Category Archives: Agricultural Exports News

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3 Big Things Today, October 15, 2019

Byline:

1. Corn, Wheat Slightly Lower, Beans Little Changed Overnight

Corn and wheat were slightly lower, while soybeans were little changed overnight on uncertainty about the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China and on mixed weather forecasts.

The U.S. on Friday announced a “partial” trade deal with China, but skepticism has emerged about whether the sides actually will sign an agreement. The questions are healthy considering both sides have made announcements on trade talks in the past only to let down market-watchers.

“The Champagne should probably be kept on ice, at least until the two presidents put pen to paper,” China Daily, the state-owned English newspaper said on Monday.

Still, if a deal is signed, Beijing would be on the hook to purchase tens of billions of dollars worth of U.S. agricultural products.

Traders, producers, and analysts are all watching the weather as storms that struck North Dakota and South Dakota that left up to 2 feet of snow in some areas have moved on, but essentially made it impossible to continue the corn and bean harvest, if crops survived.

Freeze and frost in some areas also may have ended the growing season prematurely, especially for plants that were put in the ground later than normal due to wet weather in the spring.

Corn futures for December delivery fell 1½¢ to $3.96¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Wheat for September delivery dropped 2¾¢ to $5.08¼ a bushel, while Kansas City futures declined 2½¢ to $4.23¼ a bushel.

Soybean futures for November delivery fell ½¢ to $9.40 a bushel. Soy meal was unchanged at $310.90 a short ton, while soybean oil fell 0.08¢ to 29.92¢ a pound.

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2. Partial Trade Deal Announced, Both Sides Seem Cautious Moving Forward

It was another up-and-down week for trade as it was announced on Friday that the U.S. and China had a “partial” trade deal.

Here’s what we know: Under the agreement announced on Friday, the U.S. will cancel a planned tariff-rate increase on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods to 30% that was set to go into effect today.

China, meanwhile, will purchase $40 billion and $50 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products in return.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that everybody – even Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who’s been a key player in the high-level negotiations – seems skeptical that the deal will be finalized and that it will look like it did on Friday.

Mnuchin said he wants to be sure China will follow through on its promises. He also said that another round of tariffs scheduled to go into effect in December is still a possibility if Beijing reneges on its commitment to purchase U.S. products.

China wants that December hike off the table, but for now it remains, throwing the status of what’s being called Phase 1 of a trade deal into question.

“I have every expectation if there’s not a deal, those tariffs would go in place. But I expect we’ll have a deal,” Mnuchin said on CNBC Monday.

China, despite the skepticism, also seems optimistic that a trade deal will be implemented sooner rather than later.

Chinese state media on Tuesday said that Beijing and Washington have the same position on the progress of trade talks. Reports out of the Asian country indicate that China is just being overly cautious, as it often is, with the official language it uses to make announcements.

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3. Storms, Cold Weather Give Way to Potential Flooding in Northern Plains, Wind in Midwest

The storms and cold weather that have been hitting the Northern Plains and central Midwest the past few days have subsided, and drier, albeit windy, weather has moved in.

Frost advisories that were in effect in parts of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin are gone as temperatures have risen. Highs in the region are forecast in the low-60s with lows in the mid-40s, according to the National Weather Service.

In North Dakota, where there is as much as 24 inches of snow, flooding is now a concern in some areas as temperatures warm into the 50s this week.

The NWS said in a report that it’s thus far uncertain how much of the snowmelt will soak into soils and how much will run off into rivers and streams.

In eastern Nebraska, much of Iowa, and parts of northern Illinois, wind speeds are expected to be extremely high today. Gusts of up to 40 to 45 mph are expected from mid-morning through this afternoon, the agency said.

Isolated thunderstorms also are possible this morning, mostly east of the Mississippi River, the NWS said. Storms also are expected in parts of central Iowa starting Friday and lasting through Sunday.

3 Big Things Today, October 14, 2019

Byline:

1. Soybeans, Grains Little Changed on Trade Skepticism

Soybeans and grains were little changed overnight as hedgers and investors await more news from the partial trade agreement between the U.S. and China.

The countries – the world’s two largest economies – last week came to the agreement under which the U.S. would reportedly cancel tariffs that were scheduled to go into effect on Tuesday and China would increase purchases of agricultural products.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has been a key player in negotiations along with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, said the Asian nation would increase ag purchases to $40 billion to $50 billion, Reuters reported.

The U.S. shipped $24 billion in ag products to China in 2017.

Still, there’s skepticism that China will follow through with the promised purchases, and even Chinese state media said the sides have agreed on fundamental issues but still need to actually sign an agreement.

“The Champagne should probably be kept on ice, at least until the two presidents put pen to paper,” China Daily, the state-owned English newspaper said.

Soybean futures for November delivery rose 1/4¢ to $9.36 ¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soymeal rose 10¢ to $310.90 a short ton while soybean oil fell 0.1¢ to 29.87¢ a pound.

Corn futures for December delivery fell 1 1/2¢ to $3.96 ¼ a bushel overnight.

Wheat for September delivery added 1/2¢ to $5.08 ½ a bushel, while Kansas City futures rose 1 3/4¢ to $4.21 ¼ a bushel.

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2. Money Managers Cut Net-Short Positions in Corn, Turn Bullish on Beans

Money managers reduced their net-short positions, or bets on lower prices, in corn to the lowest in six weeks while becoming bullish on soybeans for the first time in months.

Speculators cut their bearish bets on corn to a net-96,859 futures contracts in the seven days that ended on Oct. 8, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

That’s the lowest level since the week that ended on Aug. 27, the CFTC said in a report.

Investors, meanwhile, became bullish on beans last week, pushing their net-long positions, or bets on higher prices, to 4,464 futures contracts.

That marks the first time since Feb. 5 that they’ve held a net-long position in soybeans.

Money managers have become less bearish on crop futures, or in this case bullish on beans, in the past few week amid adverse weather in the U.S. that likely reduced overall production and yields.

In wheat, speculators lowered their net shorts in soft-red winter to 13,446 futures contracts from 16,014 the previous week.

Investors, however, raised their bearish bets in hard-red winter wheat to 35,960 futures contracts from 33,674 the previous week, the CFTC said.

The weekly Commitment of Traders report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission shows trader positions in futures markets.

The report provides positions held by commercial traders, or those using futures to hedge their physical assets; noncommercial traders, or money managers (also called large speculators); and nonreportables, or small speculators.

A net-long position indicates more traders are betting on higher prices, while a net-short position means more are betting futures will decline.

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3. Frost Advisories in Effect in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan Monday Morning

Frost advisories are in effect for the northern half of Illinois, parts of Wisconsin and northern Indiana and much of Michigan, according to the National Weather Service.

In northern Illinois, temperatures fell into the low 30s overnight, the NWS said in a report early this morning, which likely wouldn’t be cold enough to harm plants.

In southern Wisconsin, meanwhile, frost will remain possible through this morning while rainfall is forecast for the area tonight into tomorrow.

“A rumble or two of thunder will be possible over south-central Wisconsin late tonight,” the agency said in its report.

In Michigan, temperatures are in the mid-30s, which could leave frost on some vegetation, the NWS said.

3 Big Things Today, October 11, 2019

Byline:

1. Soybeans, Grains Higher Overnight on WASDE, Weather

Soybeans and grains were higher overnight after yesterday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) Report and as winter weather moves into the Midwest, burying some late-planted crops with snow.

The USDA lowered its soybean production forecast as projected, but unexpectedly increased its corn output forecast.

Soybean production was pegged at 3.55 billion bushels, below the average trade estimate of 3.58 billion bushels and the previous outlook for 3.63 billion. Yield is pegged at 46.9 bushels an acre, the USDA said, below the trade estimate of 47.3 bushels an acre and the September projection of 47.9 bushels an acre.

Corn output was seen by the government at 13.77 billion bushels, up from analyst forecasts for 13.68 billion and the previous month’s estimate of 13.7 billion.

Yield was seen at 168.4 bushels an acre vs. the average trade outlook for 167.5 bushels and the prior forecast for 168.2 bushels an acre.

The numbers are giving bean prices a boost but capping gains in corn this morning.

Still, winter weather that’s moving through much of the western Corn Belt has essentially buried bean and corn plants that didn’t get harvested. Freezing weather from Texas to northern Wisconsin also is keeping prices buoyed.

Soybean futures for November delivery rose 10¢ to $9.33½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal rose $3.40 to $311.20 a short ton, while soybean oil added 0.08¢ to 29.79¢ a pound.

Corn futures for December delivery gained 4¢ to $3.84¼ a bushel overnight.

Wheat for September delivery added 2½¢ to $4.95½ a bushel, while Kansas City futures rose 4½¢ to $4.07¾ a bushel.

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2. Corn Export Sales Miss Expectations, Bean Sales Easily Top Forecasts

Export sales of corn badly missed expectations, while soybeans crushed forecasts last week.

Corn sales in the seven days that ended on October 3 totaled 284,500 metric tons, down from 562,600 tons a week earlier, the USDA said in a report. The total also missed forecasts for sales of 500,000 to 800,000 metric tons.

Colombia was the biggest buyer at 109,300 metric tons, followed by Japan at 75,600 tons, Mexico at 37,600 tons, unknown buyers at 20,900 tons, and Costa Rica at 12,300 tons.

