Ag Market Commentary

Corn futures are trading 1 to 2 cents higher this morning. They were steady to fractionally lower on Monday with May going off the board at $3.89. Monday morning’s Export Inspections report indicated that 61.198 mbu of corn was shipped during the week of 5/10. That was down 19.24% from last week but 9.45% larger than this week last year. Corn export inspections YTD are now 14.78% behind last year. NASS reported on Monday afternoon that most producers were busy in the fields last week as planting progress was just below the average at 62% complete. That was a 22% jump from the previous week and on the high end of expectations. The crop was 28% emerged, 1% above the normal pace.

Soybean futures are currently 1 1/2 to 2 cents higher after closing 9 to 14 1/2 cents higher on Monday and erasing most of Friday’s decline. Front month May expired at $10.13. Soy meal was up $7.10/ton, with front month soy oil down 5 points. Soybean export inspections in the week that ended May 10 were 25.287 mbu. That is a 28.58% jump from the week prior and 141.5% larger than this week in 2017. YTD shipments are now 198.9 mbu behind this time last year. Monday afternoon’s Crop Progress report showed that 35% of the US soybean crop was planted as of Sunday. That is 6% ahead of last year and 9% faster than the average pace. The USDA also reported 10% of the crop emerged, vs. the normal 6%. Ahead of today’s NOPA crush report, one survey has analysts expecting to see 160.966 mbu of soybeans crushed by NOPA members in April. That would be down from record crush in March (April has 1 less day) but nearly 15.7% larger than April 2017.

Wheat futures are mostly 1 to 3 cents higher this morning, with spring wheat the firmest. They were mostly 3 to 8 cent lower on Monday. USDA wheat export inspections for the week of 5/10 were 14.85 mbu. That was 21.7% above the previous week but 41.85% behind this time last year. Exports YTD are now lagging last year by 12%, with just 3 more reporting weeks in the marketing year (MY). The winter wheat crop was 45% headed as of Sunday per USDA, 8% below the average. Condition ratings on that date improved 2% over the week to 36% gd/ex. That put the Bruger500 index at 293, up 5 points wk/wk but down 44 points from this week last year. Spring wheat planting made decent progress over the last week at 58% complete, still lagging the average of 67% for this date. The crop was 14% emerged, 22% below normal. Egypt’s GASC is seeking wheat for mid-June delivery, with results expected later this morning. The US is not competitive to that destination at current prices.

Live cattle futures had sharp losses on Monday, and nearby June was limit down. The weak cash cattle trade on Friday got most of the blame. Feeder cattle futures were also sharply lower with most contracts $3.025 to $3.525 in the red. The CME feeder cattle index was down $1.09 on May 11 at $136.12. Wholesale boxed beef values were higher on Monday afternoon, so they weren’t the reason for the sell off. Choice boxes were up $1.15 at $232.12, with Select boxes 43 cents higher at $209.12. FI cattle slaughter was estimated at 117,000 head on Monday. That is down 2,000 head from last week but 1,000 head larger than the same week last year.

Lean hog futures saw $1.05 to $1.75 gains in most contracts on Monday, with May down a nickel and expiring at $65.25. The CME Lean Hog Index was up 33 cents from the previous day to $64.06 on May 10. The USDA pork carcass cutout value was up 8 cents at $73.55 on Monday afternoon. The loin and picnic were the only cuts lower, with the rib up a sharp $4.48. The national base hog weighted average price was 86 cents higher at $62.76 on Monday. The USDA estimated FI hog slaughter at 459,000 head on Monday. That is 10,000 head more than last week and 19,000 above the same week in 2017.

Cotton futures are trading 15 to 28 points lower this Tuesday morning. They finished Monday with most contracts 18 to 92 points in the red. The weekly USDA Crop Progress report showed that 36% of the US cotton crop was planted as of Sunday. That is ahead of the average of 31%, advancing 16% in the past week. The Cotlook A index was down 125 points from the previous day to 93.1 cents/lb on May 11. The USDA Adjusted World Price for this week is 75.58 cents/lb, up 59 points from the week prior.

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