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Hog futures pressured by demand concerns

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle were mostly lower, and feeders were lower ahead of the week’s direct cash business and Friday’s On Feed numbers.  October live cattle closed $.45 lower at $125 and December lives closed $.40 lower at $130.02.  October feeder cattle closed $.65 lower at $155.10 and November feeder cattle closed $.50 lower at $158.85. 

It was a quiet Tuesday for direct cash cattle trade activity.  There were a few scattered asking prices that surfaced around $126 live in the South.  The North was quiet.  Bids were non-existent.  If this week follows the recent trends, expect significant trade volume to develop Wednesday or later. 

At the Russell Livestock Auction in Iowa, compared to two weeks ago, steers over 750 pounds were mostly $6 higher and as much as $10 higher.  Lighter steers sold with a higher undertone.  Heifers under 650 pounds were $6 higher and heavier heifers were sharply higher with limited comparable numbers.  There were several load lots in the offerings.  The USDA says demand was good for the moderate to heavy offerings and the trade was active.  Receipts were up from two weeks ago.  Feeder supply included 72% steers and 67% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 551 to 598 pounds brought $164 to $178 and feeder steers 800 to 847 pounds brought $153.25 to $165.60.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 650 to 693 pounds brought $149.50 to $156.25 and feeder heifers 812 to 815 pounds brought $143 to $152. 

Boxed beef closed higher on moderate demand for solid offerings.  Choice is $.76 higher at $280.88 and Select is $1.72 higher at $261.53.  The Choice/Select spread is $19.35. 

Estimated cattle slaughter is 121,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and down 2,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day lower on technical selling and long-term demand concerns.  December lean hogs closed $1.35 lower at $77.40 and February lean hogs closed $1.32 lower at $80.45. 

Cash hogs closed lower with a solid negotiated run. The supply of market-ready barrows and gilts has been more than ample.  Processors have been able to move their desired numbers at lower prices recently.  Demand for US pork on the global market and domestically has been strong.  While that is expected to continue, at least for now, there is some long-term concern, which has been pressuring prices. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.27 lower with a base range of $65.50 to $69 and a weighted average of $66.97; both the Iowa/Minnesota and the Western Corn Belt had a weighted average of $68.01.  The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets were steady at $60. Pork values closed lower down $1.44 at $99.34.  Bellies and butts were sharply lower.  Ribs and hams were lower.  Picnics and loins were higher. 

Estimated hog slaughter is 478,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and down 12,000 on the year.  Monday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 472,000 head. 

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