Ag markets generally mixed again Tuesday morning

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The weekly Crop Progress report released Monday afternoon obviously depressed corn futures Tuesday morning, since the indicated surge in U.S. corn plantings significantly exceeded expectations. Concurrent developments in the financial markets, particularly equity index slippage and U.S. dollar strength may have weighed upon prices as well. Talk that recent old-crop price strength had sparked active farmer selling may also have weighed upon nearby futures. July corn fell 11.75 cents to $6.3775/bushel late Tuesday morning, while December slipped 4.0 cents to $5.1625.

The old crop soybean situation remains very tight, with large cash premiums contributing substantially to recent nearby futures gains. However, the market was hit talk of accelerated farmer sales in response to the high spot quotes, which undercut old crop futures at times Tuesday morning. Ideas that frantic corn plantings will enable farmers to plant beans on time may also be weighing upon deferred futures. July soybean futures gained 8.0 cents to $14.7225/bushel around midsession Tuesday, while July soyoil bounced 0.26 cents to 49.46 cents/pound, and July soybean meal inched $1.5 higher to $436.8/ton.

Traders also seemed to view the weekly USDA Crop Progress report as bearish, with news of greatly accelerated spring wheat plantings apparently overruling the supportive aspect of diminishing winter wheat conditions. The fact that many areas where plants are already growing are being blessed with plentiful moisture may also be weighing upon the markets. July CBOT wheat futures dove 8.5 cents to $6.7675/bushel in Tuesday morning trading, and July KCBT wheat tumbled 9.5 to $7.355, while July MGE futures actually rose 2.5 cents to $8.1375.

The ongoing advance in wholesale values seems to be supporting cattle futures at this point. Choice cutout set a fresh record at 210.04 cents/pound Monday afternoon. That strength, as well as very profitable margins for beef packers suggest they will be more willing to pay steady-firm prices for country cattle later this week. That makes discounted CME futures seem rather cheap. June cattle rallied 0.67 cents to 120.80 cents/pound just before lunchtime Tuesday, while December advanced 0.82 to 124.72. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle futures climbed 1.55 cents to 146.02 cents/pound, and November jumped 1.00 cent to 151.05.

Anticipation of seasonal strength through mid-June seemed to be supporting CME lean hog futures Tuesday morning, especially with the CME index remaining above the latest futures quotes. On the other hand, both the cash and wholesale markets are showing signs of weakness to start this week; that might bode rather ill for the hog/pork complex over the short run. June hog futures rose 0.22 cents to 92.30 cents/pound late Tuesday morning, while December futures added 0.62 cents to 78.70. 78.20.


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