Livestock prices robust, but several unknowns bear watching

With robust markets and lower feed costs, many Iowa hog and cattle farmers are enjoying some of their best margins in years early in 2014. But there are several unknowns in the market, such as the effect of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), consumer buying patterns and possible competition from poultry, all of which have the potential to put a dent in those margins, a commodity market analyst said last week.

"I really think you have to play a disciplined game these days in livestock and stay pretty conservative," Dale Durchholz, a senior market advisor for AgriVisor, said last week during a...

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