What Traders are Talking About:
Overnight highlights: As of 6:45 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading 1 to 2 cents lower, while soybeans and wheat are narrowly mixed. Based on overnight price action, grain and soy futures are expected to open with a mixed tone in light and choppy trade at 8:30 a.m. CT. Cattle futures are expected to open with a mixed tone, while hog futures are seen open steady to weaker.
* Corn acres declining? The cold, wet start to spring is triggering talk that not all intended corn acres will get seeded this year. Pro Farmer crop consultant Dr. Michael Cordonnier calls USDA's 97.3-million-acre figure in the Prospective Plantings Report a "high-water mark" for corn acreage. The area most at risk is the Upper Midwest as snow is still an issue through the Dakotas and Minnesota and flooding will likely be seen once the snow melts. Producers in the region are already saying via social media they intend to cut back on corn plantings from March intentions, with some indicating as much as a 50% reduction. Meanwhile, producers in the South are also worried it's getting late to plant corn. That could cause some of those intended acres to be switched to other crops, likely soybeans. While cold, wet conditions are pushing back field work in the heart of the Corn Belt, planting delays are not a major concern -- these acres will eventually get planted. Producers are more concerned about the impact planting date will have on yields.
The long and short of it: While some producers are talking about reducing corn plantings from March intentions, the market is not concerned at this point. That may change if there's very little planting progress in the Corn Belt by May 1, which seems likely.
* More hits to HRW crop. Mother Nature continues to take bites out of the HRW crop, with the latest being a round of hail and heavy winds through areas of the Plains overnight. While the affected area is believed to have been relatively small, it's still another hit against a portion of the crop. More stormy conditions are forecast through HRW country today and there's potential for sub-freezing temps the next two mornings. Given the persistent adverse weather through the Plains, there is increased talk of some producers ripping up wheat in favor of other crops.
The long and short of it: It's hard to kill a winter wheat crop, but Mother Nature seems to be taking her best shot at it this year. Obviously, not all of the HRW crop will be lost, but production prospects are being trimmed with each hit the crop takes.
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