Soybean sales, however, came in at 2.09 million metric tons, up slightly from the previous week’s lofty 2.08 million tons, the agency said. Analysts had pegged sales from 1.3 million to 1.8 million metric tons, researcher Allendale said.

China was again the biggest buyer at 1.18 million metric tons. An unknown buyer was in for 210,000 tons, Spain bought 207,300 tons, Taiwan took 78,900 tons, and the United Kingdom purchased 59,700 tons.

 The total would’ve been higher but Egypt canceled a purchase of 58,000 tons.

Wheat sales also rose, jumping 59% week to week to 521,900 metric tons. The big buyer was China, which took 130,000 tons.

Taiwan was in for 110,300 tons, South Korea bought 80,000 tons, Mexico took 62,900 tons, and the Philippines purchased 56,700 tons, the USDA said. Indonesia canceled a cargo worth 47,300 tons.

Analysts had expected wheat sales from 300,000 to 600,000 metric tons.

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3. Freeze Warnings in Effect From New Mexico to Wisconsin; Blizzard Warning in North Dakota

Freeze warnings are in effect from New Mexico to northern Wisconsin, while a winter storm continues to pound the Dakotas this morning.

Temperatures in central and eastern Iowa are expected to drop into the upper 20s late tonight into Saturday in some areas after falling into the 30s last night, according to the National Weather Service.

In southwestern Kansas and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, where winter wheat is emerging from the ground, temperatures overnight ranged from 18˚F. to 30˚F., the NWS said in a report early this morning.

“Frost and freeze conditions will kill crops,” the agency said in its report. “A hard killing freeze is expected for much of southwestern Kansas … with temperatures below 28˚F. for several hours at many locations.”

In much of North Dakota, meanwhile, blizzard and winter storm warnings are in effect.

Another 2 to 6 inches of snow are likely in parts of the state, bringing total accumulations up to 11 to 24 inches, the NWS said. Wind gusts today are forecast up to 65 mph.

The winter storm warning is in effect until 10 a.m., then a blizzard warning will be in effect from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday, the agency said.

3 Big Things Today, October 10, 2019

Byline:

1. Soybean Futures Higher Overnight With WASDE on Deck

Soybeans were slightly higher in overnight trading ahead of today’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) Report in which the government is expected to lower its forecast for production, yield, and stockpiles.

Production of soybeans is pegged by analysts at 3.583 billion bushels on yield of 47.3 bushels an acre, down from the USDA’s September forecast for output of 3.633 billion bushel on yield of 47.9 bushels an acre.

Stockpiles are expected at around 521 million bushels, down from the government’s prior outlook for 640 million bushels.

Corn production is expected by analysts to be around 13.684 billion bushels on yield of 167.5 bushels an acre, down from 13.799 billion and 168.2 bushels, respectively.

Inventories are seen at about 1.784 billion bushels vs. September’s outlook for 2.19 billion bushels.

Soybean futures for November delivery rose 2¢ to $9.25¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal rose 50¢ to $310.20 a short ton, while soybean oil added 0.08¢ to 29.79¢ a pound.

Corn futures for December delivery were unchanged at $3.94¼ a bushel overnight.

Wheat for September delivery gained 3¢ to $5.03¼ a bushel, while Kansas City futures rose 2¾¢ to $4.16 a bushel.

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2. Ethanol Production Rises, Below Million-Barrel Mark Third Straight Week, Stockpiles Plunge

Ethanol production in the U.S. rose week to week but is still well below the 1 million-barrel-per-day average, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Output in the seven days that ended on October 4 was reported at an average of 963,000 barrels a day, the EIA said in a report.

That’s up from 958,000 barrels, on average, each day the previous week and the 943,000 barrels averaged in the week that ended on September 20.

The total marks the first time since April 2017 that production averaged less than 1 million barrels a day for three straight weeks, according to government data.

In the Midwest, by far the biggest-production area, output averaged 890,000 barrels a day, up from 887,000 barrels the previous week.

East Coast production came in at 23,000 barrels a day, up from 20,000 the previous week, and West Coast output was reported at 16,000 barrels a day, on average, from 15,000 barrels.

Rocky Mountain production was unchanged at 14,000 barrels a day, while Gulf Coast output fell to an average of 20,000 barrels a day from 22,000 in the prior seven-day period, the EIA said.

Stockpiles, meanwhile, plunged to 21.224 million gallons last week, the lowest level since October 2017, government data show.

In other news, the USDA will release its Weekly Export Sales Report this morning.

Analysts are expecting corn sales from 500,000 to 800,000 metric tons, soybean sales from 1.3 million to 1.8 million tons, and wheat sales from 300,000 to 600,000 tons, researcher Allendale said in a morning report.

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3. Freezing Weather Continues in Parts of Nebraska, Kansas While Blizzard Hits Dakotas

A freeze warning is in effect for much of Nebraska and Kansas, while a winter storm slams the Dakotas, according to the National Weather Service.

In parts of Nebraska, temperatures fell into the upper 20s last night, and more cold weather is expected tonight.

Temperatures are forecast to fall as low as 21˚F. tonight, the NWS said in a report this morning. The freeze warning begins at 7 p.m. and runs through midday tomorrow.

The coldest temperatures likely will be in the center of the state.

In parts of Kansas, temperatures will fall into the low-30s overnight into mid-morning tomorrow, the agency said.

In North Dakota, another 5 to 12 inches of snow are in the forecast with wind gusts of up to 40 mph, the NWS said. Total accumulations are expected to be from 8 to 18 inches, with locally higher amounts possible.

The winter storm warning in the Northern Plains is in effect until 7 p.m. Saturday.

3 Big Things Today, October 9, 2019

Byline:

1. Soybeans Higher Overnight Ahead of WASDE, Winter Weather

Soybeans were higher in overnight trading as investors prepare for tomorrow’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report while watching a storm that’s heading into the Dakotas.

Grains were little changed.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will release its monthly WASDE report tomorrow and is expected to lower both its soybean and corn production estimates. The agency also is projected to lower its ending stockpiles forecasts.

A winter storm is heading into the Dakotas starting today and is expected to bring more than a foot of snow and strong, gusty winds.

Only 15% of the U.S. corn crop was harvested as of Sunday, behind the average pace of 27%, according to the Department of Agriculture. About 14% of soybeans were collected, well behind the normal 34% for this time of year.

In North Dakota, none of the corn crop was collected at the start of this week, while only 8% of soybeans were in the bin. In South Dakota, 2% of corn was harvested as of Sunday and 5% of soybeans were collected.

Soybean futures for November delivery jumped 7¢ to $9.27½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soymeal rose $2 to $308.90 a short ton while soybean oil added 0.12¢ to 29.94¢ a pound.

Corn futures for December delivery fell ½¢ to $3.95¼ a bushel overnight.

Wheat for September delivery fell ¾¢ to $4.99½ a bushel, while Kansas City futures were unchanged at $4.10¼ a bushel.

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2. USDA Likely Will Lower Production, Yield Estimates in WASDE Report Thursday

The USDA will release its monthly WASDE report tomorrow at noon in Washington and analysts expect the agency will lower its production, yield, and stockpiles estimates for both corn and soybeans.

Corn production is pegged at 13.684 billion bushels on yield of 167.5 bushels an acre, analysts forecast, according to researcher Allendale.

That’s down from September’s USDA outlook for output of 13.799 billion bushels on yield of 168.2 bushels an acre.

Stockpiles are pegged by analysts at 1.784 billion bushels, down from the previous month’s outlook for 2.19 billion bushels.

Soybean production, meanwhile, is seen at 3.583 billion bushels on yield of 47.3 bushels an acre, Allendale said.

That’s down from the government’s September forecast for output of 3.633 billion bushels and yield of 47.9 bushels an acre.

Inventories of the oilseeds are projected at 521 million bushels by analysts, well below the 640 million expected by the government last month.

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3. Winter Storms Bearing Down on Dakotas Will Bring Up To 14 Inches of Snow

Winter storms are preparing to blast parts of the Dakotas and Nebraska today, bringing heavy snow and “very cold temperatures” to the western Corn Belt, according to the National Weather Service.

Almost all of North Dakota and the western half of South Dakota are in a winter storm warning. Total accumulations in the region are forecast from 6 to 14 inches, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

Wind gusts are pegged as high as 45 mph.

“A strong cold front and upper-level system will cross the region through Friday, bringing unseasonably cold temperatures, snowfall, and gusty winds to much of the area,” the agency said. “Steady or slowly falling temperatures are expected behind a cold front pushing through the area.”

The NWS said precipitation is expected in western South Dakota this afternoon and will move east this evening. Any rain will turn to snow overnight into Thursday, with lighter snow forecast through Friday morning.

3 Big Things Today, October 8, 2019

Byline:

1. Grains, Soybeans Again Little Moved in Overnight Trading

Grains and soybeans were again little changed in overnight trading, as investors weigh the ongoing trade war with China against adverse weather that could further reduce the size of U.S. crops.

The Trump administration on Monday restricted U.S. firms from doing business with 28 Chinese companies that were deemed to have committed human rights abuses.

China, meanwhile, is prepared for negotiations to break down, according to the South China Morning Post.

Talks starring U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Vice Premier Liu He are set to begin Thursday, though not much progress is expected.

Potentially adverse weather, meanwhile, is underpinning crop prices. Rainfall the past few days fell in parts of Minnesota, Iowa, and Kansas, which may have slowed the harvest, according to Commodity Weather Group.

