The grain and oilseed markets were steady to lower early Thursday morning, on lack of fresh news as traders see very little standing in the way of the near-record harvest underway. Weather has remained mostly dry, ideal for corn harvest. As beans get close to finished, farmers will focus more on corn. The French Ag Ministry has reported that their corn harvest was 38% complete as of Monday, Oct 12, well exceeding last year’s pace of 15%. December corn futures moved 2 cents lower to $3.77/bushel early Thursday morning, while March lost 2.25 cents to $3.875.
The soy complex drifted lower early Thursday morning ahead of the NOPA crush report due out at 11:00 a.m. CDT. Reuters estimates for Sep crush was reported at 129.24 million bushels, compared to 99.97 million last Sep and soyoil stocks estimates came in at 1.352 billion pounds, compared to 937 million pounds last Sep. News of increased Chinese demand helped the trade jump nearly 3% Tuesday with their soybean imports for Sep rising 44% over last year. November soybeans moved 3 cents lower to $9.075/bushel before dawn Thursday morning, while December soyoil lost 0.16 cents to 28.67 cents/pound and December meal dropped $1.4 to $314.4/ton.
The wheat complex moved nearly 2% lower Wednesday, erasing the 2% gains from Tuesday. Dry weather in the U.S. plains and in the Black Sea wheat planting regions helped drive the surge in wheat, however, forecasts for beneficial rains in both the U.S and Russia/Ukraine added pressure to the wheat trade, already characterized by ample supply and poor exports. The winter wheat crop was reported at 64% planted Tuesday afternoon, compared to 49% last week and the 66% five-year average. The December CBOT wheat futures were 10.75 cents lower at $5.0825/bushel Thursday, while Dec KC wheat lost 10.0 cents to $5.0075, and December MWE fell 10.5 cents lower to $5.3625.
Live cattle futures corrected lower Wednesday for the third straight day after rising sharply last week and early this week as cash beef prices begin to make a comeback. Record-heavy weight cattle seem to have worked through the market, putting the glut in supply more in balance with demand. Boxed beef cutouts jumped higher again Wednesday with choice up 2.35 to 210.81 and select up 2.01 to 205.35. Cattle slaughter so far this week was at 336,000 head, compared to 331,000 head last week and 335,000 head this time last year. December cattle lost 0.04 cents to 137.42 cent/pound Wednesday, while February cattle fell 0.25 cents to 139.50 cents/pound. November feeder cattle moved 0.22 cents higher to 180.82 cents/pound, while January feeders lost 0.40 cents to 180.82 cents/pound.
Nearby hogs firmed again Wednesday while the deferred months also weakening again. Cash hogs were 1.45 higher to 71.40. The trade still expects that the seasonal demand shift lower and supply shift higher will bring cash hogs lower but that has yet to materialize. Nearby hog futures continue to trade at a significant discount to cash. Hog slaughter so far this week is 1.264 million head, compared to 1.301 million last week and 1.283 million this time last year. December hog futures lost 0.87 cents to 66.82 cents/pound Wednesday, while April hogs dropped 0.77 to 72.80.
ICE Cotton futures traded mixed Wednesday after moving 3% higher Tuesday. Weekly cotton crop condition ratings fell 1 point lower than last week to 47% good to excellent and cotton progress came in at 22% versus the 25% five-year average. While the lower rating gave a boost to futures, the damage to crops from southeast rains appeared to be less than expected. The move higher Tuesday was prompted by lower than expected supply data and on news in the soy complex that highlighted Chinese demand is still alive and well, despite recent setbacks in the financial markets. December cotton futures lost 0.06 cents to 63.76 cents/pound, while May cotton gained 0.04 cents to 64.02.