Chicago Close: Corn Higher on Possible Planting Delays

Corn futures moved higher on Thursday, boosted by continued unease about spring Midwest planting conditions. Soybeans ended lower while wheat closed mixed.

Concerns that cold, wet conditions may delay fertilizer applications and spring seeding offered support to corn, amid still-heavy snow cover in parts of the eastern and upper Midwest. The weather worries were enough to overpower the impact of a bearish weekly export sales report this morning from the USDA. The USDA reported a disappointing 371,981 tonnes for old-crop U.S. corn export sales for the week ending March 7, just half of estimates and well below this time last year. May corn was up 3 ¾ cents to $3.70 ¼ and new-crop December added 1 ¾ cents to $3.94.

In contrast to corn, weekly U.S. soybean exports of 1.915 million tonnes reported this morning were near the top end of expectations, after large sales to China reported in recent days. However, the soybean market continued to struggle with little fresh news coming from ongoing U.S.-China trade discussions. May soybeans fell 2 ½ cents to $8.98 ½ and new-crop November was down 3 cents at $9.32 ¾.

Wheat generated some support from short covering, with the U.S. winter wheat crop in the more southern production regions now starting to break dormancy. However, old-crop U.S. export sales for the week ending March 7 came in at 262,973 tonnes, well shy of estimates. May Chicago wheat gained 5 ½ cents to $4.52 ¾, May Kansas City slipped a ¼ cent to $4.36 ½ and May Minneapolis climbed 2 cents to $5.52 ½.

Live cattle and lean hog futures both ended higher today.

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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