Grain and soy markets started the week firmly

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Weather concerns are likely boosting corn futures. Although some farmers may have been able to rush some corn planting late last week, the advent of wet, chilly weather over the Corn Belt over the weekend is probably encouraging buying to start this week. That is, it looks as if little corn will get planted during the next two weeks, which suggests diminished harvest potential next fall. May corn climbed 3.0 cents to $5.10/bushel Sunday night, while December rose 1.75 cents to $5.08.

Weather news also seemed to power soy gains to start the week. The potential for planting problems appeared to spur buying in the soy complex last night, although such developments aren’t necessarily bullish for beans. That is, delayed corn plantings can cause acreage shifts into beans during late spring, which very likely accounts for the fact that deferred futures lagged their nearby counterparts. Tight old crop conditions seem to be supporting the latter. May soybeans jumped 18.25 cents to $15.1625/bushel early Monday morning, while May soyoil gained 0.10 cents to 43.02 cents/pound, and May soymeal surged $8.7 to $499.3/ton.

Black Sea tensions are still supporting wheat prices. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine continued its slow escalation over the weekend, which obviously increased concerns about the availability of grain from that region later this year. Improved weekend rainfall over the U.S. Plains may have limited the advance. May CBOT wheat futures edged up 2.25 cents to $7.025/bushel, while May KCBT wheat futures rallied 6.0 cents to $7.8175, and May MWE futures inched up 2.25 to $7.4975.

Cattle futures closed higher after a lower start last Friday. Rising beef prices helped cattle futures edge higher last week, but early-Friday reports indicated cash traded $1 lower in Texas at $146. The Cattle on Feed report released after the close was viewed as supportive because March placements proved surprisingly small and pulled COF as of April 1 down nearly 1% from a year ago. June cattle futures closed 0.92 cents higher at 136.77 cents/pound Friday, while December moved up 0.82 cents to 141.77. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle advanced 0.40 cents to 180.00 cents/pound, and August was up 0.57 cents to 184.05.

Hogs futures proved vulnerable mostly to fresh selling led by the nearby May contract Friday. Lower cash prices and wholesales pork prices undercut the futures market. The weekly slaughter total came in stronger than a week ago despite cutbacks for Easter Monday. June hog futures ended the week 0.87 cents lower to 124.675 cents/pound, while December settled 0.07 higher at 91.20.

The cotton market suffered from a dearth of weekend news. Cotton futures ended last week rather weakly, with traders reportedly citing somewhat improved weather forecasts for dry growing areas. The arrival of that rain over the weekend may be undercutting futures today. Otherwise, there was no news concerning fiber prices over the weekend. July cotton fell 0.75 cents to 92.50 cents/pound, while December cotton sagged 0.21 to 82.50.

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