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Cattle, hog futures mixed ahead of Friday’s USDA reports

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle closed mixed ahead of the Cattle on Feed report.  Overall, the numbers look bearish.  October live cattle closed $.30 lower at $122.92 and December live cattle closed $.47 lower at $128.15.  September feeder cattle closed $.27 lower at $154.62 and October feeder cattle closed $.50 higher at $157.35. 

It was a quiet end to the week for direct cash cattle trade activity.  There was light to moderate business that took place at midweek.  Dressed deals in the North had a wide range – from $193 to $198, mostly $198, which is $1 lower than the previous week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska.  Live deals in the South were at $123 to $124, generally steady with the prior week’s business. 

At the Herreid Livestock Market in South Dakota, there was a good demand for the day’s yearling offering featuring a handful of loads, all steers, and several packages, mostly tested open heifers, all of which sold on a moderate to active market.  Yearlings came both off grass and out of yards in varied flesh.  The USDA says quality was mostly average to attractive.  Recent rainfalls have greatly improved grass conditions in the area and have enabled producers to leave cattle on grass a little longer than expected.  Receipts were down on the year.  Feeder supply included 80% steers and 99% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 802 to 842 pounds brought $158.50 to $165.75 and feeder steers 916 to 939 pounds brought $144.25 to $148.75.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 855 to 898 pounds brought $146.50 to $148 and feeder heifers 955 to 968 pounds brought $136 to $140. 

At the Nebraska Hay Market, compared to last week all hay sales were steady.  Recent rainfall in nearby states has lessened demand slightly for Nebraska hay.  The first frost was reported earlier this week, but the hay didn’t look too damaged, and many will try for a fourth cutting.  Alfalfa, good large rounds brought $145.  Prairie/Meadow grass, premium large rounds brought $140 to $150.  Prairie/Meadow grass premium small squares brought $6 per bale.  Prairie/Meadow grass, premium small squares brought $200 per ton FOB.  Prairie/Meadow grass, fair/good large rounds brought $125.  In the East, alfalfa, premium small squares brought $7 per bale.  Alfalfa pellets, 15% sun-cured brought $300, and pellets 17% dehydrated brought $330.  Bromegrass, good large rounds brought $125 and small squares brought $7 to $8 per bale.  In the Platte Valley area, alfalfa, good large rounds brought $150.  Alfalfa, fair/good large rounds brought $125.  Alfalfa, ground brought $175 per ton.  Pellets 15% sun-cured brought $260 and pellets 17% dehydrated brought $280 to $290.  In the West, alfalfa, premium large squares brought $245.  Alfalfa, good large rounds brought $200 and large squares brought $200 to $210. 

Boxed beef closed lower light demand for moderate offerings.  Choice closed $2.28 lower at $303.32 and Select closed $.46 lower at $274.53.  The Choice/Select spread is $28.53. Estimated cattle slaughter is 110,00 head, that’s down 8,000 on the week and down 3,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 54,000 head – down 10,000 on the week and 5,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day lean hogs ended the day mixed ahead of the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report.  The report looks to be bullish to prices.  October lean hogs closed $2.52 higher at $87.27 and December lean hogs closed $.30 higher at $76.80. 

Cash hogs closed higher with a very light negotiated run.  Processors have been able to move their desired numbers recently without much effort.  They continue to monitor the availability of market-ready barrows and gilts.  Demand for US pork on the global market and domestically has been strong.  The industry does expect that to continue in the near-term, but there are long-term concerns. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.40 higher with a base range of $73 to $85.50 and a weighted average of $76.93.  Prices at the regional direct markets were not reported due to confidentiality. 

According to the USDA’s weekly feeder pig report, early-weaned pigs were steady to weak, and all feeder pigs were $1 per head lower.  Demand was moderate for moderate offerings and receipts included 51% formulated prices.  The Total Composite cash range was $36 to $54 and a weighted average of $47.42.  The Total Composite Formula Range was $38.07 to $53.01 with a weighted average of $45.50.  The weighted average for all early-weaned pigs was $46.28 and the weighted average for all feeder pigs was $70.30. 

Pork values closed sharply higher – up $6.48 at $110.77.  Hams and loins were both sharply higher.  Bellies and butts were higher.  Ribs and picnics were lower.  Estimated hog slaughter is 472,000 head – up 2,000 on the week and 10,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 237,000 head – up 52,000 on the week and up 13,000 on the year. 

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