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Cattle futures jump on cash, wholesale business

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle futures were sharply higher, supported by cash and wholesale business, waiting for the rest of the week’s direct trade. Feeders picked up additional support from the modestly lower move in corn. December live was $2.50 higher at $137.90 and February was up $1.45 at $140.87. January feeders were $2.55 higher at $166.92 and March was up $2.22 at $167.90.

Direct cash cattle trade was active by Wednesday afternoon. Live trade in the South was at $140, up $4 to $5 from Tuesday and $5 to $6 from the previous week. Dressed trade in the North was at $217, a gain of $3 on the day and $7 on the week. Some of those northern dressed cattle were for deferred delivery early next month. Live trade in the North ranged from $138 to $140. There’s still a chance of some Black Friday clean-up but buying interest would likely be limited by the surge in price.

At the Imperial Auction Market feeder cattle sale in Nebraska, there was no comparison since there was no sale the previous week, but USDA says demand was good. Receipts were steady with the last test and modestly lower than last year. 52% of the offering were heifers and 77% of all feeder cattle weighed more than 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers ranging from 580 to 590 pounds brought $168 to $182 and a load averaging 782 pounds was reported at $174. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 650 to 680 pounds sold at $157.50 to $160 and 700-to-800-pound heifers ranged from $155.25 to $163.10.

Boxed beef closed higher with good movement. Choice was up $.47 at $279.11 and Select was $.80 higher at $263.47. The estimated cattle slaughter of 121,000 head was down 1,000 on the week, but up 2,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures were mixed, with nearby contracts up and deferred months down, adjusting spreads ahead of the holiday and the USDA’s October livestock slaughter numbers. Pork production was down 9% on the year, when pork in cold storage only fell 2%. The trade will be watching post-holiday retail clearance numbers and Friday’s export sales report closely. December was up $1.27 at $75.42 and February was $.97 higher at $84.25.

Cash hog business was firm with strong negotiated sales. Buyers issued firm bids, trying one last time to secure the needed numbers ahead of slower trade the rest of the week. The firmness could be a sign that market ready numbers are getting tighter, but that’s more of a long-term issue. The average Iowa/Southern Minnesota barrow and gilt weight for the week ending November 20th was 290.4 pounds, up one tenth on the week and 1.7 pounds on the year.

National direct barrows and gilts closed $.25 higher with a base price range of $53 to $58 and a weighted average of $55.66. Iowa/Southern Minnesota barrows and gilts had an average of $55.85 and the Western Corn Belt averaged $55.70. The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported, due to confidentiality.

Pork closed $.06 higher at $84.98. Loins, butts, and picnics were sharply higher, while ribs, hams, and bellies were sharply lower. The estimated hog slaughter of 471,000 head was down 13,000 on the week and 19,000 on the year.

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