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  • 05/29/24 41% of Brazil’s Safrinha Crop Planted in High Risk Period
    Brazil's second crop corn harvest slowly advances while weather forecast finally shows a much-needed drying pattern in RGDS. Harvest in Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Goiás and Parana only register at around 2% overall. Progress will begin to pick up quickly in the month of June. Three different private groups came out with their Brazil corn crop estimates last week ranging between 114.3 MMT on the low end, followed by 117.1 MMT and 121 MMT on the high end. All three came in above CONAB (111.1 MMT) but below USDA (122 MT). CONAB may be forced to increase their estimate due to favorable weather in Mato Grosso, but we still see the USDA estimate as too high. The USDA has yet to take into consideration the flood damage in RGDS as well as the earlier end to the rainy season.   As much as 41% of the safrinha corn was planted in a period we deem as high risk. We define high risk as being anything planted after February 20th. That is not to say that the corn cannot still perform well if planted past that date, but the rainy season becomes increasingly unreliable beyond that point, and farmers should no longer expect trendline yields. April rainfall averages collapse, while rainfall in May is generally considered insignificant. But Mother Nature is unpredictable and so a heavy shower in May is not unheard of either. But everything we have seen this year would indicate the rainy season ended in early to mid-April ...
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  • 05/29/2024 Planting Progress Pulls Ahead of 5-year Average despite Rainy Weekend
    On the Grains Grains are steady-to-weak in overnight trading as of 6am. After the close, we got the planting progress report and corn came in at 83%, just as expected. That's 6 points behind last year but actually a point better than the 5-year average. It showed 58% emerged, right at the 5-year average but 8 points lower than last year at this point. Among major producing states, only seven (mostly in ECB) still have more than 20% left to plant. Only Iowa is still noticeably short of normal at 88% vs. the 5-year average of 92% planted by now. Soybean planting came in at 68% complete, two points better than expected, and 5 points ahead of average. It shows 39% has already emerged, 3 points ahead of average but 11 points behind last year. Among the major producing states, as in corn, Iowa is the only state noticeably short of the normal pace for soybeans planted. At 73% it's 4 points shy of the 5-year average of 77% by now. It's important to note that even though now at or ahead of normal planting progress, history shows yield potential begins to drop for any portion of corn planted after May 22 and this year that will be over 25%.  Further, USDA is now gathering data for actual planted acreage for the June Acreage Report. Trade chatter will inevitably switch to how acreage may have shifted from March intentions with most thinking if there were any switching, it will be corn plans that ...
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  • 05/28/24 Once in a Lifetime 2024 Planting Stories Here
    Cropping conditions were starting to feel similar to 1993 here. That year my neighbor across the road planted corn extremely early in April before conditions were fit. It made no sense to me why he would plant that early mudding the crop in. I got my fertilizer and chemical on to plant corn and then it rained and rained and I ended up participating in the 0-92 program that year where we destroyed the crop for a payment. The neighbor's corn made 150 bpa which was the best in the county. Mine was about half of half of that. By it staying wet he avoided sidewall compaction and crusting. Some corn got planted here in April this year. At the time conditions were good. However, it has rained and rained since resulting in ponding, uneven emergence and N loss that will take the top end off of the yield. I am still not ready to give up on an APH yield from the early planted corn yet but unrelenting rain may change that. There were a couple days planters got into the field again here in mid-May. This time they mudded through. It will need to stay wet for this corn to emerge as it should.   Moisture laden air is starting out from the gulf moving north crossing flooded East TX, AR and MO to the central corn belt where a pattern of fronts entering the US from the Pacific Northwest dip into the country triggering storm after storm in regular ...
