Corn futures were lower on Tuesday. Corn planting progress came in higher than expected and pressured prices. As of Sunday planting was 53% complete, up from 28% a week ago and well above trade expectations in the 40%-45% range. Planting progress surged higher last week particularly in the western Corn Belt and is 50 points ahead of the five-year average in Illinois and Indiana. Wet weather this week will slow planting progress, but should boost crop development for corn that has been planted. July corn settled 5 1/4 cents lower at $6.29. The December contract was 4 ½ cents lower at $5.38 ¾.
Soybean futures settled mixed on Tuesday. The old-crop market experienced selling pressure throughout the session whereas new-crop prices closed higher. Old-crop futures represented by the July contract reached the $15 benchmark on the close Tuesday and that was a goal for some bulls to exit positions. Not only did that pressure July futures, but unwinding of long July versus short November spreads contributed to the gains in the new-crop futures. USDA also announced the sale of 110,000 tonnes of new-crop soybeans to China. July futures closed 2 cents lower at $15.03 1/2 but November jumped 11 1/2 cents to close at $13.92 1/2.
Wheat futures closed lower Tuesday. Expectations of a good crop due to favorable weather in the Midwest and Plain states continue to add downward pressure on wheat prices. Monday’s Crop Progress Report showed 54% of the of winter wheat crop headed, well ahead of normal. The annual winter wheat crop tour is underway and scouts have reported an average estimated yield of 55 bushels per acre at midday up from last year’s 41.6 bushels per acre after a full day of assessing fields. CBOT July was 11 1/2 cents lower at $6.43; KCBT July was 5 cents lower at $6.57; MGE July was 9 1/4 cents lower at $7.74 1/4.
Cattle futures closed mixed on Tuesday. Price action was choppy. Nearby futures were higher early, but gains faded by midmorning. A late round of buying caused prices to bounce back near the close. Beef prices were higher at midday, suggesting beef demand is holding up in the face of the BSE scare. Futures discount to cash also provided underlying support to the June contract. Cattle slaughter so far this week is estimated at 238,000 head down 3% from last week and 7% from a year ago. June cattle futures settled 62 cents lower at $113.52. August was 10 cents higher at $116.30.
Lean hog futures closed mixed on Tuesday. June and October contracts ended the day down 8 cents each, while most other contracts posted modest gains. All contracts except lightly traded May were up for most of the session, with the gains triggered by an uptick in the cutout value on Monday. At the close the June contract was down 8 cents at $85.85 while July ended with a 50 cent gain at $86.75.