A winter storm blowing out of the Rockies is moving its way into the Northern Plains and could drop several inches of snow in the region, the forecaster said. That likely would bring harvest to a halt.

There’s also the potential for a late-week hard freeze in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, northwestern Kansas, and eastern Colorado that would cut short corn growth in about 10% to 15% of the affected region, CWG said in a report.

Only 15% of the U.S. corn crop was harvested as of Sunday, behind the average pace of 27%, according to the USDA. About 14% of soybeans were collected, well behind the normal 34% for this time of year.

Corn futures for December delivery rose ½¢ to $3.87½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Wheat for September delivery fell 1½¢ to $4.87¾ a bushel, while Kansas City futures declined 1¾¢ to $4.00½ a bushel.

Soybean futures for November delivery dropped ½¢ to $9.14¾ a bushel overnight. Soy meal rose $1 to $303.10 a short ton, while soybean oil lost 0.15¢ to 29.91¢ a pound.

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2. Inspections of Corn, Beans Increase Week to Week While Wheat Assessments Drop

Inspections of corn and soybeans for overseas delivery increased week to week while wheat assessments declined, according to the USDA.

Corn inspections in the seven days that ended on October 3 totaled 466,521 metric tons, the agency said in a report. That’s up from 421,735 tons a week earlier but well behind the 1.45 million tons assessed at the same time in 2018.

Examinations of soybeans of offshore delivery rose to 1.04 million metric tons, topping the 986,256 tons assessed a week earlier and well ahead of the 608,794 tons during the same week last year, government data show.

Wheat inspections, meanwhile, declined to 385,259 metric tons last week from 502,915 during the previous seven-day period.

Since the start of the marketing year on September 1, corn inspections are now at 2.02 million metric tons, the USDA said. That’s down from 5.91 million tons during the same period last year.

Soybean assessments are at 4.19 million tons since the start of September, down from 3.58 million tons in 2018.

Since the beginning of the grain’s marketing year on June 1, wheat inspections stand at 8.91 million metric tons, better than the 7.37 million tons at this point last year, the USDA said.

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3. Storms to Bring Several Inches of Snow to Dakotas Where Corn, Beans Remain Unharvested

A strong storm likely will bring snow to the Northern Plains this week, as winter weather advisories and winter storm watches are in effect in the region, according to the National Weather Service.

In northern North Dakota and Montana, as much as 4 inches of snow are expected in some counties, the NWS said in a report early this morning. Blowing snow and slick roads are likely.

Much of North Dakota and the western half of South Dakota also are facing a winter storm watch starting tomorrow and lasting through Thursday.

Conditions are prime for a winter storm to move through the region, and at this point, up to 10 inches of snow are possible with wind gusts topping 40 mph, the agency said.

In North Dakota, farmers had yet to start harvesting their corn, whereas, they’d normally be 6% finished with the harvest. Only 8% of soybeans are in the bin, well behind the usual 48% for this time of year, the USDA said.

In South Dakota, only 2% of corn is harvested vs. the normal 12% for this time of year, and 5% of soybeans were collected compared with the usual 36%.

3 Big Things Today, October 7, 2019

Byline:

1. Grains, Beans Little Changed as Investors Weigh Trade War Vs. Slow Crop Maturity

Grains and soybeans were little changed in overnight trading as there was no movement on the trade front over the weekend.

Bloomberg News reported that government officials from China are hesitating on a long-term trade deal with the U.S. ahead of this week’s talks. Negotiations in Washington are expected to start Thursday.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who is the lead negotiator for the Asian nation, reportedly told officials that any offer to the U.S. will not include reforming industrial policy or government subsidies, which are among the most sought-after items on President Donald Trump’s list of demands.

Economists, meanwhile, are predicting a sharp slowdown in U.S. economic growth due to the trade war with China that’s dragged on for more than 15 months and has no end in sight.

Buoying crop prices, however, is the slow pace of maturity and potential for adverse weather.

Only 43% of the U.S. corn crop was mature as of September 30, well behind the normal 73% for this time of year, while 11% was harvested, behind the average pace of 19%, according to the USDA.

Fifty-five percent of soybeans were dropping leaves at the start of last week, behind the average of 76%, while only 7% were harvested, about a third of the normal pace, the USDA said in a report.

The agency will release its weekly Crop Progress Report this morning.

Corn futures for December delivery rose ¾¢ to $3.85½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Wheat for September delivery fell ¾¢ to $4.89¾ a bushel, while Kansas City futures declined ½¢ to $4.03½ a bushel.

Soybean futures for November delivery dropped ½¢ to $9.15¾ a bushel overnight. Soy meal lost $1.40 to $302.30 a short ton, while soybean oil gained 0.02¢ to 29.88¢ a pound.

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2. Money Managers Cut Net-Short Positions in Soybeans to Lowest in Eight Months

Money managers cut their net-short positions, or bets on lower prices, on soybeans to lowest level in almost eight months while also curbing bearish bets on corn.

Investors as of October 1 held 10,817 net-short positions in soybean futures, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

That’s down from 43,053 such positions the previous week and the lowest since the seven days that ended on February 12, the CFTC said in a report.

Speculators last week held a net 128,031 corn futures contracts, down from 162,551 contracts a week earlier and the smallest amount since September 3, government data show.

Investors may have cut their bearish bets on soybeans and corn, as reports indicate yield and production may be worse than forecast by the USDA and private analysts. Excessive rain throughout the year and cold weather that’s hit parts of the Corn Belt likely will curb the size of both crops.

In wheat, money managers increased their net-short positions in soft red winter futures to 16,014 futures contracts, up from 15,418 contracts the previous week. That’s the largest such position since the seven days that ended on September 3.

Speculators reduced their net-short positions in hard red winter wheat futures to 33,674 contracts last week, down from 36,803 contracts a week earlier. That would be the smallest such position since August 6, according to the CFTC.

The weekly Commitment of Traders Report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission shows trader positions in futures markets.

The report provides positions held by commercial traders, or those using futures to hedge their physical assets; noncommercial traders, or money managers (also called large speculators); and nonreportables, or small speculators.

A net-long position indicates more traders are betting on higher prices, while a net-short position means more are betting futures will decline.

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3. Frost Advisories in Effect For Parts of Nebraska, Southern Plains; Iowa Rivers Still Flooding

Frost advisories are in effect for much of central Nebraska, western Kansas, and eastern Colorado this morning along with a few counties in the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, according to the National Weather Service.

In central Nebraska, temperatures fell as low as 30˚F. overnight, the NWS said in a report early this morning. The advisory is in effect until 9 a.m. CDT, the agency said.

Temperatures in the Southern Plains, including parts of southwestern Kansas and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, fell into the mid-30s overnight, which isn’t low enough to damage recently planted hard red winter wheat.

Still, the cold weather will hang around with snow possible later in the week. No accumulations are expected, the NWS said in its report.

Farther east, some rivers in eastern Iowa and western Illinois continue to overrun their banks, flooding low-lying areas.

No rain is expected until later this week, when a storm front moves through Thursday and Friday, bringing moderate to heavy rain to the area, the agency said.

Farmland Auction: Bureau County, Ill. Sale Averages $9,956 Per Acre

Byline:

For the first time in 3 generations, the Martin land near Wyanet, Illinois was available for purchase. Buyers were ready. 

At auction September 26 was 294.7 acres of high-quality Bureau County, Illinois farmland, in a package of four “80s”, laying side by side. The farms are about six miles west of Princeton, just north of U.S. Interstate 80.

The four tracts totaled 68.9 acres; 72.5 acres; 77.9 acres and 75.4 acres, respectively. The Productivity Index on these farms ranged from 133.4 to 135.8 (based on a scale to 140). Soil types included mostly Harpster, Lisbon and Saybrook. (Also for sale were two farmsteads and a pondsite).

Source: Rick Rediger Auction
Bureau County, Illinois Price Per acre
Tract 1 75.4 acres $10,000
Tract 2  77.9 acres $9,750
Tract 3 72.5 acres $9,950
Tract 4 homestead $133,000 total
Tract 5 68.9 acres $10,150
Tract 6 homestead $117,000 total
Tract 7 recreation/pond $56,000 total
Average 294.7 acres farmland $9,956.68

These farms had been in the same family for three generations, so prospective buyers were eager to pay top dollar, says auctioneer Rick Rediger. He didn’t expect it to be this good. The farmland sold for an average price of $9,957 per acre, with a total of $2.934 million. 

“It is crazy right now,” he says. 

By the end of the sale, the 75.4 acre patch sold to an investor; the 72.5 and 77.9 acre fields sold to a neighboring farmer and the 68.9 acre farm sold to another neighboring farmer. 

Farmland is a hot commodity, he adds. Earlier this month, the auctioneer had two sales, each of which averaged more than $10,000 per acre. They had slightly better PI scores. He reckons that because the September 26 sale had not changed hands in three generations, it fetched a little higher price. 

“A lot of guys dreamed of getting the whole thing,” Rediger says. 

