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Hog futures supported by gains in pork values

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day mixed, mostly lower on position squaring ahead of the Cattle on Feed report and the weaker cash trade.  Feeder cattle were mostly lower on the same factors.  April live cattle closed $3 lower at $85.95 and June live cattle closed $1 lower at $82.92.  April feeder cattle closed $.95 higher at $119.42 and May feeder cattle closed $.60 higher at $117.27. 

A light to moderate direct cash cattle trade took place on Thursday.  Dressed deals in the North were in a wide range, but mostly at $160. Live deals in the South were mostly at $100.  Asking prices for cattle left on showlists are around $105 live in the South and $165 dressed in the North. 

At the Hub City Livestock Auction in South Dakota, compared to last week, the best test was on steers 600 to 650 pounds and they were mostly steady and 700 to 750-pound steers which were steady to $3 higher.  Heifers 650 to 900 pounds were mostly steady with instances of $2 lower.  There were several strings of backgrounded cattle as well as loads and packages of home-raised cattle.  The USDA says quality was similar to the prior week with many attractive quality cattle on offer.  Demand was moderate to good.  Receipts were up on the week and down on the year.  Feeder supply included 47 percent steers and 95 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 705 to 729 pounds brought $136.50 to $149.75 and feeder steers 800 to 838 pounds brought $125.75 to $136.25.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 757 to 796 pounds brought $110.50 to $118 and feeder heifers 810 to 847 pounds brought $106.50 to $117.25. 

Boxed beef values closed sharply higher on heavy demand for moderate to heavy offerings.  Choice closed $8.54 higher at $284.29 and Select closed $11.87 higher at $272.89. Estimated cattle slaughter is 84,000 head – down 8,000 on the week and down 37,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures ended the day sharply higher, on support from sharply higher wholesale values during the session and optimism about China’s pork needs.  May lean hogs closed $3.75 higher at $50.97 and June lean hogs closed $3.72 higher at $51.62. 

Cash hogs ended the day steady to firm with moderate negotiated numbers.  This marks two consecutive days of positive movement on the cash market.  Packers worked a little harder to move their desired numbers for the day.  But overall, there’s still a lot of concern about the supply and demand picture.  The availability of market-ready hogs is more than ample, but with plants slowing their chain speed and reducing productivity, animals are starting to back up in the supply chain.  That remains troublesome for the livestock sector.  The industry is still optimistic demand for US pork will see a big boost from the global market as there is still a global protein shortage and China’s pork supplies will likely remain short through the balance of the year.  Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.46 higher with a base range of $31 to $38 for a weighted average of $34.97; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.38 higher for a weighted average of $36.85; the Western Corn Belt closed $.07 higher for a weighted average of $36.57; the Eastern Corn Belt had no comparison but closed with a weighted average of $33.32.   

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $24. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were weak with moderate to good demand for moderate offerings at $15 to $28.  Barrow and gilt prices were weak with light demand for moderate offerings at $10 to $18.  Boars range from $2 to $5. 

Pork values closed sharply higher – up $3.39 at $76.37.  Most of the primals were sharply higher with butts and picnics leading the way.  Estimated hog slaughter is 375,000 head, down 62,000 on the week and down 94,000 on the year. 

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