Grain markets generally weak on Friday

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Corn futures turned decidedly lower Friday, due in part to reports of increased farmer sales around the Midwest. However, traders were also reportedly turning their attention to the potential results of the USDA Prospective Plantings report to be released next Thursday (3/28). Doane apparently has company in anticipating huge corn acreage again this year. May corn fell 6.75 cents to $7.2675/bushel at its Friday close, while December dipped 3.25 cents to $5.6425.

Although soybean futures seemingly continue garnering support from South American logistical problems, anticipation of increased U.S. plantings apparently undercut CBOT prices Friday. Other firms are reported to be joining Doane in expecting a significant increase in U.S. soybean plantings this spring. May soybeans dropped 7.5 cents to $14.405/bushel at the end of trading Friday, while May soyoil rose 0.01 cent to 50.43 cents/pound, and May meal slid $3.7 to $419.3/ton.

Wheat futures turned downward Friday morning, with wire service sources citing precipitation from another weather system crossing the Plains this weekend. However, they staged an impressive comeback later in the day, which seemingly reflected relatively small acreage forecasts from a respected Memphis-based analytics firm. That diverged from the bearish numbers implied by the Doane survey. May CBOT wheat closed 1.0 cent higher, at $7.2975/bushel Friday afternoon, while May KCBT wheat rose 2.5 cents to $7.615, and May MGE futures gained 4.5 cents to $8.065.

Cattle futures remained weak Friday ahead of the monthly USDA Cattle on Feed report. Recent cash and wholesale weakness has not been at all supportive of nearby futures. However, futures will probably rise sharply Monday after the COF report stated February feedlot placements at their lowest level since the USDA started the current data series in 1996. April cattle edged 0.22 cents lower to 126.20 cents/pound at its Friday settlement, while August lost 0.67 cents to 122.85. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle futures dipped 0.25 cents to 138.05 cents/pound, and August skidded 0.15 cents to 147.95.

CME lean hog futures proved relatively weak again Friday. That probably reflected the ongoing decline in the CME lean hog index, which is expected to come in at 0.57 cents lower, at 75.30 cents/pound next Monday. Bulls keep thinking the market will turn seasonally higher in the near future, but that obviously has not happened yet. Moderate increases in pork stockpiles on the monthly Cold Storage report may boost prices next Monday morning. April hogs slipped 0.30 cents to 78.05 cents/pound at the Friday close, while June gained 0.15 cents to 89.72.

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