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USDA numbers neutral on July 11

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

What will USDA give us today? How will they affect my bottom line?

That is the gargantuan (adjective for the day) question farmers are asking. They continue to be in shock with the most surprising corn acres number provided with the June 28 Acres Report. This report had U.S. corn acres at 91.7 million acres while soybean acres were estimated at 80 million acres. What happened to prevent planted corn acres talked about for weeks ahead of that report? Corn acres were a huge bearish surprise, with December CBOT corn closing down 19 ½ cents at $4.31 ½ on the June 28 report day. Trader estimates ahead of the report estimated corn acres at 86-87 million acres. Soybean acres were a huge bullish surprise as the November CBOT soybeans closed at $9.23, up 10 ¾ cents that same day. Trader estimates had been 84 million acres.

Corn acres unchanged, yield unchanged, ending stocks up but below trade estimates. Soybean acres unchanged, yield lower one bushel, ending stocks lower and below trade estimates. Shortly after report release corn down 2 cents, soybeans up 1 cent, wheat up 4 cents.

Today numbers will not be a one hit wonder. All will be looking at acres. In addition, analysts will be considering U.S. exports, U.S. ending stocks, stocks to use ratios, and finally global production and ending stocks. Trading ranges could be brisk and most volatile.

Prior to the report corn was down two cents, while soybeans and wheat were down one cent. Many had expected the corn numbers to be bearish with lower exports and higher ending stocks.

Weather concerns are not going away with warm and dry seen into the weekend across the Midwest. A tropical storm has already brought nine inches of rain to parts of Louisiana this week. Its remnants may or may not reach into Kansas and Missouri where some of the driest conditions exist.

It has been a hard spring for producers in Ohio and across the Midwest. Planting has not been fun at all with the many rain delays and late plantings for corn and soybeans. Producers wanted to forget the wet fall from last year. Unfortunately, it has carried into this year with even more stress and uncertainty. This week Ohio’s farmers are still planting the first crop soybeans in numerous locations. It is easy to see that corn and soybean development is 20-30 days behind normal. Throw in the words, “early frost” to bring on even more uncertainty for final corn and soybean yields.

Today and the weeks which follow continue to be the battle of the decade. Demand bears point to U.S. export demand shrinking for corn, soybeans, and wheat. They have plenty of ammunition with huge corn supplies with South America, Brazil exporting more and more soybeans to China while the U.S. exports have fallen off the map, along with big wheat production from Russia which has benefitted from timely rains. Supply bulls continue to point to a record wet spring, the wettest in 125 years. Crop development for corn and soybeans is behind normal.

In the eastern U.S. Corn Belt, Ohio’s old crop corn basis levels are at decades’ high numbers. Numerous Ohio locations are September plus 30 to 60 cents. Basis levels have increased weekly by nickels and even multiple dimes from mid-May forward in numerous Ohio locations, especially in western Ohio. Old corn has not moved as expected with producers holding onto corn for more money, especially if they have not been able to plant normal acres of corn. This delayed movement of old corn has contributed greatly to the basis levels currently seen. No producer wants to be left standing when the music stops. When the party is over, those dimes could be multiple dimes lower in just days.

The meteorological term “ring of fire,” with the extreme heat seen in the Midwest this week has easily replaced “trains of rain,” which took place in May.

Look for weather and yields to once again return to the forefront in price direction. This change could easily be within minutes of the noon Eastern Time report release.

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