Corn futures have rallied to post 20-plus cent gains in all but some of the extreme far-deferred contracts.
- Traders are building weather premium into prices today as the market expects this afternoon's Crop Progress Report to reflect little planting progress was made over the past week and the forecast is not favorable for progress this week.
- There are near daily chances for rain in the Corn Belt this week, plus temps are expected to cool throughout the week.
- The extended forecast calls for below-normal temps to persist in much of the Corn Belt. The 6 to 10-day outlook calls for above-normal precip in Illinois and Wisconsin, while states west of there have below-average precip chances.
Soybean futures have improved to trade mostly 4 to 10 cents higher.
- Soybeans have firmed thanks to spillover from corn and friendly outside markets.
- Concerns about tight old-crop supplies as illustrated by historically strong basis levels remain an underlying source of support.
- But expectations for soybean plantings to increase from March intentions due to corn planting delays are also limiting buying interest.
- The ongoing spread of the Chinese bird flu situation is also limiting gains, as this will diminish the country's feed needs and drag down economic growth in the region.
- Steady Gulf basis levels this morning signal no export demand news is on the horizon.
Wheat futures are enjoying gains of mostly 13 to 18 cents in Chicago while Kansas City wheat is seeing lighter double-digit gains. Minneapolis is 6 to 13 cents higher.
- HRW crop quality and spring wheat planting concerns are boosting the wheat complex.
- Traders anticipate the Crop Condition Report this afternoon to reflect damage from recent freeze events. Plus, there are additional freeze chances in the forecast for the Central and Southern Plains May 2-3.
- The Wheat Quality Council's tour of the HRW crop begins tomorrow, which is also expected to remind of the poor state of the winter wheat crop.
- Meanwhile, spring wheat planting progress is expected to remain well behind the average pace, especially as the seasonal Red River Valley flooding is just beginning.
- Friendly outside markets and spillover from corn is also supportive.
- Traders are brushing off a reminder of India's plans to export more wheat this year to free up storage space. The state-run India Food Corp. invited bids to export about 950,000 MT of its wheat today.
Live cattle futures got off to a narrowly mixed start, but futures have improved to trade slightly higher in most contracts. Feeder cattle futures are moderately lower.
- Live cattle are benefiting from moderate to active cash cattle trade at mostly $128 in the Southern Plains Friday, which was up $2 from trade the week prior.
- The front-month April contract is in line with this action, but the June contract is at a $5-plus discount to cash prices. The discount summer-month futures hold to the cash index is indicative of lingering beef demand concerns.
- After getting off to a strong start last week, boxed beef market strength faded. On Friday, Choice cuts firmed $1.35 and Select values slid 7 cents. Movement was light at 145 loads. Traders will be watching this morning's report for signs of weekend clearance.
- Feeder cattle futures are being pressured by strength in the corn market.
Lean hog futures are enjoying slight gains in most contracts this morning.
- Lean hog futures are benefiting from ongoing strength in the pork market, which has given the cash market a lift.
- Cash hog bids this morning are mostly around $1 higher as supplies are tightening seasonally and packers are enjoying profitable margins.
- On Friday, the pork cutout value rose 63 cents though movement slowed to 279.9 loads.
- But gains are being limited by the hefty premium nearby futures hold to the cash hog index.