GRAINS MOSTLY FIRMER OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are narrowly mixed, soybeans are 3 to 7 cents higher, Chicago wheat is around 2 cents higher, Kansas City wheat is 3 to 6 cents higher and Minneapolis wheat is steady to 4 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is anchored near unchanged this morning.
HOUSE PANEL CLEARS FARM BILL AFTER LENGTHY MARKUP... The House Ag Committee late Wednesday approved their version of a new farm bill 36-10, with only two Republicans opposing the plan, following nine hours of debate throughout the day on key policy issues including nutrition spending, dairy policy and food regulation. The biggest debate took place over nutrition cuts, with the panel thwarting an effort to remove the $20.5 billion reduction in the SNAP (food stamp) program. Dairy was another hot-button item with the panel rejecting an effort to remove the supply management concept from the bill. The current sugar policy remains intact. The House bill does not include the Senate's mandatory funding for rural renewable energy and biofuel programs. A country-of-origin labeling amendment was withdrawn in the House debate, similar to Senate action. Language in the House bill would require EPA to consult with USDA on regulations that could significantly affect agriculture, with USDA analyzing the impact of the regulations. An approved amendment would bar states from setting production standards for foods brought in from other states -- the language is aimed at blocking California and other states from imposing standards such as regulations on the size of hen cages that farms in other states must meet.
FARM BILLS NOW AWAIT SENATE, HOUSE FLOOR ACTION... Now that the Senate and House Agriculture panels have cleared their versions of the farm bill, floor debate and votes are next. The Senate begins that process next Monday. The House has not officially set a floor debate date, but GOP leaders have signaled they want a June debate and the farm bill completed by the July Fourth recess. The Senate is widely expected to clear the measure. House floor action is more murky, with key issues ahead focused on food stamp funding and dairy policy, with Republican leaders showing a keen interest in both topics.
RUSSIA'S GRAIN BELT IN NEED OF RAIN... Hot and dry conditions are threatening crops across Russia's key grain production regions, according to the Federal Hydrometeorological Center. If the conditions persist, it would make the 95 MMT grain crop forecast from Russia's ag ministry look optimistically high. But some private forecasters are calling for rain chances through the region the next two weeks.
WEEKLY EXPORT SALES REPORT OUT THIS MORNING... For the week ended May 9, traders expect: corn sales between 200,000 and 550,000 MT; wheat sales between 200,000 and 500,000 MT; soybean sales between 200,000 and 600,000 MT; soymeal sales between 25,000 and 150,000 MT; and soyoil sales between 0 and 15,000 MT.
BOXED BEEF PRICES CONTINUE TO SURGE... Choice boxed beef prices continue to charge higher, finishing up $1.98 at $207.95 yesterday. More importantly, movement improved to 195 total loads, the largest daily movement since last Wednesday, when Choice boxed beef prices were $3.28 lower than today. While traders remain concerned the boxed beef market is putting in a top, the trade data signals the market is strengthening.
PORK CUTOUT ALSO STRENGTHENING... The pork cutout value rose another 75 cents Wednesday and movement improved to 532.4 loads. We've got to believe the recent surge in boxed beef prices is having a positive impact on the pork product market, as pork still looks cheap compared to current beef prices.
OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... South Korea purchased 55,000 MT of Brazilian food-grade corn and 10,000 MT of Chinese non-GMO soybeans. Japan purchased 147,620 MT of wheat in its weekly tender, including 84,722 MT of U.S. supplies. Japan also tendered for 120,000 MT of feed wheat and 200,000 MT of feed barley. Bangladesh bought 50,000 MT of optional origin wheat.