Corn futures are mixed at midday from 2 lower to 2 cents higher. Prices have moved to the plus side after a lower start. Continued strength in wheat and soybeans are underpinning the corn market. Export demand is soft, but there is still uncertainty about final production and early yield reports are not encouraging.

In mid morning trading, soybean futures are moderately higher. The market is recovering losses from Thursday on news of stronger basis levels. Recent pullbacks in the market have encouraged consumer buyers who are short on forward coverage to buy beans. The stronger basis suggests more of that consumer buying today. Rains in the central Midwest over the past two days have been beneficial. But there remains much uncertainty about the severity of damage prior to the recent moderation in the weather patterns. September beans were 8 cents higher and November was up 11 cents.

Wheat futures are the leaders in today’s gains in grains with futures up 15-17 cents. They have been up double-digits all morning on a second straight day of speculation that Russia and Ukraine may halt new grain sales due to falling production estimates in the Black Sea region. Limiting the gains, however, are forecasts for fairly widespread (though light) rains through the southern Plains, just as producers there prepare to start seeding next year’s HRW wheat crop. It will take a “trend” change towards more rain to overcome months of drought, of course, and no weather forecasters are calling this event a “trend” change.

Cattle futures are steady to 10 to 50 points higher. Light cash trade is reported in Texas at $120, up $1 from last week. The higher cash trade is supportive to futures even though deferred contracts are at steep premiums to the cash market. USDA will release the Cattle on Feed report this afternoon. The report is expected to show cattle on feed as of August 1 up about 1% from a year ago.

hogs - 08/17/2012 10:58:44
Lean hog futures are trading 25 to 75 cents higher at midday. The market is drawing some strength from the fact that the cash price index is still far above nearby futures contracts. But cash hog prices continue to weaken and pork prices are also down. Hog supplies are rising, both seasonally and as producers trim their breeding herds. Modest gains in corn prices are also providing support to hog futures prices.