Corn futures are sharply higher in midsession trade Tuesday, driven by continued stress on Argentina’s key corn producing regions with no end in sight for the next couple of weeks. To a lesser extent, there’s also continued concern about dry weather stress to portions of Brazil’s corn region as well. Trading volume is fairly light this holiday week and that is contributing to the unexpectedly strong move higher for all the grains today as there are fewer than normal participants who would normally be present to absorb the short-covering with additional sales and farmer selling almost non-existent. In midsession trade, March is 12 cents higher at $6.32 while December is 7 cents higher at $5.76.

Soybean futures are trading sharply higher in midday trade on Tuesday. Against pre-opening calls of markets to trade just 5 cents to 7 cents higher, beans instead have rallied nearly 3% to their highest level in more than a month on worries that the serious drought conditions in Argentina are now taking a serious toll on soybean yield potential along with corn and with no end in sight to the hot, dry conditions for another 10 days to two weeks.  Outside markets are also a supportive factor, with the dollar down and crude oil higher on improving hopes that Europe will yet find a convincing solution to its financial crisis. In midsession trade, January beans are 31 cents higher at $11.94, while November beans are 25 cents higher at $12.04.

Wheat prices are sharply higher in midsession trade Tuesday, as thin holiday trading volume is finding few willing sellers to absorb ongoing year-end short-covering by trading funds. Furthermore, wheat is also finding new buyers on coat-tail support from rising corn futures since wheat is competitive with corn as a feedgrain and for that reason, tends to trade in tandem with corn in the absence of any new fundamental news of its own. In midsession, CBOT March is up 20 cents at $6.42, KCBT March wheat is up 23 cents at $6.98 and MGE March is up 25 cents at $8.70.

Live cattle futures are down in midsession trade on Tuesday, largely on profit-taking and light volume of trade in this holiday week. Even though cash cattle prices posted solid gains of $4 to $8 last week, boxed beef prices for packers have not kept up and unless they see retail demand pick up, they’ll be reluctant to bid cash cattle much higher and traders know it. That’s triggering selling pressure today. Retail demand for beef typically rebounds after the holidays which may be enough to push processing margins back into positive territory. But after bidding up cash cattle so sharply last week without commensurate gains in the boxed beef output, traders are moving to the sidelines until they see if that happens. In midsession, February cattle are $1.15 lower at $123.17 while April cattle are also $1.15 lower at $126.70.

Live cattle futures are down in midsession trade on Tuesday, largely on profit-taking and light volume of trade in this holiday week. Even though cash cattle prices posted solid gains of $4 to $8 last week, boxed beef prices for packers have not kept up and unless they see retail demand pick up, they’ll be reluctant to bid cash cattle much higher and traders know it. That’s triggering selling pressure today. Retail demand for beef typically rebounds after the holidays which may be enough to push processing margins back into positive territory. But after bidding up cash cattle so sharply last week without commensurate gains in the boxed beef output, traders are moving to the sidelines until they see if that happens. In midsession, February cattle are $1.15 lower at $123.17 while April cattle are also $1.15 lower at $126.70.

Cotton prices are modestly higher in midsession trade Tuesday. Gains in outside markets are key factors in the cotton market for early Tuesday. However, the cotton market is characterized by weak demand and rising stocks. That combination has caused cotton futures prices to drop by about 12 cents per pound since mid-November. It will be hard to generate a substantial rebound in prices before spring. In midsession trade, Mar. is 51 cents higher at $87.75 per cwt. while December is 9 cents higher at $86.35.