March 9, 2017 / 9:18 PM / 9 months ago

LIVESTOCK-Feeder cattle up 1 pct, live cattle firm on demand

    By Michael Hirtzer
    CHICAGO, March 9 (Reuters) - U.S. feeder cattle futures
       gained 1 percent and live cattle futures        were
narrowly higher on Thursday amid rising demand for animals,
especially for grazing, traders and analysts said.
    Greening pastures in the Plains region boosted demand for
lighter-weight cattle to feed on grass, with beef packers 
aggressively buying slaughter-weight cattle earlier this week
amid big profit margins and high beef prices.
    Chicago Mercantile Exchange April feeder cattle futures
       settled 1.850 cents higher at 124.625 cents per pound,
highest in a week. More actively traded CME April live cattle
       finished 0.525 cent higher at 116.500 cents.
    Weakening prices for corn       also bolstered feeder
cattle, as cheaper feed reduces costs for fattening cattle.
Chicago Board of Trade corn       hit a roughly five-week low on
expectations for big harvests in South America.    
    "You start getting grass demand as well as feedlot demand,"
Tommy Beall, president of Beall Consulting Group Inc, said of
the gains in feeder cattle.
    Grazing cattle prices were as much as $5 per cwt higher at a
cash auction in Dodge City, Kansas, according to the U.S.
Department of Agriculture on Wednesday. "Trade moderate, demand
moderate, very good for cattle suited for a grazing," USDA said.
    Fast-moving wildfires have burned nearly 2 million acres in
Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, killed six people and left thousands
of cattle dead, officials said. However, the fires had minimal
impact on livestock futures, traders said. There are nearly 94
million cattle in the United States, according to USDA.
    CME lean hog futures        were lower, pressured by
technical selling and long liquidation following gains on
Tuesday and Wednesday. CME April hog futures        settled
0.350 cent lower at 68.075 cents per pound.
    After the close of trading, USDA said hogs in the top market
of Iowa and southern Minnesota were 85 cents lower at $67.76 per

 (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer in Chicago; Editing by Dan

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