Wheat and soybeans challenging recent lows to end the week.

Grain futures worked lower overnight on favorable Central US weather forecasts and easing cash basis bids for nearby soybeans. Many crushers and moving their bids to the November contract as of yesterday. Rain showers are starting to occur across the Northern Plains, and totals so far are less than what was advertised, but hope is held out that the bulk of the rain occurs Sunday-Monday. Good rains are anticipated still, but soaking rain is needed across the Dakotas, Minnesota, and portions of Nebraska to bust the months-long drought. The forecast offers showers, but rainfall totals will not be enough to counter the impact of rising temperatures and elevated evaporation. Close attention should be paid to Northern Plains and far NW Midwest rain totals into Monday.

China has purchased record tonnages of US corn in the past ten days (420 Mil Bu), and traders will be watching to see if China is a corn buyer again today? Any new sales raise the bullish stakes for US new crop corn futures. The Chinese buying and Brazilian corn crop loss is quickly causing US 2021/22 US corn export estimates to rise to 3,000 Mil Bu or more. It's just a matter of time until that becomes another elevated concern, but for now, the market is busy talking about the top that is in while funds liquidate. Record large Chinese purchases of US new crop corn is battling improved Central US weather.

The Russian Ag Minister forecast the 2021 Russian grain harvest would decline to 127.4 MMTs, including a wheat crop of 80.7 MMTs. Last year, Russia produced a total grain crop of 133.5 MMTs with a wheat harvest of 85.9 MMTs. Based on a recent Rostov Russian grain stocks estimate, traders are debating if Russia inflated last year's wheat harvest by 4-5 MMTs? The learning point is that Russian grain/wheat crops will decline this year. Attention should be paid to a high-pressure Ridge and potential SE Russian heat/dryness arriving in June. French wheat and corn ratings are unchanged on a week of non-eventful weather. Seasonal temps have favored the developing wheat crop.

The US forecast is non-threatening for Central US crop production, but better rains are desired for the N Plains. A US Trough/Ridge pattern prevails with the mean Ridge position over the Eastern US, with a Trough holds over the Northwest US. The Eastern US Ridge retrogrades west early next week and the entire pattern de-amplifies starting Wednesday. A relatively normal zonal flow pattern follows with near to above normal temps and near normal rainfall in the 10-15 day period. The 10-day forecast is warm, but there is no evidence of extreme heat. High temps will range from the mid 70's to the upper 80's. Plant growth rates will quicken following cool to cold temps during April and the first half of May. A series of storm systems will pass across the Central US every 2-3 days, the Plains and the W Midwest being favored for rainfall. The N Plains will see rain, but not enough to alter the drought.

Yesterday's cash cattle trade was again lightly traded on Thursday. Sales were steady with earlier in the week at $120 in Nebraska and the Western Midwest. The boxed beef market continued to climb. The choice cutout value gained $.80 to $324.18, and select rose $1.92 to $301.61.The May Livestock Slaughter report showed a record large April beef production of 2,346 Mil Lbs. The April cattle kill was the largest in 13 years, and the cumulative 2021 kill is the most since 2008. The steer/heifer kill was 133% of last year, in line with estimates for cattle on feed marketings. 

After the close, the monthly cattle on feed report has the Covid altered report expecting 103.9% Cattle on Feed, placements at 122.5% and marketings of 133%.