Ag Market Commentary

Corn futures are mostly 1 cent per bushel higher this morning. They led the way higher on Tuesday, up 3 to 5 3/4 cents, with the emphasis on continued delays in northern corn planting. Preliminary open interest showed net new buying of 8,819 contracts. Consultant Informa estimates that the US will plant 89 million acres of corn in 2018, higher than the March USDA number of 88 million acres. Planting progress across the Corn Belt moved at a decent pace last week as IL, IN, NE and OH are all ahead of their average pace. Progress in IA was 5% below the normal pace at 65%. The main delays are in the Upper Midwest. The crop was at or above average for emergence in most Corn Belt states.

Soybean futures are currently 5 to 6 cents lower after coming back from double digit losses on Tuesday to post 1 to 2 cent gains. Weakness was still seen in soy meal, down $5.30/ton, with front month soy oil down 13 points. Soybean acreage is estimated at 89.4 million acres in 2018 by Informa, above the current USDA projection of 89 million acres. Soybean planting progress was at or above normal for most states on Sunday, with exceptions for MN, ND, SD, and WI. The NOPA soybean crush during April was 161.016 mbu. That was below last month and a slower per day pace, but slightly above trade estimates and 15.7% larger than last year. NOPA soy oil stocks were 2.092 billion pounds.

Wheat futures are trading 1 to 4 cents higher this morning, with MPLS spring wheat the strongest of the three markets. Wheat ended Tuesday with KC contracts steady, CBT 1-2 higher and MPLS up 4-4 3/4 cents. Preliminary open interest in Chicago was down 4,685 contracts, confirming some profit taking by the shorts. Support from corn spilled over to help ease pressure from a sharply higher US dollar index on Tuesday. Informa numbers released on Tuesday put all spring wheat other than Durum at 12.4 million acres vs. USDA @12.6 million acres. Condition ratings in KS were down 1 point last week to 247, with OK up 15 and TX 2 points better. Japan is seeking 89,937 MT of wheat from the US, Canada, and Australia. The weekly MOA tender will close Thursday, with 33,992 MT sought from the US.

Live cattle futures saw losses of $1.50 to $1.65 in the front months on Tuesday. Feeder cattle futures were $1.58 to $2 lower. The CME feeder cattle index was down 20 cents on May 14 at $135.92. Wholesale boxed beef values were mixed on Tuesday afternoon. Choice boxes were down 48 cents at $231.64, with Select boxes 39 cents higher at $209.51. Our studies tend to show boxed beef prices will follow cash with a 1-2 week lag. FI cattle slaughter was estimated at 236,000 head through Tuesday. That is down 2,000 head from last week but 3,000 head larger than the same week last year. A few early cash trades at $117 were reported across the Plains on Tuesday.

Lean hog futures were 70 cents to $1.42 lower on Tuesday. The CME Lean Hog Index was up 59 cents from the previous day to $64.65 on May 11 and continues to rise seasonally. The USDA pork carcass cutout value was up 69 cents at $74.24 on Tuesday afternoon. The belly led the way, up $4.26. The national base hog weighted average price was $1.52 higher at $64.37 this afternoon. The USDA estimated FI hog slaughter at 920,000 head through Tuesday. That is 7,000 head more than last week and 39,000 above the same week in 2017.

Cotton futures are trading 100 to 130 points higher this morning, with several contracts breaking out into new highs. They ended Turnaround Tuesday with most nearby contracts 6 to 25 points higher. The weekly USDA Crop Progress report showed TX at 28% planted, 5% above normal, with GA 10% faster than average at 41% complete. Consultant Informa estimates US 2018 all cotton plantings at 14 million acres, above the current USDA number of 13.47 million acres. The Cotlook A index was UNCH from the previous day to 93.1 cents/lb on May 14. The USDA Adjusted World Price for this week is 75.58 cents/lb, up 59 points from the week prior.

Market Commentary provided by:

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