Planting conditions continue weighing on corn futures. The weekly USDA Crop Progress report indicated that U.S. corn plantings were 19% complete on Sunday, which was modestly ahead of last year, but several  percentage points behind year ago. But forecasts for extended dryness over the next week or so appears to be the real factor weighing on prices, since the industry expects plantings to zoom ahead this week. May corn futures crept up 0.25 cent to $3.61/bushel Monday night, while December lost 0.25 to $3.83.   
    
The soy complex posted across-the-board gains. Soybean planting is barely underway at this point, with the 2% reading behind the historical norm at 4%. The data hardly seem noteworthy. Reports of accelerated Argentine harvesting seemed rather negative, but CBOT futures moved unanimously higher last night.  One has to suspect a report that China’s soybean target price for domestic subsidies will be unchanged this year (implying no extra production incentive) sparked the Chicago strength. May soybean futures advanced 7.75 cents to $9.8075/bushel early Tuesday morning, while May soyoil rose 0.07 cents to 31.73 cents/pound, and May meal added $2.7 to $317.8/ton.   
    
Short covering may have supported wheat markets overnight. The Crop Progress report stated winter wheat conditions unchanged, with spring wheat seedings racing to 55% complete last week. Talk of southern Plains rainfall and dryness in northern areas seems generally bearish, but Minneapolis prices actually bounced overnight. Wire service sources cited active short covering in the wake of Monday’s losses. May CBOT wheat futures slid 3.25 cents to $4.6875/bushel shortly after sunrise Tuesday, while May KC wheat edged up 1.75 cents to $4.925/bushel, and May MWE wheat gained 3.25 to $5.2775.   
    
Cattle futures reacted poorly to last Friday’s COF report. Although underlying fundamentals remain supportive, anticipation of a big seasonal breakdown continues 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 forecasts. Futures opened sharply lower in response, came back somewhat around midsession, but  ended the day rather weakly. Modest afternoon GLOBEX gains suggest a firm opening today. June cattle futures dove 0.92 cents to 150.27 cents/pound as Monday’s CME pit session ended, while August cattle tumbled 1.37 to 148.35. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle futures plunged 2.67 cents to 211.40 cents/pound, and August feeders plummeted 2.50 to 213.17.   
    
CME hogs struggled against major chart resistance Monday. Hog futures ended last week on a strong note, with cash market gains likely boosting prices. Monday’s early spot quotes showed renewed strength, therebyspurring modest CME gains. However, the most-active June future proved unable to top big chart and psychological resistance at the 80-cent level and ended the day slightly lower. Strong afternoon quotes suggest June could challenge that level again this morning. June hog futures skidded 0.05 cents to 79.40 cents/pound at Monday’s Chicago close, and December sagged 0.22 to 68.67.    
    
Cotton couldn’t sustain big early gains. Little cotton news has emerged since last Thursday’s bullish export sales data, but that didn’t deter bulls from sending ICE futures sharply higher Monday morning. The futures strength at least partially reflected the lack of deliverable supply, as well as technical buying based upon the upside breakout on the charts. However, bulls couldn’t sustain the move, with the afternoon reversal seemingly sending a bearish technical signal. May cotton ended Monday having declined 0.11 cents to 66.39 cents/pound, while December futures inched up 0.01 to 65.63.