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Midday cash livestock markets

Direct cash cattle markets are quiet. Today’s trade could be limited to clean-up after the light to moderate activity earlier in the week. Wednesday’s trade was primarily in the south at mostly $119 to $120 live, generally steady to $1 higher than the previous week’s weighted average, with Thursday’s business mainly in the north at mostly $119 to $120 live, also about steady to $1 higher, and $190 dressed, unchanged from the previous week’s average. What’s left on the showlist is priced $121+ live and $192 to $193 dressed with a few bids at $119 live. The USDA’s Cattle on Feed numbers are out at 3 Eastern/2 Central. Beef exports were 19,400 tons, mainly to Japan, South Korea, and Mexico, up 11% on the week, but down 10% from the four-week average.

Boxed beef at midday was steady to higher with moderate movement. Choice was up $.25 at $204.75 and Select was unchanged at $201.60.

At the Mitchell Livestock Auction feeder cattle sale in South Dakota, compared to the previous week, steers were mostly $1 to $3 higher, except for 750 to 800-pound steers which were up $8. 500 to 750-pound feeder heifers were steady to $5 higher with heifers weighing more than 750 pounds $1 to $4 higher. The USDA says demand was good with a full house and many load lots on offer. Receipts were up on the week, down on the year. 63% of the weekly run were steers and 76% of the week’s slate weighed more than 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 600 to 700 pounds were reported at $149 to $165.25 and 700 to 800-pound steers sold at $140.50 to $155.85. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 500 to 600 pounds brought $141 to $156.50 and 700 to 800-pound heifers ranged from $126.50 to $139.25.

Cash hogs are mixed with moderate opening negotiated numbers for the major direct markets. Buyers watching available numbers, margins, and demand signals. China didn’t buy any U.S. pork during the week ending February 13th, but shipments were solid at 15,000 tons. The spread of coronavirus is still a big question for demand. Overall, export sales of 23,700 tons were down 17% on the week and 22% from the four-week average, with Mexico, Japan, and Canada the top three purchasers. The USDA says red meat, pork, and beef production in January were monthly records, with Cold Storage numbers out Monday afternoon.

Pork at midday was down $.32 at $64.12. Butts, ribs, hams, and bellies were weak to sharply lower. Loins and picnics were sharply higher.

National direct barrows and gilts opened $.34 higher at $45 to $53 with a weighted average of $50.12, while Iowa/Southern Minnesota and the Western Corn Belt are both $.01 lower at $49.59. Illinois direct sows are steady at $17 to $26 with moderate to good demand for moderate offerings. Barrows and gilts are steady at $27 to $35 on moderate demand and offerings. Boars range from $5 to $20.

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