CBOT corn futures edged higher overnight, though major news in the grain space seems to be absent. Various companies are undertaking crop tours to dial in 2015/16 yield and production estimates and some reports are coming in lower than the USDA. China, the #2 consumer of corn in the world, will continue its policy of stockpiling corn for another year before it frees up domestic prices, according to Reuters.  The rest of August appears to have mostly optimal temps/rainfall to finish off the corn crop and the key task ahead will be pinpointing how much lower production will come down from the August WASDE forecast of 13.686 billion. September corn futures gained 1.75 cents to $3.68/bushel early morning Wednesday, while December climbed 1.75 cents to $3.79.  

The soy complex is slightly higher early morning Wednesday as the trade continues to wrestle with where yields and production might land as we approach the end of critical month of August. The oilseed has fallen to near two-month lows recently as much-needed rains have delivered. The 6-10 day NOAA weather map shows cooler temps ahead and fair probabilities of below average rains in the outlook. Malaysian palm oil futures eased 1.2% Wednesday on weak crude and competition from other veg oils. USDA announced Tuesday it is moving to build a national poultry vaccine stockpile to prepare for the possible return of the Avian Flu. September soybeans lifted 2.5 cents to $9.1575/bushel Wednesday, while September soyoil raised .05 cents to 28.37 cents/pound and September meal climbed $1.2 to $325.80/ton.               

Wheat futures were mixed overnight.  Russia’s grain exports are expected to decline to 3.2 million tonnes in August from 4.7 million tonnes a year ago, due to the new wheat export tax and a delayed harvest, according to the SovEcon agriculture consultancy.  Russia, a major exporter of wheat to north African and the Middle East had seen grain exports in July fall to the lowest in four seasons. U.S spring wheat harvest progress and crop condition ratings are coming along above average and adding an abundant supply outlook. September CBOT wheat futures fell .5 cents to $4.9475/bushel early morning Wednesday, while Sep KC wheat dropped 0.25 cents to $4.7575/bushel, and September MWE dropped 1.5 cents $5.0675.                

Live cattle traded mixed on Tuesday with the nearby months firm and the deferred months lower. Daily cattle slaughter was listed at 110,000 cattle Tuesday, compared to 112,000 a week ago and 115,000 a year ago. The USDA Cattle on Feed report will be out this Friday at 2:00 p.m. CDT. Tyson foods announced the permanent closure of their beef plant in Dennison, IA, a plant that had the slaughter capacity of 2% of U.S. steer and heifer slaughter. Last year, the U.S. cattle herd reached 89 million head, its lowest since 1951. October cattle lost .52 cents to 147.40 cents/pound as Tuesday’s CME session wound down, while April futures climbed 0.15 cents to 147.75. Meanwhile, October feeder cattle futures edged lower 0.175 cents to 207.07 cents/pound, while January feeders lost 0.10 cents to 198.60.

A lean cash index that continues to stay firm did not help lean hog futures higher Tuesday, though near-term strength may still be in store. Traders anticipate an upcoming strong drop in seasonal demand which suggests cash hogs may lower substantially in coming weeks. The USDA National Daily Direct afternoon hog report show cash hogs higher by 13 cents to 75.75. The daily hog slaughter was 428,000 Tuesday, compared to 423,000 a week ago and 409,000 a year ago. October hog futures slid 0.15 cents to 66.12 cents/pound Tuesday, while February declined 0.05 cents to 67.20.

The cotton market was mixed early Wednesday morning. China, the world’s second largest cotton producer, is expected to produce 5.5 million tonnes of the fiber in the upcoming season, according to Reuters. This is compared to what the China Cotton Association (CCA) previously predicted; a crop of 5.86 million tonnes and 15% lower than the 2014/15 crop of 6.5 million tonnes. In the US, stronger than expected exports and lower than expected production have boosted the ICE futures in recent days despite the mostly neutral-downward movements over that past few months. The USDAreduced the estimate for the 2015/16 crop to 13.08 million bales (480 lb.) from 14.5 million bales, causing the price rally. December cotton futures fell 0.57 cents to 66.52 cents/pound early Wednesday morning, while May firmed 0.12 cents to 66.15.