Crop markets started the week strongly

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Corn benefited from soybean strength Monday night. Soybeans rallied to start this week’s trading, with traders citing deteriorating South American growing conditions for the rise. Those concerns probably apply to corn as well. Meanwhile, demand for U.S. corn seems persistently robust. March corn edged up 1.25 cents to $4.465/bushel early Tuesday morning, while May rose 1.0 to $4.5175.

Talk of declining South American production is boosting soybeans. Brazilian growing conditions had been very good early in their growing season, but heat and dryness are reportedly taking a toll at this point. Argentine conditions have generally been poorer than those in Brazil. Given the tightness of the U.S. situation, these developments are sending CBOT prices higher. March soybeans surged 13.25 cents to $13.5075/bushel early in Tuesday’s session, while March soyoil jumped 0.55 cents to 39.70 cents/pound, and March soymeal climbed $5.1 to $455.10/ton.

Production and transport concerns are still boosting wheat prices. Wheat futures probably benefitted from spillover soybean strength Monday night, but traders also cited the potential for weather damage to U.S. winter wheat and to Canada’s transport problems supporting spring wheat values. March CBOT wheat futures gained 2.25 cents at $6.0075/bushel around dawn Tuesday, while March KCBT wheat futures inched up 2.25 cents to $6.7675, and March MWE futures rallied 3.5 to $6.70.

Cattle futures set back sharply last Friday. Cash cattle prices rose to $142/cwt last Thursday, thereby sparking strong CME gains. However, traders actually seemed disappointed by the cash result, since they apparently thought producers would be able to wring even higher bids from packers. That probably explains the big Friday drop. April cattle futures plunged 1.30 cents to end the week at 141.60 cents/pound, while August sank 0.27 cents to 131.15. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle skidded 0.25 cents to 170.47 cents/pound, and May slumped 0.10 to 171.77.

Cash strength encouraged hog market bulls Friday. Although hog futures seemingly rose in concert with cattle Thursday, late-afternoon reports indicated considerable cash and wholesale strength in the hog and pork complex as well. That news, along with expectations for more of the same, almost surely powered Friday’s CME gains. Morning cash strength also helped, while traders seemed to ignore the midday pork drop. April hogs jumped 1.25 cents to 96.17 cents/pound at Friday’s close, while June surged 1.22 to 106.12.

Cotton futures are mixed again this morning. After rallying last Thursday morning, cotton futures struggled to sustain their bullish momentum into the weekend. The mixed action resumed Monday night, with the nearby March contract rising and July declining. An industry report indicating a big annual decline in Chinese imports last month, as well as an academic report indicating a sizeable reduction in 2014 Chinese plantings exemplified the confused nature of the situation. March cotton advanced 0.15 cents to 87.70 cents/pound just after sunrise (EST) Tuesday, while July cotton slid 0.13 to 88.45.

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