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  • 05/28/2024 Wheat the Overnight Leader Again on Falling Black Sea Prospects
    FIRST '25 CROP WHEAT RECCO DAY 3:Past advice has you sold out of '23 wheat and 35% hedged on '24 production. Last Thursday we advised hedging the first 15% of expected 2025 production in July '25 contracts at your appropriate exchange. They've rallied further since, so the advice stands. On the Grains Markets are mixed in overnight trade. As of 6 am, beans are weak but corn is up slightly and wheat is up double-digits. Wheat is stronger on continued deterioration in the Black Sea region impacting both Russian and Ukrainian crop estimates. USDA has Russia at 88 MMT but widely followed Russian firm IKAR just lowered its estimate again to 81.5 MMT and our Ukrainian broker contact thinks it's more likely under 80. USDA has Ukraine at 21 MMT but our Ukrainian broker contact says its 18.5-19.5 at best. There were interludes of dry days last week but the weekend itself showed widespread rain over much of the Mississippi Valley and eastward, ranging widely from half an inch to 1"+ and certainly enough to limit progress. We'll get the holiday-delayed Crop Progress report after the close today. Since last week's report showed surprising progress the week before, some think that will be the case again. I'm not so sure. Last week Missouri was one of the leaders at 75% planted but the St. Louis region and eastward into Illinois got vicious thunderstorms Sunday. My wife took a picture of me in a field of 20" corn wilting badly on June 4 of last year about ...
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  • 05/27/2024 Monday Market Preview
    We remember and honor those who sacrificed their lives in service of our country on this Memorial Day. The market is closed for the holiday before grain futures will open again tonight at 7 pm central for the Tuesday session. Grains look to start with a slightly weaker tone in reflection of a drier forecast for most of the week. More severe weather broke out over the weekend, but there were breaks in the rains for many areas where planting needed to catch up. It will get too late for some as more final planting dates roll around this week. In the Headlines Corn futures finished firmer last week with the July contract up 12 1/4 cents. July beans gained 20 cents for the week. July Chicago wheat futures rallied 46 cents last week and KC July was higher by 59 1/2. June live cattle finished last week up $2.65 while May feeders were up $3.41. June lean hogs were lower by $2.22. The House Agriculture Committee advanced a new farm bill worth $1.5 trillion last week. Republican members were joined in support by Democrats from North Carolina, Georgia, and Illinois. There is doubt that the bill would survive a vote to pass the House, let alone the Senate, but many observers are optimistic in seeing it as a solid starting point. As usual, critics of the proposal say that it is too heavy on increased subsidies for farmers and too light on supporting the food programs. The current farm bill has extensions ...
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  • 05/24/24 War and Conflict Remain Sources of Heightened Market Volatility
    It is being reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin is suggesting that a ceasefire could be reached in Ukraine if an agreement would allow Russia to keep the territories currently controlled by Russian forces, which are estimated to span nearly 18 percent of Ukraine. Most observers believe that the demand is an impossible ask and that there will be no push toward actual negotiations. The news may be viewed by some as a sign that Putin's desire to continue the war is softening; however, others recognize that the unrealistic claim for victory is probably a ploy to excuse further advancement of Russia's land grab. Also in the news this week was Russia's removal of border markers that were in place outside of Estonia, which was another step up of recent threats by Russia to expand its borders into the Baltic states while also provoking Finland.   Even with the latest escalations of the war in Ukraine, including talk about Russia resuming the targeting of grain assets in the Black Sea, Ukraine just had its biggest month for grain exports since the invasion occurred more than two years ago. After Russia's suspension of the trade deal with Ukraine in July 2023, Ukraine's own efforts to construct a safe shipping corridor allowed 78 percent of the exports in April to pass through the Black Sea. A potential catalyst for change in the situation is if expanding drought in the region tempts Russia to put more effort into stealing Ukraine's grain so that Russian export ...
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  • 05/24/24 Markets Firm on Reduced Global Crop Estimates for ’24 from IGC
    FIRST '25 CROP WHEAT RECCO DAY 2:Past advice has you sold out of '23 wheat and 35% hedged on '24 production. Yesterday we advised hedging the first 15% of expected 2025 production in July '25 contracts at your appropriate exchange. They've rallied 140-170 per bu. from March lows and that needed to be rewarded. (For track record we're using fill prices for Chicago and KC at 743; MGE at 769.)   On the Grains This is Memorial Day weekend so there won't be any markets on Monday. A hearty salute to all veterans and families of veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country for generations past.   In overnight trade thus far prices are mostly firm. With anticipated cuts in corn production in Argentina and sub-Saharan Africa and smaller wheat crops expected in Russia, Ukraine and the United States, the International Grains Council (IGC) revised its monthly projection for total grains output lower by 10 million tonnes for the 2024-25 marketing year. Here's the breakout by crop: Global wheat production is lowered to 795 MMT, still 7.3 MMT higher than last year but 3.2 MMT lower than USDA's forecast at 798.2. A slight decline in corn to 1.22 billion tonnes puts IGC right in line with USDA's initial forecast. With large outturns expected in the United States, Brazil and Argentina, global soybean production is seen increasing by 6% to a record 414 million tonnes in 2024-25, but that's 8.3 MMT lower than USDA's initial forecast at 422.3 MMT.   On the export front, ...
