Ag markets generally higher after Monday decline

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After dropping sharply on Monday in response to forecasts for drying weather and accelerating planting, corn futures bounced modestly overnight. The reason for the rebound was quite obvious, since the Monday afternoon Crop Progress report published by the USDA stated current corn plantings at just 12% complete, which is the slowest pace since 1984. That shows farmers have a long way to go in order to catch up. July corn rose 2.0 cents to $6.385/bushel early Tuesday morning, while December gained 1.25 cents to $5.395.

Soybean futures held up relatively well Monday, so it was not terribly surprising to see them bounce in concert with the grain markets early this morning. The USDA Crop Progress report stated soybean plantings at just 2% complete, which matches the slow pace seen in 1993, with only 1984 being slower during the past 30 years. Unfortunately, slow plantings often imply diminished yields later in the year. July soybean futures rallied 6.0 cents to $13.7525/bushel overnight, while July soyoil added 0.13 cents to 48.89 cents/pound, and July soybean meal climbed $2.5 to $403.7/ton.

Wheat futures also responded to the negative results on the Crop Progress report, since the percentage of fields rated good to excellent declined once again, while those rated poor to very poor continued rising. Spring wheat plantings are also very late. However, prospects for a planting window later this week are good, which may mitigate short-term price strength. July CBOT wheat futures advanced 3.5 cents to $7.0625/bushel in early Tuesday morning trading, while July KCBT wheat climbed 6.5 cents to $7.6325 and July MGE futures surged 4.0 cents to $8.0925.

Cattle futures fell sharply Monday in reaction to surprising wholesale weakness. Choice beef cutout had surged to a record high last Friday, but gave back that rise and more yesterday. On the other hand, grocers could continue actively buying beef for Memorial Day weekend for at least another ten days, which may partially explain the overnight firmness. June cattle edged up 0.12 cents to 121.42 cents/pound in Monday night trading, while December increased 0.22 cents to 126.17. August feeder cattle futures dipped 0.50 cents to 146.95 cents/pound as corn prices rebounded overnight, while October declined 0.50 cents to 150.25.

CME lean hog futures declined in concert with live cattle Monday, with the loss also reflecting unexpected weakness in wholesale pork values. However, the pork losses were smaller than those suffered by beef, and cash prices also rose modestly. Thus, it was not terribly surprising to see hog futures rebound slightly overnight. June hog futures inched 0.20 cents higher to 91.52 cents/pound early Tuesday morning, while December futures rose 0.17 cents to 77.77.

Cotton futures bucked the lower grain/soy trend Monday, due largely to ideas that white fiber plantings were running far behind normal. That was confirmed later in the day. And yet, cotton futures declined overnight. There was no obvious reason for the drop, but a look at the July futures chart shows it apparently failed to overcome major chart resistance around its 40-day moving average yesterday, thereby opening the door to technical selling. July cotton fell 1.13 cents to 86.26 cents/pound early Tuesday morning, while December dropped 0.95 cents to 85.00.



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