eCBOT Close, Early Call

Having traded higher for most of the session eCBOT grains turned lower into the close with wheat finishing down around 6 cents, corn off 3 cents and soybeans flat to down 1 cent.

Wheat had gained earlier on news released after last night's close showed US winter wheat conditions worse than expected at 22% poor/very poor.

Cold and wet weather across much of the US is seen delaying corn plantings, which could ultimately lead to more soybean acres getting seeded than the 76 million acres projected by the USDA last week.

Grains failed to hold on to early gains however as crude oil started to slide, global stock markets fell and the dollar firmed.

The dollar rose as data was released showing that economic contraction in the euro area in the fourth quarter was more than initially estimated. The dollar also gained a bit of ground against the sterling as the British Chambers of Commerce confirmed that the UK recession is still very serious and expects it to continue for some time.

The DJIA is expected to open lower this afternoon, extending losses into a second day

Dryness in Argentina is helping get the harvest in, but yields are proving disappointing. The soybean harvest is now estimated at 25% done, and the corn crop is 34% in, according to official reports. "Some crops will be turned over to grazing due to the poor outlook for yields," the Agricultural Secretariat said.

In the US Farmers generally want soil temps at around 55 degrees to get cracking with planting. The only areas with those kind of soil temps right now are Kentucky and Tennessee, and both of those have excessive moisture problems at the moment.

On Thursday USDA will release its monthly updates on supply and demand. Most analysts see soybean old crop ending stocks tightening from last month as export sales continue to be robust. A lower production number from Argentina also looks highly likely.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: Corn futures are expected to open 2 to 4 lower; soybeans steady to 2 lower; wheat 4 to 6 lower.