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Cattle, hog futures lower heading into the weekend

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle closed lower, and feeder cattle were mostly lower in limited volume pressured by the lower boxed beef prices and waiting for the rest of the week’s direct business to develop.  Feeders had some additional pressure from the day’s higher move in corn.  December live cattle closed $.75 lower at $110.62 and February live cattle closed $.92 lower at $113.25.  January feeders closd $.35 lower at $139.82 and March feeder cattle closed $.27 lower at $139. 

It was a relatively quiet holiday week for direct cash cattle trade.  A few cattle traded in Texas on Friday at $112 live and there we a handful of deals in Nebraska reported at $110 live.  Business was sprinkled throughout the week, mostly around $111 live and $172 to $174 dressed. 

In Missouri, compared to the previous week feeder steers and heifers were mostly steady, although steers over 700 pounds were firm to $2 higher.  Many auctions were closed, and several had significantly lighter runs due to the holiday.  A few barns did hold special sales making it a moderate to heavy to supply of cattle overall.  Demand was strong.  Receipts were down on the week and feeder supply included 64 percent steers and 71 percent of the offering over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 750 to 797 pounds brought $121 to $149 and feeder steers 852 to 894 pounds brought $121.50 to $146.75.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 555 to 598 pounds brought $118 to $148.50 and feeder heifers 651 to 697 pounds brought $125 to $147. 

According to the USDA’s Hay Report for Iowa, all classes of hay were mostly steady.  Alfalfa premium large squares brought $310; alfalfa good/premium large squares brought $210.  Alfalfa good large squares brought $180 and large rounds brought $125 to $150.  Alfalfa/grass mix, good/premium large rounds brought $175, large squares brought $240, and small squares brought $220.  Alfalfa/Grass mix, good large rounds brought $120 and large squares brought $180.  Grass hay, good/premium large squares brought $150.  Grass hay, good large rounds brought $90 to $100.  Clover/Grass mix, good large round organic hay brought $70. 

Boxed beef closed weak to lower on light demand for very light offerings.  Choice closed $2.21 lower at $242.85 and Select closed $.22 lower at $220.68.  The Choice/Select spread is $22.17. Estimated cattle slaughter is 115,000 head – even on the week and up 2,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 88,000 head – up 16,000 on the week and down 7,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures closed mostly lower in light trade volume, pressured by the weak cash prices during the session.  December lean hogs closed $.30 lower at $65.87 and February lean hogs closed $.42 lower at $67.25. 

Cash hogs closed mixed with a fairly light negotiated run.  Supply and demand concerns continue to be the biggest driver behind the market.  Processors are still pushing daily slaughter totals higher, which has helped alleviate some of the pressure in the production system and keep the supply chain moving, but it also adds more pork to an already saturated market.  The availability of market-ready hogs remains more than ample.  The industry is still optimistic demand for US pork will stay strong in both the global and domestic markets.  Because should there be a disruption, it would send prices tumbling.  Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct are $.48 lower with a base range of $55 to $57.50 with a weighted average of $56.73; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.30 higher with a weighted average of $56.50; the Western Corn Belt closed $.16 lower with a weighted average of $56.50.  The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality.   

According to the USDA’s Feeder Pig Report, compared to last week early weaned pigs were $3 per head higher and all feeder pigs were steady on light receipts.  Demand was moderate for moderate offerings and receipts included 34 percent formulated prices.  Total Composite cash range was $34 to $49 with an average of $40.88 and Total Composite formula range was $31.95 to $44.91 with an average of $39.25.  The weighted average for all early-weaned pigs was $40.16 and the average for all feeder pigs was $50. 

Pork values closed higher – up $1.61 at $79.96.  Hams, picnics, and butts all closed sharply higher.  Ribs were steady.  Loins and bellies closed lower. Estimated hog slaughter is 480,000 head, down 5,000 on the week and even on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 380,000 head – up 103,000 on the week and even on the year. 

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