Cotton and grain prices declined late in the week in reaction to USDA production and stocks reports, a stronger dollar and ongoing concerns that the European debt crisis could erode demand. On Thursday, cotton cash prices and futures were lower after USDA raised projected ending stocks, mostly due to lower expected exports. Corn and grain sorghum prices were sharply lower, with the underlying nearby corn futures prices down their 40 cent trading limit in reaction to the reports. Traders were expecting a cut in projected ending stocks, but USDA instead raised its 2011 production estimate, left projected U.S. ending stocks unchanged, but raised world stocks. Wheat prices were lower, also because of bearish USDA reports and spillover pressure from other grains. Rice declined after USDA raised projected ending stocks estimates.
As for futures markets, feeder cattle, fed cattle and lumber were higher, while cotton, wheat and corn were lower. The January feeder cattle futures contract hit new record highs on consecutive days last week, and then closed higher again on Monday.
Most of the state east of a line from Corpus Christi to Midland to Childress recorded rainfall during the week with the highest totals reported in Southeast Texas. Topsoil moisture was rated in short to very short supply in much of West and South Texas while the remainder of the state was mostly short to adequate. Some areas of surplus moisture were also noted in locations receiving the most rain last week. Winter wheat was 92 percent emerged and reported in mostly fair to good condition. Cotton harvest was nearing completion on the High Plains. Preparations for spring planting are underway in many areas. Pastures were rated in mostly poor to very poor condition, though recent rains have helped winter grasses.
All cash prices above are market averages for locations covered by the USDA Market News program and do not reflect any particular sale at any specific location. Feeder cattle prices are for 500-600 pound medium and large No.1 steers at the Oklahoma City National Stockyards. Futures prices are quoted for the nearest month contract on the last trading day of the week. For additional information, contact TDA at (800) 835-5832 or visit our website, http://www.texasagriculture.gov/.