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Cattle, hog futures higher on positive trade news

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day higher supported by higher cash trade, strong wholesale values during the session, and optimism surrounding the trade deal with China.  Feeder cattle were higher on the same factors.  December live cattle closed $1.95 higher at $122.37 and February live cattle closed $2.45 higher at 127.55.  January feeder cattle closed $3.12 higher at $145.67 and March feeders closed $2.80 higher at $146.25. 

Another round of light to moderate trade developed over the course of the day.  This time, Northern dressed deals in Nebraska were at $190, $2 higher than last week’s weighted averages, and there was a large run early in the day in Iowa on Friday and they brought $120 live, all are marked for delayed delivery. 

In Missouri last week, feeder steers and heifers sold mostly steady to $3 lower, although there were some spots at a few local auctions where higher money was evident.  The USDA says demand was good as buyers were trying to fill as many orders as possible before the end of the year.  There was a very good demand for quality lightweight steers under 500 pounds.  Receipts of 53,180 head were down slight only the week but up significantly on the year.  Feeder supply included 54 percent steers and 48 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 600 to 648 pounds brought $124 to $158.50 and feeder steers 700 to 748 pounds brought $122.50 to $156.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 500 to 549 pounds brought $115 to $160.25 and feeder heifers 600 to 648 pounds brought $108 to $144. 

At the Iowa Hay Market, compared to two weeks ago prices on alfalfa trended mostly steady, alfalfa/grass and grass hay were also mostly steady.  Alfalfa, Supreme small squares brought $280 to $340, large squares brought $250 to $300.  Premium small squares brought $210 to $300.  Large rounds brought $200.  Good small squares brought $200.  Alfalfa/Grass Premium, small squares brought $200 to $225, large squares brought $220 to $275, and large rounds brought $170 to $210.  Good small squares brought $170 to $200 and large squares brought $160 to $185.  Grass, Premium small squares brought $240 and large squares brought $200 to $240.  Good small squares brought $180 and large rounds brought $120 to $170. 

Boxed beef closed firm to higher on moderate demand and moderate offerings.  Choice up $.64 at $216.29 and Select closed $1.68 higher at $204.24.  The choice/Select spread closed at $12.05.  Estimated cattle slaughter is 122,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 54,000 head – down 27,000 on the week and up 3,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day higher on optimism about trade with both China and the USMCA and the sharply higher wholesale values during the session.  February lean hogs closed $.85 higher at 69.50 and April lean hogs closed $1.60 higher at $76.22. 

Cash hogs closed steady to higher with very large negotiated purchases.  Packers were aggressive in procuring their desired numbers.  The industry continues to hold on to expectations that demand for US pork will see a significant boost on the global market.  Should that happen, it could be exactly what it needs to turn prices higher.  Especially as supplies continue to push higher and hit record volumes.  The news about progress on trade agreements with both China and the USMCA are also supportive.   Barrows and gilts at the Iowa/Southern Minnesota closed $.92 higher for a weighted average of $47.77; the Western Corn Belt closed $.62 higher for an average of $47.74; the Eastern Corn Belt closed $.02 lower for a weighted average of $48.34; and the National Daily Direct closed $.13 higher with a base range of $42 to $50 for a weighted average of $47.94. 

According to the USDA early-weaned pigs and all feeder pigs were $4 per head higher.  Demand was moderate for moderate offerings and receipts included 41 percent formulated prices.  The total composite formula range was $35.50 to $49.35 for an average of $44.45.  The total composite cash range was $26.50 to $46 for an average of $39.04.  The total composite weighted average for all early-weaned pigs was $41.49 and the average for all feeder pigs was $52.89.  

At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $1 to $2 lower with moderate demand for heavy offerings at $15 to $30.  Receipts are up on the week and the year.  Barrow and gilt prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $27 to $34. 

Pork values closed steady – up $.22 at $81.88.  Loins and bellies closed higher.  Picnics and ribs were about steady.  Butts were weak.  Hams closed lower.  Estimated hog slaughter is 492,000 head – up 4,000 on the week and 15,000 on the year. 

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