Ag markets are generally mixed in early-Wednesday trading

Corn futures remain weak Wednesday morning. The U.S. corn crop is doing very well, with the recent heat wave likely helping plants in several areas. Forecasts now imply increased chances of rain later this week and next, so traders apparently see little reason to buy CBOT futures at this point. September corn sagged 2.0 cents to $3.54/bushel Tuesday night, while December dipped 2.25 to $3.6275.

Hopes for a demand surge are supporting the soy complex. This week's breakdown in old-crop bean and meal prices, as well as the sustained weakness suffered by the new crop markets, have obviously reduced soy costs to buyers. Traders now think those losses will spark renewed demand from domestic and export customers. September soybean futures rose 1.0 cent to $10.765/bushel in early Wednesday trading, but November futures bounced 3.75 cents to $10.3175. September soyoil added 0.05 cents to 33.08 cents/pound, and September soymeal rallied $6.1 to $394.8/ton.

The wheat markets are mixed. Prospects for the fall spring-wheat crop seem to be diminishing as excessive rainfall hits the northern Plains these days, which in turn is probably supporting prices. However, news that Taiwan had rejected all offers on a tender for U.S. wheat apparently disappointed traders. September CBOT wheat skidded 1.0 cent to $5.405/bushel soon after dawn Wednesday, while September KC wheat edged up 1.25 cents to $6.2225/bushel, and September MWE wheat gained 1.4 to $6.1425.

Cattle futures edged upward again Tuesday night. The USDA stated beef cutouts significantly lower yesterday afternoon, which seemingly boded rather ill for today's CME outlook. However, the fall and winter contracts rose modestly overnight, suggesting traders think packers won't be able to exert much downward pressure upon cash prices in the days and weeks ahead. October live cattle futures rose 0.20 cents to 148.45 cents/pound early Wednesday morning, while December futures inched up 0.12 to 151.37. Meanwhile, September feeder futures advanced 0.25 cents to 214.45 and November futures climbed 0.27 to 211.10.

Tuesday's late cash and pork quotes are boosting futures. Tuesday's late USDA reports stated cash hog prices virtually unchanged, while pork values rose modestly. Hog traders rather clearly think that stability is setting the stage for a sizeable late-summer advance. October hogs jumped 1.15 cents to 96.25 cents/pound in early Wednesday action, while December surged 0.92 to 90.62.

Cotton futures haven't built upon Tuesday's advance. Although current fundamentals seem rather bearish, bullish traders proved able to push most-active December cotton futures above their 40-day moving average at Tuesday's close. That seemingly set the stage for a technical breakout to the upside. The fact that prices dipped overnight raises questions about their upside potential. December cotton slid 0.10 cents to 66.79 cents/pound shortly after sunrise Wednesday, while March futures sank 0.22 cents to 67.02.