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Cattle Futures Tumble From 9-Month High on Possible Plant Strike

Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Cattle futures fell from a nine-month high on speculation that workers at a JBS SA-owned plant in Colorado will strike, slowing production of U.S. beef. Hogs declined.

JBS, the world’s largest beef producer, said it is in talks with 3,000 workers to form a new labor contract. The plant in Greeley, Colorado, slaughters 5,200 head of cattle a day, according to the company. The workers are prepared to strike if negotiations break down, according to a statement on the United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 7 website.

The possible strike is “short-term bearish” because the plant will buy fewer animals, Steve Georgy, a vice president at Allendale Inc. in McHenry, Illinois, said in a telephone interview. “If you’re going to have this whole big glut of cattle that can’t go anywhere, that’s why it’s negative.”

Cattle futures for December delivery fell 1.1 percent to close at $1.31775 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after reaching $1.34, the highest for a most-active contract since Jan. 16.

Feeder-cattle futures for November settlement slid 0.6 percent to $1.666 a pound, heading for the first weekly drop in six.

Hog futures for December settlement declined 0.4 percent to 88.45 cents a pound on the CME. The contract has rallied 10 percent since the end of July.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dalton Barker in Chicago at dbarker40@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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