LIVESTOCK-Hog futures firm; cattle futures mixed

Chicago Mercantile Exchange hog futures firmed on Wednesday, with concerns about processing margins seen limiting supplies in the coming months.

“High feed costs and low prices there have production margins as poor as they’ve been in at least eight years,” brokerage StoneX said in a note to clients. “All of this of course is not a recipe for expansion amongst the global hog herd.”

April lean hog futures added 1.25 cents to 105.40 cents per pound.

The number of hogs slaughtered steadied at 478,000 head, up 6,000 from the same day a week ago and 5,000 higher from the same day a year ago, the U.S. Agriculture Department said.

Cattle futures were mixed, with live cattle futures ending slightly higher while feeder cattle weakened after hitting their highest in more than six weeks on Tuesday.

April live cattle firmed 0.025 cents to 146.925 cents per pound. March feeder cattle fell 1.275 cents to 167.45 cents per pound.

Cattle slaughter dipped by 1,000 head to 122,000, in line with a week ago but up 22% from a year earlier, USDA said.

Choice cuts of boxed beef continued lower, falling $1.88 to $269.45 per cwt, while select cuts fell $4.18 to $265.71 per cwt, the USDA said.