Top Farmer Closing Commentary

CORN HIGHLIGHTS: Corn futures saw selling pressure again this afternoon, as contracts finished with mild losses. Front month Dec corn was down 1 cent to 3.61-1/4, while Mar dropped 1 cent to 3.72-1/4. Corn futures saw 2-sided choppy trade again today, as there were limited players in the market. During intraday trade, Dec corn futures saw 2-1/4 cent trading range from high to low. The USDA put U.S. harvest at 90% complete, which is above year ago levels but trailing the 5-year average. Weather for the most part over the next few days will keep producers moving as we try to wrap up the end of this year's crop harvest. On the demand side, the USDA announced a cancellation of 7.9 million bushels of corn for unknown destinations for this crop year. While demand has been strong, any concerns regarding overall demand may bring some indecision about carryout projections growing as we move further into 2019. The biggest weight on the corn market today was probably the action of the outside market, as crude oil pushed to its lowest price point since November 2016, losing over 7% at one time during today's trade. Continued weakness in crude affects ethanol margins, which may ultimately affect overall demand for corn in the long haul.

SOYBEAN HIGHLIGHTS: Soybean futures rebounded off of yesterday's losses, gaining 6-7 cents in today's trade. Front month Jan beans were 7-1/4 higher to 8.81, while Mar beans finished 7 cents higher to 8.94-1/4. Strength seen in soymeal and soy oil markets helped provide additional support in the bean markets today, as prices have stayed in consolidation mode, awaiting a clearer picture regarding potential U.S. and Chinese trade news. In the overnight, prices held support levels and were allowed to gravitate higher with some favorable demand news. The U.S. announced a sale of 4.5 million bushels of U.S. beans to unknown destinations for this crop year. We have seen export business pick up recently, which is key at this time. The Crop Progress report had harvest at 91% complete versus a 5-year average of 96%. The last acres may have difficulty due to the wet weather conditions this fall and may provide some lift in the market with the expectations of tightening yield and carryout in the January report. Regardless, heavy supply fundamentals are bearish and will limit any rallies.

WHEAT HIGHLIGHTS: Wheat futures finished with gains as contracts were 1-2 cents higher. Front month Dec wheat saw a 2-1/4 cent rise to 5.00-3/4, while Mar was up 2 cents to 5.08-1/2. Wheat markets saw mixed trade, as KC HRW Dec was down 1-1/4 to 4.73, but Mar spring wheat gained 3/4 cent to 5.70-1/4. Overall, wheat futures traded relatively flat but in oversold conditions as prices have challenged or pushed into new contract lows in recent days. Pressure from outside markets, with the U.S. dollar trading at multi-week highs, and weakness in crude oil and stock markets have likely limited gains in the wheat market today. USDA crop progress shows winter wheat planting at 93% complete, 4% behind the average for this time of year. Emergence was at 81%, but overall good to excellent ratings improved 2% to 56% for winter wheat and 11% poor to very poor. It is still questionable how many acres were intended and actually did get planted or saw germination. At this stage, wheat futures are still in consolidation mode, as the world seems to have ample supplies of wheat available, and we are looking for indications of export movement to U.S. shores.

CATTLE HIGHLIGHTS: Cattle futures were mixed with the front month Dec contract down 45 cents to 115.70. Feb cattle were down 27-1/2 cents to 119.72-1/2. Strength was seen in the deferred contracts with slight gains. Cattle futures were looking for direction as the market may have been squaring positions before tomorrow's Cattle on Feed report. Cattle on Feed and Cold Storage report will be released at 11:00 ct tomorrow. Expectations are for total on feed to be approximately 4.3% over last year. This average increase would put inventory at its highest level for 11/1 since 2011. Placements in October is typically one of the largest placement months of the year, as weaned calves go directly to feedlots, or animals coming off of summer grazing move into the feedlots. Expectations are a 1% year over year increase on placements, which would be the largest in October since 2007. Marketing is expected at 4.2% over last year, with one extra day in this year's marketing window, versus last year. Outside of cattle on feed numbers, overall news was relatively quiet in cattle markets today, as cash trade has stayed relatively undeveloped so far this week. Very light inquiry from buyers was noted, while asking prices were at 116 or higher. Retail values today saw mixed trade as choice carcasses were 70 cents higher, but selects lost 1 cent as retail values have firmed this week.

LEAN HOG HIGHLIGHTS: Lean hog futures saw some long liquidation as prices posted triple digit losses in front month contracts. Front month Dec hogs are down 2.05 to 58.97-1/2, while Feb hogs were down 1.90 to 67.12-1/2. Hog futures have had two strong days of gains and were prone to some profit taking in today's session, as pressure from outside markets may have weighed upon hog futures in today's trade. With all contracts pushing to new contract highs yesterday, today was a logical day for profit taking and long liquidation off those positions. Technically, contracts posted reversals in Feb and Apr, which may bring additional selling pressure on the technical side into the end of the week. News in the hog complex is relatively quiet, as cash trade saw prices trending lower in today's Cash Hog report. Retail values also softened, down 2.37 per cut weight to 66.44. Adding to selling pressure has been a quick rise of the Dec hog and Feb futures over top of the lean hog index, which is now trading at a discount to front month hog futures.

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