Corn slipped to fresh 2015 lows Monday morning. Weather forecasts point to a sustained Midwest dry spell into early May, which could allow spring corn plantings to vault ahead, thereby potentially improving autumn yield prospects. Concerns about the bird flu outbreak and its impact upon feed grain demand also encouraged early-week selling, with the net effect being a corn futures drop to fresh 2015 lows. May corn futures slid 2.5 cents to $3.62/bushel late Monday morning, while December lost 4.0 to $3.8425.
Good export news seems to be supporting the soy complex. Although the corn and wheat numbers on the USDA Export Inspections report looked supportive, they seemed to have little effect upon grain prices. Conversely, the sizeable result for soybeans exports apparently boosted prices somewhat, probably because it followed an early-morning daily system announcement of a big sale for 2014/15 delivery. May soybean futures rallied 5.0 cents to $9.7475/bushel as lunchtime loomed Monday, while May soyoil gained 0.08 cents to 31.75 cents/pound, and May meal added $1.5 to $316.1/ton.
The wheat markets are also making new lows. Current weather forecasts seem favorable for the forthcoming wheat crops, with the southern Plains reportedly anticipating short-term rainfall, while the Corn Belt looks dry. The good result on the Export Inspections report and comparative dryness in the northern Plains are probably limiting losses. May CBOT wheat futures fell 12.75 cents to $4.7325/bushel around midsession Monday, while May KC wheat dropped 7.75 cents to $4.945/bushel, and May MWE wheat sank 9.25 to $5.2575.
Cattle futures reacted poorly to Friday’s COF report. Although underlying fundamentals remain supportive, anticipation of a big seasonal breakdown is weighing on the cattle/feeder markets. Bears were encouraged by last Friday’s USDA Cattle on Feed report, which stated March feedlot placements well above average forecast. Futures opened sharply lower in response, then came back somewhat from early lows. June cattle futures dove 0.97 cents to 150.22 cents/pound in late Monday morning action, while August cattle tumbled 1.55 to 148.17. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle futures plunged 2.25 cents to 211.82 cents/pound, and August feeders plummeted 2.17 to 213.50.
Hog futures are challenging major chart resistance. Hog futures ended last week on a strong note, with cash market gains likely boosting prices. Monday’s early spot quotes showed renewed strength, thereby spurring modest CME gains. However, the most-active June future is bumping up against big chart and psychological resistance at the 80-cent level. June hog futures climbed 0.60 cents to 80.05 cents/pound as the lunch hour loomed Monday, but December sagged 0.10 to 68.80.