Soybeans Lead Corn, Wheat Higher On Lower Brazil Estimates

Soybean futures are leading corn and wheat higher in overnight trading as Brazilian consulting firms cut the country’s crop size estimate because of dry-weather concerns, market analysts said.\r\n   AgRural, a Brazilian consulting firm, Monday cut its estimate of the country’s soybean crop by 1.8 million tonnes from its previous estimate to 87.0 million from 88.8 million.  And Agroconsult said Friday it expected 2.4 million tonnes of drought-related losses, cutting its crop estimate to 90.8 million tonnes, according to Global Food Mate.\r\n   With rain returning to key growing areas over the weekend after six weeks of dryness, AgRural, citing “the resilience of soybeans,” cautioned that its forecast could be raised again, Global Food Mate reported.\r\n   Timely rain this crop year in Brazil has the USDA predicting a crop of around 89 million tonnes with some market estimates of a total above 90 million.\r\n   Last year, Brazil produced about 82.0 million tonnes, USDA said.\r\n   In the continuing struggle to balance supply and demand estimates, futures traders are expected to look toward this week’s USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum where new estimates of US production, export and domestic demand and ending stocks are scheduled for release.\r\n   In addition, traders will be watching the weekly export report today for indications of soybean cancellations by Chinese buyers.  So far, soybean exports have exceeded expectations and threaten to draw US ending stocks to very low levels before the next harvest this fall, which could boost imports to pick up the slack.\r\n   Traders generally expect higher production estimates after the release of the Department’s Baseline data last week showed increases.\r\n   US weather conditions are improving this week, with temperatures in the 60s in much of the Plains and warming trends in Midwestern and southern states as well, the National Weather Service says.  Today’s outlook map shows clear skies over the central US with rain chances in the south and only the far Northeast under the thread of heavy snow.\r\n\r\nBeef Cow Herd Growth May Be Slow\r\n\r\n   Meanwhile, the USDA’s Livestock Dairy, and Poultry Outlook report, released on Friday, shows that while the US beef cow inventory may have reached a bottom, growth may take several years to make a noticeable difference in beef production.\r\n   The USDA’s reported 1% decline in beef cow inventories last year was the 16th year of decline since 1996 with 2004 and 2005 being the only years of growth, when the inventory rose by less than 1%.\r\n   But while the USDA expects ranchers to keep more heifers in their herds, the physiology of cattle means it will be at least 2016 before total beef supplies rise above current levels, the USDA said. \r\n   The number of cattle being offered to packers this week is thought to be down from last week in key states like Kansas and Texas, which goes against early expectations after limited sales the last two weeks, which could support cash prices.\r\n   Sales last week were reported at mostly $142 per cwt, up $1 from the week before.\r\n   Also supportive to cash cattle price ideas this week could be sharp gains in boxed-beef prices Monday.  The USDA’s choice cutout was reported at $210.98 per cwt up $3.30, and select was up $2.06 at $209.02.  \r\n   The CME Feeder Cattle Cash Index for the seven days ended Friday is $169.31, down $0.32, while the March futures contract settled Monday at $167.90, up $0.10.\r\n