Crop prices are higher, livestock lower Tuesday morning

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Corn futures are trading 2 cents to 4 cents higher Tuesday morning. The modest gains in the corn market Tuesday morning are in large part due to support from soybeans. The export inspections reported for corn on Monday were bearish. Export shipments are very slow due to the availability of supplies from other exporting countries. The low water levels in the major rivers are also having an impact. But there is some non-commercial buying associated with the low volatility in the corn market.

Nearby soybean contract prices are 8 to 10 cents higher Tuesday morning. Soybeans continue to be the price leader in crop markets with strong commercial buying. This commercial buying usually happens right before new export business is reported. Export sales of soybeans and soybean products have been very strong so far this crop year, and will likely remain strong into next year. Low water levels in the Mississippi and Missouri rivers are a threat to slow shipments. The January soybean contract has been trending higher over the past two weeks.

Wheat prices are generally 5 cents to 7 cents higher in early Tuesday trading. Wheat prices are getting some support from the strong soybean prices and traders are also clearly worried about the poor condition of the 2013 winter wheat crop. Weather in the Southern Plains remains unfavorable, with warm, dry and windy weather forecast. The condition ratings of the winter wheat crop fell again this week with the share of the crop rated very poor up 2 points and the shares rated fair and good each declining by 1 point. Weekly export inspections were low reflecting the modest interest in U.S. wheat, at least for now.

Cattle prices are a little high in early trading Tuesday. In a surprising development, packers bought several thousand head of Texas cattle from feedlots on Monday. The prices were steady with last week. The active trade on Monday is not expected to continue Tuesday. Most feedlot operators are asking for prices about $2 to $3 higher than prices received last week. However, showlists are generally larger this week and cutout values were lower on Monday. Futures prices were down about 50 cents in early Tuesday trading.

Lean hog futures are 25 cents to 70 cents lower Tuesday morning. Cash market fundamentals were generally positive Monday with cash hog prices and the pork cutout value both up compared with Friday’s market. But nearby futures price remain well above cash prices with the expiration of the December contract approaching. We usually see strong demand for hams in early December, which could support cash hog prices near term, but hog supplies are also near their seasonal peak in late November and early December.

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