Most ag markets proved relatively firm Tuesday afternoon

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Short covering seemingly boosted corn futures Tuesday. A big drop in central Illinois corn prices dragged the expiring September corn contract lower, but deferred futures rose modestly. That apparently resulted from active trader short-covering ahead of Thursday’s USDA Crop Production and WASDE reports. December corn rose 5.5 cents to $4.69/bushel late Tuesday afternoon, while May gained 5.25 cent to $4.90.

The soy complex was mixed to lower Tuesday afternoon. The weekly USDA Crop Progress report seemed negative for soybean futures, since it stated current conditions somewhat better than anticipated. In addition, the latest forecasts suggest light rainfall over the Corn Belt this weekend, which might improve harvest prospects somewhat this fall. November soybeans closed 1.5 cents lower at $13.55/bushel Tuesday afternoon, while October soyoil lost 0.07 cents to 42.81 cents/pound, and October soymeal dipped $2.2 to $428.4/ton.

The wheat markets also rose in Tuesday action. Australia’s equivalent to the USDA (ABARE) cut its wheat production forecast by almost 1.0 million tonnes on its latest report overnight. That news, as well as the modest corn gains, probably played major roles in boosting wheat prices Tuesday. December CBOT wheat climbed 5.25 cents to $6.465/bushel at its settlement Tuesday, while December KCBT wheat rallied 6.25 cents to $6.9475 and December MGE futures added 3.0 cents to $7.0575.

Cattle futures posted mixed closes Tuesday. Despite a history of seasonal strength after Labor Day, cattle traders apparently worried that recent cash and wholesale losses will persist during the days and weeks ahead. October cattle futures settled 0.32 cents lower at 125.02 cents/pound in late Tuesday trading, while December slipped 0.07 cents to 128.65. October feeder cattle tumbled 0.27 cents to 157.77 cents/pound, and January slumped 0.17 cents to 157.77.

Hog futures moved lower as Tuesday passed. Although Monday afternoon cash and wholesale reports confirmed recent strength, traders were seemingly concerned about an end to the seasonal bounce later this month. The fact that the CME index, which hog futures cash-settle against, has risen only slightly since turning upward last week, may also have discouraged bulls. October hog futures declined 0.02 cents to 90.85 cents/pound as trading wound up Tuesday, while December dropped 0.07 cents to 87.55.

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