AgriVisor Afternoon MarketWatch

Thursday, March 30, 2017
***** Corn futures down a penny; soybeans off 4 3/4 to 6 1/4 cents; Chicago wheat lower by 3 to 4 1/2. *****

   # Rain falling in the Southern Plains turned wheat into the weak link of the grains today.  Strong thunderstorms head into the upper half Illinois as the afternoon comes along.  Rain through the week, but the 8-14 day maps lean dry for most of the Midwest.
   # The current outlook for warm, dry weather into the middle section of April encourages optimism over a clean start for Midwest planting efforts.  USDA has pegged the usual beginning planting date for Illinois on April 14th, Iowa on April 19th.    
   # Weekly export sales were on the disappointing side for corn at 716,900 tons for 2016/17 marketing.  New soybean sales were strong at 681,000 tons for 2016/17 and 315,600 for 2017/18.
   # USDA reported a daily sale of 165,000 tons of soybeans sold to China for next marketing year.  Strong current-crop soybeans export sales and a flash sale for 2017/18 failed to spark the market.  
   # The International Grain Council released a first set of estimates for global crop production in the 2017/18, calling for total grain supplies to come down as yields move back toward trend and demand stays robust.  Analysts for the organization peg global grain output at 2.05 billion tons for the next season.  
   # Analysts from Brazil’s Agroconsult upped the estimate for their country’s soybean crop to 113.3 million tons.  USDA’s latest prediction called output potential 108 million tons.   
   # Argentina will face the usual logistical hiccups as farmers being to harvest this season’s row crops.  The government is working to build infrastructure that would link underserved farmers in the North with port markets in the South.  Argentina is not enjoying the same type of foreign investment flows that Brazil is as the latter country develops friendly relations with China.   
   # Speculation that OPEC members would be extending their production cut agreement into the second half of the year helped to rally the oil market.  Kuwait’s oil minister expressed his support of an extension and Saudi officials are thought to back the action.  

***** Live cattle futures drop $0.82 to $1.35; feeders down $1.80 to $2; April hogs gain $0.32 with June rallying $1.50. ***** 

   # Beef prices have moved lower over the past few days and add a new source of light pressure to the market.  Cash cattle prices are only about $1 softer on the week but expectations have them dropping further if the wholesale market is going to turn defensive.               
   # The Hogs and Pigs report tallied the total headcount at 70.976 million, up 4.2 percent from a year ago.  The number was just slightly higher than the average trade guess.  Farrowing intentions were up 1 percent.  Pigs per litter increased slightly to 10.43.  The report was mostly in line with expectations but ultimately leans a little bearish as it serves to confirm the potential for growing supplies.