Sale results:

  • Tract 1: 75.4 acres, with 75.11 acres tillable. Soil types include Harpster and Lisbon, with a 133.4 Productivity Index (on a scale to 140). It sold for $754,000 ($10,000 per acre). 
  • Tract 2: 77.9 acres, with 77.65 tillable and a 135.8 PI with Harpster and Lisbon soils. It sold for $759,525 ($9,750 per acre). 
  • Tract 3: 72.5 acres (71.7 acres tillable) with mostly Saybrook and Lisbon soils and a 134.6 PI. It sold for $721,375 ($9,950 per acre).
  • Tract 4: 5.58 acres of farmstead with a two-story farm house, and outbuildings include a pole shed, machine shed with concrete, and three grain bins totaling 32,000 bushels of storage. It sold for $133,000. 
  • Tract 5: 68.9 surveyed acres, with 67.86 tillable featuring mostly Saybrook and Lisbon soils with a 133.8 PI. It sold for $699,335 ($10,150 per acre). 
  • Tract 6 is a homestead with a 1,900 square foot tri-level home, garage/shed and machine shed. It brought $117,000.
  • Tract 7 is 5.2 acres with a 2.2 acre pond stocked with fish, plus three acres of native grass/woods. It brought $56,000.  

3 Big Things Today, October 4, 2019

Byline:

1. Corn, Wheat, Beans Slightly Lower in Overnight Trading

Grains and soybeans were slightly lower in overnight trading on concerns about the upcoming trade talks between the U.S. and China.

A Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He is expected in Washington next week. President Donald Trump said in a speech yesterday that the sides will meet but if China doesn’t “do what we want, we have tremendous power.”

Next week’s talks will be the 13th high-level negotiations since the trade war started more than a year ago.

He also brought up China unprompted when talking about impeachment politics, suggesting Beijing investigate Joe and Hunter Biden. Bringing China into the impeachment proceedings against him may cloud talks.

Still, China continues to buy U.S. soybeans.

The Department of Agriculture yesterday said the Asian country bought 252,000 metric tons of beans along with 130,000 tons of white wheat. That follows a report on Wednesday indicated China purchased 464,000 tons of soybeans.

While prices were lower overnight, barring disastrous declines today, corn and soybeans are poised to finish the week higher after the USDA’s

Corn futures for December delivery fell 2¢ to $3.86 ¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Wheat for September delivery lost 1 1/2¢ to $4.87 a bushel, while Kansas City futures declined 1¢ to $4.04 ¾ a bushel.

Soybean futures for November delivery dropped 1 3/4¢ to $9.10 a bushel overnight. Soymeal lost 30¢ to $302.60 a short ton while soybean oil gained 0.01¢ to 29.88¢ a pound.

**

2. Soybean Sales in Week Through Sept. 26 More Than Double, Corn Sales Also Improve

Soybean sales more than doubled in the seven days that ended on Sept. 26, while corn and wheat sales also rose week-to-week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Exporters sold 2.08 million metric tons of soybeans last week, up from 1.04 million tons the previous week, the USDA said in a report. Analysts had expected sales from 900,000 to 1.4 million tons.

China took the bulk of the purchases, buying 1.56 million metric tons. The Netherlands purchased 125,400 tons, Indonesia was in for 74,5500 tons, Saudi Arabia took 71,500 tons and Pakistan bought 70,000 tons.

An unknown buyer canceled shipments for 219,200 metric tons.

Corn sales last week totaled 562,600 metric tons as Mexico bought 361,100 tons, Japan was in for 88,000 tons and Canada took 44,000 tons. An unknown buyer purchased 42,300 tons and Jamaica was in for 16,000 tons, the USDA said. 

Analysts had forecast sales from 400,000 to 800,000 tons.

Wheat sales were up 16% on a weekly basis to 328,500 metric tons, the agency said. Still, that’s down 12% from the prior four-week average. Analysts had expected sales from 200,000 to 500,000 tons.

The Philippines bought 61,400 tons, Japan was in for 56,800 tons, Brazil purchased 43,700 tons, Thailand took 42,000 tons and Nigeria bought 39,800 tons. An unknown buyer nixed shipments for 76,200 tons and Singapore canceled a purchase of 22,000 tons, the USDA said.

**

3. Frost Advisory in Effect For Northeastern Nebraska, Northwestern Iowa With Temps as Low as 33

A frost advisory is in effect for counties in northeastern Nebraska and northwestern Iowa this morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures overnight ranged from 33 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit in the region, the NWS said in a report early this morning, though that’s no generally cold enough to kill growing row crops.

Only 8% of the Nebraska corn crop had been harvested by the start of this week, while 2% of Iowa corn is in the bin, the USDA said. In Nebraska, 6% of soybeans were harvested as of Sunday and in Iowa, only 3% had been collected.

Further east, flooding is a concern for much of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin this morning as area rivers remain elevated. Flooding is occurring on several rivers in the region.

Some showers are expected in the area on Saturday afternoon and evening, with some of the storms forecast to produce locally heavy rainfall, the NWS said.

Getting Ahead of the Game

Byline:

Anticipating the next technology, regulation, weather event, or economic downturn is the norm in agriculture.

During the eighth annual Women in Agribusiness Summit, industry experts shared actionable insights to help anticipate the implementation of traceability in food and ag and the potential for future economic recessions.

They are:

  • Bryan Hitchcock, executive director of IFT’s Global Food Traceability Center
  • Natalya Rivkin, VP of agribusiness banking group with CoBank
  • Juanita Schwartzkopf, sr. managing director, Focus Management
  • Glenda Gehl, sr. director, member relations, Land O’Lakes
  • Katie Schear, VP of special assets group, US Bank

On Food Traceability

You’ve likely already heard about traceability and the technologies used to enable it in the food system, but their development is rapidly changing, regulations are getting established, and your farm management practices may be affected before you know it.

What is traceability?

Traceability is the systematic ability to trace the path of food ingredients and/or finished products throughout their entire lifecycle, using previously captured and stored records.

The benefits include mitigating and managing risk around food safety recalls, gaining consumer trust through transparency, reducing food loss and waste, enabling sustainability, and more.

Bryan Hitchcock gives the example of DNA footprinting on individual seafood and livestock, which allows us to trace the animal through its entire life cycle. He says, “The advancements in the whole genome sequencing to be able to quickly and rapidly identify sources of contamination has created a very interesting challenge for the industry.”

With his team at IFT’s Global Food Traceability Center, he interacts with global regulatory agencies to educate and advise on potential regulations. “The observation we have is if we’re not out there proactively managing the conversation as an industry, others are going to fill that gap. And you may not like what that gap is.”

What can you do?

“We recommend that folks really start thinking about what’s important to them. What message do they want to deliver to their upstream or downstream partners, because in the end, those partners may put some requirements on them they’ll have to react to,” says Hitchcock.

Work with your co-op, partners, friends and family to map out where your inputs come from, where your products go, and become clear on how they interact with each other. Before collecting data or piloting traceability technology with solution providers, creating that process map and knowing your competitive advantage will set you up for success. When future regulations and customer requirements do come into play, this will ensure that you’re not lagging behind.

Preparing for Recession

When you hear the word “recession,” you may think the entire economy will experience it. But according to Juanita Schwartzkopf, there are recessionary pockets in various industries every year due to the ups and downs of business cycles.

However, there are many strategies that can help prepare your operation for those downturns.

Think strategically about your management team.

Your management partners should be able to challenge you and help you move forward. They should have skills that complement your own and contribute skills or experiences you may not have. Your management team should help you look at the local and global markets.

Save cash.

Always be aware of how much cash you have and how many months of operating expenses you could cover. Then, build up your savings. Review where your expenses are, see if you can stretch your accounts payable and receivable to increase your working capital. It’s important to manage the growth you want to create and to ensure that you have cash to support it.

Adopt a software program.

Many software programs can be used to measure profitability on the farm. They can also be customized to analyze different options that mean the most to your operation, like crop year vs. calendar year. If you’re not using a program now, target January 1 as a goal date to adopt a system and just get started. Realize it’s never going to be perfect, but the awareness and insights will bring you value.

Have a conversation with your bank.

If you foresee any financial issues and an impending down-cycle, have a conversation with your bank. Katie Schear comments, “One question everybody wants to know at the bank is, ‘Do we have confidence in management?’ It doesn’t matter what the math looks like if you’re not confident in management. If you’re a company or producer coming to us saying, ‘These are my challenges and this is what I’m doing,’ that speaks volumes about our partnership. In a recession, the human factor still matters.”

3 Big Things Today, October 3, 2019

Byline:

1. Grains, Beans Little Changed in Overnight Trading

Grains and soybeans were little changed overnight amid uncertainty about trade talks scheduled for next week between the U.S. and China.

China bought another 464,000 metric tons of soybeans from U.S. supplies, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service said in a report yesterday.

The Asian nation has made good on promises to buy more agricultural products as a sign of good will ahead of next week’s negotiations. The USDA reported sales of beans to China for three days straight from September 25 through September 27 and several other sales the previous week.

Still, market-watchers are skeptical that a trade deal will be signed as negotiations have dragged on for more than 15 months without a resolution.

Next week’s talks will be the 13th round of high-level negotiations and will feature U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

Corn futures for December delivery fell ½¢ to $3.87¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Wheat for September delivery lost 1¢ to $4.88 a bushel, while Kansas City futures declined 3¢ to $4.02¾ a bushel.

Soybean futures for November delivery dropped 1¢ to $9.12¾ a bushel overnight. Soy meal lost 30¢ to $305.30 a short ton, while soybean oil gained 0.01¢ to 29.22¢ a pound.

