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World Food Prices Down 1.3% in August Due to Cheaper Grain, Sugar, Meat

LONDON--World food prices fell in August due to less expensive cereals, sugar and meat prices, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization said Thursday.

The FAO's food price index fell by 1.3% last month from July, up 6% on its August 2016 level.

The cereal price index dropped 5.4% from July, with fears over hot, dry weather across North America, Europe and Australia giving way to cooler, wetter weather and a return to a focus on high global supplies, further boosted by increased Black Sea production during August. Rice prices, meanwhile, were steady, the U.N. body's report said.

Monsanto Ratchets Up Weedkiller Defense -- Market Talk

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15:36 ET - Monsanto (MON) steps up its defense of the potent weedkiller dicamba, calling on Arkansas' governor to block any proposal by state agricultural officials that would prohibit the herbicide from being sprayed on crops next year. In a letter to Gov Asa Hutchinson and a petition filed with state pesticide regulators, Monsanto criticizes state task force that last month recommended dicamba be barred after April 15 next year, saying members ignored evidence showing it can be used without damaging neighboring fields. Monsanto is defending dicamba, which can be paired with the company's new genetically engineered soybean seeds, as Arkansas and other states have fielded hundreds of farmer complaints that the chemical has drifted and withered other nearby crops. An Arkansas State Plant Board spokeswoman had no immediate comment. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Food Makers Still Hope for Digital GMO Disclosure -- Market Talk

14:44 ET - The Grocery Manufacturers Association, the trade group represents most major food makers, said that consumer education will be vital in implementing disclosures of the use of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in food through digital links like QR codes. The USDA report issued today found that using digital links to disclose GMOs poses a disadvantage for low-income consumers, rural residents and people over age 65, because of the technological challenges, logging a win for consumer activists who have been pushing for written disclosure. But the GMA noted that the report concludes by stating that "most consumers would be able to access this information given the proper education and tools," not ruling out digital links which the labeling bill passed by Congress allowed in place of written disclosure. (annie.gasparro@wsj.com)

STORIES OF INTEREST

Nestle to Buy Sweet Earth Foods, California Maker of Plant-Based Foods

Nestle SA has acquired Sweet Earth Foods, a maker of plant-based foods like "harmless ham" and "benevolent bacon," its latest effort to respond to rapidly changing consumer tastes.

Buying the 6-year-old Moss Landing CA company gives Nestle a foothold in the small but promising market for plant-based foods, which it expects will reach $5.3 billion worldwide by 2020. The acquisition comes less than three months after Nestle said it had bought a stake in subscription-meals company Freshly, which sells healthy, prepared meals to consumers across the U.S.

FUTURES MARKETS

Hog Futures Tumble; Cattle Prices Rise

Hog futures fell over 3%, undoing a rally earlier this week, while cattle futures rose.

Some of the momentum came as traders reversed bets that hog prices would rise and cattle would fall, said Jason Britt, president of Central States Commodities in Kansas City, Mo., by selling their long hog positions and buying out of cattle shorts.

The cash cattle trade has been slow to get going this week, however. Meatpackers and feedlots have mostly clashed horns over prices. Not many cattle have changed hands since the online Fed Cattle Exchange auction on Wednesday morning, at which 125 head sold for $1.63 a pound on a dressed basis.

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn Hog Steady At $40.00 - Sep 7

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market today are steady at $40.00 per hundredweight.

Sow prices are $2.00 lower. Sows weighing under 450 pounds are $38.00-$40.00, 400-450 pounds are at $38.00-$40.00, 450-500 pounds are $38.00-$40.00 and those over 500 pounds are $42.00-$44.00.

The day's total run is estimated at 150 head.

Prices are provided by the Central Livestock Association.

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Sep 7

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Sep 7 +$42.74 +$47.34

Sep 6 +$43.26 +$49.25

Sep 5 +$42.94 +$51.98

* 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 101.0

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 101.9

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Thursday fell 80 cents per hundred pounds, to $192.13, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell 51 cents per hundred pounds, to $190.16. The total load count was 152. Wholesale pork prices fell 89 cents, to $82.42 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 07, 2017 17:42 ET (21:42 GMT)