LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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TOP STORIES

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Meatpackers Seek to Speed Processing Plants

U.S. chicken companies slaughter and process about 170 million chickens each week. They want to do it faster.

Meatpackers are seeking U.S. Department of Agriculture approval to raise processing-line speeds by about 25%, aiming to keep pace with growing domestic and international demand for poultry. The National Chicken Council, which represents poultry companies, said in a petition filed this month that would mean processing 175 birds a minute or more, up from most plants' current limit of 140.

Chicken Plants Would Take Time to Rev Up -- Market Talk

16:18 ET - Though the poultry industry for years has sought to run its processing lines faster than the USDA currently allows, it would likely take time for it to ramp up if the current cap is raised. Sanderson Farms (SAFM) CEO Joe Sanderson told investors on a conference call in May that chicken companies would first need to build up their breeder flocks to supply enough birds to fulfill the additional processing capacity, while also adding hatchery space and modifying plant operations to accommodate the faster speeds. "It would take a year to do that," Sanderson said at the time. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

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STORIES OF INTEREST

JBS Shuffles Assets Amid Scandals -- Market Talk

8:27 ET - As Brazilian meat company JBS moves to streamline its assets amid bribery and food-safety scandals, Pilgrim's Pride (PPC) said it is buying JBS's European poultry company Moy Park for $1B. PPC, which is also majority owned by JBS, says the move is expected to generate $50M in cost savings a year. JBS has been shedding assets and renegotiating its debt to finance its legal fees. Last week, JBS sold its paper-pulp business for about $4.8B and recently agreed to sell flip-flop maker Alpargatas, owner of the Havaianas brand, and dairy company Vigor Alimentos. PPC shares, up 53% so far this year, were inactive premarket. (imani.moise@wsj.com; @MoiseNoise)

Hog Plants Could Hasten Processing, Too -- Market Talk

11:02 ET - As chicken companies seek USDA approval to run their processing plants faster, the pork industry may look to catch up. USDA is preparing to publish a proposed rule aiming to modernize hog slaughtering and processing oversight, which the pork industry expects would allow plants to process 1,300 hogs an hour, up from most plants' current limit at 1,100. In meetings over the rule in recent months, consumer groups and worker-safety advocates have warned against such a move, though pork industry officials have argued that safety can be maintained and animal welfare laws governing humane slaughtering practices would still apply. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

FUTURES MARKETS

Cattle Futures Mixed as Traders Search for Seasonal Bottom

Cattle futures drifted lower at the start of the week as traders consolidated after recent gains.

The cattle market last week "found good demand on ideas that the cattle market has finally reached a delayed seasonal low," said Chicago-based research firm AgResource in a note to clients. "The beef market finally showed indications of stabilizing."

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn Hog $3.00 Lower At $37.00 - Sep 11

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market today

are steady at $37.00 per hundredweight.

Sow prices are $7.00 lower. Sows weighing under 450 pounds are $31.00-$33.00,

400-450 pounds are at $31.00-$33.00, 450-500 pounds are $31.00-$33.00 and

those over 500 pounds are $35.00-$37.00.

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 - Sep 11

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Sep 11 +$47.21 +$ 45.81

Sep 8 +$44.05 +$ 45.53

Sep 7 +$42.74 +$ 47.34

* 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 101.3

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 104.2

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Monday fell 32 cents per hundred pounds, to $191.56, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose 41 cents per hundred pounds, to $190.38. The total load count was 155. Wholesale pork prices rose 31 cents, to $81.71 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 11, 2017 17:23 ET (21:23 GMT)