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Hogs: Afternoon Comments (Friday, February 24, 2017 20:59:05)

Hog futures closed 57 1/2 cents to $1.45 higher, with the April contract leading the late-session rise. April futures closed $2.75 lower for the week. Tightening profit margins will have packers holding the line on cash bids next week. Friday's strength in the pork cutout is encouraging, but it came on light movement. The supply disruption prompted by this week's winter storm in the western Corn Belt will dampen prices as market flows return to normal. Investors believe cash prices are at or near a top and that futures prices have already topped. The Cold Storage Report suggests pork is moving at a slightly stronger pace than expected. But the normal seasonal build in marketings along with those hefty supplies will provide pressure on prices going forward.

Soybeans: Afternoon Comments (Friday, February 24, 2017 21:02:04)

Soybean futures finished 1 3/4 to 2 1/2 cents higher through the November contract. The March contract closed 19 cents lower on the week. Bearish news is ganging up on the soybean market. Brazil's harvest is well underway and supplies are now moving onto ships at ports. USDA's first look at planted soybean acreage for 2017 came in higher than expected. But exports remain strong at a time many expected a reduction in shipments as the Southern Hemisphere crop comes to market. A continuation of strong exports will temper the market's bearish attitude. South American supplies will soon be more than ample, which could prompt some cancellation in U.S. export contracts by the Chinese. Meanwhile, the market will focus of planting intentions as farmers head to the fields in the southern U.S. and USDA gathers data for its Prospective Plantings Report due March 31. Traders will also focus on old-crop carryover as they prepare for USDA's Grain Stocks Report, also due March 31.

Corn: Afternoon Comments (Friday, February 24, 2017 21:01:24)

Corn futures ended 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 cents lower in old-crop contracts, while December corn finished 3/4 cent lower. For the week, March corn futures dropped 4 1/4 cents, while the December contract declined 3 1/4 cents. Bears carry momentum into next week after the late-week pressure. Funds, who had built a long position into mid-month have shifted to liquidation mode. If that continues next week, futures will challenge the uptrends from the fall lows. Violation of uptrending support could attract fresh chart-based selling. But if uptrending support holds, a price recovery could occur. Focus will be on planting intentions as the calendar flips to March. The recent record heat has allowed farmers to do some early fieldwork ahead of spring. An early spring would suggest corn plantings will be higher than USDA's March 31 Prospective Plantings Report signals, even if the soybean:corn price ratio favors soybeans.

Wheat: Afternoon Comments (Friday, February 24, 2017 21:02:55)

Winter wheat futures faced pressure today and settled mostly 4 to 5 cents lower for the day. Spring wheat futures saw choppy trade today and finished narrowly mixed. For the week, all three flavors posted modest losses. Traders remain on edge regarding the early emergence of the winter wheat crop. Temperatures have dropped across the Plains and are expected to remain cool through the beginning of March, including some freezing temps. However, no major damage is anticipated, and some weather watchers say the colder temps will actually benefit the crop by keeping it from getting too advanced too soon. Regardless, the weather on the Central and Southern Plains and its impact on the winter wheat crop will remain a point of focus over the near-term. At its outlook forum, USDA projected farmers would plant 46.0 million acres to wheat this season, resulting in an all-wheat crop of 1.837 billion bushels. The smaller crop size is expected to help draw carryover down to 905 million bushels in 2017-18, which is still a plentiful supply situation. USDA will provide another look at likely wheat acreage in its survey-based Prospective Plantings Report on March 31.

Cotton: Afternoon Comments (Friday, February 24, 2017 21:03:32)

Cotton futures rallied at week's end thanks to an impressive showing in today's weekly export sales report. However, the market was able to muster only a midrange finish with gains of 9 to 58 points. For the week, the market posted impressive gains, with the March contract up 194 points. Cotton futures staged an impressive bounce after last Friday's plunge, dramatically improving the market's technical stance. If the market stabilizes or enjoys followthrough buying next week, it would signal a renewal of the markets impressive rally off the September lows. Weekly cotton export sales continue to outpace USDA's export forecast, even after it raised its projection earlier this month. If the strong pace of shipments continues, USDA may need to raise its projection again. is your source for ag news and information on crop pest identification, commodity and market prices, agricultural news & issues, and access to crop production management tools such as crop yield & planting calculators and herbicide, fungicide, and weed control information.