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  • 05/23/24 No Longer as Tightly Shoulder to Shoulder
    The promise by President Biden of standing “shoulder to shoulder” with Israel proved to be one of the casualties of the Israel/Hamas war. It succumbed to the success of the Hamas/Palestinian public propaganda strategy. Gaza was a Palestinian state that was controlled by Hamas. Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction and elimination of Israel, transparently described by Hamas as capturing the territory “from the river to the sea” as its objective. Gaza was transformed by Hamas into an underground military complex, completed as a protected missile launch pad capable of reigning missiles down on Israel defended by its ‘iron dome’. Late last year Hamas launched a military offensive against Israel. On October 7th, 2023 highly trained Hamas assault troops successfully executed a surprise attack on Israeli settlements outside Gaza raping, pillaging and killing over 1200 Israeli citizens while taking many others hostage in their retreat to their underground fortress in Gaza. Understanding why Israel is so devastated, in US population equivalency that would be the same as 42000 murders/deaths. Hamas correctly anticipated that Israel would have no choice but to invade Gaza and were well prepared for the anticipated assault to make it as bloody as possible. Urban warfare limits the scope of offensive alternatives giving defenders the advantage.   Israel responded just as Hamas anticipated vowing to eliminate Hamas. To do so they would destroy Gaza and incapacitate the underground tunnel system in which Hamas thrived. To do that they would pay little heed to the destruction of ...
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  • 05/23/2024 Sentiment Shifting from Planting Delay Fears to “Rain Makes Grain”?
    On the Grains: Grains are mixed so far in overnight trade, with corn and beans steady-to-firm and wheat a little weaker as of 6am. Widespread heavy rains are now sweeping much of the Plains and parts of the Midwest that will again delay planting in many areas. However, after last week's planting progress was surprisingly robust despite what was thought to be a generally "wet week" the week before, we're entering the stage where the old mantra that "rain makes grain" is heard just as often in trade chatter.   Wheat harvest has already begun in Texas and a crop tour just completed by the Illinois Wheat Association made mockery of USDA's recent suggestion that SRW yields might dip from last year's record 87 to 83 bpa this year. The tour average came in at a whopping 104 bpa.
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  • 05/22/24 Brazil’s Corn Harvest Begins With Prices Below Cost of Production
    Second crop corn harvest has begun in select areas of Mato Grosso. Early yield reports are mostly favorable with yields reaching 130 to 145 bpa. This is to be expected. Early planted fields never lacked moisture. These higher yields will be needed to offset later planted fields. They are only in the initial stages yet of the harvest season which will last until early August. While initial yields are positive, they are partially offset by reports of quality issues from too much moisture. Meanwhile, lack of rainfall will negatively impact later planted fields. Farmers may be surprised by how much the rainy season did not extend through the month of April.   The main concern for safrinha corn growers is that the cost of production is around the $3.35/bushel area…and yet the current spot price for corn in Central Mato Grosso has been trading closer to $3.00/bu. It is not expected to improve much as harvest advances. This is why corn ethanol plants have located in these areas. It allows them to source the cheapest corn in the world.   The problem areas this year are located in parts of Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul and Parana. One region of Southwest Goiás is targeting yield losses of 35%. The state of Parana has likely faced the most damage with initial yields coming in around 55 bpa compared to an APH of 95 bpa. The best areas are coming in at 70 bpa. In addition to poor yields and poor prices, quality issues are also ...
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  • 05/21/24 NOT A Great Start!
