Crop prices are expected to open higher - livestock mixed

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Corn futures are called steady to a nickel higher on Tuesday. Corn prices struggled overnight but most contracts were on the plus side. The weekly Crop Progress report showed corn planting continuing at a rapid pace, with 28 percent planted as of Sunday. Export inspections were a little disappointing, but that didn’t keep corn from closing with good gains on Monday. There is still no confirmation that China has bought U.S. corn recently.

Soybean prices are set to open 5 cents to 10 cents higher. Short term and long term market fundamentals are strong, even if the market is technically overbought. USDA reported that 6 percent of the 2012 soybean crop is planted, well above the average pace of 2 percent. Most of the planting is in the Delta states.

Wheat prices are set to open steady to a little higher. Wheat futures have been moving up recently, but at least a part of the gains are due to noncommercial short covering. The condition of the winter wheat crop continues to improve, and spring wheat planting is far ahead of the average pace. A lot can change, but the condition ratings and the planning progress are putting some pressure on the market. Export inspections were bullish on Monday.

Cattle prices are expected to open steady to a little higher. Cattle futures prices will be influenced by the cash market and it looks like packers will have to pay at least steady prices to buy the cattle they need this week. With light trade volume last week, packers need to buy, even though margins remain poor. Futures prices are at a big discount to cash which will also help to support futures.

Hog prices are expected to open steady to mixed. The pork cutout turned lower again on Monday and that development will tend to pressure hog futures. Processing margins remain very negative, but processors may have to raise cash bids to get the hogs they need for late this week. The May and June contracts remain about $8 per cwt above cash hog prices.

Cotton prices are expected to open steady to mixed. Cotton planting progress is a little ahead of the average pace, but there is still a long way to go. It remains very dry along the East Coast, especially in Georgia, but officials in California told farmers they would get 60 percent of their allocation this year, up from 50 percent reported earlier. Cotton prices were close to unchanged in overnight trade.



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