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At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were lower waiting for direct business to develop. April live cattle closed $1.27 lower at $184.80 June live cattle closed $.92 lower at $182.20. March feeder cattle closed $1.12 lower at $245.55 and April feeder cattle close $0.50 lower at $251.20.

Direct cash cattle trade activity was quiet Wednesday.  Bids did surface in Nebraska at $280 dressed.  Asking prices were floated in the South at $182-plus live.  Significant trade volume looks to be holding out until sometime Thursday or Friday. 

At the Ozarks Regional Stockyards in Missouri, feeder steers and heifers sold $3 to $6 higher with spots of $10 higher.  Steer and heifer calves were $5 to $10 higher with spots of $15 higher.  The USDA says demand was very good on a heavy supply.  Runs have been heavy recently.  Receipts were down on the week but up significantly the year.  Feeder supply included 55% steers and 51% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 605 to 642 pounds brought $261 to $287 and feeder steers 654 to 696 pounds brought $255 to $273.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 551 to 594 pounds brought $245 to $265 and feeder heifers 600 to 636 pounds brought $232 to $250. 

Boxed beef closed higher on good demand for solid offerings.  Choice was $.91 higher at $294.98 and Select closed $.82 higher at $285.42.  The Choice/Select spread is $9.56. Estimated cattle slaughter was 126,000 head – down 1,000 on the week and up around 3,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures ended the day mixed, adjusting spreads watching both global and domestic demand. April lean hogs closed $.15 lower at $81.10 and May lean hogs closed $.07 higher at $86.35.

Cash hogs were sharply higher with a moderate negotiated run. While there are ample supplies of market-ready hogs, packers have had some challenges obtaining needed numbers and have had to get more aggressive in their procurement efforts.  Global demand for US pork has been strong, which helps provide price support.  Hog weights pulled back a pound this week, but are still nearly 5 pounds above last year. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.92 higher with a base range of $59 to $68.50 and a weighted average of $66.37; the Western Corn Belt had no comparison but a weighted average of $67.02; the Eastern Corn Belt closed $4.61 higher with a weighted average of $64.93.  Prices at the Iowa/Minnesota were not reported due to confidentiality. 

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Grinding Corn On Our Small Dairy Farm/International 1256 with Artsway Grinder Mixer

Video: Grinding Corn On Our Small Dairy Farm/International 1256 with Artsway Grinder Mixer

The plan was simple. Use the 830 Case to grind corn for our dairy heifers. Unfortunately, plans don't always work out that way. With the Case having a flat tire, the International 1256 was needed to grind corn. It wasn't plugged in, so it took a bit of work to warm it up. After we got the 1256 running, we were finally ready to start grinding. We headed up to the corn crib and started helping the cobs through to the auger. After getting the corn ground up, we added some pellets. The load was all mixed, so we unloaded it into one of our two, grain bins. The feed should work well for our youngstock.