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Corn prices fall from ‘what-ifs’

Eseninstudio/iStock/ThinkStock bullish vs bearish corn market
Weather, trade and tariffs and USDA reports are all pieces to keep an eye on.

Corn prices are slightly lower as bears believe they are looking at a slightly wetter and cooler forecast out beyond this weekend. The bulls are pointing to continued dry pockets and extremely warm conditions for parts of the southern Plains and portions of the Delta, which we will continue to monitor. Arguably, Missouri and areas that move into bordering states surrounding it are being closely tracked for stress due to lack of moisture.

The upcoming USDA report scheduled for release on Thursday seems to be creating a little headwind. The acres are obviously going to be raised higher and there's also some concern that tariffs will start to be negatively factored into the balance sheet. Although that's not a huge consideration currently for corn.

I have to imagine if NAFTA talks take a turn for the worse, we could see corn demand take a hit. There's also more speculation and uncertainty surrounding ethanol exports and how demand will hold up through ongoing trade negotiations.

I suspect the USDA will leave the yield unchanged on Thursday at 174 bushels per acre, despite most inside the trade using a 175 or higher type number. You would have to go all the way back to 2012 to see the USDA adjust their June to July yield estimate. That was the drought year and the USDA's first major cut to the crop, dropping the yield estimate a massive -20 bushels from 166 down to 146. The yield was lowered by another -22.6 bushels in the following August report.

I was curious about the overall crop-condition back in early-July of 2012, so I did a bit of research. On July 9th of 2012 the USDA showed 40% of the U.S. crop in good/excellent condition, that compares with the USDA's most recent 2018 estimate, same date of July 9, where 75% of the crop is in good/excellent condition. For the week, declines in corn conditions occurred in Colorado, Michigan and North Carolina. The biggest improvements occurred in Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas. This isn't the best crop-condition rating we've seen in the past 30 years, but rather the seventh best.

I was a bit bored with the lack of fresh headlines, so I wanted to compare 2012's crop-condition against the current crop in 2018, below is a state-by-state comparison.

State 2012 GD/EX vs 2018 GD/EX 

Colorado 31% GD/EX in 2012 vs. 70% GD/EX in 2018

Illinois 19% vs. 81%

Indiana 12% vs. 76%    

Iowa 46% vs. 78% 

Kansas 19% vs. 52%

Kentucky 5% vs. 85% 

Michigan 31% vs. 66%

Minnesota 77% vs. 79%

Missouri 12% vs. 48%

Nebraska 47% vs. 86%

North Carolina 47% vs. 40%

North Dakota 74% vs. 86%

Ohio 28% vs. 82%

Pennsylvania 55% vs. 71%

South Dakota 60% vs. 74%

Tennessee 12% vs. 84%

Texas 59% vs. 38%

Wisconsin 43% vs. 82%

TAGS: Corn Weather
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