Corn futures have improved to trade 4 to 8 cents higher in old-crop futures while new crop is steady to slightly lower.
- Light bull spreading continues as tight supplies lift old-crop contracts.
- Prospects of warmer temps in the Corn Belt has the market optimistic planting progress will be made ahead of the rain forecast for later 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 late morning rose 1 cent for immediate delivery, 5 cents for June delivery, 2 cents for July, and 3 cents for August and September delivery, signaling demand news may be on the horizon.
Soybeans have rallied to post double-digit gain in old-crop contracts, while new-crop is mostly 5 to 9 cents higher.
- Short-covering in the bean market is picking up amid ideas the downside has been overdone, especially considering uncertainty about corn planting prospects.
- 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. Traders expect USDA to peg carryover at 124 million bu. on Friday -- down 1 million bu. from April.
Wheat futures have firmed to trade 2 to 6 cents higher in Chicago, while Kansas City is mixed with an upside bias and Minneapolis is up 2 to 3 cents.
- 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 continue to post slight to moderate losses in all but the front-month, which is slightly higher. Feeder cattle futures are moderately to sharply lower.
- Cattle futures are seeing some followthrough selling after the market's low-range close yesterday.
- A recent slide in the boxed beef market both in terms of prices and movement has given rise to ideas a near-term top may be in place for the market.
- But this morning, Choice cuts did firm 16 cents and Select values rose 69 cents. Movement was again relatively light, however at 76 loads.
- Recent softness in boxed beef movement along with higher showlist estimates are supporting ideas that cash cattle trade will likely take place at prices steady to lower prices compared with last week's $128 to $130 action.
- Strength in the corn market is adding pressure to feeder cattle futures.
Lean hog futures are steady to slightly higher ahead of midday.
- Buying interest in the lean hog market is 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.
- This morning, the pork cutout value rose 29 cents and movement picked up to 182.3 loads.
- Packers are cutting in the red, which is keeping bids mostly steady today.
- Buying interest for nearby contracts is also being limited by the $3 premium the front-month contract holds to the cash hog index with a week remaining until its expiration.