Corn futures are 4 to 8 cents higher at midday.
- Planting delays and spillover buying from both wheat and soybean futures prompted by rising tensions in Ukraine have corn futures firming in morning trading.
- Corn is supported by concern about planting delays, as cold temps are forecast to follow multiple days of precip and severe weather over the weekend. Multiple freezes are possible from the northern Corn Belt to the Central Plains.
- The NWS 6- to 10-day forecast is also concerning as it calls for below-normal temps and above-normal precip in the eastern Belt.
- Adding to concerns, International Grains Council (IGC) lowered its 2014-15 global corn production forecast by 11 MMT from last month to 950 MMT, citing corn planting delays in the U.S. This would be a 15 MMT reduction from 2013-14.
- But traders are reluctant to build in a large weather premium at they realize there is still plenty of time to get the crop seeded.
- Ukraine's grain exports climbed to 29.13 MMT as of April 25, according to the nation's ag ministry.
- Spot basis at interior market is reportedly steady and has attracted some farmer selling of old-crop corn. But Gulf basis bids are cited as weaker.
- News yesterday that corn export shipments last week of more than 1.621 MMT were the highest in at least 24 years (when publication of this data began) continues to provide support for old-crop contracts.
Bull-spreading is back, with old-crop soybeans up 15 to 20 cents while new-crop are fractionally to 4 cents higher.
- Bull spreading is the dominant factor this morning as the grain and soybean futures see buying support coming from increasing tensions in the Ukraine.
- Continuing tight old-crop supplies, despite some recent news of export problems with China, are keeping old-crop contracts strong. The continuing unfavorable corn-planting weather has some traders looking for a potential rise in soybean plantings, which is pressuring new-crop versus old-crop contracts.
- The market is also responding positively to news Bunge's CEO says defaults on soy purchases by China due to negative crushing margins should last just two to three months.
- The market is currently ignoring reports two more shipments of Brazilian soybeans are headed to the U.S., realizing this news is expected and USDA has already boosted import projections in anticipation of this.
- Interior soybean basis bids are cited as steady and Gulf bids are listed as firm.
Wheat futures are higher, with double-digit gains being posted in the bulk of the contracts across all three flavors of wheat.
- Continuing dry conditions in HRW wheat country along with rising tensions in the Ukraine has futures surging this morning.
- The Southern and Central Plains are expected to receive rain and severe weather over the weekend, but forecasters expect the moisture to be followed by a blast of cold air, including freeze events on the Central Plains.
- And the NWS 6- to 10-day forecast calls for below-normal precip across the Central and Southern Plains.
- The forecast for below-normal temps on the Northern Plains following cool conditions and some rain this week are expected to continue to slow spring wheat planting.
- While escalating tensions in the Black Sea region are boosting futures prices, Ukraine's ag ministry reports grain exports have advanced to 29.13 MMT this week as shipments remain uninterrupted.
- IGC lowered its global wheat production estimate for 2013-14 by 3 MMT to 697 MMT. This would be down 12 MMT from 2013-14.
- Gulf wheat basis bids are weaker today.
Live cattle and feeder cattle futures are slightly to moderately ahead ahead of this afternoon's USDA report.
- Position evening ahead of this afternoon's Cattle on Feed (COF) Report has futures trending higher in late-morning trading.
- Traders expect USDA to report On Feed at 100.2%, Placements at 100.8% and Marketings at 96.4% of year-ago levels.
- Traders are also looking for at least steady cash cattle trade this week even though showlists are up in the Northern Plains. Showlists are estimated down on the Southern Plains this week.
- Bids stand at $142 in Texas and Kansas while asking prices are $148 or higher. The wide spread signals trade may not take place until after the COF report.
- Gains in wholesale beef prices have turned packer margins into the black for the first time in quite some time, which may boost their bids.
- But Choice boxed beef is 73 cents lower this morning while Select beef is unchanged. Movement improved this morning at 79 loads, however.
- Feeder cattle futures are following live cattle futures higher with several contracts posting new contract highs.
May lean hogs continue to trade sharply lower while summer contracts are more than $1.00 lower. Fall and winter contracts are narrowly mixed.
- May futures are under pressure today as traders work to narrow the steep premium it carries to the cash hog index, which is weaker today.
- Profit-taking is the primary feature in other contracts today as fundamentals again favor the bears.
- The wholesale pork trade weakened again this morning, with the cutout losing 61 cents. More disappointing is the slow movement, a week-long trend, at just 109.33 loads.
- Packers are facing negative margins as a result of the decline in wholesale prices. But cash bids are mostly steady today.