Lean hog futures traded sharply lower on Tuesday. Contracts through October 2011 were down the $3 limit. Futures were pressured by the $1.48 decline in pork cutouts prices on Monday and the weak tone in the cash market. There is concern about sluggish demand as pork prices are near record levels and high gas prices could reduce consumer spending. Poor or negative packer margins are limiting buying interest for cash hogs and prices are steady to lower this morning. June closed $3.00 lower at $92.48 and August was $3.00 lower at $94.58.
Corn futures closed mixed on Tuesday. New-crop futures traded higher amid planting delay concerns. On Monday afternoon, USDA estimated planting progress at 13%, down from 66% planted at this time last year and the five-year average of 40%. This is the slowest planting pace in 16 years, only slightly ahead of 1995 (11%) and 1993 (8%). Old-crop traded lower on spillover pressure from soybeans, weakness in crude oil and strength in the dollar. July closed 11 3/4 cents lower at $7.19 while December was 1 cent higher at $6.62 1/4.
Soybean futures were strongly lower on Tuesday. Slowing export demand, weakness in crude oil futures and strength in the dollar weighed heavily on soybean futures. China has slowed soybean purchases and global export demand has shifted to the newly harvested South American crop. Planting weather is also a market factor. While corn planting has been very slow so far this spring, forecasts for the central and western Midwest call for drier weather that should allow for some planting progress this week. July closed 29 1/4 cents lower at $13.63 3/4 and November was 19 1/2 cents lower at $13.54 1/4.