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Serving: United States
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Report week fallout

Midwest derecho adds question mark to expected bin-busting harvest.

Missed some market news this week? Here's all the news you need to get you caught up.

Ag Marketing IQ

The market appears to expect large U.S. corn and soybean yields in Aug. 12 report. If you’re in a region that has suffered from weather, that may not set well with you. But historically, weather hiccups spark rallies only when these issues are widespread. The U.S. farmer does an excellent job at growing crops and we’ve seen great production even in years with less than ideal weather. You are the best in the world at growing crops. The key to balancing your bias on U.S. yield expectations is to try and be objective when comparing good production areas to those not as good.

The most profitable pricing opportunity we have had so far in corn this year was on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1st.  This is a fairly rare occurrence when prices peak at the start of the year only to slowly erode as the year goes on. I had to go back to 1998 to find a year that looked similar to this one.  In 1998 you would have been a rock star had you sold your entire crop in January. 

The Aug. 10 storms that flattened Midwest fields and grain bins could complicate what appears to be an already complicated storage outlook this fall. While the extent of losses will take time to sort out, USDA’s August crop production estimates suggest the nation’s grain storage system could be stretched to the breaking point. The government’s first monthly forecast for the new crop corn, soybeans and sorghum harvests, added to large leftover inventories of old crops and 2020 small grains, point to supplies that could top 100% of the nation’s estimated storage capacity.

Last week I wrote how corn futures had lost their luster due to higher yield forecasts. USDA confirmed that notion in yesterday’s USDA report, pegging corn yield at 181.8 bushels per acre, up from the July estimate of 178.5. Normally, confirmation of a large crop getting larger would send prices lower, especially in August when seasonal patterns suggest lower prices until month end. The market, however, did not react bearishly -- in fact, prices closed higher, posting bullish reversals on daily charts. This was the most bullish price response from an August USDA report day since 2013. What happened?

Exports

Grain export inspection data from USDA covering the week through August 6, was mixed but mostly positive after seeing weekly increases for both corn and soybeans. Wheat bucked the overall trend, falling 32% below the prior week’s tally.

Soybean sales trended significantly higher last week. Corn and wheat sales were much more lackluster, but each crop’s tally stayed within the range of trade estimates in the latest batch of grain export data released by USDA.

Crops

USDA released its latest crop progress update Monday afternoon. The winter wheat harvest is slightly behind the prior five-year average of 95%, reaching 90% completion through Sunday.  Through Sunday, 71% of this year’s corn crop is rated in good-to-excellent condition, down from 72% a week ago. Soybean quality ratings moved higher, going from 73% rated in good-to-excellent condition up to 74% by August 9. Spring wheat quality ratings took a spill, moving from 73% rated in good-to-excellent condition a week ago down to 69%.

Corn yield prospects remain high despite a dry growing season as strong growing degree days last week allowed maturation to progress at a quicker rate than a week ago. Pollination is nearing a close with 97% of the crop silking as of August 9. About 59% of the crop has reached the dough stage, up from 39% a week ago and 7% ahead of the five-year average.

The August WASDE report may be one of the most highly anticipated USDA reports released each year because it features updated yield estimates ahead of harvest season. And while today’s report was no less dramatic than trade estimates had projected, it carried several strong implications for U.S. growers.

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