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Sharply higher cash business supports cattle futures

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day higher, supported by the sharply higher cash business that took place on Thursday.  June live cattle closed $5.77 higher at $174.90 and August lives closed $4.70 higher at $172.37.  August feeder cattle closed $2.47 higher at $241.65 and September feeder cattle closed $2.72 higher at $244.95. 

It was a wild Thursday for direct cash cattle business.  Packers were apparently short-bought coming off the long holiday weekend.  Live deals in the South were marked at $175 to $180, mostly at $178 to $180, which is $7 to $9 higher than the previous week’s weighted averages.  Live deals in the North were at $183 to $185.  Dressed deals in the North were marked at $292, about $7 above the previous week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska.  Asking prices have been kept under wraps. Some additional trade could develop before the end of the day Friday.  There was a very light round of business reported on Wednesday at $280 to $283.

At the Mitchell Livestock Auction in South Dakota, steers 1000 to 1100 pounds were steady to $2 higher.  Heifers 850 to 950 pounds were $4 to $5 higher.  The USDA says demand was good with many large load lots of heavy heifers.  Receipts were down on the week and up on the year.  Feeder supply included 67% heifers and 95% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 916 to 924 pounds brought $205.50 to $210 and feeder steers 989 pounds brought $191.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 850 to 896 pounds brought $191 to $193.35 and feeder heifers 907 to 923 pounds brought $189 to $194.10. 

Boxed beef closed mixed with light to moderate demand for solid offerings.  Choice was $.60 higher at $306.44 and Select closed $.83 lower at $286.32.  The Choice/Select spread is $20.12.  Estimated cattle slaughter was 127,000 head – up 2,000 on the week and down 2,000 on the year.   

Lean hog futures ended the day mixed on spread trade and profit-taking.  June lean hogs closed $.97 higher at $83.55 and July lean hogs closed $1.27 lower at $82.05. 

Cash hogs closed lower with a huge negotiated run.  Processors started the day very aggressive in their procurement efforts and bid up to move needed numbers.  That carried over into the afternoon, but prices still ended the day slightly lower following Wednesday’s big move higher. Demand for US pork on the global market has been relatively strong and that is helping to provide at least some price support.  The industry is also optimistic domestic demand will see a pop as summer grilling season is in full swing. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.04 lower with a base range of $79 to $91 with a weighted average of $86.58; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.31 lower with a weighted average of $88.48; the Western Corn Belt closed $.53 lower with a weighted average of $87.92.  The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality.

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $60. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for heavy offerings at $10 to $20.  Barrows and gilts were $2 higher with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $46 to $56.  Boars are $15 to $25 and $5 to $10. 

Pork values closed higher – up $.41 at $85.66.  Butts, hams, bellies, and picnics were higher.  Loins and ribs were lower. Estimated hog slaughter was 480,000 head – up 12,000 on the week and up 6,000 on the year. 

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