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LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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06/25/2019 | 05:37pm EDT

TOP STORIES

Justice Department Investigates Chicken Industry

The U.S. Department of Justice is pursuing a criminal investigation into the nation's chicken industry, following allegations that top poultry processors colluded to keep prices artificially high.

Justice Department lawyers are seeking a six-month halt in evidence collection in a long-running civil lawsuit against chicken processors including Tyson Foods Inc., Pilgrim's Pride Corp., Sanderson Farms Inc. and Perdue Farms Inc. Such a halt is needed to protect a grand jury investigation into the matter, lawyers from the department wrote in a motion filed Friday in federal court in Illinois.

STORIES OF INTEREST

Pigs May Travel to China to Get Their DNA Edited -- Market Talk

14:20 ET - Major US hog-farming company The Maschhoffs is considering exporting some of its breeding hogs to China to take advantage of gene-editing research there focused on developing animals resistant to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, a disease that's deadly to hogs and costly to farmers. Maschhoffs president Dr. Bradley Wolter says that the company is closely watching a partnership between hog genetics company Genus plc and Beijing Capital Agribusiness Co. to develop and market such hogs in China, which Dr. Wolter says would give pork producers there an advantage that US hog farmers might not have, if the US regulatory framework makes it too costly and cumbersome to develop similar genetic technology domestically. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Pork Industry Counting on Education in Gene-Editing Push -- Market Talk

14:30 ET - US pork producers say consumer education efforts will help shoppers and diners come to accept sausage and bacon from gene-edited hogs. Corn and soybean farmers for years have grappled with consumers skeptical of biotechnology in food, leading to the multibillion dollar non-GMO food segment. But the National Pork Producers Council says gene editing--where changes are made to animals' existing DNA, without inserting new genes--is different, and consumers will understand that, along with the potential for using less antibiotics and losing fewer animals to disease. "We have a lot of communication to do to the public," says Dan Kovich, NPPC's director of science. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Soybeans Lead Wavering Grain Futures Lower

Soybeans for July delivery reversed mild gains and fell 0.6% to $9.03 1/2 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade on Tuesday, as traders became less convinced of any incoming supply tightness despite planting delays.

Wheat for September delivery fell 0.5% to $5.40 a bushel, after rising as much as 1.2% earlier in the day.

Corn for July delivery rose 0.2% to $4.47 1/2 a bushel.

FUTURES MARKETS

Livestock Finishes Higher as Hogs Regain Some Ground -- Market Talk

15:24 ET - After hog's selloff yesterday, both hog and cattle futures on the CME posted gains today. August lean hog futures finished 2.6% higher at 76.175 cents per pound today, confirming trader suspicions that yesterday's nearly 5% drop was an overdone move. "Hogs have become heavily over-sold which was a primary reason for the higher trade," says Karl Setzer of AgriVisor. "Thoughts that Chinese imports will eventually lead to higher demand for US pork were also supportive, even if the business is not done directly with China itself." Live cattle futures, meanwhile, finished 0.8% higher at $1.03250 per pound, with Setzer calling the current cash market firm. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

CASH MARKETS

 
Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Jun 25 
 
 This report reflects U.S. pork packer processing margins. The margin indices 
are calculated using current cash hog or carcass values and wholesale pork 
cutout values and may not reflect actual margins at the plants. These 
estimates reflect the general health of the industry and are not meant to 
be indicative of any particular company or plant. 
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 
 
Jun 25       -$  1.44            +$ 29.49 
Jun 24       -$  3.83            +$ 33.34 
Jun 21       -$  6.75            +$ 31.15 
 
* 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  100.9 
      (Percent of Year-Ago)     Select   98.5 
 
USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports 

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Tuesday fell 10 cents per hundred pounds, to $219.64, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell 86 cents per hundred pounds, to $198.95. The total load count was 151. Wholesale pork prices fell $1.79, to $74.12 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
CORN FUTURES (C) - CBR (FLOOR)/C1 0.17% 436 End-of-day quote.21.13%
FEEDER CATTLE?FUTURES (GF) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 -0.07% 140.95 End-of-day quote.-4.84%
LIVE CATTLE (LE) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 -0.07% 108.15 End-of-day quote.-13.06%
SOYBEAN MEAL FUTURES (ZM) - CBE (ELECTRONIC)/C1 -0.99% 308.5 End-of-day quote.1.76%
SOYBEAN OIL FUTURES (ZL) - CBE (ELECTRONIC)/C1 -0.99% 28 End-of-day quote.2.76%
SOYBEANS FUTURES (S) - CBR (FLOOR)/C1 -0.59% 882.5 End-of-day quote.2.18%
SOYBEANS FUTURES (ZS) - CBE (ELECTRONIC)/C1 -1.58% 887.5 End-of-day quote.3.48%
WHEAT FUTURES (W) - CBR (FLOOR)/C1 -0.39% 505.5 End-of-day quote.3.92%
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