Corn futures drop at midday

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Corn futures are lower at midday. Corn prices were under modest pressure this morning as traders focus on favorable planting conditions across much of the Midwest. Rain will slow progress this week, but with planting well ahead of normal, a few days delay is not viewed as a threat. Export demand is a supportive factor. USDA reported a 5 million bushels sale to unknown destinations for 2012/13 delivery. It’s not clear that this is additional Chinese business. July corn is 8 cents lower at $6.21 The December contract is 2 cents lower at $5.36 ¾.

Soybean futures are trading mixed at midsession. Commodity markets in general are seeing some pressure from disappointing economic news about employment in the U.S. This news is boosting the dollar exchange and pressing down on energy prices. Favorable weather is another negative. However, soybeans have not succumbed to as much selling as the other grains. Once again, USDA announced sales of new-crop beans totaling 204,000 tonnes to unknown. Plus, there was a large sale of 30,000 tonnes of soyoil to China. The July contract is up 1/2 cent at $15.04, but the November contract is down 4 cents at $13.88 1/2.

Wheat futures are trading lower at midday. Reports from the Wheat Quality Council crop tour indicate yields could be a record high this year, with the average estimate so far at 53.6 bu/a, which is weighing heavily on futures. There have been good rains this year and the crop is progressing well ahead of normal, with condition reports very good as well. Check the wheat page for more information on the wheat tour, including reservations about yields. CBOT July is 14 1/2 cents lower at $6.28 1/2; KCBT July is 15 1/2 cents lower at $6.41 1/2, and MGE July is 9 1/2 cents lower at $7.64 3/4.

Cattle futures are mixed midday. Futures are consolidating as the market evaluates demand. Beef prices have been steady to slightly higher the past few days. This is an encouraging, but not a decisive sign of where demand is headed in the wake of the LFTB and BSE scares of the past several weeks. The June contract’s steep discount to recent cash trade is supportive. June cattle futures are 5 cents lower at $113.47 and August is 17 cents lower at $116.12.

Lean hog futures are trading mixed at midday. Most contracts are showing small gains but the June contract is slightly lower. Traders want to believe that hog prices are at a bottom and ready to turn higher but there is no evidence that that is happening. Cash hog prices and the cutout values were both lower on Tuesday and cash bids are steady to lower this morning. June is 35 cents lower at $85.50 and July is 5 cents lower at $86.70.

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