**

2. Ethanol Production Rises Weekly, Still Below 1 Million-Barrel Average

Ethanol production rose week to week but was still well below the 1 million-barrel-a-day average, while inventories rebounded from the previous week’s decline.

Output in the seven days that ended on September 27 averaged 958,000 barrels a day, according to the Energy Information Administraiton. That’s up from the previous week’s 943,000 barrels a day, which was the lowest level in more than three years.

In the Midwest, by far the biggest production area, output averaged 887,000 barrels a day last week, up from 877,000 the previous week, the EIA said in a report.

Gulf Coast production rose to 22,000 barrels a day, on average, from 16,000 a week earlier, and Rocky Mountain output increased to 14,000 barrels from 10,000.

On the East Coast, output declined week to week to 20,000 barrels a day, on average, from 24,000 the previous week, the agency said.

West Coast production was unchanged at 15,000 barrels a day.

Stockpiles, meanwhile, increased to 23.219 million barrels on September 27 from 22.5 million seven days earlier, the EIA said.

In other news, the USDA is scheduled to release its weekly Export Sales Report this morning. Analysts are expecting corn sales from 400,000 to 800,000 metric tons, soybean sales from 900,000 to 1.4 million tons, and wheat sales from 200,000 to 600,000 tons, according to researcher Allendale.

**

3. Freeze Warnings in Effect For Eastern Nebraska, South Dakota as Temperatures Drop to Mid-20˚F.

Freeze warnings and frost advisories are in effect in much of western Nebraska and western South Dakota this morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures fell to as low as the mid-20˚F. overnight due to clearing skies and light winds, the NWS said in a report early this morning. The freeze warning is in effect until 10 a.m. CDT.

In western South Dakota, temperatures overnight reached 27˚F., which can damage plants.

Only 8% of Nebraska corn was harvested at the start of the week, while in South Dakota none had been collected. Six percent of Nebraska soybeans were in the bin, while only 1% was harvested in South Dakota, according to the USDA.

Farther east, more flooding is expected in parts of eastern Iowa and western Illinois due to recent rainfall, the NWS said.

While some rivers are on the rise, there’s limited risk of severe weather in the next seven days, the agency said in its report this morning.

Insights from Farming in 2019

Byline:

In a diverse group of ag industry professionals, “AI” might mean: artificial intelligence, avian influenza, or artificial insemination.

This was the case during a panel discussion between producers of poultry, beef, and grains at the eight annual Women in Agribusiness Summit. The event brought together 850 attendees to network and share knowledge on key topics affecting agriculture today.

The panel featured:

  • Katie Brenny, fifth-generation farmer and owner of Brenny Farms, a Charolais and Angus cow-calf beef farm in southeast Minnesota
  • Deb Gangwish, owner of PG Farms Inc. & The Diamond G. in Nebraska, a corn, soy, and cow-calf operation
  • Amy Syester, co-owner of a poultry and grain operation in Delaware, raising more than 1 million birds annually

Pressure to Adopt Sustainable Practices

For Deb Gangwish, whose farm started out small and has now grown to 8,000 acres of corn, 2,000 acres of soybeans, plus a 2,000-head backgrounding lot, it has always made sense to adopt sustainability. “We look for ways to take care of ranch and resources and do more with less because those resources are our future.” While there does seem to be more of a push to adopt sustainable practices, Gangwish notes that there is a great opportunity now to communicate the farm management practices that incorporate sustainability through technology and conservation.

Just as AI means something different among us, so does sustainability, and it can’t be dictated from a marketing or communications department. To Katie Brenny, it means giving back to the environment that has given to her, so she can continue to grow beef.

In the Delmarva Peninsula that Amy Syester calls home, she’s keenly aware and proactive to adopt practices that protect the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, her family’s future, and the chickens in the poultry houses. “We’re able to monitor the poultry houses’ temperatures to a tenth of a degree. We have more energy efficiency in our new houses so our footprint is small there, but we’re constantly looking for ways to improve.”

Misperceptions Farmers Face

“I want folks to know that my heart and soul is in everything we do,” says Gangwish. Even if her farm looks different than others, with different technology and equipment, the level of care in the operation every day is just the same. She continues, “I really want consumers to know that there are many different ways of bringing food to the table. I respect every farmer, whoever they are, and their labor of love. We don’t have enough of us to be divided. Anyone who knows what it’s like to tend an animal, take care of crops, or have soil underneath their fingernails, understands what it takes to grow and nurture life, no matter if it’s urban farming or any other type.”

Syster echoes that working in the poultry industry is truly a commitment, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. She sometimes hears people outside the industry label her operation as a “factory farm” because of the number of birds in each flock. “My farm is managed by my husband, me, my son, a brother-in-law, and one employee. That’s how we get it done.”

In livestock production, misconceptions are easy to come by if animal activists promote the wrong message about the industry. Syster says, “It’s not in our best interest to do things that are harmful to our operation. We have to make sure we’re doing everything to get the most out of what we’re doing, because our profit margins are small. It’s critical to understand that organizations have put a lot of restrictions on our industry and our work can’t just be accomplished by automation.”

“We don’t do anything that’s going to cost more money or that’s going to harm our food because we all have to eat. I buy my groceries at the grocery store, just like everyone else,” says Brenny. The unique opportunity all people have, across the supply chain, is to connect over food and remember that there is a chain of people with processes to bring that food to the table. 

Recommendations for Ag Business Decision-Makers

While stakeholders in the supply chain may have different goals, at the end of the day, it takes working together as a team to understand how decisions actually affect producers.

The relationships that Gangwish has built between her seed dealer, chemical supplier, and agronomists has given her a team of people to rely upon. “We’re always looking for more ways to grow and be more efficient, more effective, but we want to share the risk.”

Brenny, who also works as climate business manager for Bayer Crop Science, has a unique perspective on how industry decisions are made. “I would encourage those who get to make decisions in a board room to really socialize the idea. Take it to your field team or find a group of farmers and ranchers and pick their brain about it.” In the end, the team approach will provide more value to farmers and ranchers, be more profitable to the business, and better adopted.

The Future Farmer

The generational changes in agriculture pose challenges for younger farmers looking to start out on their own.

Brenny didn’t have the opportunity to go home to a farm, but she and her husband were able to secure an operation while working full time elsewhere. “I see it as a work balance. Can you get your job done and can you still farm?” She recommends that companies think about their future employees who do have a passion for agriculture and incorporate the flexibility they need to manage the unpredictability of farming plus their corporate responsibilities.

On the other hand, Syster sees the poultry industry struggling to attract people to work in poultry operations. “It’s not a fun job, it’s not a clean job, and it’s hard to make an income and have the farming lifestyle. We love what we do or we wouldn’t be doing it, because at the end of the day, it’s stressful, you’re tired, and financially strapped at times.”

Agriculture faces challenges, yet opportunity still exists. As Deb Gangwish says, “Sometimes I feel like ‘I’m just a farmer – who am I?’ But I have a voice and the industry needs to hear from us.”

3 Big Things Today, October 2

Byline:

1. Grains, Soybeans Decline in Overnight Trading

Grains and soybeans were lower in overnight trading after INTL FCStone raised its forecast for corn yield from its previous outlook.

The researcher said Tuesday that it expects corn yield of about 169.3 bushels an acre. That’s up from its September forecast for 168.4 bushels an acre.

Egypt is expected tor release the results of its latest wheat tend in which it sought cargoes of 55,000 to 60,000 tons from international supplies. It’s likely the U.S. will miss out on the tender as the North African nation has been focused on Russian and Ukrainian wheat in recent months.

The decline in prices is a shift after Monday’s mostly positive reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Corn inventories on Sept. 1 were reported at 2.11 billion bushels, below trade estimates for 2.43 billion bushels, while soybean stocks came in at 913 million bushels versus forecasts for 2.32 billion bushels, the USDA said.

Soybean production was pegged at 4.43 billion bushels, down from trade estimates of 4.52 billion and the previous government forecast for 4.55 billion bushels.

The USDA’s crop progress reports showed soybean maturity and the corn harvest well behind their normal pace for this time of year.

Corn futures for December delivery fell 3 3/4¢ to $3.88 ¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Wheat for September delivery lost 5 3/4¢ to $4.93 a bushel, while Kansas City futures declined 3 3/4¢ to $4.07 ¾ a bushel.

Soybean futures for November delivery dropped 5 1/2¢ to $9.14 a bushel overnight. Soymeal lost $2 to $307 a short ton while soybean oil gained 0.09¢ to 28.97¢ a pound.

**

2. China Continues to Purchase U.S. Soybeans Ahead of Next Week’s Trade Talks

China continues to buy soybeans from the U.S. ahead of scheduled trade talks next week, according to several media reports, though the USDA hasn’t confirmed the latest purchase.

On Monday, reports trickled in that China had purchased several cargoes with the final total somewhere around 600,000 metric tons.

So far the agency hasn’t confirmed that, but it’s logical as the Asian nation attempts to create some good will ahead of next week’s negotiations.

The market has been mostly positive about the upcoming talks after Peter Navarro, a White House adviser, said reports that the U.S. had planned on delisting Chinese companies from U.S. stock exchanges were incorrect.

China in the past couple of weeks has made several large buys of U.S. beans, making good on promises it made to increase purchases of agricultural products.

On Sept. 27, the USDA reported a purchase of 126,000 metric tons. That followed orders for 257,000 tons on Sept. 26, 581,000 tons on Sept. 25, 260,000 tons on Sept. 17 and 256,000 tons on Sept. 16.

