GRAINS SLIGHTLY LOWER OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading steady to 3 cents lower, soybeans are mostly 1 to 4 cents lower, Chicago wheat is 3 to 5 cents lower, Kansas City wheat is 4 to 7 cents lower and Minneapolis wheat is steady to 2 cents lower. The U.S. dollar index is under light pressure this morning.
HOUSE AG PANEL CHAIR LUCAS AIMS FOR MAY 15 FARM BILL MARKUP... Markup of a new farm bill is currently planned for May 15, according to House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.). He told the Washington publication Politico after meeting with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) that despite leadership urgings to delay markup, he was wanting to hold to that schedule in hopes of completing the bill. However, Lucas said he would hold listening sessions with members leading up to the planned markup.
HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER CANTOR THINKS MORE TIME NEEDED BEFORE FARM BILL MARKUP... House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told Politico he urged House Ag panel Chairman Lucas to hold off on a markup plan that would see the panel work on the bill starting May 15. His main reason: SNAP/food stamps. "I just think that we need to look at all things right now in terms of the imperative to get the fiscal situation straight." Cantor said. "Certainly there is enough body of evidence that there are error rates and there are other points in these programs that the GAO (Government Accountability Office) has consistently pointed out that we can address and actually save some money and make sure the benefits get to the people who really need them and get rid of the abuse."
JAPAN'S CORN USE CONTINUES TO DECLINE... Japan's use of corn in feed rations dropped to 42.3% in February compared to 44.6% year-ago, according to the country's ag ministry. Use of wheat, sorghum and barley in feed rations is on the rise as feedmakers seek cheaper alternatives to corn. While corn use is on the decline compared to year-ago and historical standards, corn imports and use modestly upticked in February from January.
UKRAINE GRAIN PLANTING SLOWED... Ukrainian producers have seeded only 2 million hectares of grain this spring compared to 3.6 million hectares at this time last year as cold, wet weather is slowing efforts. While spring conditions have been unfavorable, winter grain crops suffered relatively minor damage. The ag ministry says 500,000 hectares of winter grains will need to be reseeded compared to 2 million hectares last year.
CATTLE ON FEED REPORT OUT THIS AFTERNOON... Based on pre-report guesses, traders look for On Feed at 93.9%, Placements at 99.1% and Marketings at 93.5% of year-ago. With an 11-percentage-point spread on the range of guesses for Placements, that category will be the primary focal point.
STILL WAITING ON CASH CATTLE TRADE... Packers and feedlots remain several dollars apart on bids and asking prices in the Plains, suggesting active cash cattle trade won't likely happen until late today unless feedlots are spooked into moving cattle earlier. But with feedlots current on marketings, they appear to be in no rush to sell cattle at lower prices.
PORK MARKET CONTINUES TO FIRM... The pork carcass price continued to rise Thursday, while movement was solid. With the pork product market firming and packer margins strengthening, it's hoped cash hog bids will firm next week, especially with market-ready supplies tightening. But cash hog bids are expected to be mostly steady across the Midwest today.
OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Tunisia tendered to buy 67,000 MT of optional origin soft milling wheat.