Corn and wheat weaker, beans firmer this morning... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading around 2 cents lower, soybeans are 1 to 3 cents higher in old-crop contracts and 4 to 6 cents higher in new-crop contracts, while wheat futures are mostly 2 to 4 cents lower. The U.S. dollar index is holding near unchanged this morning.
February S&D Report out this morning... Traders are expecting USDA to increase its export forecasts for corn, soybeans and wheat, and for that to trim old-crop carryover projections for all three in the monthly Supply & Demand Report. The average pre-report guesses put corn carryover at 1.606 billion bu., soybean carryover at 143 million bu. and wheat carryover at 602 million bushels. Much of the global focus will be on South American soybean and corn crop estimates.
Federal Reserve testimony and CBO hearing are the focus in Washington this week... Testimony from new Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen on Tuesday and Thursday, and a hearing on Congressional Budget Office (CBO) baseline projections are the primary topics of the week ahead in Washington. The House will conclude its legislative week on Feb. 12 so that House Democrats can attend their issues retreat in Cambridge, Maryland. House Republicans held their retreat Jan. 29-31. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the House may consider a measure that would increase the borrowing authority of the U.S. to avoid a default on its debt. For agriculture, today's monthly Supply & Demand Report will capture most of the attention. Other items to watch from USDA include an update on farm income on Tuesday, the long-term baseline projections on Thursday along with the Weekly Export Sales Report.
Farm program signup via new farm bill will come later and last into the summer... USDA is now focusing on farm bill implementation matters. Initial focus is on livestock indemnity payments and working out what regulations are needed for public comment. As we previously reported, farmer signup for safety net programs will likely begin no earlier than April and extend well into summer. Meanwhile, USDA has until this fall to get a new dairy safety net program in place.
NCC: U.S. cotton plantings expected to rise 8.2%... The National Cotton Council's (NCC) annual survey of producers signals they plan to plant 11.261 million acres to cotton, up 8.2% from 10.407 million acres last year. Assuming a yield of 819 lbs. per acre, NCC projects cotton production at 16.37 million bales this year.
Wholesale beef prices must stabilize before cash market bottoms... While cash cattle prices were lower in the Plains again last week, packers weren't able to get supplies bought as low as they hoped. As a result, there's some hope the cash cattle market has put in a short-term low. But boxed beef prices likely need to stabilize first and that hasn't happened yet.
Cash hogs called steady/firmer... Packers are expected to open the week with steady to firmer cash cattle prices across the Midwest. With margins still solidly in the black, packers have incentive to fill up kill lines, but weather continues to make their task difficult. More inclement weather forecast for this week will make hog movement difficult.
Weekend demand news... Exporters reported no tenders or purchases.