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Friday markets

“The livestock complex has had a successful morning, and largely the contracts are rallying into Friday afternoon,” ShayLe Stewart, DTN livestock analyst, wrote in her midday comments. “But there's a blanket of caution that continues to hover over the market as processing speeds are not yet back to full capacity and remain a wild card, as no one knows when chain speeds will be back to full bore.”

Live cattle futures were higher, with the February contract up 97 cents to $137.97 and the April contract up $1.15 to $142.12. 

There was a small amount of cash trade today at 3,848 head. Live steers sold between $135-139, averaging $136.62. Dressed steers sold for $218. Cash trade as of Friday morning totaled 55,000 head. On the formula side, 26,600 head averaging 877 lbs. sold for an average of $221.24. 

Slaughter for the day is estimated at 113,000 head. Saturday slaughter is projected to be 53,000 head, bringing the week’s total to 621,000 head. This is a thousand head above last week, but about 30,000 head less than a year ago. 

Boxed beef prices were slightly higher on 86 loads, with the Choice cutout up $1.45 to $284.31 and the Select cutout up $1.21 to $273.97.

Feeder cattle 

Feeder cattle futures were lower, thanks to higher corn. The January contract lost 22 cents to close at $162.70 and the March contract lost 35 cents to close at $166.37. The CME Feeder Cattle Index lost 22 cents to close at $161.79.

Corn futures were higher, with the March contract up 8 cents to $5.96 and the May contract up 7 cents to $5.97.

“Even though the market would love to see dynamic action in the cash cattle market, which could inevitably shoot the feeder cattle contracts higher, as order buyers would become even more excited to jump into the market, the calves have seen tremendous interest this past week as buyers look at the deferred contracts of 2022 and can't help but see optimism,” Stewart said. 

Nebraska: Ogallala Livestock Auction in Ogallala sold 7,570 head on Thursday. Compared to last week, steers were steady to $8 higher and heifers were $5-10 higher. Benchmark steers averaging 777 lbs. sold between $163-179 and averaged $165.73. — Anna Miller, WLJ managing editor 

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