Corn futures are higher at midday. March futures cleared the $6.00 mark once again in early trade. On Monday March closed at the highest level for a nearby contract since July 2008. Argentine weather is mixed. Showers over the weekend alleviated dryness in some areas, but not universally. More light rain is forecast through Friday before warmer, drier conditions set in next week. Argentine weather is becoming increasingly important as early planted corn moves toward pollination. Not much direction from the outside markets for corn so far with little change in crude oil and the dollar index. March corn is 3 1/4 cents higher at $6.02 3/4. May corn is 3 1/2 cents higher at $6.10 1/2.
Soybean futures are trading higher at midday. Prices have climbed to a five-week high on concerns that dryness and high temperatures in the 90 degree range in Argentina might damage the crop. There has been some rain and showers are in the forecast, but not enough to relieve the strain on the crop. Strong exports continue to keep futures well supported as well, with China the main destination. January is 8 3/4 cents higher at $13.24 and March is 8 cents higher at $13.35. New-crop November is up 6 cents at $12.84 1/2 cents.
Wheat futures are trading mixed at midsession. Some profit-taking following Monday's gains is weighing on futures. Reports that the Australian wheat crop might not be in quite as bad shape as previously thought are adding pressure. However, supplies are still tight. CBOT March is down 2 3/4 cents at $7.66 3/4, KCBT March is 3 1/2 cents higher at $8.29 1/2 and MGE March is 1 1/2 cents higher at $8.61.
Cattle futures turned higher after a lower start on Tuesday. The selling pressure overnight and in early trade Tuesday was attributed to profit-taking after futures rallied the two previous sessions. Beef prices were steady to lower on Monday, adding to the early negative tone. However, futures are rebounding higher at midday. Higher grain prices and strength in the stock market are helping support the cattle market. January feeder cattle futures have moved to a record high above $120 cents per pound. No cash trade has occurred in the fed cattle market so far this week. February cattle are 87 cents higher at $106.10 and April is 90 cents higher at $109.70.
Lean hog futures are trading mostly lower at midday. Weakness in cutouts as well as the cash market is pressuring futures. Packers appear to have most of their needs already met, as this week's activity is lighter due to the holiday. Pork cutouts fell 55 cents on Monday to $77.92. Lending support are expectations for supplies to tighten in early 2011. February is 3 cents lower at $76.05 and April is 15 cents lower at $80.40.
Cotton futures are up the limit midmorning. Futures have been locked at limit highs for much of the session for the May contract and the whole session for the March. Despite news that India will allow the remaining 2.5 to 3.0 million bales of cotton to be exported prices are still on the rise as the supply situation is tight any way you look at it. Strength in the Chinese market is bullish. March is 500 points higher at 159.12 and May is also 500 points higher at 147.39 cents.