Ag markets started this week trading firmly

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The crop markets began this week on a strong note. The old crop corn situation attracted little attention, but nearby futures rose in concert with the deferred contracts. Meanwhile, the deferred contracts surged in response to fresh concerns about U.S. farmer ability to get the corn crop planted on time. The weekly Export Inspections report was not particularly noteworthy. July corn surged 7.0 cents to $6.6425/bushel Tuesday morning, while December jumped 11.5 cents to $5.48.

Talk of old crop soybean tightness in the U.S. was resurrected this week, which almost surely powered the July futures advance. However, new crop futures rose in tandem as traders worried about the ultimate effect of substantially delayed crop plantings. On the other hand, acreage might shift from corn to soybean plantings at some point, which would hardly point toward reduced production. The Export Inspections report held few surprises. July soybean futures leapt 26.75 cents to $15.03/bushel by late Tuesday morning, while July soyoil climbed 0.22 cents to 49.46 cents/pound, and July soybean meal jumped $11.2 to $439.4/ton.

Wheat traders seem much less concerned about planting delays than their corn and soybean counterparts, which partially reflects the fact that continued moisture is good for the winter wheat crop. That probably explains the weakness in nearby Chicago and Kansas City. The weekly Export Inspections total essentially matched the sizeable week-prior result, but that offered little apparent support for the futures markets. July CBOT wheat futures dropped 5.5 cents to $6.92/bushel just before lunchtime Tuesday, while July KCBT wheat had fallen 2.75 cents to $7.43, whereas July MGE futures gained 1.25 cent to $8.07.

After proving quite weak recently, cattle futures bounced back strongly to end last week. Traders are probably less optimistic about the outcome of country trading this week, especially if the Friday afternoon drop in wholesale prices continues during the days ahead. On the other hand, traders may be thinking the ongoing slide will improve demand later in the year, which might explain the gains posted by deferred futures. June cattle slid 0.02 cents to 120.55 cents/pound Tuesday morning, while December added 0.07 to 124.90. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle futures sank 0.35 cents to 144.20 cents/pound, and November skidded 0.65 to 149.30.

Hog traders apparently believe the traditional spring rally in hog and pork values will continue through early June. Indeed, the sizeable gains posted by the July and August contracts suggests the recent slowdown in hog slaughter has persuaded the industry that supplies are not as liquid as previously thought. Resurgent feed costs may also be a problem. June hog futures inched up 0.10 cents to 94.97 cents/pound late Tuesday morning, but the December contract dipped 0.15 cents to 79.80.



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