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Live and feeder cattle futures sharply higher

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle futures were sharply higher on technical buying, with feeders picking up additional support from the lower move in corn. February live was up $3.20 at $165.72 and April was $3.35 higher at $169.30. January feeders were $5.02 higher at $215.30 and March was up $4.90 at $216.07.

All was quiet in cash cattle country on Friday. Most of the week’s business came on Wednesday where live trade in the South was at $171, $3 lower than last week’s weighted averages. Northern dressed deals were reported at mostly $271, $4 lower than the previous week.

At Mitchell Livestock Auction in South Dakota, feeder steers 500 to 750 pounds sold $4 to $9 lower compared to the most recent sale. Heifers sold on a lower market. USDA says demand was good on thin fleshed feeders. Feeder supply included 53% steers and 80% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 916 to 947 pounds brought $206 to $218.85. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 873 to 895 pounds sold for $189.10 to $190.75.

Boxed beef closed lower. Choice was down $1.83 at $288.01 and Select was $.93 lower at $257.90. The Choice/Select spread was $30.11.

Estimated cattle slaughter was 122,000 head – even on the week and up 2,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures were supported by short covering, the higher midday pork, and the strength in cattle. February was up $1.20 at $68.97 and April was $1.52 higher at $76.15.

Cash hogs were mixed with a light closing negotiated run at the major direct markets. It was a fairly quiet day with buyers having moved the needed numbers earlier in the week and returning to using those ready numbers and sustained demand questions for leverage. The faster than a year ago slaughter pace and heavier average weights were also factors that put some pressure on business.

Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct were $.17 higher with a base range of $45 to $54 and weighted average price of $51.88. The Iowa/Minnesota was down $1.28 with a weighted average price of $51.86. The Western Corn Belt was down $.19 with a weighted average price of $51.52. The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality, but the weighted average price is $52.51.

Butcher hogs at the Dorchester, Wisconsin and Garnavillo, Iowa markets are steady at $50; sows are steady at $36 to $39; boars are $10-$16. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices are steady at $36 to $48; boars are $5 to $21.

Estimated hog slaughter was 484,000 head – up 4,000 on the week and up 7,000 on the year.

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