LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES

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Tyson: Slow Down on Slow Growing Chicken Talk -- Market Talk

10:18 ET - Top US poultry processor Tyson Foods (TSN) isn't racing to follow food companies and retailers like Whole Foods (WFM) who want to shift their chicken supply to slower-growing birds, a response to animal welfare concerns around chickens that have been bred to gain weight as rapidly as possible -- which has sometimes led to health problems among flocks and quality issues with meat. "It's easy to say that's a solution," says Tyson CEO Tom Hayes. "We believe differently, that there's a way to solve for animal health" without sacrificing efficiency in feed and water use, which can go up as chickens' lifespan extends. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

STORIES OF INTEREST

Brazil Graft Probe Targets President, Markets Drop Amid Impeachment Talk -- 5th Update

BRASÍLIA -- Brazil's President Michel Temer is under investigation in connection with a sprawling corruption scandal, the country's Supreme Court said Thursday, as opponents called for his impeachment and financial markets plunged in Latin America's biggest country.

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McDonald's Removes Artificial Vanilla From Soft Serve -- Market Talk

10:10 ET - McDonald's (MCD) has replaced the artificial vanilla flavoring in its vanilla soft serve ice cream with natural vanilla. The change affects the soft serve in its cones, shakes and McFlurry desserts in the US. The treat already contained no artificial colors or preservatives. It's the latest change MCD has made to improve the quality of its food. The chain has removed artificial preservatives from its chicken nuggets, announced plans to switch to cage-free eggs by 2025 and to serve chicken not treated with certain antibiotics. (julie.jargon@wsj.com)

Big Food Necessary to Feed the World, Tyson Says -- Market Talk

09:53 ET - Tyson Foods (TSN), in the midst of a multi-year pivot from meatpacking colossus to a major packed-foods player, is trying to thread the needle between being a top food conglomerate and capturing consumers who've warmed to naturally raised, sustainable, and locally grown fare--in other words: not Big Food. CEO Tom Hayes says you need companies with TSN's scale to translate those notions to a global population projected to reach 9.7B by 2050. "The world's problems are not going to be solved by backyard farms," Hayes tells an audience at a Chicago event. "Big Food has the potential to do tremendous good." (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; jacobbunge)

FUTURES MARKETS

Livestock Futures Swing Higher in Volatile Session

CHICAGO--Cattle futures rose Thursday after bouncing off lows made earlier in the day.

Live cattle contracts opened lower at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange only to reverse course. CME June live cattle futures closed 0.4% higher at $1.22925 a pound. Feeder cattle contracts rose.

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn Hog $2.00 Higher At $47.00 - May 18

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market today are $2.00 higher at $47.00 per hundredweight.

Sow prices are steady. Sows weighing under 450 pounds are $43.00-$45.00, 400-450 pounds are at $43.00-$45.00, 450-500 pounds are $43.00-$45.00 and those over 500 pounds are $47.00-$49.00.

The day's total run is estimated at 100 head.

Prices are provided by the Central Livestock Association.

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - May 18

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

May 18 +$27.50 +$55.89

May 17 +$24.70 +$54.32

May 16 +$21.99 +$52.17

* 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 109.7

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 104.8

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Thursday fell 96 cents per hundred pounds, to $247.21, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell 27 cents per hundred pounds, to $221.66. The total load count was 114. Wholesale pork prices rose 73, to $86.40 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 18, 2017 17:35 ET (21:35 GMT)