LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

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Cattle Futures Stabilize on Cash Prices -- Market Talk

14:57 ET - Cattle futures are mixed after an early selloff. The USDA said late last week that cattle placements in September rose 13% from a year earlier, well above expectations. Futures initially fell sharply as traders prepared for larger supplies next year. But resilience in the cash-market for slaughter-ready cattle helped offset some pressure. Cash prices last week averaged at $111 per 100 pounds live and $175 dressed, the USDA said, steady from a week earlier. CME October live cattle futures fell 0.1% to $1.11525 a pound while later months rose. Feeder cattle futures recovered from an initial selloff to close steady to lower. CME December lean hog futures, meanwhile, retreated 2% to 63.525 cents a pound as prices failed to hold at recent multiweek highs. (benjamin.parkin@wsj.com; @b_parkyn)

STORIES OF INTEREST

Grain Futures Bounce, Soybeans Follow

Grain futures rose Monday as traders positioned for a rebound in those markets.

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The Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Friday that hedge funds increased wagers that corn and wheat prices would fall. Money managers increased their net short position in wheat futures and options by 15% to 77,692 contracts as of last Tuesday, with a net short position of 170,684 corn futures and options.

The Family Farm Bulks Up

COLBY, Kan. -- Lon Frahm may represent the future of farming. Inside a two-story office building overshadowed by 80-foot steel grain bins, he points to a map showing the patchwork of square and circular fields that make up his operation. It covers nearly 10% of the county's cropland, and when he climbs into his Cessna Skylane to check crops from the air, he can fly 30 miles before reaching the end of his land. At 30,600 acres, his farm is among the country's vastest, and it yields enough corn and wheat each year to fill 4,500 semitrailer trucks.

Big operations like Mr. Frahm's, which he has spent decades building, are prospering despite the deepest farm slump since the 1980s. Years of low prices for corn, wheat and other commodities brought on by a glut of grain world-wide are driving smaller American farmers out of business.

FUTURES MARKETS

Pork Belly Stocks on the Rise, USDA Says -- Market Talk

15:25 ET - Meatpackers are rebuilding stocks of pork bellies, according to USDA data, easing a shortage of the cut that prompted a price surge earlier this year. Stocks of bellies in commercial freezers in September rose to 20.9M pounds, up 9% from a month earlier but still 17% below the same time last year. Belly stocks have been at record lows for much of this year, as American consumers' appetite for bacon outpaced production. But broader pork supplies are growing amid larger slaughter numbers and herd sizes. Total frozen pork stocks rose 7% to 616.3M pounds in September from a month earlier. Frozen beef supplies, meanwhile, rose 2% to 487.8M pounds. (benjamin.parkin@wsj.com; @b_parkyn)

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn Hog $2.00 Higher At $39.00 - Oct 23

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market today are $2.00 higher at $39.00 per hundredweight. Sow prices are $2.00 higher. Sows weighing under 450 pounds are $29.00-$30.00, 400-450 pounds are at $29.00-$30.00, 450-500 pounds are $29.00-$30.00 and those over 500 pounds are $31.00-$33.00.

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 - Oct 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

*

Oct 23 +$16.56 +$ 31.77

Oct 20 +$16.28 +$ 31.49

Oct 19 +$15.27 +$ 28.52

* 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 112.0

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 113.9

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Monday fell 61 cents per hundred pounds, to $199.25, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell 9 cents per hundred pounds, to $191.05. The total load count was 86. Wholesale pork prices rose 13 cents, to $75.18 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 23, 2017 17:59 ET (21:59 GMT)