Corn futures were mostly higher. May and July futures led the gains as the market remains concerned about tight old-crop supplies. Farmer selling is also expected to slow as planting ramps up. USDA reported national planting progress at 3% complete, compared to 2% a year ago and for the five-year average. This was a few points below trade expectations. May corn settled 3 1/4 cents higher at $6.58 1/4 and December settled 1/2 of a cent higher at $5.45 1/2.
Soybean futures settled lower on Tuesday. Soybean prices experienced their first correction following the powerful gains of the past two trading sessions. The cash market was softer as some farmers decided to cash in on the price gains that had lifted futures back over the $14 per bushel benchmark. But there were more bullish production reports from South America where private firms reduced forecasts for both Brazil and Argentina. May futures closed 4 1/4 cents lower at $14.16 3/4 and November was off 6 1/2 cents at $13.78 3/4.
Wheat futures closed mixed Tuesday. Much improved crop condition ratings and forecasts for favorable weather in the Plains states outweighed a slight risk of frost to soft red winter wheat in parts of the northern Midwest early next week. USDA’s first weekly national crop progress report for the season was issued Monday and showed spring wheat planting progress well ahead of normal. Texas wheat conditions showed a slight setback, while Oklahoma’s continued to improve and Kansas held steady. And for all three states, crop condition ratings are far better than they were a year ago at this time. CBOT May closed 1 cent higher at $6.58; KCBT May was unchanged at $6.90 and MGE May wheat was 1 cent higher at $8.50 1/4.
Cattle futures were lower. The market turned attention back to concern over lagging beef demand and increasing supplies after Monday’s short covering rally. Beef prices were mixed at midday, but that wasn’t enough to support futures which fell to new 9 month lows. Light cash trade was reported in the southern Plains at $121 to $122 down $3 to $4 from last week. June cattle futures were 77 cents lower at $116.02 and August was $1.10 lower at $119.15.
Lean hog futures closed lower on Tuesday. Weakness in cash market fundamentals is keeping traders on the sidelines, at least for now. Demand for pork usually picks up after Easter and hog supplies typically decline. These factors should lead to higher hog prices, but until there is evidence that cash prices are actually increasing, hog futures prices will continue to struggle. The April contract closed at $84.03, down 70 cents. June was 53 cents lower falling to $91.65.