LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES

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Poultry Giants Breed More Birds -- Market Talk

15:57 ET - Robust demand for chicken at grocery stores and restaurants has US meat companies boosting their breeding flocks, to supply a larger number of chickens destined for processing plants. But industry giants like Tyson Foods (TSN), Pilgrim's Pride (PPC) and Sanderson Farms (SAFM) continue to see a lower-than-normal percentage of those eggs successfully hatch, with overall hatchings down 8.3% in July, and the number of eggs per laying hen declining for the seventh month in a row, according to a JPMorgan research note. Chicken companies are tweaking feed ingredients and cycling in younger birds to help boost productivity, and Sanderson executives are likely to field questions on the topic when the company hosts a quarterly results call Thursday. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

McDonald's Pledges To Cut Out Key Antibiotics In Chicken Supply In 2018 -- MarketWatch

McDonald's Corp. (MCD) pledged Wednesday to cut down on the use of antibiotics in its chicken supply worldwide in 2018. From January 2018, McDonald's will stop serving broiler chicken treated with antibiotics defined as important to human medicine in the U.S., Brazil, Canada, South Korea and Japan. It will keep the antibiotic Colistin in its chicken in Europe. By the end of 2019, it will be cut out that antibiotic in its broiler chicken supply in Europe and turn its attention to Australia and Russia. By January 2027, the plan is to eliminate those antibiotics in broiler chicken in the rest of its designated markets. McDonald's has also been working to cut out the use of key antibiotics in beef, dairy cows, pork and laying hens. Shares of McDonald's were down less than 1% Wednesday afternoon. Shares of McDonald's have gained 3% in the past month, while the S&P 500 has lost 1%. -Caitlin Huston

STORIES OF INTEREST

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Health Care Costs Keep Older Farmers Working -- Market Talk

13:04 ET - Low crop prices and incomes are hastening older farmers' exit from the business, though the high cost of health care means many can't afford to retire altogether. Mark Bernard, a Minnesota agronomist, says a multiyear farm slump that's meant mounting losses is pushing older growers in his state give up farming their own land, though many must find other work in order to cover the cost of health insurance. "It's that 55 to 64 age bracket that really gets clobbered," Bernard says, adding that retired farmers are finding work driving trucks or helping other growers plant or harvest their crops until Medicare kicks in. (jesse.newman@wsj.com; @jessenewman13)

Corn Futures Tumble; Soybeans Mixed on Exports, Biodiesel

Corn futures sunk to fresh lows on better-than-expected field reports from Midwestern crop scouts.

Scouts in the Farm Journal Midwestern crop tour forecast a corn yield of 171.23 bushels per acre for Indiana and 165.42 in Nebraska on Tuesday, both above the three-year average for those states.

FUTURES MARKETS

Cattle Futures Fall on Larger Beef Stocks

Cattle futures fell after a government report showed rising stocks of beef.

Most-active October live cattle contracts fell 1.4% to $1.06175 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday, while feeder cattle futures were also lower.

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn Hog $2.00 Lower At $46.00 - Aug 23

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market today are $2.00 lower at $46.00 per hundredweight. Sow prices are steady. Sows weighing under 450 pounds are $50.00-$52.00, 400-450 pounds are at $50.00-$52.00, 450-500 pounds are $50.00-$52.00 and those over 500 pounds are $55.00-$57.00.

The day's total run is estimated at 225 head.

Prices are provided by the Central Livestock Association.

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Aug 23

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

*

Aug 23 +$33.76 +$ 58.19

Aug 22 +$31.99 +$ 59.76

Aug 21 +$33.56 +$ 63.27

* 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 95.6

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 97.7

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Wednesday fell 70 cents per hundred pounds, to $192.33, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell $1.42 per hundred pounds, to $189.47. The total load count was 159. Wholesale pork prices fell 73 cents, to $87.47 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 23, 2017 17:25 ET (21:25 GMT)