    70% of the US 2024 corn crop was counted as planted last week. A small amount of progress was made here before the rain came today. Heavy rains and another system coming later in the week would appear to sustain protracted planting delays on the rest. My crop insurance company partner got half of his corn in in the recent couple day window. He said that 20-30% of what he planted he should not have been…in mud. He also said his planter had more mud on it then he had ever seen before but he did not plug. A subscriber e-mailed, “One more thing I saw many farmers running hard yesterday, and when they pulled out of the field WOW there was mud on the roads… Mud and great corn don't go together...So yes bad farming practices were in place.”   Rain totals could reach 2 inches here today. Planting may not resume here until the end of May. Farmers put crop in under conditions that they would not have, were it earlier on the calendar. The family is still planting corn and we will hire someone to plant my soybeans. They had put my corn in in April and then sat idle for over two weeks. Farmers are thinking about earlier varieties but will stick with the ones they have through May.   It is not just late planting that frustrates farmers. Ask them about the condition of emerging corn and they sound outright depressed. Corn should come up evenly and it has ...
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  • 05/22/2024 Grains Back on the Rebound as Rains Bog Planting and Demand Outlook Improves
    On the Grains Grain prices are rebounding from yesterday's losses in overnight trade with wheat once again leading with double-digit gains as of 6 am. While Russia's Ag Ministry talks gamely of record exports, yet another private Russian firm (IKAR) says drought and freeze damage portend a crop of 83.5l MMT, down 8 million from last year and 4.5 million below USDA's initial estimate of 88. Ukraine's crop was hurt as well and export prices are rising for both countries. As for corn and beans, severe storms (including several bad tornadoes in Iowa) have halted planting from eastern NE and SD across Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin again. Further we're seeing corn sales to top-customer Mexico remaining strong as drought conditions still plague that country into a 3rd straight year. There were large flash corn sales reported to both Mexico and Spain yesterday and '23 crop sales to Mexico as of May 9 are already at 778 million bu., up 43% from the year before. The demand side for beans may be firming up, too. The crush margin for central Illinois is back up to $2.73 per bu. as of yesterday. We're also learning the ferocious flooding in southern Brazil that has likely cost at least 10% of their crop has also badly slowed transportation, crushing activity and export loadings of what they did manage to harvest. On the export front, soybean sales so far lag badly with a dearth of Chinese business. There are reports they may have begun purchasing U.S. beans for summer delivery ...
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  • 05/21/2024 Grains Sag Overnight on Startling Planting Progress
    On the Grains Grains are weaker in overnight trade, mostly on surprise at how much planting progress was made in corn and beans was made last week. Wheat ratings slipped a bit, but that's offset by insistence from Russia's Ag Ministry that despite declining crop prospects that powered yesterday's surge, they still expect record exports in the coming year. After the close, we got the planting progress report and corn came in at 70%, 2 points better than expected and only a point shy of average for this point in the season instead of falling further behind. It shows 40% emerged, six points below last year but actually a point better than average. Among major producing states, Iowa and Illinois are the only ones still noticeably behind. At 78%, Iowa is normally 86% finished by now. At 67%, Illinois lags its normal pace by 4 points. Soybean planting came in at 52% complete, three points better than expected also 3 points ahead of average. It shows 26% have already emerged, 5 points behind last year but 5 points ahead of average. The only states noticeably lagging the normal pace are these: Iowa at 61% is normally 67%, Michigan at 42% is normally 46% and Nebraska at 60% is normally 66% planted by now. The rest of the states are all mostly at or slightly ahead of normal. The outlook going forward is for fairly widespread rains, however, so there's still risk planting could fall behind again. (We also got feedback from an Iowa client ...
