LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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JBS Says Sale of Assets in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay Suspended by Court Ruling--Update

SAO PAULO -- Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA's planned sale of assets in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay was suspended Wednesday by a court ruling.

JBS said in a regulatory filing that it will appeal the ruling. The company had no further comment.

Tyson Studying Alternate Chicken-Slaughter Methods -- Market Talk

15:38 ET - As Tyson Foods (TSN) looks for ways to improve the meat company's treatment of its animals, it will test a new way of killing chickens. That method is called "controlled atmosphere stunning," which kills birds by removing oxygen from the air, and is regarded by some animal welfare advocates as preferable to the more typical practice of hanging chickens upside down by their feet, electrically stunning them into unconsciousness and then cutting their throats. Justin Whitmore, TSN's chief sustainability officer, says TSN will explore whether the method creates "better outcomes for the animals," and how much it may cost to do at large scale. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

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STORIES OF INTEREST

Tyson Using More Cameras in Sustainability Push -- Market Talk

10:27 ET - Tyson Foods (TSN) outlines further steps to improve its treatment of chickens destined to become nuggets, patties and wings at the meat company's US processing plants. Part of a broader campaign to improve its sustainability and consumer brand, Tyson says it will expand video monitoring of its chicken plants, which will be analyzed by off-site auditors working for a company called Arrowsite. Tyson has also expanded its team of full-time animal welfare specialists to about 60, including one at every processing plant handling live hogs, cattle or chickens. Justin Whitmore, Tyson's newly named chief sustainability officer, says the moves won't impact Tyson's cost structure. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

CFTC Charges Traders with Cattle-Futures Rustling -- Market Talk

13:31 ET - The top US futures market regulator charges a Memphis-based brokerage and several officials with manipulating the US cattle-futures market, which has drawn scrutiny for outsized price swings in recent years. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission files and settles charges against McVean Trading & Investments, where regulators say executives placed bets that live cattle contracts would rise, and then got cattle feedlots to add additional positions through "swap agreements" that circumvented exchange limits on futures positions. That falsely gave the impression of "wide investor interest" in the contracts, potentially influencing their price, according to the CFTC. McVean neither admitted nor denied the CFTC's findings and says it's glad to have resolved the matter. Expect continued calls from ranchers and brokers to further revamp rules for the market, run by CME Group (CME). (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

FUTURES MARKETS

Cattle Futures Slide; Hogs Touch Year-High

CHICAGO--Cattle futures fell on Wednesday as prices in the day's cash trade slid from previous weeks.

Beefpackers bought around 450 head of cattle for an average of $1.23 a pound at Wednesday morning's online Fed Cattle Exchange auction. That was several cents a pound lower than cash trades last week, while prices on the Fed Cattle Exchange earlier in June averaged as much as $1.39 a pound.

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn Hog $1.00 Higher At $55.00 - Jun 21

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market today are $1.00 higher at $55.00 per hundredweight. Sow prices are $4.00-$5.00 higher. Sows weighing under 450 pounds are $41.00-$43.00, 400-450 pounds are at $41.00-$43.00, 450-500 pounds are $41.00-$43.00 and those over 500 pounds are $46.00-$48.00.

The day's total run is estimated at 200 head.

Prices are provided by the Central Livestock Association.

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Jun 21

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 21 +$21.89 +$ 85.07

Jun 20 +$17.85 +$ 81.48

Jun 19 +$14.34 +$ 75.76

* 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 111.8

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 109.8

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Wednesday fell $1.57 per hundred pounds, to $245.42, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell 98 cents per hundred pounds, to $218.90. The total load count was 142. Wholesale pork prices rose $1.67, to $99.97 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 21, 2017 17:42 ET (21:42 GMT)