Corn futures ended mostly lower. Futures were higher most of the day amid news that USDA reported another sale to an unknown destination. This sale totals 19 million bushels and is for delivery in the current marketing year. This is widely thought to be part of the Chinese business that’s been rumored in the market for the past several days. Corn sold off late, though, on selling tied to a rumor, which was later confirmed by USDA, that a California cow tested positive for BSE. May corn settled 4 ¼ cents lower at $6.18 1/4. The December contract was 4 cents lower at $5.41 ½.
Soybean futures settled higher on Tuesday. Analysts are taking more critical looks at the harvest data from Argentina and concluding that the crop may total even less than recent pessimistic forecasts. The Argentine harvest is past one-third complete and the low yields seen so far are indicative of a crop that may total only 42.5 million tonnes or less. Last year was 49.2 million. Hopes for some better yields for later planted Argentine beans were set back by frosts. May futures closed 24 cents higher at $14.61 1/4 while November gained 10 1/2 cents at $13.52.
Wheat futures closed lower Tuesday. New frost threats that had developed for soft red winter wheat areas this weekend and early next week trumped bearish wheat acreage plans released by STATS Canada this morning. However, as the midday weather forecast updates came in, the frost threat was subsiding some, leading to profit-taking. This selling fed on itself, as traders refocused attention to the report from STATS Canada that producers there planted 24.3 million acres of wheat, up 2.8 million from last year and 400,000 acres higher than average pre-report estimates. By the close, all gains had been erased and replaced with losses. CBOT May closed half a cent lower at $6.24 ½; KCBT May closed 2 ¼ cents lower at $6.33 and MGE May closed 7 ¼ cents lower at $7.84 ½.
Cattle futures closed sharply lower. Cattle futures contracts closed down the daily limit. Early price strength was a continuation of Monday’s late session recovery, but rumors began circulating that a case of BSE was found in a California cow and futures plunged the daily limit. After the close, USDA confirmed the rumor, but indicated the affected beef did not enter the food supply. June cattle futures settled $3.00 lower at $111.57. August was $3.00 lower at $115.60.
Lean hog futures closed lower on Tuesday. Hog futures were trading in a fairly narrow range until rumors that a case of BSE (mad cow disease) had been discovered in California. The rumor, later confirmed by USDA, sent cattle and hog prices down sharply. The May contract was down $1.43, closing at $86.60. June was $1.25 lower, settling at $86.55.