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Livestock markets dip slightly from INS raids

Agriculture.com Staff 12/13/2006 @ 10:27am

Livestock markets are handling Tuesday's Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) raids on the Swift meatpacking plants better than expected, analysts said.

Adam Frick, Allendale livestock specialist, said the hog market was hit the hardest on Wednesday early.

"We were down a little this morning on follow-through from yesterday as well as cash hog trade being down $1.00-$1.50 per hundred weight. The futures industry didn't take a look at the Swift news too much," Frick said.

Frick added, "The lean hog futures prices are down $2.00 per hundred weight, but they would be down this much without the INS raids."

The INS raided four beef plants and two pork plants owned by Swift, in search of illegal immigrants working under false identities.

Going forward, the livestock trade will be watching to see if the lost processing numbers will be made up with a weekend kill, Frick said.

On Wednesday, Swift & Co. officials reported all six beef and pork plants operated at reduced output levels on Tuesday. There was no word on what levels the plants were operating at on Wednesday.

"Swift fully expects to run a Saturday kill to make up all of the plant downtime in the hog plants," Frick said.

Dan Vaught, AG Edwards said there is no doubt Swift is handicapped on employment, but the market isn't reacting to the news. "Realistically, I'm not sure this is going to have a sustained impact on the market," Vaught. "We would assume Swift would be getting all available personnel on the job before the weekend."

With the industry operating on tight short-term supply, it will be easy for Swift to get aggressive on the weekend, Vaught said. "We've seen slaughter rates, in the last three of four weeks, fall below last year. Even before yesterday's events, I was anticipating a year-to-year decline this week."

Meanwhile, as of mid-morning, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle future's prices were higher. Feeder prices are up in reaction to lower corn quotes. Dec cattle are up 2 points at 85.75 cents per pound. Jan feeders are up 42 points to 98.85 cents.

Livestock markets are handling Tuesday's Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) raids on the Swift meatpacking plants better than expected, analysts said.

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