Market Recap: Wheat Futures Gain Ground on Crop Woes in the Plains

U.S. lean-hog futures finished mostly higher on hopes for improved domestic pork demand. April futures shed 35 to 80.95. Most-active June futures rose 27 to 91.85.

U.S. live-cattle futures pulled back from their recent winning streak Tuesday, as traders braced for possible declines in cash prices for cattle. April live-cattle fell 132 to $127, Most-active June futures dropped 127 to $122.

At the livestock auctions held Monday in Canton, Siler City and Turnersburg, a total of 1,159 cattle and 30 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended steady to 2.00 lower, bulls were 2.50 to 3.50 lower. M&L 1-2 feeder steers, 400-600 lbs., trended mixed, heifers were 5.00 to 14.00 higher. Average dressing slaughter cows brought $70-$88, with high dressing up to $89.50. Average dressing slaughter bulls, 1000 lbs. & up, sold from $89.50-$100, with high dressing ranging $103.50-$107.

At the monthly load lot sale held at Southeast Livestock Exchange April 2, an estimated 1,803 cattle were sold.

U.S. corn futures extended their downturn for the third straight session Tuesday, settling at a fresh nine-month low as investors continued to shed risk in the market. Soybean futures ended higher Tuesday, managing to stabilize after absorbing heavy selling in recent sessions. Wheat futures finished higher, garnering strength from poor crop ratings that illustrate hard red winter wheat crops in the Great Plains are off to their worst start since 2002.

May corn ended down 1 3/4 at $6.40, May soybeans finished up 3 1/4 at $13.94, May wheat in Chicago ended up 6 3/4 at $6.70, and Kansas City Board of Trade May wheat rose 7 to $7.16.

U.S. 2 yellow shelled corn trended mixed, 2 cents lower to 8 cents higher when compared to last report. Prices ranged $6.75-$7.26 at feed mills and $6.60-$7.25 at elevators. U.S. 1 yellow soybeans trended 4 cents higher and were $14.34 at processors, and $13.54-$13.94 at elevators. U.S. 2 soft red winter wheat was not established. Prices were $5.77 at elevators. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants, was $445.10 per ton for 48% protein.

Cotton futures were up slightly Tuesday, as corn futures rebounded from a more than 9-cent drop in the previous two sessions. Lower corn prices can encourage U.S. farmers to sow more cotton this spring, bolstering supplies.

May Cotton finished up 53 at 87.87, and December new crop gained 61 to 87.54.

Gold prices fell $25 Tuesday, and silver slumped to an eight-month low as investors set aside worries about Europe and sought higher returns in other assets. June gold fell $25 to $1,575.90, May Silver fell 69.6 cents to $27.24.

Gasoline futures ended at their lowest in more than a month Tuesday, amid expectations for an increase in gasoline production, as refiners return from seasonal maintenance. Oil futures, meanwhile, were mixed Tuesday.

May gasoline fell 6.07 cents to $3.04 a gallon, May crude gained 12 cents to $97.19 a barrel, May distillates gained 1.87 cents to $3.08 a gallon.
On Wall Street, stocks rose led by the healthcare sector after a government decision on payment rates, while factory orders data confirmed the economy is steadily improving. The Dow gained 89 to 14,662, the Nasdaq closed at 3,254, up 15, and the S&P 500 gained 8 to 1,570. 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.