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Cattle, hog futures lower to end the week

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were pressured by the week’s struggling cash business and fund liquidation.  Feeders had additional pressure from the firm move in corn. December live cattle were down $1.60 at $169.27, and February was $2.70 lower at $169.12. January feeders were $5.52 lower at $214.42, and March was down $5.35 at $217.22.

It was a quiet Friday for direct cash cattle business following several days of scattered, light trade.  For the week, Live deals in the South ranged from $171 to $175, mostly $174 to $175, $2 to $3 below the previous week’s weighted averages.  Northern dressed business was at $275, $4 lower than the prior week’s weighted average basis. 

At the Ogallala Livestock Auction in Nebraska, the USDA says demand was good to moderate for the moderate offering.  Buyers were selective in their purchases.  Receipts were down from the most recent sale and on the year.  Feeder supply included 54% steers and 38% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 502 to 548 pounds brought $272 to $294 and feeder steers 606 to 647 pounds brought $245.50 to $255.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 450 to 499 pounds brought $271.50 to $287 and feeder heifers 700 to 726 pounds brought $215 to $220. 

Boxed beef closed mixed on light to moderate demand for solid offerings.  Choice was $1.56 lower at $297.46 and Select was $.74 higher at $265.49.  The Choice/Select spread is $31.97.  Estimated cattle slaughter was 122,000 head – up 4,000 on the week and down 2,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 19,000 head – down 19,000 on the week and 9,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures were pressured by the steady to lower cash business.  December lean hogs were down $68.60 at $.17 and February was $1.37 lower at $70.10.

Cash hogs closed sharply lower with a moderate negotiated run.  Processors moved needed numbers this week without having to get aggressive in their procurement efforts.  There are a lot of negative factors currently weighing on the market, heavier hog weights and ample supplies of market-ready hogs to name a few.  Demand for US pork has been holding globally, but there are long-term concerns.  Domestic demand continues its sluggish trend. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $3.00 lower with a base range of $50 to $62 and a weighted average of $55.60; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $2.99 lower with a weighted average of $53.94; the Western Corn Belt closed $2.79 lower with a weighted average of $53.97; no comparisons at the Eastern Corn Belt but a weighted average of $57.02.

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $55. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for light offerings at $41 to $54.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $35 to $45.  Boars ranged from $18 to $21 and $5 to $10. 

Pork values closed weak – down $.28 at $83.55.  Picnics, bellies, and loins were all lower.  Hams, ribs, and butts were higher to sharply higher. Estimated hog slaughter was 480,000 head – up 25,000 on the week and down 4,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 294,000 head – down 52,000 on the week and up 151,000 on the year.

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