Market Commentary by Total Farm Marketing 

Closing Commentary - January 26, 2021


Top Farmer Closing Commentary


CORN HIGHLIGHTS: Corn futures closed firmer with nearby Mar gaining 20-3/4 cents closing at 5.32-1/4 and Dec up 9-3/4 finishing at 4.44-1/2. A couple of announced sales of corn this morning help propel prices higher. A combination of a large sale to China and another smaller to unknown destinations for a total near 58 million was a supportive catalyst to today’s higher futures. Perhaps just as important, was yesterday’s bullish hook reversal on charts and follow-through buying which may have attracted speculative interest. Yesterday’s reversal in and of itself was supportive but the key is follow-through. Had prices stumbled or moved lower this morning, yesterday’s technical signal would not mean much. Once prices began to move, the market wasted little time finding buyers and likely short covering. Also providing underlying support was a firmer wheat market today. Uncertainty with feed supplies from Russia is providing underlying support for corn. Recently, it was noted that some feed users in China are mixing wheat in feed rations substituting for corn and soy meal. With China auctioning reserves of wheat recently, this would add validity to this story. 

SOYBEAN HIGHLIGHTS: Soybean futures finished with strong gains of 18 to 26-3/4 cents with Mar leading today’s rally closing at 13.70-1/4. New crop Nov finished 18-1/4 cents firmer at 11.48-1/2. Short covering and traders who are viewing the sell-off from late last week as a buy opportunity jumped into the market today. Private forecasters are suggesting a small increase to the Southern Hemisphere crops due to better weather but not a significant turnaround in the overall supply. A return to drier conditions in some regions is forecasted for next week. We have concerned ourselves with recent African swine fever news from China, yet the market seems dismissive instead focusing on very tight carryout figures. We do wonder if soybeans may be at a pivot point near 14 dollars. The first breach over 14.00 suggested that prices could move to 15.00. Since then, additional rain in South America and now some concern over disease in the China hog herd could perceptively reduce buying enthusiasm at higher prices. Time will tell. Nervous longs might begin liquidation closing to 14.00.

WHEAT HIGHLIGHTS: Mar Chi wheat up 16-3/4 cents closing at 6.65-1/4 and May Chi up 15-1/4 cents closing at 6.64-1/4. Mar KC wheat up 13-3/4 cents closing at 6.41 while KC May closed up 13-1/4 cents at 6.44-1/4. Markets were up all around in the wheat sector today. Not only did wheat rally alongside fellow corn & soybean markets, but globally, wheat prices were up in Paris milling futures and Black Sea futures, which further added support to U.S. wheat today. It was reported today that China bought 600,000 mt of wheat from Australia in December. To be fair, this comes after months of China refusing to purchase from Australia but still a very impressive sale regardless of circumstances. Yesterday the USDA confirmed crop ratings dropping for much of the west wheat country – Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Colorado all dropped in good to excellent rating. Long-term demand looks strong even for wheat, although we have yet to see purchases for U.S. wheat to be anything like that for corn and soybeans.

CATTLE HIGHLIGHTS: Cattle futures finished mixed between groups on Tuesday, as live cattle held their recent strength, and feeders traded softer. First live cattle had modest gains, with Feb finishing 0.475 higher to 117.00, and Apr gaining 0.150 to 123.100. The technical strength in the live cattle market stays active as prices have built off the last few days of strong trade. This technical trade and money flow are moving prices higher, but to maintain the rally, the fundamental factors, mainly cash, need to support. The retail market has been extremely strong, and that trend continued today. At midday. choice carcasses gained 2.40 to 229.13 and select traded 0.65 higher to 216.86. In the past couple of weeks, choice carcasses have rallied near $30 since crossing back through the $200 barrier. Seasonally, retail value surges in this window but softens into later winter, but at this point, the trend continues. This is bringing cash optimism, which is still undeveloped this week. Asking prices are $114-115 with the strong futures market building feedlot resolves. Fed Cattle Exchange will trade tomorrow, and that will give a start to the cash trade, with the majority holding off to the end of the week. The most recent Cattle on Feed report showed more placements of heavier weight feeders, and that could limit some upside at the end of the first and early second quarter. Deferred contracts have been on a steady climb, showing good strength as prices push to new highs on a daily basis. This is supported by the projections for tighter cattle supplies, hopes of improved demand, and value being added by the pressure from higher feed costs. Feeder cattle futures saw some profit-taking on Tuesday. The heavier placement totals on the Cattle on Feed report make the feeder market more cautious about supplies, and the reawakening of the grain markets bring selling pressure. Regardless, charts still look supportive, and in today’s action was more of a consolidation trade action.

LEAN HOG HIGHLIGHTS: Hog futures finished mostly higher, with the exception of the Feb contract. Feb hogs lost 0.175 to 70.450, beyond that, hog futures saw modest gains. Apr hogs gained 0.325 to 76.950, and Jun hogs finished 0.425 higher to 87.925. With expiration moving closer, the premium of the Feb contract to the index limits upside potential. As the lean hog index traded 0.33 higher to 65.88, the premium from Feb is still at 4.570, limiting upside in the front-month contract. A strong technical picture and optimism regarding longer-term demand have supported hog futures. Summer hogs look to be testing the $90 level. The carcass value is trading back above the $80 level but traded softer at midday on Tuesday. Pork carcasses lost 1.20 to 80.93. The cold storage number from yesterday afternoon’s USDA Cold Storage report showed that frozen pork supplies were down 3% from the previous month and down 30% from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 32% from last month but down 54% from last year. Very much a reflection of the pork demand given the heavy production. This tight belly supply picture will keep support into the retail values, as the tighter supply will bring price competition. In addition, China will be offering an additional 30,000 Mt of frozen pork in storage on auction, and despite the herd improving from ASF levels, there is still a strong demand for pork products in China, and the U.S. has been a main beneficiary. This has helped build the strong move higher in the deferred contracts. The strong technical picture will keep buyers active, and with grain prices trying to regain their footing, hog prices look to be supported to encourage production in the face of demand.



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Market Snapshot
Quotes are delayed, as of January 27, 2021, 06:37:02 AM CST or prior.
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