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  • 05/20/24 Why it’s Okay to Become Bullish Corn Again…
    Farmers ended 2023 "fighting" the corn market, stubbornly unwilling to sell as prices relentlessly softened early this year. Then came a capitulation as the John Deere low formed in late February. That is when farmer cash flow needs trumped farmers obstinance to sell and many became caught with expiring basis contracts. During this time the trade touted the bearishness of the deteriorating balance sheet looking for enough acres to get planted with a trendline yield to protract the bearish market trend into 2025 or longer. Low prices are the cure for low prices and the market began the process of healing itself. Low prices discourage acres and encourage demand interests. The March planting intentions report set expectations for corn acres at 90 mln which along with a trendline yield, 181 bpa, would be neutral, neither adding or subtracting much from the projected carryover when unadjusted for demand. That appeared to be enough to sustain the current negative trade sentiment that has pervaded the market so far this year. The trade has now been trained to think that $5 bushel is a great price for corn by showing them it could go to $4 bushel or lower. Farmers have thus opened bin doors moving physical corn on the spring market recovery.   After adding 10 mln bushels to the February WASDE corn carryover, then projected at 2.172 bln, USDA has since reduced the current year projected corn carryover by 50 mln and then another 100 mln bushels in subsequent reports to 2.022 bln ...
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  • 05/20/2024 Grains Start the Week Stronger With Wheat the Surprising Leader
    NEW WHEAT RECCO DAY 3: On prior advice all should be sold out of old crop and 15% hedged on new crop. On Thursday, we advised hedging another 20% to take you to 35% hedged. We advised using the September contracts at your appropriate exchanges as these are at premiums to the July contracts and won't require any need to roll if July delivery approaches and we want to stay hedged. On the Grains Grain markets are higher in overnight trade with all three classes of wheat leading with double digit gains as of 6am. The sharp rebound for wheat is a bit surprising given last week's higher-than-expected Kansas Wheat Tour results and near torrential rains over most of the state through the weekend. It could stem from growing uncertainty over wheat prospects for Russia. USDA's first estimate had them at 88 MMT, down from 91.5 last year. With recent freezes and drought problems, our Ukrainian Grain Broker contact Viktor Korobko already had them at 85 MMT and in his weekend report lowered it further to possibly below 80 million. As for Ukraine, USDA put their '24 wheat output at 21 MMT, down from 23 last year. Korobko says it's likely less than that and not at all clear how much of the crop lost to freezes will be replanted as most is in the region where war with Russia rages most fiercely. He also reports growing rumors that India will resume importing wheat to replenish reserves with at least 2 MMT and possibly ...
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  • 05/19/2024 Sunday Market Preview
    It will be another Monday where active planting progress over the weekend is weighed against a wet forecast for the rest of the week. It should ultimately lean bullish for the grains that the latest trader positions report showed there still being a considerable amount of short positions that could still be covered by the speculators. In the Headlines Corn futures finished lower last week with the July contract down 17 1/4 cents. July beans managed to hold onto gains of 9 cents for the week. July Chicago wheat futures dropped 12 1/4 cents last week and KC July was lower by 11 1/2. June live cattle finished last week up $4.90 while May feeders were up $7.92. June lean hogs were $1.40. Wheat futures faced pressure on Friday following the finish of the Kansas wheat tour, which led to the state's yield being predicted at 46.5 bushel per acre versus USDA at 38. The yield estimate is harder to peg than usual this year because of wider variability in expectations for harvested acreage. Tensions are on the rise again with China after President Xi Jinping welcomed Vladimir Putin to Beijing last week for a meeting that produced agreements on economic cooperation. An additional strain on relations with China was initiated earlier by President Biden raising tariffs on electric vehicles, solar cells, computer chips, and battery components. In retaliation for the tariff action, Chinese officials on Sunday announced that they would investigate certain chemical imports from the U.S. for violating anti-dumping laws. The Dow Jones ...
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  • 05/17/24 Speculators Launch an Aggressive Grain Buying Campaign
    Market participants were eagerly awaiting the next trader positions report due out after the closing bell today. Hedge funds are now expected to be nearly neutral in their holdings after having held record net-short positions as recently as February. Last week's commitments of traders report showed the biggest round of net-buying in corn since 2019 while it was the largest one-week swing ever for soybeans.   Prices were rallying while the speculators were rushing to cover their bearish bets; July corn futures gained 20 cents over the last position reporting period and July beans jumped 83 cents. The move for corn may have been relatively muted because more of the short-covering by speculators was matched against fresh selling by farmers. Stronger prices encouraged catch up selling of old-crop corn and triggered first sales of new-crop so that the commercial net-short position grew to its largest level since just before last harvest. Farmers did not have as much of the last soybean crop to let go of and there is currently less incentive to price the fall crop since November futures are trading at a discount to the nearby contracts.   Direction for the futures market now depends on whether money managers continue buying grains so that significant net-long positions are established. Even with a large wave of short-covering already accomplished, fresh buying from here could lead to accelerated price strength if funds are buying at a faster rate than farmers want to sell. With each round of old-crop sales, there will be less left ...
