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Hogs: Afternoon Comments (Thursday, May 05, 2016 20:12:23)

Lean hog futures closed midrange, finishing 7 1/2 to 52 1/2 cents higher through the December contract. Lean hog futures favored the plus side on spillover from strong gains in the cattle market, steady to higher cash prices and firming wholesale demand. Cash prices were mostly $1 higher in the eastern Corn Belt and steady in the interior Iowa/Southern Minnesota market today. Packers have seen their cutting margins sliced in half from a week earlier due to weaker wholesale prices and rising cash prices. But margins remain in the mid-teens and wholesale prices firmed today on steady movement. This morning's weekly export sales figures also provided support. USDA reported 2016 export sales of 30,300 MT. The total was down 50% from last week's eye-popping total, but remains quite impressive, nevertheless. In addition, exports of 23,200 MT were a marketing year high.

Soybeans: Afternoon Comments (Thursday, May 05, 2016 20:10:07)

Soybean futures fell 14 to 21 3/4 cents through the November 2016 contract, finishing at or near their day lows. Funds sold 16,000 contracts (80 million bu.) today. Profit-taking by funds pressed soybean prices after a slightly firmer start to the day session. That higher opening came from impressive weekly export sales, as old-crop sales of 815,800 MT and sales of 430,000 MT for 2016-17 were above expectations. Unknown destinations was the top buyer of old- and new-crop soybeans. But a stronger U.S. dollar index immediately proved a drag on the market and funds followed with sell orders. Weakness in soybean meal futures due to basis widening added to the selling pressure.

Corn: Afternoon Comments (Thursday, May 05, 2016 20:09:20)

Corn futures were choppy overnight, but faced pressure throughout the day session and ended around 3 cents lower in all but the May contract that ended 1 1/2 cents lower. Funds were net sellers of an estimated 8,000 corn contracts (40 million bu.). Futures were pressured by strength in the dollar index, a drop in weekly export sales from the previous week and spillover from sharp selling in soybean futures. Weekly old-crop corn sales of 769,300 MT were 64% below the previous week's impressive tally, which raises some concern about a slowdown in demand. Still, export commitments are running ahead of the pace needed to reach USDA's export forecast. Favorable weather for fieldwork added to price pressure, as corn planting is expected to remain well ahead of the five-year average in next Monday's update, which reduces the risk of acreage shifts.

Wheat: Afternoon Comments (Thursday, May 05, 2016 20:10:50)

Wheat futures favored the upside overnight, but prices softened with the start of the day trading session and remained under pressure through the close. SRW wheat ended around 8 cents lower for the day, while HRW wheat posted losses ranging from 3 3/4 to 5 3/4 cents. HRS wheat ended 3 3/4 to 9 1/4 cents lower. Funds sold a net 4,000 SRW wheat contracts (20 million bu.) today. Wheat futures faced renewed selling pressure today as scouts on the Wheat Quality Council tour confirmed strong winter wheat crop prospects. See "Evening Report" for final tour results. Heavy losses in the soybean market and solid gains for the greenback added to the negative tone. Meanwhile, a lackluster tally for weekly wheat export sales signals the U.S. is still struggling to complete globally and that price rallies will curb demand. Sales were near the lower end of expectations and down notably from last week's solid showing.

Cotton: Afternoon Comments (Thursday, May 05, 2016 20:11:30)

Cotton futures faced followthrough pressure today and prices settled 54 to 100 points lower for the day, with most contracts posting losses closer to the 100-point mark. Concerns are mounting that the cotton market may have put in a near-term top, with fundamental factors also favoring market bears. Another day of gains for the U.S. dollar index was a negative for the market, as was another poor showing in the weekly export sales report. USDA reported sales of 61,300 RB for 2015-16, which was down 45% from the prior four-week average. Sales of 24,800 RB for 2016-17 did little to improve the overall tally. On a more positive note, cotton exports were up from recent weeks at a strong 277,600 RB. Mild, dry weather in the mid-South has accelerated fieldwork, but rain is in the forecast for the region over the next several days. is your source for ag news and information on crop pest identification, commodity and market prices, agricultural news & issues, and access to crop production management tools such as crop yield & planting calculators and herbicide, fungicide, and weed control information.