Grain futures have a mixed start for the week.

The overnight grain trade featured soybeans higher while grains were softer. Short covering continued from late Friday into the overnight as it was revealed funds likely liquidated some 40,000 soybean contracts and 46,000 soybean meal longs. Corn and wheat failed to rally and build on Friday’s gains as the news of tactical nuclear weapons being moved into Belarus by Russia was not felt as an imminent threat.

This coming Friday, NASS will release its acreage mix, and its highly anticipated farmers are planting additional area for 2023. The drought in Argentina has placed a need for enlarged acreage to be produced in the Northern Hemisphere. February’s USDA Outlook Forum projected an increase of 6.2 million acres in the mix, while the Farm Futures acreage survey only projects a total crop area of 1.3 Mil.

More heavy snow is forecasted in the next 10 days for the Dakotas, MN, WI, and MI states, with the EU model projecting 10-15” in SD, MN, and WI. The heavy snowpack is keeping temperatures below normal and delaying the melting process. In 2022 the combined corn and soybean area for the Dakotas, MN, and WI was 41 Mil acres which are 23% of the US total. This will become an attention focus after the release of the acreage data and when weather models are looking into mid-April. Freezing overnight temps continue over the end plains throughout the next 10 days. Minimum lows for the week hold at or just below zero in ND, SD, and MN.

Live cattle recovered late last week, post small gains week-over-week, the firm outlook offered this morning. Live cattle futures had failed to multi-week lows at midweek as negotiated fed cattle trade was mixed with the southern plains down $1 at $163 while the north maintained the strength with IA/MN quoted $1 higher at $165. Box beef values last week had choice down a total of $3.47, and select was off $3.69. Both values still reflect record prices for late March and are $24-25 higher than a year ago. The COT report showed funds liquidated 28,816 contracts which was record large for the selling experienced over two weeks. Meanwhile, commercials bought 25,423 contracts, a record for commercial buying.