 lower with a base range of $66 to $72 and a weighted average of $70.07; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $1.14 lower with a weighted average of $70.62; the Western Corn Belt closed $.28 lower with a weighted average of $70.58.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

According to the USDA’s Weekly Feeder Pig report, early-weaned pigs and all feeder pigs were steady.  Demand was moderate of heavy offerings.  The Total Composite cash range for early-weaned pigs was $12 to $30 for a weighted average of $23.42.  The Total Composite Formula Range for early-weaned pigs was $27.06 to $50.17 for a weighted average of $38.45.  The weighted average for all early-weaned pigs was $29.28 and the weighted average for all feeder pigs was $36.20. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $55. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $2 higher with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $28 to $40.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $40 to $50.  Boars ranged from $18 to $21 and $5 to $10. 

Pork values closed higher – up $.67 at $86.40.  Bellies and hams were both higher.  Loins, picnics, butts, and ribs were lower to sharply lower. Estimated hog slaughter was 482,000 head – up 3,000 on the week and down 3,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 191,000 head down 16,000 on the week and up 62,000 on the year. 

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