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  • 05/17/2024 Two Crops Make One This year
    NEW WHEAT RECCO DAY 2: On prior advice all should be sold out of old crop and 15% hedged on new crop. Yesterday we advised hedging another 20% to take you to 35% hedged. We advised using the September contracts at your appropriate exchanges as these are at premiums to the July contracts and won't require any need to roll if July delivery approaches and we want to stay hedged. On the Grains When spring began early starting in February this year and fieldwork progressed in March, one would have thought that we would not be fighting to get crops in as we are yet in mid-May. We have gone from drought last fall to waterlogged this spring. We have gotten half of our crop here planted in April and are still waiting on the opportunity to plant the second half. We hear of isolated instances where farmers have planted nothing yet. Random planting progress is being made wherever conditions allow. Assuming that we get the second half of our crops planted soon, we will essentially have two very different crops given the time lapse between them. Pollination will get spread out during the summer. We have not had good drying days in between rains. Planting conditions have actually deteriorated from April into May. What this means for the crop is too soon to entirely say but it no longer feels like a positive start. We had intended to get soybeans in early and as that has not happened, it won’t. There is ...
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  • 05/16/24 Went To The Dogs
    My wife Jane and I just returned from our second time attending the annual Westminster Dog Show in New York. The Westminster, held annually since 1877, is the second oldest sporting event behind the Kentucky Derby in the US. The first trip was to watch some acquaintances of ours show. This time my wife wanted to see the Masters Agility Competition and I wanted to see the finals for the King Charles Spaniel breed which is the breed of our dog that we have named Lucy. She is our second Lucy King Charles. We love Lucy and she loves everyone. It was great going to the show covered by the Fox Sports network.   "Nimble" won the Final Master Agility Competition where 50 dogs competed in the finals. They are divided into 5 groups by height. "Nimble" was an 'American Dog' breed which is a mixed mutt of American Breeds accepted by the Westminster show for the agility competition. One mutt against 49 purebreds and the mutt won. It moved like greased lightning having the obstacle course imprinted in its brain winning by such a margin there was no close second. Border Collie, Australian Shephard and Papillon breeds performed well in this competition. "Nimble" is a Border Collie/Papillon cross.   You have until July 12th if we want to enter your dog into the American Farm Bureau's Dog of the Year contest. Lucy is not a farm dog though. When I take her to the farm if I let her run free, I do ...
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  • 05/16/2024 Day 2 Results of Kansas Wheat Tour Dominate Overnight News
    On the Grains Beans are soft but corn and wheat are firm in overnight trade. Wheat is bouncing back some after yesterday's negative technical action. The weather outlook hasn't changed a lot for planting progress. There's a break at hand putting planters back into the fields in most of the Corn Belt but rains return Sunday that are likely to put the eastern Corn Belt even further behind when we see the next progress report after Monday's close. Weekly ethanol production was above expectations and a 5 week high, keeping us on track to meet or beat USDA's current corn for ethanol forecast.   The much lower than expected April crush data weighed on the soybean complex yesterday, ending a 7 month string of taking out prior records. While it cooled ideas that USDA's current crush forecast might be too low, there's enough lead built up that it's not seriously threatened.  
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  • 05/15/24 Brazil Crop Estimates Move a Step Closer Together
    South American weather appears to be a repeat of last week.  While flooding in RGDS has not gotten worse, it has not gotten a whole lot better either.  Heavy rainfall continues to blanket most of the state with some areas to receive an additional 8" in the ten-day forecast.  That is on top of the estimated 25+ inches received in some areas since April 1st.   Growers are still trying to determine the damage but will not be fully known for some time yet.  We do know it has affected most major ag industries from dairy to edible beans to rice…but none more so than soybeans.   EMATER gave one estimate that of the areas remaining to be harvested, 22% will have significant damage varying anywhere from 20% loss to 100% loss.  This amounts to as much as 1.5 MMT loss.  Fields have been left exposed to moisture damage far too long and will no longer be acceptable to some elevators even with quality discounts.   In other words, the USDA crop estimate reduction last Friday of 1 MMT, didn't really make any other concessions other than making partial accommodations for the flooding happening in the South.   CONAB's May estimates released yesterday saw a modest increase for their soybean production pegged at 147.6 MMT up from 146.5 MMT last month.  While CONAB reduced yield estimates by 0.1 bpa, they found a whole lot of acres.  They added 1.23 million acres from last month, taking total production area to 113 million.  Acreage growth was spread fairly evenly ...
