Corn futures were up 1 to 2 cents overnight and are up 2-1/2 cents for the week. September options expiration today which should make for a choppy session today as participants make adjustments to their nearby contracts. Dec corn is still holding around the $3.40 level, and the close today will set the stage for direction next week. Weather forecasts have added more moisture in the longer term, which should keep a lid on any major buying interest with the current supply and demand struggles. The Pro Farmer tour sees sub-par corn, but better soy prospects in storm-hit Iowa. Iowa’s corn yield potential was down from last year and the three-year average following dry conditions and wind damage from an Aug. 10 storm. The estimated average corn yield in Iowa is 177.81 bushels per acre (bpa), down from 182.83 bpa in 2019 and the tour’s three-year average of 183.61 bpa. On the other hand, corn and soybean yield prospects in Minnesota were up from last year and the three-year average. The estimated average corn yield in Minnesota is 195.08 bushels per acre (bpa), up sharply from 170.37 bpa in 2019 and the tour’s three-year average of 180.19 bpa.
Soybean futures were up as much as 5-1/2 cents overnight before easing. Overall demand is still very good, and concerns about dry weather not getting the soybean pods to fill have be supportive. Chinese soybean imports in the January through July time frame this year are running 17.7% above year ago levels. Weather over the weekend will be key for the direction in soybean prices next week. The 6 to 10 day forecast for the Midwest between the models have some significant rainfall for some parts of the region while others see limited amounts. Pro Farmer’s crop tour showed Iowa’s soybean pod counts up slightly from previous years. The average number of soybean pods in a 3-by-3-foot square were estimated to be 1,146.30 pods, up slightly from last year’s average of 1,106.91 pods and the three-year average of 1,136.27 pods. In Minnesota, they averaged 1,085.84 pods, up from last year’s average of 965.31 and the three-year average of 1,025.25 pods.
Wheat futures extended their mid-week price recovery overnight by tacking on gains of 3 to 4 cents in Chicago and Mpls, and 2 to 3 cents in KC. The improved technical picture takes prices to multi-week highs. Global production is very mixed with strong Russian and Australian crops offsetting dryness in Europe and Argentina. Harsh frosts over recent days joined severe dryness in punishing Argentina’s recently planted wheat crop, with yields having been pressed lowered since the adverse weather started in May, according to the the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange.
Live cattle futures are called mixed. Despite cash trade still developing around $106-107, up $2-3 over last week in the south, cattle futures were softer on Thursday with October lives falling to a new low for the week after failing to make it through Wednesday’s high. Retail values were firmer at mid-day, but gain were marginal. The market will likely stay in consolidation looking toward this afternoon’s August Cattle on Feed report. Expectations are for total cattle on feed to be slightly over last year, and Placements in July near 106% of last year.
Lean hog futures are called steady to higher. Short covering fueled the lean hog market on Thursday as prices broke out to the top side led by the October contract gapping higher and trading to its highest level since May 8. Strong retail values and firming in the Cash index supported the market and has led price into an over bought condition.