Corn faced pressure at the start of the day session, but futures have since improved to trade slightly lower in old-crop futures and 1 to 4 cents higher in new-crop.
- Corn futures initially saw some profit-taking after yesterday's strong limit-move up. But this quickly faded amid concerns about a slow start to planting.
- As of Sunday, USDA reports just 5% of the nation's corn crop was planted -- the slowest pace since 1984. This is especially concerning considering the forecast for continued cold and wet weather over the near-term.
- Gulf corn basis has softened by 3 cents for immediate delivery and by 1 to 2 cents for June and July delivery, respectively. This signals the price rally has spurred farmer selling.
- Also limiting gains is news an unknown destination bought 120,000 MT of grain sorghum for 2013-14. This signals importers are continuing to seek alternatives to U.S. corn.
Soybean futures are 1 to 5 cents higher with old-crop futures leading gains.
- Soybean futures are enjoying mild followthrough buying as traders even positions for month-end and even their spreads with the corn market.
- Tight old-crop supplies remain an underlying source of support.
- But otherwise, buying interest is limited today as a slow start to corn planting signals some acres will likely be switched to soybeans.
- Also, Gulf soybean basis softened 3 cents for immediate delivery this morning. Basis for early May shipment fell 10 cents after surging 20 cents yesterday. This signals an increase in farmer selling.
Wheat futures opened the day session under pressure but they have since improved to mixed trade at all three locations.
- Futures initially saw profit-taking this morning following yesterday's sharp gains, but this faded amid production concerns.
- USDA data yesterday reflected the amount of wheat rated "very poor" increased 2 percentage points last week while the amount of wheat rated "good" declined by 2 percentage points.
- Freezing temps in the forecast this week signal more deterioration may lie ahead.
- Crop scouts with the Wheat Quality Council's tour of the HRW Wheat Belt began sampling this morning. Disappointing results (likely) could help firm the market.
- Plus the spring wheat planting pace at just 12% complete remains well behind 37% on average and 70% complete last year.
- Delivery intentions on the first notice day for May wheat futures of 604 lots topped expectations. This signals supplies are sufficient, limiting gains.
Live and feeder cattle futures are enjoying slight gains in early trade.
- Live cattle futures are benefiting from early signs that feedlots may have the advantage in this week's cash cattle negotiations. Last week, sales took place at mostly $128.
- For one, showlist estimates are tighter at all locations this week.
- Also, the boxed beef market got off to a decent start. Choice and Select values surged $1.90 and $1.79, respectively, yesterday though this slowed movement to just 134 loads.
- But negative profit margins for packers and uncertainty about how consumers will respond to high beef prices in the face of a slow-growing economy add some uncertainty.
- Feeder cattle futures are enjoying corrective short-covering, though gains in the corn market are limiting gains.
Lean hog futures are enjoying slight gains in early trade.
- Ongoing improvement in the product and cash hog markets is encouraging additional buying in lean hog futures.
- The pork cutout value rose another 14 cents yesterday, though movement slowed to 287.1 loads. Traders are optimistic that relatively inexpensive pork stands to benefit this grilling season due to higher taxes and gas prices for most Americans.
- Seasonally tightening supplies are keeping cash hog bids steady to higher again today. Packers have seen margins tighten, however, which could limit their willingness to pay up for supplies.
- But gains are being kept in check by the steep premium the May contract holds to the cash hog index.