Short covering reportedly boosted crop markets Monday morning. Tomorrow’s big USDA Grain Stocks and Prospective Plantings reports could spark strong reactions in the crop markets, so traders are probably squaring positions beforehand. Indeed, wire service reports cited short-covering for today’s early corn strength. Concurrent soybean and wheat gains are likely pulling corn higher as well. May corn futures edged up 2.0 cents to $3.93/bushel late Monday morning, while December added 1.75 to $4.165.

The soy complex moved modestly higher in early trading. The crop industry seemingly suspects Tuesday’s USDA reports will prove rather bearish for the 2015 soy outlook, which would explain last week’s sustained weakness. However, prices have begun this week firmly, possibly reflecting ideas that the slippage was overdone. As with corn, short-covering has seemed to be the order of the day so far. May soybean futures gained 6.5 cents to $9.7375/bushel as the lunch hour loomed Monday, while May soyoil rose 0.01 cents 30.61 cents/pound, and May meal rallied $4.0 to $325.4/ton.

The wheat markets are reacting to spotty weekend rains. Wheat futures marched higher Friday as they recovered from Thursday’s big breakdown and resumed the rally this morning. Wire service reports cite uneven weekend rainfall over the southern Plains wheat region for the much of the rise. Also, the potential results of Tuesday’s USDA reports are focusing the industry’s attention as well. May CBOT wheat jumped 18.0 cents to $5.2575/bushel in late Monday morning action, while May KC wheat leapt 21.0 cents to $5.74/bushel, and May MWE wheat surged 14.5 to $5.895.

Cattle traders couldn’t sustain early gains. Cash cattle prices climbed $2.0/cwt to around $165/cwt (cents/pound) last Friday afternoon, which triggered a sizeable opening follow-through to last Friday’s rally. However, one has to suspect the late-week surge anticipated the cash strength, since futures turned sharply lower soon after the opening. April cattle futures fell 0.90 cents to 161.72 cents/pound around midsession Monday, while August cattle slumped 0.85 to 149.10 cents/pound. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle futures dove 1.80 cents to 217.47 cents/pound, and August feeders tumbled 1.90 to 217.32.

CME hogs are trading mostly lower in the wake of Friday’s USDA report. Last Friday’s quarterly USDA Hogs & Pigs report was interpreted as being generally bearish. However, recent futures losses had anticipated a negative result, which explains today’s mixed action just after the CME opening. The bearish atmosphere seemed to regain dominance by late morning, although the deep deferred contracts traded higher. April hog futures sank 0.70 cents to 60.42 cents/pound just before lunchtime Monday, while June hogs slid 0.32 to 74.67.