Grain markets proved generally mixed Monday

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Corn futures traded firmly Monday morning, possibly due to the publication of trade surveys ahead of the Thursday morning release of the USDA Prospective Plantings report. Prices moved upward later in the day, with wire service sourced crediting the snow storm that hit the Midwest over the weekend. While it brought very welcome moisture to the region, the accumulated snow will probably delay plantings in some areas of the Eastern Corn Belt, which in turn may reduce harvest potential later this year. May corn rose 7.0 cents to $7.3325/bushel at its Monday close, while December gained 6.75 cents to $5.72.

Expectations for record U.S. soybean plantings this spring may have weighed upon deferred CBOT futures Monday, but the having the weekend snowstorm bury a good portion of the Eastern Corn Belt under a thick layer of snow probably sparked discussions of planting delays. Conversely, talk of improvements in the South American logistical situation may have undercut the nearby contracts. May soybeans dropped 3.25 cents to $14.3725/bushel as the market settled Monday afternoon, while May soyoil edged 0.02 cents lower to 50.44 cents/pound, and May meal slipped $1.5 to $417.8/ton.

Wheat futures moved generally lower Monday, possibly in reaction to the sizeable weekend snows received by several areas of the Midwest. In addition, the fact that wire service surveys in preparation for the USDA Prospective Plantings report topped anecdotal figures posted late last week may have depressed prices. May CBOT wheat futures skidded 2.5 cents to $7.2725/bushel late Monday, while May KCBT wheat slid 1.5 cents to $7.59, and May MGE futures rose 0.5 cents to $8.0475.

After fluctuating around unchanged levels early in the day, cattle futures closed firmly in apparent response to the Friday, March 22 USDA Cattle on Feed report. Anticipation of poor late-month cattle and beef prices may be weighing upon the market to some extent. April cattle gained 0.25 cents at 126.45 cents/pound at their Monday settlement, while August rose 0.30 cents to 123.15. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle futures added 0.35 cents to 138.40 cents/pound, and August climbed 0.22 cents to 148.17.

CME lean hog futures dipped Monday morning in apparent response to the USDA Cold Storage report last Friday, which stated ending-February U.S. pork stockpiles at an all-time high for that date. However, futures rebounded later in the day, thereby seeming to anticipate a seasonal resurgence in cash and wholesale values. Improving spring demand and dwindling hog and pork supplies traditionally send hog prices sharply higher before Independence Day. April hogs closed 0.42 cents higher, at 78.47 cents/pound Monday afternoon, while June surged 0.95 cents to 90.77.

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