First Thing Today (VIP) -- April 25, 2014

06:34AM Apr 25, 2014
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Good morning!

Corn and wheat higher, beans mixed this morning... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading 2 to 3 cents higher, soybeans are 4 to 6 cents higher in old-crop contracts and 2 to 4 cents lower in new-crop contracts, while wheat futures are 2 to 5 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is modestly weaker this morning.

Wet and cool for the Corn Belt, hot and dry in Southern Plains... Rains and cooler-than-normal temps are expected across much of the Corn Belt from this weekend into early next week. That will slow fieldwork in most locations. Meanwhile, conditions are expected to be hot and dry with high winds across the Southern Plains this weekend. That will further stress the winter wheat crop in the region.

U.S.-Japan trade talks conclude without deal... U.S. and Japanese negotiators wrapped up talks in Tokyo without reaching an overall agreement, with autos and ag products the continued main sticking points preventing a deal. While the two sides said in a statement they identified "a path forward on important bilateral issues," there was still "much work to be done" before an overall Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal can be reached. Meanwhile, President Obama's Asian trip continued with him arriving in South Korea today. He heads to Malaysia tomorrow.

Cattle on Feed Report out this afternoon... USDA's monthly audit of feedlot activity is expected to show On Feed numbers above year-ago, but just modestly, for the first time since August 2012. Placements are also expected to be up slightly from year-ago, while Marketings are guessed under last year's level. The average pre-report guesses peg On Feed at 100.2%, Placements at 100.8% and Marketings at 96.4% of year-ago

Alberta, Canadian gov't announce funds to fight PEDV... Keeping porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) out of Alberta is the goal of CDN$1.35 million in funds that the Canadian federal and Alberta governments have agreed to expend. PEDV has been found in 30 U.S. states on more than 5,700 farms and has also turned up in Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and Prince Edward Island. So far PEDV has not been found in Alberta, which is home to 380 pork producers that raise 2.3 million head of hogs annually. The funds will be used to improve biosecurity at pig farms and facilities, according to Agriculture Minister Verlyn Olson. A similar announcement was made by the federal and Saskatchewan governments last week.

Still no active cash cattle trade... Negotiations between packers and feedlots are ongoing in the Plains, with neither side willing to give in thus far. Traders are expecting steady to slightly firmer cash prices, though active trade may not be seen until after the Cattle on Feed Report.

Pork cutout continues to slide... The pork cutout value was 24 cents lower Thursday and packers moved only 261.21 loads of product on the day. That, at least temporarily, puts on hold talk that prices had dropped far enough to encourage aggressive retailer "value" buying.

Overnight demand news... The Philippines purchased one cargo (around 55,000 MT) of Indian feed wheat. Lebanon tendered to buy 30,000 MT of optional origin milling wheat.