Early Call On Chicago

The overnight session closed mixed, with beans around 4c lower, corn a cent or so higher and wheat trading narrowly either side of unchanged.

The bulls need feeding every day, a small downwards correction by SovEcon to their Russian grain production estimate to 59.5-63.5 MMT doesn't look like it was enough.

China did buy another slug of US soybeans though today, booking 220,000 MT of 2010/11 crop.

The USDA's weekly crop condition ratings are out after the close tonight. The trade is expecting those to be unchanged to maybe a slight decline of a point or so for both corn and beans.

Weather forecasters are calling for cooler conditions towards the second half of the week for Russia, and even some possible precipitation in the next couple of weeks.

That might help a bit more winter wheat get planted. Current ideas are than only around 12 million ha will get sown with winter grains, down from 18.5 million ha last year.

The US weather was better than forecast over the weekend too, with a wider coverage of rain and higher totals than expected in the Midwest and Delta region.

It would seem that, at least for now, much of the bullish news is already on the table. Whilst many participants seem to think that the USDA's corn yield projections are too high at 165 bu/acre, unless or until we get confirmation that they are indeed lower as we near harvest, upside looks limited.

As things stand record corn and soybean production is, at least officially, on the cards for the US this year.

For wheats prospects things can hardly get much worse, perhaps the most bullish feature that could yet come along for wheat would be much lower corn production that currently projected by the USDA. Meanwhile there is already talk of an increase of 5 million acres of winter wheat planting in the US this year. Russian acres might get deferred until the spring, but European plantings will also surely surge.

And so it is that even before the harvest is over, already the focus is starting to switch to plantings for next season.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: corn steady to up 1c, beans down 2-4c, wheat mixed. Yawn. We might see prices start to drift as the session wears on.