Beef, Hogs Lose Ground

Livestock futures closed lower across the board with selling sparked by lower corn futures and concerns about meat demand in coming weeks. Live-cattle contracts survived mostly intact, with August down 0.4% to $1.1855/lb. Feeder cattle failed to catch a break from lower corn futures, which have been denting demand among those who buy and feed young cattle. Aug feeders down 0.7% to $1.4332/lb. Hogs sell off sharply, tracking steadily falling in cash-hog and wholesale-pork prices. July hogs down 1.3% to 95.55c/lb. Meat demand typically weakens during hottest months of summer.

U.S. wheat futures traded lower Tuesday, pressured by profit-taking ahead of government reports due Wednesday and falling corn prices. CBOT September wheat dropped 7 cents, or 0.8%, to $8.21 1/4, September KCBT wheat closed 7 1/2 cents, or 0.9%, lower to $8.22, and MGEX September wheat settled down 8 3/4 cents, or 0.9%, at $9.18.

US soy futures remained lower as open-outcry session opens, with market participants taking profits and paring risk ahead of USDA reports due Wednesday that will include inventory forecasts for corn, soybeans and wheat. A slightly wetter Midwest weather forecast also pressured corn and soybeans, though traders aren't yet confident in the chances of rain, and more would still be needed to ease drought concerns. CBOT July soybeans closed 16 1/4 cents, or 1%, lower at $16.48 3/4 a bushel, and November soybeans ended down 9 1/4 cents, or 0.6%, at $15.38 1/2.

Cotton continued to hover above 70c/lb in thin volume thanks to hot, dry weather in domestic growing areas ahead of Wednesday's monthly supply/demand report. "Unlike corn, cotton can and does go dormant when stress occurs from lack of precipitation, but only up to a point," says Knight Futures' Sharon Johnson. "Yields are on the cusp of being reduced if not now then over the next few days if rain does not materialize." The most actively traded ICE cotton contract for Dec delivery settled nearly flat at 70.72c/lb.

Oil futures Tuesday tumbled 2.4% as an oilfield shutdown in Norway was averted and as new economic indicators provided fresh evidence of economic weakness. Light, sweet crude for August delivery settled at $83.91 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down $2.08. Much of the loss came in the last 45 minutes of trading. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange settled down 2.3%, or $2.35, at $97.97. Front-month reformulated gasoline blendstock, or RBOB, settled at $2.75 a gallon, down 1.25 cents. Front-month heating oil settled down 2.95 cents to $2.72 a gallon.

Gold and other precious metals eased Tuesday as a stronger dollar gave traders a bearish outlook on the markets. The most actively traded gold contract, for August delivery, fell 0.6%, or $9.30, to settle at $1,579.80 per troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Wall Street markets landed in red territory Tuesday, with the Dow Jones industrials losing 83 points to finish at 12653. The Nasdaq lost 29 to close at 2902. The Standard and Poor’s 500 lost almost 11 to finish at 1341. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.