Corn futures are enjoying gains around 2 to 4 cents in early trade.
- Corn futures are being boosted by light short-covering amid ideas the downside was overdone yesterday. A weaker U.S. dollar index is also encouraging to that end.
- While the forecast is more favorable for farmers getting in the field, they have yet to get much seed in the ground and an entire growing season stretches ahead.
- And tight old-crop supplies emphasize the importance of a large 2013 crop. Historically strong basis levels around the country are indicative of this.
- Gulf corn basis is steady for April and May delivery and up a penny for June delivery this morning.
Soybean futures are roughly 3 to 6 cents lower in all but the lead-month contract, which is mildly firmer.
- While selling interest in May futures is being limited by concerns about tight supplies, new-crop contracts are seeing more selling pressure due to more favorable crop prospects after recent rains.
- There are also concerns that the spread of H7N9 bird flu will cause additional drag on China's economy and slow its its feed needs.
- Tomorrow's export sales report will give the market a better read on the state of exports for U.S. soy products. Pre-report expectations point to still-strong demand.
- Statistics Canada says Canadian producers intend to plant 19.133 million acres to canola, which came in below expectations of 20.3 million acres.
- USDA announced an unknown destination purchased 116,000 MT of new-crop soybeans. So far this week, USDA has announced daily sales totaling 682,000 MT, with all but today's sales being attributed to China.
Wheat futures have softened to post losses of mostly 3 to 5 cents in Chicago while Kansas City and Minneapolis wheat are narrowly mixed.
- Light pressure stems from Statistics Canada data indicating producers plan to plant 26.618 million acres to wheat in 2013, which topped expectations and represents a 12.3% increase over last year.
- As expected, Ukraine has lifted its ban on wheat exports. Volume is not expected to exceed 200,000 MT, 80,000 MT of which is already in ports.
- But selling interest is being limited by ongoing concerns about the slow start to spring wheat planting and the poor condition of the HRW wheat crop.
- Temperatures again dipped into the 20s as far south as the northern Texas Panhandle overnight.
Live cattle futures are off to a moderately to sharply higher start. Feeder cattle futures are sharply higher.
- Live cattle futures are enjoying followthrough buying today amid optimism the boxed beef market may be working on a near-term low. But in light of recent beef demand struggles, a fair amount of uncertainty exists.
- Yesterday, Choice boxed beef values improved 63 cents and Select values rose 11 cents and movement was solid at 179 loads.
- Cash cattle prospects are also highly uncertain as packers have yet to place bids. While the boxed beef market has given some signs of improvement and the forecast is more favorable for grilling, showlist estimates are up this week and packers are dealing with negative cutting margins.
- Last week, trade took place at mostly $126 to $127, with sales in Texas at mostly $126 and in Kansas at $126.50.
- Feeder cattle futures are rallying despite a firmer tone in corn amid ideas the downside has been overdone.
Lean hog futures are slightly higher in the front-month contract while deferred contracts are mostly moderately higher.
- Lean hog futures are benefiting from ideas the pork market has put in a near-term low as both prices and movement have improved over the past week.
- Yesterday the pork cutout value rose $1.11 and movement surged to 481 loads.
- Pork strength has widened packer profit margins. Nevertheless, packers are keeping bids mostly steady today as most are well supplied for near-term needs.
- Average hog weights in Iowa and southern Minnesota ticked up 0.6 lbs. for the week ended April 20 compared to the week prior.
- Buying in the May contract is being limited by the $7-plus premium it holds to the cash hog index.