Soybeans were higher on commercial buying and the continued unwinding of bull spreads, along with spillover from the outside markets. Commodities in general rallied just before the close after the broader market surged on the announcement the Federal Reserve won’t be curtailing their bond purchases. The fundamentals remain bullish with a tight supply and China buying 1.93 million tons of 2013/14 U.S. beans and unknown picking up 182,000 tons, also U.S. origin for delivery this marketing year, both of which come on the heels of China’s agreement to buy 177 million bushels of U.S. beans announced Monday. Soybean meal was mixed on the unwinding of bull spreads and bean oil was up, following the lead of beans and the outside markets. Reuters reports farmers in Brazil’s leading bean growing state of Mato Grosso are waiting for rain before widespread planting of this year’s crop.
Corn was modestly higher on short covering and technical buying, along with spillover from the outsides, beans and wheat. Harvest weather looks pretty good around most of the region and there’s no real frost threat for the next couple of weeks or so. Cash markets were down, following the usual seasonal trend, and there was no real fresh supportive news. Ethanol futures were higher.
The wheat complex was modestly higher on fund and technical buying, in addition to the late surge in the outside markets and drop in the dollar. Export demand looks good: Taiwan’s tendering for 92,350 tons of U.S. milling wheat and Bangladesh is in the market for 50,000 tons of optional origin wheat. In sell-buy-sell trade, Japan bought 1,280 tons of feed wheat and 67,000 tons of feed barley, while tendering for another 120,000 tons of feed wheat and 200,000 tons of feed barley. Global stocks continue to look generally good and harvest and planting activity both home and abroad seem to be going well.
Cattle country was at a standstill on Wednesday afternoon with just a few bids on the table in Kansas and Texas at 121.00 live and in Nebraska at 192.00 dressed. Private sources reported the sale of a few cattle in Iowa at 124.00; the cattle sold in Iowa were described as very high grading. Some showlists are priced around 125.00 in the South and 196.00 plus in the North. The estimated slaughter was 123,000 head, even with last week, but 1,000 smaller than last year.
Boxed beef cutout values were firm on moderate to fairly good demand and moderate offerings. Choice boxed beef was up .28 at 193.21, and select was .75 higher at 176.51.
Live cattle contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange settled 10 to 55 points higher. Contracts bounced higher and lower through the morning trade. The biggest gains were made in the deferred contracts as the focus was on stronger demand potential through the second half of 2014. Firm beef values in the morning report benefitted the nearby contracts. October settled .10 higher at 125.27, and December was up .30 at 128.95.
Feeder cattle also ended the session 10 to 55 points higher, Light gains developed in the nearby contracts on the inability for corn prices to capitalize on early buyer interest on Wednesday and firm boxed beef values helped to draw additional interest into the feeder contracts. September settled .55 higher at 157.15, and October was up .42 at 158.30.
Feeder cattle receipts at the Ozarks Regional Stockyards at West Plains, Missouri totaled 3280 head on Tuesday. Steer calves weighing less than 450 pounds were 3.00 to 4.00 lower, weights over 450 pounds were steady to 3.00 higher, however groups of higher quality Northern type black cattle sold 4.00 to 7.00 higher., with 500 to 550 pounds as much as 10.00 higher. Heifers weighing less than 500 pounds were 5.00 to 7.00 lower, over 500 pounds 2.00 to 7.00 higher, although more undesirable kinds sold 2.00 lower, but higher quality black heifers were 5.00 to 7.00 higher with some 10.00 higher. Feeder steers medium and large 1 averaging 679 pounds brought 155.12 per hundredweight. 660 pound heifers averaged 149.83.
Lean hogs settled 40 to 75 higher after trading lower for much of the session. The market turned around as traders focused on the strength of the near term demand for hogs in the cash market. October settled .75 higher at 91.72, and December was up .42 at 87.95.
Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed 2.16 lower with a weighted average of 94.25 on a carcass basis, the West was down 2.08 at 94.04, and the East was up .96 at 93.49. Missouri direct base carcass meat price closed steady at 3.00 higher from 89.00 to 90.00. Terminal hogs were steady from 61.00 to 68.00 live.
The pork carcass value FOB plant was up .91 at 99.52.
Consumers of pork may be experiencing their own kind of sticker-shock. The average price of retail pork in August also set a new all-time record at $3.757, 7% above 2012 and 10% greater than the 3-year average.
Wednesday’s hog kill was estimated at 434,000 head, 28,000 more than last week, but down 2,000 from last year.