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Hog futures supported by demand optimism

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day lower waiting for cash trade to develop.  Feeder cattle led the way lower on the day’s higher move in corn.  April live cattle closed $.30 lower at $122.10 and June lives closed $.87 lower at $120.05.  April feeder cattle closed $1.30 lower at $141.15 and May feeders closed $1.90 lower at $145.42. 

It was a quiet Wednesday for direct cash cattle trade activity.  Bids have yet to surface and asking prices were at $125 live in the South and $200 to $205 dressed in the North.  It’s likely significant trade volume will be delayed until Thursday or Friday.  Wednesday’s Fed Cattle Exchange had an offering of 3,966 head of which none sold as reserve prices of $122 to $128 were not met.  There will be a special Fed Cattle Exchange Auction on Thursday. 

At the Kingsville Livestock Auction in Missouri, compared to last week steers were steady to $5 lower and heifers were mostly steady, and firm in spots for heifers under 550 pounds.  There were mostly new-crop calves offered.  Demand was good and supply was moderate.  Receipts were down on the week, but up on the year.  Feeder supply included 55 percent steers and 41 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 504 to 549 pounds brought $161 to $177 and feeder steers 804 to 818 pounds brought $138.60 to $145.35.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 451 to 484 pounds brought $155.75 to $168.25 and feeder heifers 550 to 592 pounds brought $145 to $155. 

Boxed beef closed higher on good demand for moderate offerings.  Choice closed $2.80 higher at $272.81 and Select closed $.77 higher at $267.31.  The Choice/Select spread is $5.60.  Estimated cattle slaughter is 115,000 head – down 5,000 on the week and up 25,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day higher, supported by the higher pork values during the session and long-term demand optimism.  April lean hogs closed $.20 higher at $103.60 and May lean hogs closed $1.65 higher at $106.57. 

Cash hogs closed mixed with a  big negotiated run. .  Packers remain aggressive in their procurement efforts as they have been moving big numbers recently.  Demand strength in both global and domestic markets have been strong and that’s expected to continue.  And daily slaughter totals remain relatively high.  Hog weights increased just slightly on the week to 287.4 pounds, that’s up just 0.1 pounds from a week ago, but up 2.5 pounds on the year. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.20 lower with a base range of $97 to $105 and a weighted average of $101.35; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.44 higher with a weighted average of $103; the Western Corn Belt closed $.40 higher with a weighted average of $102.92.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $66.  At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $2 lower with moderate to good demand for heavy offerings at $64 to $74.  Barrow and gilt prices were firm with good demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $65 to $70.  Boars ranged from $30 to $40 and $12 to $20. 

Pork values closed lower – down $2.40 at $110.09.  Bellies, loins, picnics and butts were all lower to sharply lower.  Hams were firm and ribs were sharply higher. Estimated hog slaughter is 480,000 head – down 14,000 on the week and up 45,000 on the year. Tuesday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 484,000 head. 

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