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Corn futures closed up 1/2 to down 1/4 on a quiet Monday. The latest Crop Progress report has corn condition dropping just one point to 374 on the Brugler500 Index. The Index was 387 at this time last year. The USDA reports that 92% of the national corn crop had reached dough stage as of Sunday night, up two points from the five year average. Denting is right on par with the average pace, at 60% complete. This was the maturity report this year, with USDA stating that only 9% of the US crop is mature vs. the 15% average for this date. The weekly USDA Export Inspections report showed that just over 1 MMT of corn was shipped during the week ending August 27. This was 13% larger than the previous week. On a year to date basis, export inspections were 4.5% smaller than 2014. Next week will be the final week for 2014/15 export inspections, as the marketing year ends August 31.
Soybean futures settled 1 to 5 cents higher on Monday. The USDA Crop Progress report has the soybean condition as of August 30 at 364 on the Brugler500 Index, up 1 point from last week. The USDA reports that 93% of the soybean crop in 18 states is setting pods, down from the five year average of 95%. The weekly report shows that 9% of the crop is dropping leaves, slightly ahead of the five year average maturity of 7%. The USDA Export Inspections report this morning showed 184,285 MT of soybeans, 12% smaller than the week before. YTD inspections are 6.4 MMT (235 million bushels) ahead of last year. USDA reports that 125,000 MT of US soybeans were sold to unknown destinations early this morning, booked for 2015/16 delivery.
Wheat futures closed the last day of August mostly up 1 to 6 cents in KC and MPLS. CHI wheat closed down 5 to up 6 cents. The USDA announced this afternoon that 88% of the national spring wheat crop has been harvested, significantly ahead of the five year average of 62%. Washington concluded harvest this week. On average, the Washington crop would only be 71% harvested. This morning, the USDA reported that 601,639 MT of wheat was inspected for export during the week ending 8/27. Export inspections increased by 90% week over week, bringing the YTD total to 5.04 MMT (still 23% behind last year). Russian wheat exports since July 1 have totaled 3.3 MMT. Exports were down 46.3% from 2014 from July 1 to August 9.
Live cattle futures finished the session down 50 cents to just over $1.00 after triple digit gains on Friday. August live cattle expired today. Feeders settled down 50 cents to $1.45. The USDA reports that 50% of national pastures are rated G/E, down two points from the previous report. The decline is typical for this time of year. Wyoming pastures continue to look great, with 78% of grass in that same range. The CME Feeder Cattle Index for 8/28 was down $3.50 to $206.35. The USDA afternoon report had choice boxes off 98 cents to $242.24 on average, and select boxes at $232.04, down 91 cents. That marks nine consecutive days with the spread over $10. Cash cattle trade was at its typical standstill on Monday. Average sales last week were $144 live (-$3 from the week before), and $227 dressed (-$5). Estimated slaughter to start the week was 109,000 head, steady with that of a week ago.
Hog futures settled Monday afternoon with the front 4 contracts up at least $1on the day. October hogs were up $1.975, and are up 15% from their low on July 13. December hogs are up 13% during the same period. The CME Lean Hog Index for 8/27 was off 40 cents from the previous day to $78.28. The USDA has the pork carcass cutout price $1.31 higher to $85.84 according to the afternoon report. Picnics and bellies held on to most of their morning gains, gaining $3.15 and $4.94 for the day to $45.78 and $164.25 respectively. Cash hog base prices were 56 cents lower in IA/MN, but a penny higher in the WCB according to the USDA. Estimated slaughter for the day was 429,000 head, down 4K from last Monday.
Cotton futures finished steady to down 19 points on Monday afternoon. The weekly USDA Crop Progress report has the current cotton condition at 54% G/E, up one point from last week. The report shows that 94% of the cotton crop has reached the boll setting stage, slightly behind the five year average of 96%. USDA reports that 22% of bolls have opened, five points slower than average. The Cotlook A Index was up 65 points to 70.60. There were 71,432 certified bales in stock, with 2,206 decertified bales with a continuation of old crop load out. USDA reduced the AWP for this week to 48.21. That boosted the LDP/MLG to 3.79 through Thursday.