Ag markets ended Wednesday's trading in mixed fashion

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Corn futures reportedly benefited from bargain-hunting Wednesday. Tuesday’s belated Crop Progress report stated corn plantings at 88% complete, which matched industry expectations. That emphasized the widespread belief that current conditions favor good plant development through late spring. However, futures rebounded later in the day, which reportedly reflected buying from bargain hunters. July corn bounced 2.75 cent to $4.725/bushel in late Wednesday trading, and December gained 3.75 cent to $4.695.

Bean and meal futures firmed despite planting progress news. The Crop Progress report indicated that U.S. soybean plantings had surged last week, with the 59% completion rate easily topping forecasts. New crop futures declined accordingly, but appeared to follow old crop prices higher later in the day. Technical support also seemed to provide a springboard for the nearby bean and meal gains. Asian palm weakness undercut oil prices. July soybeans advanced 9.0 cents to $14.9775/bushel at their Wednesday close, while July soyoil slumped 0.31 cents to 39.63 cents/pound, and July soymeal rebounded $4.3 to $498.5/ton.

Bearish news again depressed the wheat markets. The USDA Crop Progress report stated spring wheat plantings farther along than expected, while winter wheat conditions improved after weekend rains. In addition, Russian officials boosted their 2014/15 export forecast by 3.0 million to 25 million tonnes. Futures bounced from early lows, but still closed lower. July CBOT wheat futures fell 2.25 cents to $6.3875/bushel in late Wednesday action, while July KCBT wheat stumbled 2.25 cents to $7.36, and July MWE futures skidded 0.5 cent to $7.18.

Persistent beef gains probably encouraged cattle traders. Nebraska cattle traded lightly at $143/cwt (cents/pound) Tuesday, which might easily have sent futures lower today. However, wholesale prices continued their recent climb Tuesday afternoon and again at midday; that apparently spurred fresh CME buying. June cattle climbed 0.55 cents to 136.15 cents/pound as Wednesday trading ended, while December rallied 0.75 cents to 144.70. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle soared 2.07 cents to 195.57 cents/pound, and October jumped 1.77 cents to 196.65.

Hog futures suffered from continued cash and wholesale weakness. In contrast to the cattle market, hog traders have been expecting strong seasonal gains as summer advances. But this week’s cash and pork reports have indicated persistent losses. Moreover, the latest weekly report puts hog weights at extremely high levels, thereby suggesting market-ready supplies aren’t all that tight. June hog futures dove 1.95 cents to 114.55 cents/pound at their Wednesday close, while December dipped 0.30 to 95.00.

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