LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

TOP STORIES

Darden Reports 1Q Profit Even as Sales Remain Down

Darden Restaurants Inc. brought back its dividend even though demand remained weaker in its latest quarter across its portfolio of restaurants due to the challenges of the pandemic. The operator of Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and other outlets said Thursday profit fell for its fiscal-first quarter that ended Aug. 30 to $36.1 million, or 28 cents a share, from $170.6 million, or $1.37 a share, the year earlier.

Agriculture Groups Call for Coronavirus Help, Warn of Risks for Workers -- Market Talk

1616 ET - The agriculture industry appealed to the Trump administration for help securing resources to deal with the spread of coronavirus among farm employees and rural communities. Dozens of farm groups in a letter to the White House coronavirus task force called for the ability to use FEMA trailers or RV's to house and quarantine agricultural workers, as well as access to additional testing. The groups said that in some regions, results from coronavirus tests can take nearly two weeks, boosting the risk of disease spread and potentially delaying farm productivity. Agricultural workers have been among those most affected by the virus in major US farm states, and the groups warned that "the agricultural workforce remains at heightened risk of infection." (jesse.newman@wsj.com; @jessenewman13)

Farm Groups Press for Covid Vaccine Priority -- Market Talk

12:47 ET - The agriculture industry is arguing for priority as Covid-19 vaccine tests advance. In a letter Thursday to the White House coronavirus task force, farm groups including the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union say that vaccine allocation must be prioritized for the "food and fiber supply chain," saying their industry is critical to US safety and wellbeing. The US government plans to start shipping out Covid-19 vaccines within 24 hours of any FDA approval, federal officials said last week. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

STORIES OF INTEREST

Kellogg Reducing Food Waste By Donating, Switching Uses

Kellogg Co. said Thursday that since 2016, it has reduced its total organic waste by 13.4% and total waste per pound of food produced by 5.7%. The food company said that in 2019, just 1.1% of food handled across its manufacturing operations went unused globally, which was provided to local food banks and farmers for animal feed.

IGC Cuts Corn Production Forecasts by 6 Million Metric Tons

The global corn harvest will be smaller than expected next year, the International Grains Council said Thursday, as it lowered its forecast for the global grain harvest. The intergovernmental body lowered its predictions for the 2020-21 corn harvest by 6 million metric tons to 1.16 billion tons. The reduced figure was due to smaller-than-expected harvests in the U.S., China, and the EU, which outweighed an upward revision to forecast for Argentina and Brazil.

FUTURES MARKETS

Livestock Futures Close Mixed -- Market Talk

15:01 ET - Livestock futures trading on the CME closed mixed -- with the most-active hog futures contract closing down 1.7% to 63.275 cents per pound, while cattle futures rose 1% to $1.12275 per pound. Export sales of US pork were relaxed in this week's report, totaling 37,800 metric tons -- down 25% from the same time last week. China was not the main buyer this week, with Mexico purchasing 15,000 tons. However, pork cutout prices are higher over the course of the past five days, rising 2.5% in that time period. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com, @kirkmaltais)

CASH MARKETS

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Sep 24

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date     Standard Margin       Estimated margin
         Operating Index         at vertically -
                             integrated operations

Sep 24       +$ 55.26            +$ 69.75
Sep 23       +$ 46.05            +$ 62.52
Sep 22       +$ 45.26            +$ 62.07

* 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  109.4

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Thursday rose $1.61 per hundred pounds, to $217.48, according to the USDA. Select- grade prices rose 14 cents per hundred pounds, to $207.74. The total load count was 123. Wholesale pork prices rose $ 3.36, to $91.51 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.


  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  09-24-20 1756ET
  Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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