Stewart-Peterson Market Commentary

Closing Commentary - February 24, 2020


Top Farmer Closing Commentary

CORN HIGHLIGHTS: Corn futures finished with losses of 3-1/2 to 4-3/4 cents, as Mar lead today’s losses, closing at 3.72-1/4, its lowest close since September. Today’s low in Mar corn was 3.70, and this compares to the Mar low of 3.65-3/4. However, Jul corn closed 4 lower at 3.79-1/2, trading into a new contract low and closing at a new contract low as well. Today’s low on Jul was 3.76-3/4. Using this contract and a swing and band objective, this may suggest a drop to 3.62. New crop Dec closed 3-3/4 lower at 3.82-1/4, a new contract low close. Since mid January, when prices peaked at 4.04-3/4, new crop corn has lost well over 20 cents. Growing concern that the coronavirus is spreading worldwide had all markets on the defensive, as it appeared today was a risk-off day. That is, traders move to the sidelines out of long positions in commodities and equities. During the day, the Dow Jones was down well over 1,000 points. Energies were sharply lower, as was wheat and soybeans, which also weighed on corn futures. That being said, the losses in corn relative to other commodities, including livestock, looked rather tame.

SOYBEAN HIGHLIGHTS: Growing concern about coronavirus spreading around the world had prices on the defensive, as soybeans joined most all commodities crashing today with significant liquidation occurring throughout the session. The commodity market may have followed by equity markets, which also suffered sharp losses. By day’s end, Mar beans closed down 16-1/4 at 8.74-1/4. After posting a reversal on Friday, the market wasted little time following through to the downside. Mar beans scored a low today of 8.70-3/4, still above the low from February 3 at 8.68-3/4. With last week’s baseline projections, along with the USDA report from February considered supportive, we think there may be limited downside. Yet, we will hold with defensive posturing, as the technical picture looks questionable. New crop Nov closed down 12-1/2 at 9.05, its lowest close since last May.

WHEAT HIGHLIGHTS: Wheat futures had a horrific day, as prices crashed again on concerns of coronavirus spreading throughout the world. All three exchanges suffered double digit losses, with May Chi leading today’s drop, closing at 5.34-3/4, down 17-1/4. Today was the lowest close in May wheat since early November. The market also slid through an upward channel line, as well as the 100-day moving average on most Chi contracts, likely furthering liquidation. The market does not like this type of uncertainty, and prices reflected that today. Jul Chi closed 15-1/4 lower at 5.36-3/4, fulfilling the right side of a head-and-shoulders formation, which now points to a downside objective just above 5.00.

CATTLE HIGHLIGHTS: Cattle markets made sharply lower closes today, with many contracts down limit on fears of the economic impacts of the spread of coronavirus. Feb live cattle were down 2.72 to 117.00. Apr lives were down 3.00 to 115.325, and Jun lives were down 2.90 to 107.37. Mar feeders were down 4.17 to 136.02, and Apr feeders were down 4.50 to 137.60. Choice beef closed 59 cents higher on Friday to 205.09 and was up another 1.60 this morning to 206.69. Cash trade tapered off toward the end of last week, but the 5-area average was up 80 cents from the previous week. Friday’s Cattle on Feed report was also considered supportive with placements at 99.4%, marketings at 101.1% and on feed at 102.2%. All three numbers were supportive though were not of much help today. With the stock market down as much as 1,000 points today, the market is clearly taking a risk-off view of the current coronavirus situation. May cases were reported in South Korea. Iran and Italy over the week. South Korea is a major buyer of U.S. beef, so this may have a larger effect on U.S. exports. The stock market weakness and overall instability could reduce consumer spending, travel and restaurant demand, all directly linked to beef prices. Best traded Apr live cattle contract gapped lower today and settled limit down. There is still a gap on the charts between September 20 and 23, and though Apr live cattle did trade below the low end of the gap today. The gap is still open. This morning’s gap lower open skipped over the high end of the September gap. Mar feeder cattle were able to close off of the day’s lows but did not make any progress in retaking much of the day’s losses. For a bit, Mar feeders were trading just off of the day’s highs close to mid morning, but sellers reentered and pushed prices back lower. Today’s close below the 10 and 20-day moving average levels was the first since February 12.

LEAN HOG HIGHLIGHTS: Hog markets took triple-digit losses today in sympathy with most other markets under heavy selling pressure from the spread of coronavirus. Apr hogs were down 2.40 to 64.62, Jun hogs were down 1.90 to 79.95, and Jul hogs were down 1.45 to 81.27. The CME lean hog index is up 9 cents to 55.87. Carcass cutout values were up 56 cents at Friday’s close to 65.00 and were up another 1.13 this morning to 66.13. Though it is unclear how easy or difficult transportation logistics will be in China given the spread of coronavirus, it still appears as though China will become an even bigger buyer of U.S. pork once tariff waivers are issued at the beginning of March. Hog markets were not down limit at today’s close, because pork is generally not as sensitive to economic sentiment as beef markets. Best-traded Apr made its first close below its 10 and 20-day moving average support levels today since last Tuesday. This is a negative development and has turned momentum lower, but the close was well off of today’s lows. There is now a gap on the Apr chart that needs to be filled in between today’s session and Friday’s session. Jun and Jul contracts show much larger gaps that need to be filled from today’s gap lower session.


Tama-Benton Cooperative Locations and Office Hours 


Dysart- 319-476-3666

Office Hours

Monday-Friday 8:00-4:30


Vinton 319-472-4791

Office Hours

Monday-Friday 8:00-4:30pm


Clutier 319-479-2242

Office Hours

Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30pm 


All Grain Settlements are now completed at the Dysart Office. For your convenience Grain Checks and Contracts may be printed at the Vinton or Clutier locations. 



ADM  5am-8pm

INGREDION  7:30am-12:30pm

STARCH  7am-3pm





Please report Direct Shipment Loads Promptly to the Dysart Office in Order to Maintain Delivery Schedules and to Final Price Contract Overfills and Underfills. Thank You 







Market Snapshot
Quotes retrieved on February 24, 2020, 05:11:24 PM CST
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