The country is rumored to be considering purchases of another 2 million metric tons of soybeans in the week before the trade negotiations begin, according to Reuters.

Still, some are skeptical about the actual negotiations as the ongoing trade war drags on.

**

3. Flash Flood Watches in Effect Through Central Midwest, Freeze Watches in Nebraska, South Dakota

Flash flood watches remain in effect from New Mexico to northern Missouri this morning, while cold weather moves out of the Rockies into western Nebraska and South Dakota, according to the National Weather Service.

In central and eastern Kansas, a flash flood watch continues as more rain is possible this afternoon and early evening, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

Localized rainfall amounts of up to 2 inches are likely in the area and could lead to more flooding.

In western Nebraska, meanwhile, a frost advisory and freeze watch are in effect this morning, the agency said.

Temperatures starting late tonight into Thursday morning are expected to fall to 25 or 25 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours, the NWS said in its report.

In Nebraska, only 8% of corn was harvested as of Sunday. Western South Dakota also is under a freeze watch as winter weather moves toward the area. At the start of the week, zero percent of the state’s corn crop had been harvested, according to the USDA.  

3 Big Things Today, October 1

Byline:

1. Grains, Beans Mixed Overnight After Several USDA Reports

Grains and soybeans were mixed in overnight trading as investors soak in several reports from the USDA and await any news on trade relations with China.

The USDA released its Quarterly Grain Stocks Report that showed corn inventories on September 1 at 2.11 billion bushels, below trade estimates for 2.43 billion bushels. Soybean stocks came in at 913 million bushels vs. forecasts for 2.32 billion bushels.

Wheat production was seen at 1.962 billion bushels in the 2019-2020 marketing year that started on June 1, close to the average analyst guess of 1.968 billion bushels.

Soybean production was pegged at 4.43 billion bushels, down from trade estimates of 4.52 billion and the previous government forecast for 4.55 billion bushels.

The USDA also released its Crop Progress Report yesterday, which showed 11% of U.S. corn was harvested as of Sunday. That’s behind the prior five-year average of 19%.

Only 43% of the crop was mature at the start of the week compared with the average of 73% for this time of year.

About 7% of soybeans were collected, well behind the normal 20%, the USDA said. Fifty-five percent of the crop was dropping leaves vs. the average of 76%.

Some 90% of the spring wheat crop was in the bin at the start of this week, when normally the harvest would be about finished.

Corn futures for December delivery fell 1¾¢ to $3.86¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Wheat for September delivery lost 2½¢ to $4.93¼ a bushel, while Kansas City futures declined 4¾¢ to $4.10¼ a bushel.

Soybean futures for November delivery rose 1¼¢ to $9.07¼ a bushel overnight. Soy meal rose 60¢ to $301.60 a short ton, while soybean oil gained 0.14¢ to 29.22¢ a pound.

**

2. Corn, Soybean Inspections Rise Week to Week, While Wheat Examinations Decline

Inspections of corn and soybeans for overseas delivery were higher in the seven days that ended on September 26, while wheat assessments declined, according to the USDA.

Corn inspections last week were reported at 399,736 metric tons, up from the 235,389 tons assessed a week earlier. Still, that’s well below the 1.38 million tons inspected during the same week last year.

Soybean examinations came in at 982,288 metric tons, up from 926,247 tons a week earlier and the 630,249 tons assessed a year earlier, the agency said.

Wheat inspections totaled 466,506 metric tons last week, down from 488,647 tons the previous week, but higher than the 371,991 tons inspected the same seven-day period in 2018.

Since the start of the marketing year on September 1, inspections of corn are now up to 1.53 million metric tons, well below the 4.46 million tons the USDA inspected during the same time frame a year earlier.

Soybean assessments stand at 3.15 million metric tons, ahead of the year-earlier total of 2.97 million tons at this time last year.

Wheat inspections, since the start of the grain’s marketing year on June 1, are now up to 8.49 million metric tons. That’s well ahead of the previous year’s total of 6.92 million tons at this time of year.

**

3. Flash Flood Warnings in Effect Along Band From New Mexico to Michigan

Thunderstorms are raging across much of the Midwest this morning, as a band from southern New Mexico into central Michigan is under a flash flood watch, according to the National Weather Service.

“A strong storm system moving slowly across the central states will produce heavy rainfall and possible flash flooding along a broad swath from New Mexico to Michigan through Tuesday,” the NWS said in report early this morning.

In central Iowa, widespread rain is expected into early Wednesday. Showers started this morning, and the storm will gradually spread southeast across the state. The precipitation could lead to flash flooding, as the ground in many areas is already saturated from recent rainfall, the agency said.

In Wisconsin, meanwhile, 1 inch to 2½ inches are expected with some areas receiving up to 5 inches, the NWS said.

Thunderstorms in the state may turn severe this afternoon and evening with damaging winds and large hail the main risks.

3 Big Things Today, September 30

Byline:

1. Wheat Rises as Adverse Weather Threatens Spring Crop; Soybeans Jump

Wheat futures were again higher in overnight trading as adverse weather threatens the spring crop in North Dakota and Canada. Soybeans also were higher while corn was little changed.

Cold, rainy weather in much of the U.S. Northern Plains and Canadian Prairies is causing concerns about the size and quality of this year’s spring wheat crop.

About 87% of the U.S. spring wheat crop was harvested as of September 22, down from the prior five-year average of 97% for this time of year, according to the USDA. In North Dakota, the biggest producer of the variety, 85% had been collected, behind the normal 95%.

The USDA will release its updated weekly Crop Progress Report this morning.

In Canada, less than 50% of the crop has been harvested, and snow has fallen in many growing areas, according to analyst reports. That could further shrink the size of the global spring wheat crop.

Dry weather in Australia also is keeping prices elevated.

Wheat for September delivery rose 3¢ to $4.90¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures added 3¢ to $4.10½ a bushel.

Soybean futures for November delivery jumped 8¢ to $8.91 a bushel overnight. Soy meal rose $1.90 to $297 a short ton, while soybean oil gained 0.11¢ to 28.95¢ a pound.

Corn futures for December delivery rose ¾¢ to $3.72¼ a bushel.

**

2. Speculative Investors Cut Their Bearish Bets in Corn, Beans, Hard Red Winter Wheat

Money managers reduced their net-short positions, or bets on lower prices, in both corn and soybeans in the seven days that ended on September 24, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Investors held a net-short position of 162,551 corn futures contracts as of last week, down from 176,643 futures contracts seven days earlier, which was the biggest such position since May 14, the CFTC said in a report.

Speculators also held a net-short position of 43,053 soybean futures contracts as of September 24, down from 45,612 contracts a week earlier and the smallest level since the seven days that ended on July 23, government data show.

Investors likely reduced their bearish bets on corn and soybeans on speculation that yield and production of both crops, which were planted late, will come in below expectations. Adverse weather for much of the growing season has led some to believe that the crop will be smaller than forecast by the government.

In wheat, money managers reduced their bearish bets in hard red winter futures contracts slightly to 36,803 last week. That’s down from 37,605 futures contracts the previous week.

Speculators, however, increased their net-short positions in soft red winter wheat to 15,418 futures contracts, up from 7,093 futures contracts a week earlier, the CFTC said.

The weekly Commitment of Traders Report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission shows trader positions in futures markets.

The report provides positions held by commercial traders, or those using futures to hedge their physical assets; noncommercial traders, or money managers (also called large speculators); and nonreportables, or small speculators.

A net-long position indicates more traders are betting on higher prices, while a net-short position means more are betting futures will decline.

**

3. Thunderstorm Warning in Effect in North Dakota, Minnesota; Flooding Forecast in Nebraska, Iowa

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for much of eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota, while flash flood warnings are in effect from north-central Kansas into northern Iowa.

In North Dakota and Minnesota, heavy rain is expected today in areas where the ground is already saturated, according to the National Weather Service. Large hail up to the size of a quarter and gusty winds, along with the precipitation, are the main threats.

In Nebraska and Iowa, meanwhile, a flash flood watch has been issued as a slow-moving weather front will bring heavy precipitation that could lead to flooding in the region, the NWS said in a report earlier this morning.

Rainfall amounts are forecast from 3 to 5 inches in parts of the area with up to 2 inches possible in portions of the region.

Counties along the Missouri River between the states and several in northwest Missouri are under a flood warning as the river continues to top flood stages, government data show.  

15 Minutes With a Farmer

Byline:

Like many farm kids, Jerod McDaniel spent his youth fixing fence, working cattle, and driving tractors. He also straddled the world of a town kid, though, riding bikes and hanging out at the local swimming pool.
 

“I am a town kid who just happened to work on a farm,” says the Texhoma, Oklahoma, farmer. 

McDaniel’s great-grandfather homesteaded in the Oklahoma panhandle in 1906. His son took over the farm’s reins in the 1930s and continued managing it into the 1990s. 

“The farm skipped a generation, because my dad was a veterinarian and did not farm,” says McDaniel. “The idea was for me to come back and take over the farm from my grandfather after I graduated from college. But the world moves on God’s timeline, not mine.”

In 1995, McDaniel’s grandfather suffered a stroke. Then 18, McDaniel began managing the farm while attending Oklahoma State University. He farmed on the weekends and during summers.
 

