Low volume of overnight trade.

Grain futures had a mostly lower evening session, before Malaysian palm oil turned higher after multiple days of correcting in price, turning bean oil higher in the night session by half a dollar which pulled beans back to steady firmer money. Lack of fresh news to stimulate index fund buying ahead of the March 31 Seedings/Stocks number just 7 trading days away, had overnight volume down from recent weeks.

China sold another 1.6 MMTs of domestic reserve wheat stores in a weekly auction for an annual total of 23.4 MMTs. When one considers that China will import 33-35 MMTs of world corn and that it has sold 23.4 MMTs of wheat for feed, the loss of feeding 30 MMTs of food waste (banned as animal feed) and the expansion of its hog herd reflects massive feed grain shortfalls of over 50 MMTs. China has a sizable feed shortage that is likely to require several years of large feed grain imports to rebuild.

Russian sources are drawing worrisome reports of winterkill and icing of its winter wheat crop. Private estimates indicate that as much as 20-30% of the SW Russian winter wheat crop will be abandoned and seeded to other crops. This would have an important impact on world wheat trade flows.

South American weather: A NE Brazilian high- pressure ridge is forcing upper air humidity southward into Argentina and RGDS in Southern Brazil. Moderate to heavy rains fell here on the weekend with totals of .75-2.50”. This is a wet forecast for S Brazil and the Northern 1/3 of Argentina with regular rain that adds up in the next 10 days to .5-3.50”. Below normal temps are featured via daily cloudiness. Dry weather is forecast for N and C Brazil with the 11-15 day period offering a few showers. Our rain confidence this far out is low with a significant decline in soil moisture forecast for the remainder of March with high temps ranging from the 80’s to the lower 90’s. The abundance of sunshine and declining topsoil moisture will cause some modest stress for winter corn. It is highly  important that regular rains return in April and early May.

Friday afternoons cattle on feed report had the NASS reporting a February marketing rate of 98% (98% expected), a placement rate of 98% (98% expected), and a March 1 feedlot inventory at 102% (101% expected). While the report did not offer any major surprises, it did confirm the largest US feedlot inventory since 2006. The report was considered neutral to today's opening. Last week’s cash trade was steady at $114 for the 7th consecutive week. At the same time, boxed beef values held firm. The choice cutout gained $4.12 and select was $.32 lower. Estimated slaughter margins were $295/head.