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Corn and soybean prices end the week in the red; wheat tips lower

Compiled by staff

June 7, 2019

5 Min Read

Missed some market news this week? Find out what Bryce Knorr and Ben Potter have been following.


Rainfall last week was a little less than forecast in some areas, allowing farmers to get back into the field as crucial decisions about planting corn arrive just in time for more storms and an outlook that’s wetter into mid-June. Markets are mixed, however, digesting gains from the Memorial Day rally.

Corn prices are higher this morning after USDA put planting progress at a record-low 67%. That leaves a third of the crop unplanted – 30.6 million acres – as final planting dates for full crop insurance coverage pass. Soybeans also rallied on planting delays but wheat retreated on USDA’s surprising high ratings for both winter and spring crops.

A downdraft in wheat following better than expected crop ratings this week fueled more selling in the grain market overnight. Both corn and two of the three wheat markets broke support from their May uptrends, triggering worries from chart traders. Soybeans were lower but fared a little better on reports China may still be interested in U.S. supplies.

What will farmers do with all those unplanted corn acres? That’s the question the corn market is grappling with. Growers who think they can still plant corn and not lose as much as feared to yield drag could make more money than taking prevent plant – if the market rallies too. But it will take time for the market to get all the information it needs. In the meantime, large old crop inventories are keeping a lid on prices.

While the grain market may not reflect the full gravity of this year’s slow corn planting, foreign buyers of U.S. corn got the message loud and clear – and they’re turning to supplies from South America. Thursday’s export sales report for corn showed minimal new bookings and a South Korean feed maker overnight joined the list of regular customers looking for alternatives. A dry window for late corn planting is also contributing to weaker trade overnight.

Feedback from the Field

Farmers made progress planting crops last week. But with emergence slow, yield potential falling and millions of acres left to go, growers talked about the hard decisions they face on reports to Feedback From The Field last week.


Big speculators were bearish on crops for much of 2019. But the tide shifted with historically slow planting this spring that triggered a flurry of short covering. Here’s what funds were up to through Tuesday, May 28, when the CFTC collected data for its latest Commitment of Traders.


The latest weekly export inspection report from USDA this morning showed another round of mixed results, as wheat finished near the top of analyst estimates, with diminishing returns for corn and soybeans.

Grain prices ebb and flow on the tides of supply and demand. The former factor is proving problematic after USDA released its latest export report this morning – especially for corn, according to Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr. Even so, corn futures showed little reaction to the latest export news, which suggests the trade is obsessed with the size of the 2019 crop as farmers make final decisions on whether to keep planting.

Private exporters reported their first sale since May 24. Egypt took 4 million bushels of soybeans.

Planting progress

With May in the books, another third of the 2019 U.S. corn crop has yet to be planted, according to the latest USDA crop progress report, out Monday afternoon. Corn progress reached 67% as of June 2, up from 58% a week ago but still far behind 2018’s pace of 96% and the five-year average of 96%.


Corn Outlook - The spring of 2019 was one for the record books, and not in a good way. Adding to all the uncertainty farmers face is the difficulty outlier years like this one present when trying to make decisions. Flood years don’t happen often, and their history is conflicting at best. USDA offers its first take on the subject June 11.

Soybean Outlook - Soybeans may be the only game in town for farmers looking for another crop to plant. Whether they’re the best game for farmers wondering whether to take prevent plant on corn or seed the crop late is another question.

Wheat Outlook - Wheat hasn’t offered growers a shot at a profit during 2019. But if the opportunity comes, it’s likely to come from the same source as last the last couple of years: A rally in Minneapolis that takes winter wheat along for the ride. To be sure, the winter wheat contracts have a few potentially bullish tricks of their own. Heavy rains dented the SRW crop in the Midwest and raised concerns in parts of Oklahoma and perhaps Kansas too.

Market recaps

Grain futures are posting modest losses across the board this morning, giving back some of Thursday’s momentum. Erratic trade isn’t unexpected giving uncertainty over losses from weather that will take a lot of time to play out this summer – and even into the fall most likely.

Drier forecasts this coming week kept corn and soybean prices in the red Friday, as planting pace is reasonably expected to pick up over the next several days. Wheat also tipped lower on a round of profit-taking today after capturing double-digit gains yesterday.

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