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  • 05/15/2024 Markets Firm Overnight As Tuesday Setback News Fully Dialed In
    On the Grains Markets are firm in overnight trade and that includes wheat despite much-improved yields on Day 1 of the Kansas wheat tour discussed below. Even beans are bouncing back despite pressure yesterday from two factors: 1) No higher levies on used cooking oil (UCO) from China to claim biofuels credit despite charges they're spiking it with vegetable oils and 2) a surprise increase in CONAB's Brazilian soy crop due to a surprise boost in their acreage estimate.
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  • 05/14/24 Books Needed in order to be Well-Read
    Last year I shared some recommended reading with subscribers. The response was positive. One subscriber told me that he did not like to read books but took the advice to buy "With the Old Breed" and said that his wife read it to him. Sounds like a candidate for the audio version. He agreed that it was the most accurate word-smithed description of combat that he had ever been exposed to and thanked me for the heads up. If you like this kind of book, I would suggest "Ghosts of Honolulu" by Mark Harmon. Yeah, that Mark Harmon. The subject is a true story about a Japanese Spy, Japanese American spy hunter and an untold story of Pearl Harbor. I think myself to be a pretty good student of history but what you learn is that history is too immense to know much of it. This has added an interesting saga.   First off, I read non-fiction. Have you ever been reading a book and the author seems to be getting it right…but then the subject matter changes to something that you specifically know about, may even be an expert on, and the author doesn't know what he is talking about. That makes you wonder if the author was wrong about the rest too. I read the book "White Rural Rage" and was unimpressed with the authors, Tom Schaller and Paul Waldman, depiction of our Ag industry. They seemed to think that the seed corn signs posted in fence lines denote owners ...
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  • 05/14/2024 Planting Progress Slows Further As Weather Risks Grow
    On the Grains Grain prices are mixed in overnight trade. Russian wheat suffered another round of freezing temperatures over the weekend and quality issues are a growing worry in Europe. But today's early trade will mostly be factoring in the planting progress reports and latest condition ratings for wheat. The KS wheat tour gets underway today and reports from that will be closely watched all week.   After the close, we got the planting progress report and corn came in at 49%. That was about what was expected but now 5 points behind normal and 11 points slower than last year that was at 60% by now. The eastern states are most responsible for the slippage from normal. Missouri leads the Corn Belt at 72% while Indiana leads the laggard states at only 20% planted.
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  • 05/13/24 Carbon Deception…Just Like Actual Farming
    I am starting to feel like I might have gotten duped. Long time subscribers might recall how several years ago I signed up for carbon programs that would pay me for transitioning my crop production techniques. Technically, I didn't change anything I wasn't already planning on making the change. I am shifting to a more minimum tillage system where I rotate each year between no-till beans and strip-till corn versus conventional tillage. The timing was right as carbon programs were chasing down every farmer trying to get them to implement minimum tillage along with cover crops and other "carbon-friendly" practices. I didn't see any downside in my case. They were, after all, going to pay me for something I was already planning on doing.   After three years, I have the financial results of all my hard work. Forty Bucks! That is right. Now I do not mean $40 acre…I mean $40 in total for my 230 acres. Despite all the promises of how all the carbon credits I was going to be creating that would eventually lead me to making a 5-figure side hustle down the road, my first year I got $40 dollars. I wasn't exactly counting on this money, but I had taken the time to fill out all of my production practices meticulously through Indigo's carbon program. If I add up all the hours I worked giving them my data for free, I am pretty sure I was working far below minimum wage on behalf of Indigo and ...
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