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Hog futures higher heading into Friday

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle were mixed, and feeders were higher watching corn and watching direct business develop.  February live cattle closed $.25 lower at $155.42 and April lives closed $.02 lower at $159.25.  January feeder cattle closed $.60 higher at $181.07 and March feeder cattle closed $.85 higher at $184.30. 

A light round of direct cash cattle business trade started to develop late in the day on Thursday in the North.  Dressed deals were at $249, $4 higher than the previous week’s weighted averages.   Deals in the South on Wednesday were marked at $155, fully steady with the prior week’s business.  More trade is expected to develop over the balance of the week. 

At the Huss Livestock Market in Nebraska, compared to two weeks ago steer and heifer calves were unevenly steady with a few true yearlings trending sharply higher.  The bulk of Wednesday’s sale was comprised of weaned calves and true yearling feeders.  The USDA says the market was active online.  Most of the calf offering was preconditioned.  Receipts were down from two weeks ago and up on the year.  Feeder supply included 56% steers and 69% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 674 to 699 pounds brought $202 to $203.50 and feeder steers 757 to 799 pounds brought $184.25 to $190.50.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 600 to 649 pounds brought $180 to $183 and feeder heifers, fleshy, 827 pounds brought $169.    

Boxed beef closed lower on light demand for moderate offerings.  Choice closed $1.31 lower at $253.57 and Select closed $.01 lower at $225.  The Choice/Select spread is $28.57. Estimated cattle slaughter was 128,000 head – up 4,000 on the year. Lean hog futures closed higher, supported by the stronger pork values during the session.  February lean hogs closed $3.85 higher at $89.20 and April lean hogs closed $3.60 higher at $94.25. 

Cash hogs closed mixed with a solid negotiated run.  Processors were able to move their desired numbers without having to get too aggressive in their procurement efforts.  That didn’t come as a surprise, especially following Wednesday huge negotiated run where processors bid up and prices reflected that.  The industry continues to monitor the availability of market-ready hogs and the demand situation.  If demand were to wane due to a slowing global economy, it could put additional pressure on prices.   Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.80 lower with a base range of $77 to $88.50 and a weighted average of $85.26; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.48 higher with a weighted average of $87.22; the Western Corn Belt closed $.53 higher with a weighted average of $87.21; the Eastern Corn Belt closed $2.32 lower with a weighted average of $81.86.

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $60. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $1 lower with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $45 to $56.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $58 to $68.  Boars ranged from $30 to $35 and $9 to $19.    

Pork values closed lower – down $.81 at $86.52.  Picnics and bellies were sharply lower.  Loins were lower.  Butts, hams, and ribs were all higher. Estimated hog slaughter was 492,000 head – up 9,000 on the year. 

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