Corn futures are 6 cents higher in the front-month contract, with deferred contracts mostly 4 to 5 cents lower.
- After trading lower earlier, July corn futures are rallying on short-covering and given the tight supply situation.
- Funds started the month of June by lightening their long corn positions. This is again weighing on the market today, despite ongoing corn planting delays.
- USDA yesterday reported that corn planting was 91% complete as of Sunday, leaving roughly 8.76 million acres unplanted. These acres will likely either be claimed as prevent plant, switched to soybeans or suffer yield loss due to the late planting date.
- Remaining acres are unlikely to be seeded soon as rain is moving back into the western Corn Belt today.
- The first corn crop condition rating of the year from USDA pegged the crop at 7% "poor" to "very poor" and 63% "good" to "excellent," which compares to 5% and 72%, respectively, in these categories last year.
- The Pro Farmer weighted Crop Condition Index showed the crop rated at 371 points (0 to 500 point scale), down roughly 10 points from year-ago.
- A penny slide in Gulf basis for June delivery this morning raises export demand concerns.
Soybean futures are posting losses of 5 to 16 cents this morning, with new-crop leading the decline.
- Traders are taking advantage of yesterday's strong gains and strength in the U.S. dollar index by booking some profits.
- But otherwise, selling interest is limited as traders have been focusing more so on slow soybean planting than on the likelihood some corn acres will be switched to soybeans.
- As of Sunday, 57% of the bean crop was seeded, compared to 74% on average.
- More rains moving into the Midwest signal producers are unlikely to make much planting progress this week.
- Gulf soybean basis fell 5 cent for immediate delivery and is steady to 3 cents lower for other months this morning.
Wheat futures got off to a choppy start at all three locations, and bulls have since taken modest control. Futures are fractionally to 3 cents higher.
- A reminder of deteriorating HRW wheat conditions and slow planting progress for the spring wheat crop have given bulls an edge.
- Spillover from corn and soybeans along with strength in the U.S. dollar index are limiting buying interest in the wheat market.
- Both the HRW and SRW wheat crop condition ratings declined last week, according to the weighted Pro Farmer Crop Condition Index.
- Meanwhile, the first spring wheat condition ratings of the season came in 25.21 points below year-ago at 363 points according to our Crop Condition Index (scale of 0 to 500).
- Spring wheat planting rose a measly 1 point over the last week to 80% complete, compared to 92% on average. Just 64% of the North Dakota wheat crop is seeded, compared to 89% on average.
- Buying interest is being limited by the ongoing USDA investigation of the GMO wheat finding and uncertainties with the situation.
Live cattle futures are off to a narrowly mixed start. Feeder cattle futures are slightly higher.
- Early expectations for this week's cash cattle trade are for steady to $1 lower prices compared with last week's $124 action in the Southern Plains and at $125 to $126 in Nebraska.
- But as nearby futures are already at a steep discount to these prices, pressure is limited.
- The boxed beef market got off to an unimpressive start yesterday, with Choice boxed beef values falling 48 cents and Select down $1.76 on movement of 177 loads.
- Plus, packers' profit margins have dropped nearly $40 since late May, though they remain in the black.
- Showlist estimates are up slightly in Texas, Kansas and Colorado, but they are down 6,000 head in Nebraska.
- Weakness in the corn market is encouraging light short-covering in feeder cattle futures.
Lean hog futures are enjoying slight to moderate gains in early trade.
- Lean hog futures are enjoying some corrective short-covering today amid ideas losses were overdone yesterday .
- Supplies are tightening seasonally, which has kept the cash hog market mostly steady despite negative cutting margins for packers.
- But some packers are cutting back their kill hours in an effort to improve margins.
- The pork product market has recently softened a bit as chilly, wet weather is not ideal for summer grilling. The pork cutout value yesterday rose 15 cents, but movement was relatively light at 275.7 loads.
- Buying enthusiasm in the front-month contract is being limited by its nearly $2 premium to the cash hog index and strength in the U.S. dollar index.