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Hogs: Afternoon Comments (Thursday, March 23, 2017 20:48:39)

Lean hog futures saw a highly choppy day of trade, with early losses triggering short-covering. Futures ended high-range with gains of $1.20 to $1.85 through the August contract. Far-deferred futures closed with gains of 17 1/2 to 72 1/2 cents. Early pressure in the hog market was due to steady-to-weaker cash hog bids, as packers are having no difficulty securing supplies. Week-to-date slaughter is running 8,000 head above week-ago levels. As a result, steady to weaker bids are expected again tomorrow.

But lean hog futures posted a sharp price correction into the close, largely due to spread unwinding with cattle. Some added support came from this morning's weekly export sales data, which showed demand for U.S. pork remains strong.

Soybeans: Afternoon Comments (Thursday, March 23, 2017 20:46:41)

Soybean futures ended low-range with losses of 6 3/4 to 8 3/4 cents. Meal and soyoil also ended the day lower. After holding within the two-week consolidation range, old-crop soybean futures violated support levels today amid technical selling as funds focus on lightening their long exposure to the market. Traders also remain focused on the global supply situation, as they the South American export season to stretch longer than usual this season given the record size and slow start to the shipping season. Meanwhile, U.S. soybean export sales remain on a solid pace at a time when sales cancellations are more typical. Therefore, key will be whether traders build on today's losses overnight, as that would signal the market has begun its next leg lower.

As the March 31 Prospective Plantings Report nears, traders also also factoring their large acreage expectations into prices.

Corn: Afternoon Comments (Thursday, March 23, 2017 20:46:07)

Corn futures faced pressure throughout the day session and the market ended low-range with losses around 2 cents. The trend of the corn market clearly favors market bears and prices appear headed for a test of the December lows. Heavy losses in the soybean market added to the negative tone. Traders are noting timely rains for Brazil's safrinha crop, which is expected to boost already high crop prospects. This bearish news overshadowed some positive demand signals. Weekly corn export sales of 1.347 MMT for 2016-17 and 127,100 MT for 2017-18 the week ended March 16 came in near the top end of expectations, and next week's tally could be even higher given further price erosion.

Wheat: Afternoon Comments (Thursday, March 23, 2017 20:47:23)

SRW wheat futures closed 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 cents lower, with HRW futures down around 4 cents. Spring wheat ended around 3 to 4 cents higher. Winter wheat futures saw spillover from corn and soybeans, as well as forecasts for much-needed moisture across the Plains and Midwest that would aid the greening crop. Rains are much-needed, as this morning's National Drought Monitor reflected the spread and increase in intensity in drought. Therefore, if rains aren't as widespread as promised, traders would likely add some weather premium back into prices. Traders were unimpressed with this morning's weekly export sales of 418,500 MT for 2016-17 and 149,800 MT for 2017-18, as it came within expectations.

Cotton: Afternoon Comments (Thursday, March 23, 2017 20:47:57)

Cotton futures posted a choppy day of trade and the market ended split, with nearbys ending low-range and down 2 to 7 points and deferred months finishing high-range and up 33 to 49 points. Weekly cotton export sales of 328,200 RB for 2016-17 and 201,300 RB for 2017-18 were impressive, as were exports of 379,700 RB -- especially considering this included a period of elevated prices. This helped push 2016-17 commitments to 67% ahead of year-ago at this point, whereas USDA expects just a 31% rise for the marketing-year. Also today, China reported its cotton buys for the first two months of the year are up more than 67% from last year at this point, but better demand from Beijing was already well known. That led to some profit-taking today. Traders remain concerned that USDA could surprise the market with a hefty cotton plantings projection peg next week. 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.