Dec corn makes new contract highs on Ukraine new-crop shortfalls.

Grain futures moved sharply higher in the night session. December corn made a new contract high on concerns the Ukrainian corn crop will experience reduced potential with no end in sight for the military confrontation with Russia. Reports of stolen fuel by the Russian military and prepaid seed corn and fertilizer not delivered yet projects to new crop corn potential slashed. The hopes of a cease-fire are again fading as Pres. Putin continues to launch rockets into Ukraine, with some fighting becoming hand-to-hand combat with Russian troops. In addition, Ukrainian forces refused to concede Mariupol and S Ukraine.

There are reports that Russia is exporting some wheat/grain, but amounts could be overstated for political reasons. Exports are difficult due to being banned from SWIFT and insurance restrictions, but some freighters are likely working for extreme profit margins at the risk of their transport.

Argentina has raised its 2022/23 export quota to 10 MMTs. This is up 2 MMTs from what was initially announced but down 4.50 MMTs from the current crop year. Winter wheat seedings and Argentina begin during April and continue into May.

Central US plains received needed rainfall, but the dry Western HRW wheat belt came up short. Forecast moving forward continue to leave the far Western HRW wheat plains drier than normal. South American weather featured .5-2.50” of rain over the winter corn crop in central and southern Brazil. Seasonal temps prevail with highs in the 70s/80s/90s. There is no indication of any extreme heat that should aid the early development of the winter corn crop.

Live cattle futures finished higher last Friday and are anticipated to rally at the start of the week. Feeder cattle will have to deal with renewed feed grain values rising overnight. Last week’s cash trade mainly was at $138 in both the north and south. Top prices were paid in the Western Midwest, where cattle sold for $140-142 in late-week trade. Box beef prices were higher across the board, with choice values rising $3.45 and select gaining $1.54. Estimated slaughter margins were higher by $22 last week but at $241/head and still the lowest for late March in the previous five years. June and August live cattle have extreme resistance developing in the 138.50-140.00 price range.