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LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS : Top Stories of the Day

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04/12/2019 | 05:30pm EDT

TOP STORIES

Soybean Processors Feeling Heat from Swine Fever -- Market Talk

12:32 ET - China's ongoing struggle to contain African swine fever outbreaks in the world's biggest hog-producing country will continue to pressure soybean meal demand for months, posing a challenge to top soybean processors like Archer Daniels Midland and Bunge, analysts say. Vertical Group estimates that China's forced culling of herds, numbering millions of hogs, has soybean meal demand down 5%-10%, with a rebound unlikely before late 2019. Efforts by U.S., European and Brazilian hog farmers to expand and fill China's pork demand could help revive demand for the feed ingredient. ADM reports quarterly earnings April 26, with Bunge due to report May 8. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Perdue Updates on 2018 Farm Bill Status -- Market Talk

11:04 ET - The 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law by President Trump on Dec. 20, 2018, is still in the process of being implemented, according to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Perdue said all of aid programs introduced under the bill have been initiated, with some coming online as late as yesterday. Beginning yesterday, eligible agricultural producers have access to higher loan amounts, in order to provide farmers with credit easier in times of disaster, according to the USDA. "Our goal is to have programs that function best for the people that we serve," says Perdue. "We have made progress in new Farm Bill provisions, and look to implement programs that are customer service focused and economically efficient." (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

STORIES OF INTEREST

Campbell Soup Confirms $510M Bolthouse Sale -- Update

Campbell Soup Co. (CPB) on Friday said it will sell Bolthouse Farms to Butterfly Equity for $510 million, marking the divestiture of the entire Campbell Fresh division.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the company was nearing a Bolthouse sale for about $500 million.

FUTURES MARKETS

Livestock Futures Finish Higher to Close Week -- Market Talk

15:24 ET - Both live cattle and lean hogs finished higher after starting the day down -- with June cattle futures finishing up 0.9% and lean hog futures up 0.8%. According to Mark Schultz of Northstar Commodity, both futures contracts were given a lift due to downstream prices of cutouts rising. "The packer still has plenty of (pricing) room," says Schultz. For cattle in particular, inclement weather hitting the Midwest is expected to make a mess out of feedlots, which should constrict the amount of cattle available for slaughter. For pork, traders are unconvinced that the full scale of African swine fever's devastation of China is known. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

CASH MARKETS

 
Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Apr 12 
 
Source: USDA, based on Wall Street Journal calculations 
All figures are on a per-head basis. 
 
Date     Standard Margin       Estimated margin 
         Operating Index         at vertically - 
                             integrated operations 
 
Apr 12       +$ 11.70            +$ 51.72 
Apr 11       +$ 13.29            +$ 49.31 
Apr 10       +$  7.91            +$ 46.52 
 
* Based on Iowa State University's latest estimated cost of production. 
A positive number indicates a processing margin above the cost of 
production of the animals. 
 
Beef-O-Meter 
This report compares the USDA's latest beef carcass composite 
values as a percentage of their respective year-ago prices. 
 
                                 Beef 
          For Today             Choice  107.7 
      (Percent of Year-Ago)     Select  110.1 
 
USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports 

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Friday rose one cent per hundred pounds, to $228.84, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose $1.07 per hundred pounds, to $221.02. The total load count was 120. Wholesale pork prices rose $1.12, to $84.46 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

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