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Direct cash cattle trade, cash hog markets quiet heading into Easter holiday weekend

Direct cash cattle markets were quiet Friday. Most of the week’s business was done Wednesday, with moderate to active trade in most of the major feeding areas. Live sales in the south were $168 to mostly $170, up $3 on the week for Kansas and $4 higher for Texas, while dressed trade in the north was at $274 to $284, mostly $275 to $277, about $4.50 to $6.50 higher. Live sales in the north were mostly at $175, up $5 from the prior week. Asking prices Friday for what was left on the show list were $172+ live and $279+ dressed.

At the Mitchell Livestock Auction in South Dakota, demand was good on a steady offering. USDA says that compared to last week, feeder steers 900 to 1150 pounds sold $5 to $9 higher. Feeder heifers 700 to 900 pounds sold $6 to $13 higher. There was also a consignment of 300 head of certified Red Angus steers that brought top dollar. There were few load lots in the offering. Feeder supply included 50% steers and 98% of the offering was over 600 pounds.

Boxed beef was mixed at the close. Choice is $1.33 higher at $290.98 and Select down $.85 at $275.78. The Choice/Select spread is $15.20.

Estimated cattle slaughter is 105,000 head – down 15,000 on the week and down 14,000 on the year.

For the week in Missouri, hay prices were steady with moderate demand for a light supply. Medium squares of supreme alfalfa were priced $250 to $300 with premium at $180 to $250 and large rounds of good quality at $150 to $180. Asking prices for large rounds of good to premium mixed grass were $125 to $175 and fair to good ranged from $100 to $150. Rounds of corn stalks were reported at $35 to $55. In Nebraska, hay was steady with moderate to good demand. For the central region, large squares of alfalfa were reported at $375, with large rounds of good quality at $220 to $225, large rounds of corn stalks at $80 to $85, and large rounds of good prairie grass at $210 to $220. In the Platte Valley, large rounds of premium alfalfa sold at $237.50 with large rounds of good quality at $210 to $230.

Cash hogs closed steady to lower with a very light closing negotiated run at the major direct markets. The week’s trend was mostly lower as buyers were generally able to move the needed numbers with little to no resistance. Overall, business was quiet with a slower pace of slaughter due to the Good Friday holiday. That could lead to higher bids to start the coming week, but that depends on the near-term needs of packers and pork demand signals.

Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct were $.25 lower with a base range of $64 to $73 and weighted average of $70.61; the Iowa/Minnesota was down $.23 with a  weighted average of $71.39; the Western Corn Belt was $.03 lower with a weighted average of $71.39; and the Eastern Corn Belt had no comparison with a weighted average of $69.85.

Red Oak, Iowa had the sole reported butcher hog test this week with a trend of $2 lower at $48.

At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $34 to $46. Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $46 to $58. Boars were $15 to $25 and $8 to $15.

The USDA says early weaned feeder pigs were $6 lower on the week and feeder pigs were down $8 with steady to weak demand for moderate offerings. Cash early weaned pigs ranged from $19 to $38 for a weighted average of $28.06, with formula at $34.22 to $50.70 for an average of $41.89, both sharply lower than a year ago. Cash feeder pigs ranged from $65 to $82 for a weighted average of $72.50, also sharply lower than this time last year.

Pork values closed lower – down $.78 at $77.90. Ribs, hams, butts and loins were higher. Bellies and picnics were lower. Estimated hog slaughter is 436,000 head – down 36,000 on the week and down 20,000 on the year.

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