LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES

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Nafta Posturing Takes Bite Out of Agriculture Markets

Agriculture markets, already in a fallow period, could have even rockier times ahead.

U.S. agricultural commodities with important trade relationships with Canada and Mexico - including corn, wheat, soybeans and lean hogs - are facing renewed concern about President Donald Trump's intentions for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Such a move could prove risky for U.S. farmers by opening the door to new tariffs. Canada and Mexico are the second and third biggest destinations, respectively, for goods from U.S. farms, taking in a combined $38 billion worth last year.

STORIES OF INTEREST

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Wheat Futures Rise on U.S. Snow and Rain

CHICAGO--Wheat futures rose Friday as concern about crop damage supported a rally in the grain.

The Commodity Weather Group said 20% of the winter wheat crop in the western U.S. Plains was at risk of damage as a cold snap this weekend brings snow to the region.

5 Pre-Fab Chicken Coops That Aren't for the Birds

If You're looking to join the ranks of the urban dwellers and suburbanites who raise chickens in their own backyards, consider these helpful guidelines from the literature: A chicken coop should ideally face east. The right dimensions are 10 feet long, half that width, and about 4 feet high. The coop will need a large window, with a protective grate to exclude predators. On opposite walls, attach nesting boxes and perches. Enclose a run and the birds will frolic and bathe themselves in dust. Finally, a coop should include a door -- a human-scale door -- for the gallinarius to enter.

FUTURES MARKETS

Cattle Futures Rally as April Contract Expires

CHICAGO -- Cattle futures jumped on Friday, extending an April rally as beef prices rise.

The April live cattle contract hit $1.38 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange before expiring, with the CME June contract gaining 2.1% to close at $1.24025 a pound.

Hedge funds have piled into cattle futures positions, with open interest soaring to record levels, on the back of optimism about plentiful demand for beef this summer. Funds have been taking cues from meatpackers, who paid as much as $1.40 a pound for cattle on the cash market this week.

CASH MARKETS

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Apr 28

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Apr 28 +$31.50 +$ 29.30

Apr 27 +$31.82 +$ 27.34

Apr 26 +$33.09 +$ 26.74

* 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 103.2

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 101.0

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Friday rose $2.63 per hundred pounds, to $221.78, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose $1.00 per hundred pounds, to $207.68. The total load count was 130. Wholesale pork prices rose 91 cents, to $74.03 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 28, 2017 17:33 ET (21:33 GMT)