DTN Early Word Opening Livestock

Midweek Meat Futures Geared for Mixed Opening

John Harrington
By  John Harrington , DTN Livestock Analyst
(DTN file photo)

Cattle: Steady Futures: Mixed Live Equiv: $141.34 - .53*

Hogs: Steady Futures: Mixed Lean Equiv: $ 69.91 - .09**

* based on formula estimating live cattle equivalent of gross packer revenue

** based on formula estimating lean hog equivalent of gross packer revenue


Cattle buyers and feedlot managers should start to give the cash market better definition. Opening bids should start out around $105 to $107 on a live basis with asking prices around $111. Live and feeder futures seem set to open on a mixed basis as traders cautiously anticipate the development of cash business.

Look for hog buyers to resume business at midweek with generally steady bids. Fundamentals seem to be stabilizing, at least for the moment. Processing remains very attractive, and yet weekly chain speed will be naturally slowed to some extent. Saturday kill plans are anticipated to total close to 108,000 head. Lean futures should also open on a mixed basis thanks to bear-spreading and profit-taking.


Beef salesmen keep enjoying impressive longer-term demand for boxed product. Last week's comprehensive boxed beef report indicated that 1,560 loads were sold with delivery specs of 22 days or more (the largest weekly total since late June).


Besides the existence of showlists, some larger than last week, cattle buyers are carrying smaller shopping lists given the reduced slaughter schedule waiting after Labor Day.


Combined beef export sales outstanding and shipments have been aggressive enough that total commitments as of the thirty-third week of the year have exceeded the cumulative 2017 export total by 6.5%.


Interest in beef end cuts is expected to emerge between the Labor Day holiday and emerging support on the middle meats, but price advances are expected to be modest at best, limited by larger competing meat supplies.


This was the last week for the majority of pork product pulls for the holiday preparations and a few items are now finding interest at these low levels. The interest comes as export markets are finding 20% to 30% discounts on many items and are willing to help clear some product at these levels.


Excitement over the new trade agreement between Mexico and the U.S. didn't have much of a shelf-life in the lean hog futures market. Many hog contracts quickly reversed on Tuesday. Weakening cash hog prices and faltering wholesale pork product values continue to overshadow the market.


Seaboard Triumph Foods has targeted mid-October as the full startup of a second shift at the Sioux City pork plant. Barring further delays, this addition in slaughter and processing (a full second shiftshould add another 10,000 to the plant's total capacity) will help manage the large production wave of 2018.


Pork buyers are staying short bought, which requires the current fresh product to find immediate homes. Hogs were able to pull some weight off last week, but the cooler temperatures are already starting to set in at night, bringing the heat stress worries to a close. Hogs are expected to gain weight, week-over-week throughout September.


CATTLE: (Courthouse News) -- A company that sells plant-based meat products and a nonprofit that advocates for those culinary alternatives challenged a Missouri law Monday that restricts organizations like theirs from using the term "meat" to describe their products.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Missouri on Monday by The Tofurky Company and the Good Food Institute alleges that a state statute violates their rights to due process and commercial free speech.

The 22-page complaint states that the statute "criminalizes truthful speech by prohibiting 'misrepresenting' a product as 'meat' if that product is 'not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry.'"

The penalty for violating the statute, which goes into effect Tuesday, is incarceration of up to one year as well as a fine of up to $1,000.

The language of the law was originally proposed by the Missouri Cattlemen's Association and presented to state Sen. Sandy Crawford for introduction. The intention is to prohibit plant-based meat and clean meat companies from marketing their products as "meat" analogues or using the term "meat" in the advertising, labeling or packaging of their products.

After being championed by three lawmakers whom the complaint claims have strong ties to the animal agriculture industry, the language of the statute was eventually folded into an omnibus agriculture bill sponsored by state Sen. Brian Munzlinger, a member of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association.

The plaintiffs said they feel that the legislation is aimed at commercially harming the plant-based meat and clean meat industries and seeks to restrict their speech in order to protect the conventional meat industry from competition.

"Americans don't like censorship, and they don't like the government picking winners and losers in the marketplace," said Bruce Friedrich, executive director of the Good Food Institute, in an emailed statement. "We're confident that the court will overturn this anti-competitive and unconstitutional law."

Plant-based meats like the types Tofurky produces and advocates approximate the texture, flavor and appearance of conventional meats from slaughtered animals. These meat alternatives are typically made from soy, tempeh, wheat, jackfruit, textured vegetable protein or other vegan ingredients. One can find many of them in almost any grocery store, as well as in restaurants and other retailers.

In a news release Monday, Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells stated that "As more and more consumers are making the conscious choice to remove animals from their plates, Missouri is putting its thumb on the scale to unfairly benefit the meat industry and silence alternative producers."

In the complaint, the plaintiffs argue that consumers are not going to be bamboozled by their products' packaging and will not mistake them for conventional meat.

"The marketing and packaging of plant-based products reveals that plant-based food producers do not mislead consumers but instead distinguish their products from conventional meat products while also describing how these plant-based meat products can fulfill the same roles conventional meat has traditionally played in consumers' meals," the complaint states.

The plaintiffs point out that there are already state and federal regulations prohibiting misrepresentations in the marketing of food products. One such example is a Missouri law that prohibits "false or misleading statement[s]" in the promotion of goods for sale.

A law prohibiting such common-sense terminology, the plaintiffs said, will severely disadvantage their products in the marketplace. The complaint affirms that the plaintiffs "cannot accurately and effectively describe their products without comparison to the conventional meat products they are designed to replace."

The lawsuit names Mark Richardson, the Cole County prosecuting attorney as a defendant. Representatives from the Cole County prosecutor's office could not be reached Monday evening after business hours for comment.

HOGS:(Pig Progress) -- African Swine Fever (ASF) has been confirmed on Romania's largest pig breeding farm where 140,000 animals are being culled.

The virus was confirmed on the farm, which consists of 3 adjacent properties in the southern county of Braila, after water samples were sent to the authorities.

Romania's national veterinary authority ANSVSA's office in the affected region confirmed the outbreak on the farm owned by the Romanian company Tebu Consult.

Gicu Dragan, from the Bucharest Diagnostic and Animal Health Institute, said: "The Bucharest Diagnostic and Animal Health Institute confirmed the existence of the ASF Fever virus at Tebu Consult, the 2nd largest farm in Europe."

He continued to say, "I sent the samples to the national reference laboratory on Friday morning and the results confirmed the existence of the virus, and on Monday we will go to the euthanasia of the pigs on this farm."

Mr Dragan said the farms had been using water sourced from the nearby River Danube in the pig houses. The official added that reports suggest some smallholders had been dumping dead pigs into the Danube which may have caused the ASF to be spread by river water.

He added: "We've been focusing on mainland and the virus might have emerged from the waters."

Around 100,000 pigs have, so far, been culled in Romania with hundreds of cases confirmed in backyards, smallholdings and several larger farms in the south of Romania.

John Harrington can be reached at harringtonsfotm@gmail.com

Follow him on Twitter @feelofthemarket


John Harrington