Corn futures have seen choppy trade this morning. Old-crop corn is around 2 to 3 cents higher and new-crop is mostly 2 to 5 cents lower.
- Corn futures are seeing some bull spreading activity this morning.
- A warming trend in the Corn Belt has the market optimistic farmers will make major strides in planting ahead of rain the latter half of the week.
- Also, the 6- to 10-day outlook for normal to above-normal temps and normal to below-normal precip for most of the Corn Belt is favorable for planting.
- Pressure is being limited by yesterday's crop progress data that showed just 12% of the corn crop was planted and 3% of the crop was emerged, compared to the five year average of 47% and 15%, respectively. This is the slowest planting pace in nearly 30 years.
- Gulf corn basis rose 2 cents for August delivery this morning and was steady for other months.
Soybeans have seen trade on either side of unchanged this morning, but futures are currently fractionally to 5 cents higher in most contracts, with nearbys leading gains.
- Soybeans are seeing some light short-covering this morning as the market works to process the likely outlook for corn planting and how this will effect bean acres.
- Yesterday's USDA crop progress data reflected a very slow start to corn planting, but warmer, drier conditions in the Corn Belt the first part of the week and a more favorable 6- to 10-day outlook has some optimistic planting will soon ramp up.
- But significant rain in the forecast the latter half of this week and the fact that mid-month is next week adds some uncertainty about how many intended corn acres will be seeded.
- Meanwhile, tight supplies continue to support old-crop futures.
- But buying interest is also relatively light due to the availability of South American supplies.
Wheat futures are choppy at all three locations this morning. Chicago wheat is favoring the upside.
- The corn market's move into positive territory returned some light buying interest to wheat.
- The market is also being supported from a reminder of the poor state of the winter wheat crop. As of Sunday, the amount of winter wheat rated "poor" to "very poor" rose 4 percentage points from the week prior to 39%, while the amount of wheat rated "good" to "excellent" fell 1 percentage point to 33%.
- Plus, spring wheat planting continues to lag the average pace at just 23% complete, compared to 82% complete at this time last year and 50% for the five-year average.
- But some are optimistic the improved forecast will help planting to rapidly advance this week and the next.
- Light support also stems from news Ukraine's spring grain output may decline by up to 30% if rains do not fall over the next two weeks.
- But countering this are expectations Western Australia's wheat crop could rise 16% over year-ago to 8 MMT.
Live cattle futures are posting slight losses in early trade. Feeder cattle futures are moderately to sharply lower.
- Cattle futures are seeing some followthrough selling after the market's low-range close yesterday.
- A slide in the boxed beef market both in terms of prices and movement are supporting ideas a near-term top is in place. Notably slow movement has also stirred some concerns that Memorial Day buying by retailers may be wrapped up.
- Softer boxed beef prices also support ideas packers may have the advantage in this week's cash cattle negotiations. Trade last week took place at prices of mostly $128 to $130, hitting record highs in many locations.
- But this week, showlist estimates are sharply higher in Nebraska and steady to slightly higher in other locations.
- Strength in the corn market is adding pressure to feeder cattle futures.
Lean hog futures are off to a choppy start this morning.
- Buying interest in the lean hog market is being limited by ideas red meat demand may be slowing seasonally as retailers wrap up Memorial Day buys.
- But selling interest is also being limited by expectations pork will have an advantage this grilling season over historically high-priced beef.
- Packers are cutting in the red, which translated to mixed cash market action yesterday and expectations for mostly steady action today amid limited demand.
- The pork cutout value slid 7 cents yesterday and movement was light at 317 loads.
- Light pressure also stems from the around $3 premium the front-month contract holds to the cash hog index with a week remaining until its expiration.