Ag Market Commentary

Corn futures are currently 1 cent higher after sliding 3 to 4 cents on Monday. The USDA reported that 1.505 MMT of corn was inspected for export during the week of 4/12. That was down 22.45% from last week’s MY high but 12.41% larger than this time last year. Monday afternoon’s USDA Crop Progress report showed that US corn planting progress only picked up 1% from last week, getting to 3% planted on Sunday. That was shy of the usual, with last year’s pace running 6% and the multi-year average at 5% complete for this date. Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana were still at 0% planted, with their averages usually showing some progress by this point.

Soybean futures are mostly 2 to 3 cents higher this morning in Turnaround Tuesday action. They were down 9 to 12 1/4 cents to start the week, despite a strong NOPA report. Soy meal was down $5/ton, with front month soy oil 30 points lower. The Export Inspections report indicated that 444,987 MT of soybeans were shipped for the week ending April 12. That was 16.74% larger than the previous week but 2.11% slower than a year ago for this week. The monthly NOPA report showed the group’s members crushing a record 171.858 mbu of soybeans during March. That was well above the average trade guess, as it was 11.8% larger than February and 12.28% above March 2017. Beating February is easy with 3 more processing days, but the year/year is impressive. Soy oil stocks grew by almost 4.87% from last month at 1.946 billion pounds. Nearby BO futures dropped to the lowest price since June 2017. Safras & Mercado updated their soybean production estimate for Brazil to 119.2 MMT.

Wheat futures are trading 2 to 3 cents higher in Chicago this morning. The KC HRW and MPLS spring wheat futures are up 5 to 6 cents. They settled Monday with most CBT and MPLS contracts 9 to 11 cents lower, as KC was down 17 to 18 cents in the front months. Cash HRW prices are hovering around their 2017 highs. Overall winter wheat conditions reported by USDA deteriorated by 1 point on the Brugler500 index to 284. That mainly came from a larger increase in v/vp ratings, with gd/ex up 1% to 31%. The crop was 9% headed as of Sunday, with the average at 10% and last year at 18%. The USDA also showed the spring wheat crop 3% planted vs. the average of 15%. All wheat export shipments for the week of 4/12 were shown at 483,058 MT by the USDA on Monday. That was 11.95% above the week prior but 29.53% lower than this week in 2017.

Live cattle futures showed mixed trade on Monday, with April up 60 cents on Friday’s higher cash trade. Feeder cattle futures were steady to 32.5 cents lower on the day. The CME feeder cattle index was up $1.17 on April 13 at $137.59. Wholesale boxed beef values were mixed on Monday morning. Choice boxes were 82 cents lower at $211.79, with Select boxes up 7 cents at $199.98. Estimated FI cattle slaughter was 116,000 head on Monday. That is 2,000 below the previous week but up 9,000 head from the same week in 2017. Packer margins remain very attractive.

Lean hog futures posted losses of 25 cents to $1.525 on Monday. The CME Lean Hog Index was up 26 cents from the previous day on April 12 to $53.23. The USDA pork carcass cutout value was up $1.82 at $68.15 yesterday afternoon, with all cuts reported higher. The national base hog weighted average price was 69 cents higher at $50.82 in the Monday afternoon report. Packer margins still appear to be respectable. The USDA estimated FI hog slaughter at 464,000 head on Monday. That was up 16,000 head from last week and up 160,000 from the same Monday last year.

Cotton futures were 2 to 24 points higher overnight. They ended Monday with most contracts 13 to 46 points lower. The weekly USDA Crop Progress report indicated 8% of US cotton acreage was planted on April 15. That was up 1% from the previous week, and 1% above average. It matches year ago. The USDA Adjusted World Price (AWP) is 74.32 cents/lb through Thursday. The Cotlook A index was down 10 points from the previous day at 92.95 cents/lb. Cash sales of 14,450 bales were reported at an average price of 73.27 cents/lb on Friday.

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