“Thankfully, the operation was in good enough shape so it could survive my learning curve,” he says. “I knew how to do the work side of farming, but I didn’t know the business side.”

In some ways, that’s been a blessing. “I had to create my own way. If I didn’t know how to do something, I would just ask. I would sit down with an elevator manager and tell him that I know how to raise grain, but what do I do with it now?”

Since he started farming, McDaniel has seen glory days punctuated by low times. One of the downturns occurred this summer, when corn moved limit down on August 12 following a bearish USDA report. This concurred with a fire at a Kansas Tyson beef packing plant that simultaneously pressured cattle prices. Meanwhile, a trade war with China continues. 

“That day will leave a mark on farmers for a long time,” he says. 

Still, life goes on. McDaniel and his wife, Julie, also keep busy with their children’s activities.

“As the kids have gotten older, I find my way into town for a softball game, and another town after that for a football game, or into a cornfield fixing an irrigation sprinkler. There is never a dull moment, and I would not have it any other way.”

SF: Why do you farm?
JM: I had a childhood dream that I would someday farm. When it actually happens, the romance fades away and then reality sets in that, ‘Oh, yeah, I have a business to run.” But I love the aspect that I am master of my own fate. 


SF: What did you learn this season that you will change? 
JM: To diversify. We already diversify with cows, corn, and hay. But we are looking at shifting more capital over to the cattle side by growing more corn silage and hay. 

You can also diversify with the things you already do. Low-population corn that saves money on seed and other inputs is one thing I am trying. This is done on soils with limited yield potential. 

SF: What is the best advice you ever received? 
JM: My grandfather was adamant about education. He told me, “You can lose your land, cattle, everything, and end up penniless on the street. But you always will have your education in your back pocket.” It was implied that a lot of my taking over the farm depended on me finishing college. 

My father also pointed out that you had to do your own due diligence (in running a business like a farm). You will hear things like “you should do this, you should do that,” but ultimately, he told me, you have to decide for yourself where you will steer the ship. 

SF: Finish this sentence: Farming is …
JM: A loaded question! (Laughs) I’d say farming, though, is like any other occupation. It is not a Dodge Ram commercial that says, “God made a farmer.” For the most part, we are businesspeople trying to make money and raise their families right. For the most part, I think of myself as a husband first, then a father, and then a farmer/rancher. Farming should not be the end-all of your life.

SF: What has been your worst time in farming?
JM: In 2003, a tornado wiped out five irrigation sprinklers. The crop had just come up, it was time to start watering, and the sprinklers were just all twisted junk sitting in a field. Within a month, I learned how to basically remove the sprinklers and put in new ones. That disaster was an awful experience. In hindsight, I learned a lot going through that tragedy.

SF: What has been your best time in farming? 
JM: All the people who have helped me from day one, everyone from family to friends to business people. They saw me as a young man continuing his family’s business, and gave me advice and a little leeway at times. They helped me and expected nothing in return. I am now in a position to give advice to others.  

SF: Are you interested in growing hemp? 
JM: No. I don’t want to be a crash test dummy taking one for the team. Before I grow something, I want infrastructure first. Let’s create an actual industry that can survive on its own. Then, I will look. There are still way too many gray areas. 

SF: The best book I ever read was….. 
JM: Swing Your Sword by Mike Leach (Washington State University football coach). If you have not read it, you should read it. It looks at why some people lose, why some people win, and how people react to certain situations. 

SF: You are pretty active on social media. How did you begin? 
JM: I started with a Myspace account, but that died a slow death. Then I got on Twitter, and found a couple guys to follow, and it was great from there. I’ve gotten to know people all over the world. Twitter gives me the freedom to travel without having to leave the farm. I also started podcasting about two years ago, but I back off when other things start demanding my time.

SF: What role does technology play on your farm? 
JM: My mother started the computer science program at (Oklahoma) Panhandle State University, so technology and computers were part of my growing up. When (advanced) technology came to farming, I had no problem adding things like a computer to a tractor.

SF BIO 

McDaniel began farming at age 18 while attending Oklahoma State University. He graduated with honors in 1999 with a bachelor of science degree in animal science and minors in agronomy and agricultural economics. He and his wife, Julie, raise corn, hay, and have a 600 cow-calf herd. They have six children who range in age from 5 to 15. 

3 Big Things Today, September 27

Byline:

1. Wheat Rises on Adverse Weather in Northern Plains, Australia

Wheat futures were again higher in overnight trading as adverse weather continues in parts of the northern Plains where growers are attempting to harvest the last of the spring crop.

Frost or freeze conditions are possible in parts of North Dakota and western Minnesota tonight, which could hurt any spring wheat that has yet to be collected.

The cold weather will continue into Saturday morning and occur again into next week.

The good news is that most of the spring wheat crop is in the bin. As of Sunday about 87% of U.S. spring wheat was harvested. Still, that’s down from the prior five-year average of 97% for this time of year.

In North Dakota, only 85% was collected compared with the average for 95%. In Montana, where a strong winter storm is forecast, only 80% was harvested at the start of this week, well behind the normal 95% for this time of year.

Concerns about dry weather in Australia also are giving prices a bump.

Commodity Weather Group said in a report that Australia wheat and canola regions lack rain and heat is expected to build in the next two weeks, adding to losses in almost three-fourths of growing areas.

Wheat for September delivery rose 3¢ to $4.87¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures added 2¾¢ to $4.11 a bushel.

Soybean futures for November delivery fell 1¾¢ to $8.86¾ a bushel overnight. Soymeal lost 20¢ to $295.60 a short ton while soybean oil dropped 0.12¢ to 29.05¢ a pound.

Corn futures for December delivery lost 1½¢ to $3.71 a bushel.

**

2. Export Sales of Corn 494,000 Metric Tons, Soybeans Again Top Million-Ton Mark

Export sales of corn in the seven days that ended on Sept. 19, only the second full week of the 2019-2020 marketing year, were reported at 494,000 metric tons by the USDA.

Mexico was the big buyer at 196,800 metric tons, followed by Japan at 92,900 tons; an unknown buyer took 85,300 tons; Colombia was in for 47,300 tons; and Thailand purchased 39,400 tons, the agency said in a report.

Soybean sales last week totaled 1.04 million metric tons.

China was again the big buyer at 391,400 tons. Indonesia took 95,700 tons, the Netherlands bought 69,800 tons, Japan purchased 66,600 tons, and Pakistan was in for 66,000 tons, the USDA said.

Wheat sales for delivery in the grain’s marketing year that started on June 1 totaled 283,200 metric tons, down 1% from the previous week and 40% from the prior four-week average.

Japan was in for 103,500 metric tons, the Philippines took 61,900 tons, Mexico bought 58,900 tons, Egypt purchased 50,000 tons and Yemen bought 30,000 tons, the agency said.

The total would’ve been higher but there were several cancellations.

An unknown customer nixed a shipment for 114,400 tons, South Korea canceled cargoes of 13,000 tons, and Vietnam canceled a shipment for 12,200 tons, the USDA said.

**

3. First Winter Storm of Year to Hit Montana, Idaho Today; Thunderstorms Expected in Iowa

A “major winter storm” is headed toward the northern Rockies this weekend.

The first such storm of the year will hit parts of Montana and Idaho, according to the National Weather Service.

A winter storm warning is in effect for counties in northern Montana while a winter storm watch is in effect for about half of the Big Sky state and most of northern Idaho, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

Heavy snow is forecast with blizzard conditions possible in the region. Total snow accumulations are expected to be around 15 to 36 inches on the Plains and 7 to 20 inches at lower elevations. Higher amounts are expected in the mountains, the agency said.

Farther east in the Corn Belt, storms in Nebraska and Iowa are expected through the weekend into next week.  

In Iowa, nonsevere thunderstorms will fire up today and extend into the middle of next week, the NWS said. So far, the threat of severe weather in the state is low.

3 Big Things Today, September 26

Byline:

1. Wheat Futures Surge on Spring Quality Concerns

Wheat futures jumped in overnight trading on concerns about the spring crop that’s being harvested.

As much as six times the normal amount of rain has fallen in parts of the northern Plains in the past 30 days, according to the National Weather Service.

Farmers have done a good job of getting their crops out of the field but what remains is in jeopardy from a quality standpoint.

High vomitoxin levels have been reported.

Harvest of the spring wheat crop was 87% complete at the start of this week, down from the prior five-year average of 97%, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report.

The good news is that rain likely will hold off today and Friday, which should allow those who haven’t yet collected their crops to get into the fields if they’re not overly saturated. Another chances of storms, however, is in the forecast for this week, according to the National Weather Service.

Dry weather in much of Australia also is underpinning prices.

Wheat for September delivery jumped 8¢ to $4.85 ¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures added 6 3/4¢ to $4.10 ¾ a bushel.

Soybean futures for November delivery rose 3 1/2¢ to $8.92 ¾ a bushel overnight. Soymeal added $1.70 to $299.30 a short ton while soybean oil gained 0.05¢ to 29.25¢ a pound.

Corn futures for December delivery gained a penny to $3.75 ¼ a bushel.

**

2. Ethanol Production Plunges to Lowest Level Since April 2016, Stockpiles Also Decline

Ethanol production plunged to the lowest level in almost three-and-a-half years last week, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Stockpiles also declined.

Output of the biofuel dropped to an average of 943,000 barrels a day in the seven days that ended on Sept. 20, the EIA said in a report.

