Favorable crop progress data is weighing on the grain markets. Traders and observers expected Monday’s USDA Crop Progress report to indicate a big surge in plantings last week. In fact, the results topped expectations, with corn plantings stated at 55% complete versus forecasts around 50%. The indicated rate, as well as forecasts for another week of fine weather, are apparently depressing corn. July corn futures slumped 4.0 cents to $3.5725/bushel late Tuesday morning, while December lost 4.25 to $3.735.      
 
The soy complex is again trading in mixed fashion. Monday’s talk of a potential increase in soybean oil buying sent that market higher. The advance has continued today. Bears are benefiting from spillover support,
as well as from ideas that acreage will shift toward corn. Meal is on the wrong side of crush spreads at the moment. July soybean futures gained 4.0 cent to $9.8025/bushel as the lunch hour loomed Tuesday, while July soyoil rose 0.67 cents to 33.30 cents/pound, but July meal skidded $0.7 to $312.3/ton.   
    
Wheat markets are also feeling selling pressure. Not only did Monday’s Crop Progress report state spring wheat plantings far ahead of normal, it bumped winter wheat condition ratings up a notch after several weeks at unchanged levels. Both of those results imply large productive potential for the summer and fall harvests, thereby exerting pressure upon prices. Selling may have been exaggerated by a Russian official’s proposal to lift their export tariff on May 15, July CBOT wheat futures dropped 9.25 cents to $4.735/bushel around midsession Tuesday, while July KC wheat fell 9.75 cents to $4.885/bushel, and July MWE wheat dipped 4.0 to $5.2625.   
    
Talk of seasonal strength may be supporting nearby cattle futures. Although the second-quarter cattle outlook is usually rather poor, grocers traditionally buy beef very aggressively as they gear up for features over Memorial Day weekend. Such ideas may be supporting the nearby contracts at this point, due in part to the large discounts already built into prices. June live cattle futures climbed 0.55 cents to 151.27 cents/pound in late Tuesday morning action, while August cattle rallied 0.32 to 149.45. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle futures sank 0.22 cents to 214.92 cents/pound, and August feeders edged up 0.15 to 217.47.    
    
Rising cash prices continue supporting CME hogs. The CME lean hog index, which futures cash-settle against, has been leaping upward lately. Ideas that the surge will continue are almost surely powering persistent gains in CME futures as well, since continued increases of similar size could put mid-to-late spring prices significantly above current futures quotes. June hog futures advanced 0.85 cents to 82.67 cents/pound just before lunchtime Tuesday, while December slipped 0.17 to 69.67.       
 
New and old-crop cotton futures diverged somewhat Tuesday morning. The expiring May ICE cotton contract is barely trading, but the minimal size of deliverable supplies is probably supporting the most-active July  future (as traders expect similar early-summer conditions). Conversely, optimism about spring-summer growing conditions is apparently weighing on deferred futures. July cotton rose 0.17 cents to 66.84 just after  noon (EDT) Tuesday, while December futures lost 0.28 to 66.38.