Late Monday news seems to be weighing on the crop markets. Corn futures continued their Monday decline this morning, with traders seemingly responding to the latest USDA Crop Progress report indicating U.S. corn plantings accelerated last week. Predicted Midwest dryness also suggests a fast pace this week. Moreover, news that a huge Iowa broiler farm had been hit by bird flu raised concerns about domestic feed demand. May corn futures dropped 5.75 cents at $3.7225/bushel as the lunch hour loomed Tuesday, while December lost 4.75 to $3.965.
The soy complex remains rather mixed. Talk of increased Chinese demand and potential South American production problems seemed to boost the soy complex Monday. Persistent palm oil strength and rebounding crude oil appear to be supporting soyoil quotes, but beans and meal set back in early trading. Talk of good planting weather and accelerated farmer activity is reportedly weighing on beans, and to some extent, meal. May soybean futures fell 3.75 cents to $9.7375/bushel around midsession Tuesday, while May soyoil rallied 0.13 cents to 31.72 cents/pound, and May meal slid $3.0 to $315.5/ton.
Wheat futures turned higher in early Tuesday trading. The wheat markets moved generally lower overnight, thereby likely reflecting the stunningly fast pace at which farmers planted spring wheat last week. However, the midmorning reversal may have reflected disappointing winter wheat ratings in the wake of last week’s rains. On the other hand, the fact that the Minneapolis market led the way higher suggests hopes for improved demand sparked the rebound. May CBOT wheat futures bounced 5.25 cents to $5.04/bushel late Tuesday morning, while May KC wheat gained 4.0 cents to $5.165/bushel, and May MWE wheat surged 6.75 to $5.4575.
The cattle market has apparently found support. Cattle futures opened firmly despite Monday’s big breakdown and overnight news of a ‘bird flu’ outbreak on an Iowa broiler farm. Big futures discounts and doubts about the cattle/beef complex’s vulnerability to potential broiler weakness are seemingly supporting CME prices. June cattle futures moved up 0.37 cents to 146.25 cents/pound shortly before lunchtime Tuesday, while August cattle climbed 0.47 to 144.70. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle futures ran up 0.67 cents to 205.82 and August advanced 0.92 to 207.40 cents/pound.
Technical buying seemed to exaggerate Tuesday morning hog gains. As expected, the bird flu news weighed on CME hogs on today’s opening, but bears couldn’t sustain the pressure. The simple fact that the news didn’t greatly change the current wholesale situation may have encouraged bulls. The subsequent bounce was apparently exaggerated when prices topped short-term chart resistance. June hog futures leapt 2.02 cents to 77.55 cents/pound in late Tuesday morning action, while December jumped 0.87 to 68.35.