CORN AND BEANS LOWER, WHEAT MIXED OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading 4 to 7 cents lower, soybeans 9 to 16 cents lower, Chicago wheat 1 to 4 cents lower, Kansas City wheat narrowly mixed and Minneapolis wheat 4 to 6 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is firmer this morning.
NEW FARM BILL TIMELINE DEPENDS ON WHAT HAPPENS ON COMING MIN-CLIFF ISSUES... Despite some farm-state lawmaker signals that new farm bill work will begin in late February, developments outside the ag panels will be more important. That is because the Ag Committees will likely be told how much money to save over ten years as part of coming negotiations dealing with a series of sensitive issues -- the late-February need to hike the debt ceiling and the March 1 deadline for the recent two-month postponement of across-the-board spending cuts. Also, there will likely be a new farm bill budget baseline.
DIFFERING VIEWS ON ACRE SITUATION FOR 2013 CROPS… The one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill means that direct payments, counter-cyclical payments and the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program will continue. But there remains some debate over whether the extension means producers already enrolled in ACRE would be in the program for the 2013 crop year or whether they could opt out of the program. Some contacts say they believe producers could get into ACRE if they have not already, but could not drop out of the program if they were previously in it. However, others note no decisions have been made on this front and that a final reading on this will depend on USDA's interpretation of the farm bill extension.
EGYPT WELL BOUGHT AHEAD ON WHEAT, BUT STILL WATCHING FOR DEALS... Egypt's official wheat buyer says it has secured, through foreign purchases and domestic supplies, enough wheat to last through June 17. The country will, however, continue to monitor the international market and make foreign wheat purchases if prices are favorable.
LIGHT POST-HOLIDAY BEEF MOVEMENT... Packers moved only 148 total loads of boxed beef Wednesday coming out of the New Year's Day holiday. Unless boxed beef movement picks up, packers may resist paying steady to firmer cash bids compared with last week's $127 trade in the Plains as they have fresh contract supplies to pull from and cutting margins are deep in the red.
CASH HOGS SEEN STEADY/FIRMER... Packer demand for cash hogs was solid Wednesday, suggesting pork plants were short-bought on supplies coming out of the holidays. As a result, cash sources are expecting steady to firmer cash bids again today. But the 92-cent decline in the pork cutout value yesterday combined with the steady to firmer cash hog bids pushes packer cutting margins deeper into the red.
WEEKLY EXPORT SALES DELAYED... Due to Tuesday's holiday, weekly export sales for the week ended Dec. 27 are delayed until Friday morning.
OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Kuwait purchased 30,000 MT of corn and 30,000 MT of barley -- both likely South American origin.