That’s down from 1.003 million barrels a day, on average, the previous week and the lowest level since the week that ended on April 29, 2016,

Crush margins were down “marginally” in the past week but were still positive, S&P Global Platts said in a report after the data was released. Corn prices also have been inching upward on concerns about a crop that was planted late and has faced adverse weather in some parts of the Midwest.  

In the Midwest, by far the biggest producing region, ethanol production dropped to an average of 877,000 barrels a day, down from 928,000 barrels a week earlier, the EIA said.

East Coast output fell to 24,000 barrels a day, on average, from 27,000 barrels a week earlier, Gulf Coast production declined to 16,000 barrels a day from 23,000 and Rocky Mountain output dropped to 10,000 barrels a day from 11,000, the agency said.

West Coast production was the lone gainer last week, rising to an average of 15,000 barrels a day from 14,000 barrels the previous week.

Stockpiles also fell, declining to 22.5 million barrels in the week through Sept. 20, the EIA said. That’s down from 22.238 million seven days earlier.

**

3. Storms, Some Severe, Forecast For Much of Eastern Iowa, Northern Illinois Into Weekend

Thunderstorms are likely across much of eastern Iowa and north-central Illinois starting tonight and extending into the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

There’s a slight risk for severe weather in parts of eastern Iowa starting tomorrow, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

“The main timeframe for severe storms is expected to be late Friday afternoon through Friday evening,” the agency said. “Initially, super cells may develop with the main risks isolated tornadoes and large hail. These storms should quickly congeal into a squall line with the main risks damaging winds and perhaps an isolated tornado.”

The storms will be fast-moving at about 50 miles an hour with a northeasterly trajectory, the NWS said. Torrential rain is expected and flash flooding is expected in areas where streams and rivers are already overrunning their banks.

3 Big Things Today, September 25

Byline:

1. Soybeans Lower Overnight on Trade Concerns

Soybeans were slightly lower in overnight trading on concerns about trade while corn was little changed.

President Trump yesterday took a hard-line stance against China, saying the U.S. would take nothing less than a great deal if it were to sign a trade agreement with the Asian country.

Still, China reportedly bought 600,000 metric tons of soybeans from U.S. supplies earlier this week, according to media reports, which cited people familiar with the issue. After some initial optimism, it looks like traders are taking a wait-and-see approach, as they have been for more than a year.

Producers and analysts, however, are keeping an eye on the weather as there’s a “limited frost threat” to the northwestern Corn Belt next week, according to the Commodity Weather Group.

With crops being planted so late, an early or even an on-time frost is a concern.

The spring wheat harvest also has been delayed as more than six times the normal amount of rain has fallen  in the past 30 days in much of the Northern Plains. About 87% of the crop, however, was in the bin at the start of this week, which is behind the prior five-year average of 97% for this time of year.

The U.S. corn harvest, meanwhile, was 7% finished vs. the prior five-year average of 11%, the agency said. Only 29% of the crop was mature at the start of the week compared with the normal 57%.

Soybean maturity also remains well behind the normal pace with only 34% dropping leaves against the average of 59% for this time of year, the USDA said.

Soybean futures for November delivery fell 2½¢ to $8.91¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal lost 80¢ to $298.70 a short ton, while soybean oil fell 0.14¢ to 29.19¢ a pound.

Corn futures for December delivery was unchanged at $3.74¾ a bushel.

Wheat for September delivery fell 3¼¢ to $4.78½ a bushel overnight, while Kansas City futures lost 3¢ to $4.02 a bushel.

**

2. Topsy-Turvy Week on Trade Front Leaves Market-Watchers Wondering What’s Next

It’s been a bit of an up-and-down week in terms of the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China as there was good news, then bad news, then more good news, and now more bad news.

It started late last week when it was announced Chinese officials would visit U.S. farms, which caused corn and soybean prices to move higher.

On Friday, however, visits to Montana and Nebraska, at least, were canceled for unknown reasons. Markets tanked. Turns out, however, the U.S. asked for those visits to be delayed due to a timing issue, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had said during a press conference Monday.

Also on Monday, media reported that China purchased about 600,000 metric tons of soybeans from U.S. suppliers, also a good sign that last week’s low-level talks in Washington were fruitful.  

Finally, the bad news for the markets came yesterday when President Donald Trump in a speech to the United Nations lashed out at Beijing, saying he wouldn’t accept a bad trade deal.

“Not only has China declined to adopt promised reforms, it has embraced an economic model dependent on massive market barriers, heavy state subsidies, currency manipulation, product dumping, forced technology transfers, and the theft of intellectual property and also trade secrets on a grand scale,” he said.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi reportedly said there will be “endless trouble” if the U.S. and China don’t continue trade talks.

Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are scheduled to meet with their Chinese counterparts for high-level negotiations next month.

**

3. Eastern Iowa, Northern Illinois Rain May Cause More Flooding in Region

Eastern Iowa and northern Illinois likely will see rainfall starting on Friday with some severe weather expected in the region, according to the National Weather Service.

The Mississippi River along the Iowa-Illinois border is already flooding in some places, and the expected precipitation heading into the weekend could exacerbate that and cause smaller rivers and streams to overflow their banks, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

“A near daily chance for thunderstorms will continue Saturday into the middle of next week,” the agency said. “It’s too early to determine the severe weather potential during this time period. Heavy rain will remain possible.”

CWG said in a forecast that it expects from ½ to 1½ inches of rain in the next five days in the Midwest. Up to 4 inches of rain are possible, the forecaster said.

That could delay the harvest, putting plants that remain in the ground at risk should freezing weather make its way to the Corn Belt.

3 Big Things Today, September 24

Byline:

1. Wheat Falls as Winter Planting, Spring Harvest Progress

Wheat futures were lower in overnight trading as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s crop progress report showed winter wheat planting was moving along as normal and the spring wheat harvest was moving along.

About 22% of the winter-wheat crop was planted as of Sunday, just behind the normal pace of 24% for this time of year, the USDA said in a report.

In Kansas, the biggest grower of winter varieties, 15% was seeded versus the normal 16%.

Producers in the northern Plains had harvested 87% of the spring wheat crop at the start of this week, which is still behind the average of 97%, but up 11 percentage points from the previous week, the agency said.

In North Dakota, the biggest producer of spring wheat, about 85% of the crop was out of the ground, compared with the normal 95% for this week, the USDA said.

The U.S. corn harvest, meanwhile, was 7% finished versus the prior five-year average of 11%, the agency said. Still, only 29% of the crop was mature at the start of the week compared with the normal 57%.

Some 57% of the corn crop earned good or excellent ratings, up from 55% a week ago.

Soybean maturity also remains well behind the normal pace with only 34% dropping leaves against the average of 59% for this time of year. Fifty-four percent was rated good or excellent, unchanged from the previous week, the USDA said.

Wheat for September delivery fell 4 3/4¢ to $4.78 ¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures lost 3¢ to $4.03 a bushel.

Corn futures for December delivery lost 2 3/4¢ to $3.70 ½ a bushel.

Soybean futures for November delivery rose 1/2¢ to $8.93 a bushel overnight. Soymeal added 80¢ to $299.40 a short ton while soybean oil fell 0.16¢ to 29.15¢ a pound.

**

2. Weekly Corn, Wheat Inspections For Offshore Delivery Decline, Soybean Assessments Improve

Inspections of U.S. corn and wheat for overseas delivery dropped week-to-week while soybean assessments surged, according to the USDA.

The government inspected 233,993 metric tons of corn for offshore delivery in the seven days that ended on Sept. 19, down from 423,129 tons the previous week. During the same week in 2018, the USDA inspected 1.35 million tons of the grain.

Examinations of wheat totaled 476,173 metric tons last week, down from 517,550 during the previous seven-day period, the agency said. The total was still higher than the 429,193 tons inspected at the same time last year.

Soybean inspections, meanwhile, were reported at 922,550 metric tons, up from 668,496 tons the previous week and 719,339 tons during the same week a year earlier.

Since the start of the marketing year on Sept. 1, corn inspections were reported at 1.13 million metric tons, well behind the 3.08 million tons the USDA had assessed during the same period a year earlier.

Soybean inspections since the beginning of the month now stand at 2.16 million metric tons, just behind the year-earlier pace of 2.34 million tons, according to the government.

Wheat inspections since the start of the grain’s marketing year on June 1 are now at 8 million metric tons, ahead of the 6.55 million metric tons inspected at this time in 2018.

**

3. Severe Weather Possible in Eastern Nebraska Through Much of Iowa Tuesday

Severe weather is expected in parts of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa today while some showers are forecast for northern Illinois, according to the National Weather Service.

Storms in eastern Nebraska and southwestern Iowa could spur a tornado or damaging winds tonight, the agency said. The biggest threat will be from about 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. with locally heavy rainfall of more than an inch.

The storms will be “progressive,” which means they’ll be moving quickly, which should limit any flood potential. Still, the Missouri River between Nebraska and Iowa continues to be above flood stage, shutting some highways and roads and flooding low-lying fields.

In central Iowa there’s a “slight risk” of storms this evening that could bring large hail and damaging winds to the area, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

Adverse weather is expected the rest of the week and into the weekend, the agency said.

Further east, some light showers and thunderstorms are possible in parts of northern Illinois and Indiana today, though sever weather isn’t in the forecast.