Corn futures retreated Wednesday ahead of a bumper crop with ideal weather and as harvest progress keeps pace with the five-year average. FSA acreage reported this morning shows planted (and failed) corn acres at 84.811 million acres compared to USDA value reported in the Oct WASDE of 88.4 million, in line with the historical difference largely explained by non-enrolled farmers. The crop progress report showed the corn crop harvest at 42% complete, compared to 27% last week and the 43% five-year average while the corn condition rating stayed steady from last week at 68%, compared to 74% last year. Brent crude and gold were higher, and the dollar was lower. December corn futures moved 5.5 cents lower to $3.79/bushel Wednesday, while March lost 5.75 cents to $3.8975.
Soybean futures pulled back Wednesday on some profit-taking after jumping 3% to two-month highs Tuesday on multiple indicators showing Chinese demand for the oilseed remains strong. China has bought 955,000 tonnes of 2015/16 U.S. soybeans since Oct 1. Also, weekly export data showed September Chinese soybean imports grew 44.3% year-over-year to 7.26 million tonnes, helping traders shrug off the idea that Chinese demand is contracting. Soybean harvest was reported at 62% complete in Tuesday’s crop progress report. The NOPA crush estimate for Thursday’s report came in at 129.24 million bushels, marking what analysts feel may be the largest Sep crush since 2007. November soybeans moved 3.5 cents lower to $9.105/bushel Wednesday, while December soyoil lost 0.04 cents to 28.83 cents/pound and December meal dropped $2.1 to $315.8/ton.
The wheat complex moved nearly 2% lower Wednesday, erasing the 2% gains from Tuesday. Dry weather in the U.S. plains and in the Black Sea wheat planting regions helped drive the surge in wheat, however, forecasts for beneficial rains in both the U.S and Russia/Ukraine added pressure to the wheat trade, already characterized by ample supply and poor exports. The winter wheat crop was reported at 64% planted Tuesday afternoon, compared to 49% last week and the 66% five-year average. The December CBOT wheat futures were 10.75 cents lower at $5.0825/bushel Thursday, while Dec KC wheat lost 10.0 cents to $5.0075, and December MWE fell 10.5 cents lower to $5.3625.
Live cattle futures corrected lower Wednesday for the third straight day after rising sharply last week and early this week as cash beef prices begin to make a comeback. Record-heavy weight cattle seem to have worked through the market, putting the glut in supply more in balance with demand. Boxed beef cutouts jumped higher again Wednesday with choice up 2.35 to 210.81 and select up 2.01 to 205.35. Cattle slaughter so far this week was at 336,000 head, compared to 331,000 head last week and 335,000 head this time last year. December cattle lost 0.04 cents to 137.42 cent/pound Wednesday, while February cattle fell 0.25 cents to 139.50 cents/pound. November feeder cattle moved 0.22 cents higher to 180.82 cents/pound, while January feeders lost 0.40 cents to 180.82 cents/pound.
Nearby hogs firmed again Wednesday while the deferred months also weakening again. Cash hogs were 1.45 higher to 71.40. The trade still expects that the seasonal demand shift lower and supply shift higher will bring cash hogs lower but that has yet to materialize. Nearby hog futures continue to trade at a significant discount to cash. Hog slaughter so far this week is 1.264 million head, compared to 1.301 million last week and 1.283 million this time last year. December hog futures lost 0.87 cents to 66.82 cents/pound Wednesday, while April hogs dropped 0.77 to 72.80.
ICE Cotton futures traded mixed Wednesday after moving 3% higher Tuesday. Weekly cotton crop condition ratings fell 1 point lower than last week to 47% good to excellent and cotton progress came in at 22% versus the 25% five-year average. While the lower rating gave a boost to futures, the damage to crops from southeast rains appeared to be less than expected. The move higher Tuesday was prompted by lower than expected supply data and on news in the soy complex that highlighted Chinese demand is still alive and well, despite recent setbacks in the financial markets. December cotton futures lost 0.06 cents to 63.76 cents/pound, while May cotton gained 0.04 cents to 64.02.