Wheat selloff continues, dragging corn along the way

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Morning report: Illinois input prices are trending lower. What does it mean for your farm? (Comments are updated by 7:30 a.m. Central Time.)

  • Corn down 5-8 cents
  • Soybeans mixed; Soymeal down $1.50/ton; Soyoil up $0.81/lb
  • Chicago wheat down 8-10 cents; Kansas City wheat down 12-14 cents; Minneapolis wheat down 14-15 cents

*Prices as of 6:55am CDT.

Feedback from the Field is ready for your responses! Corn and soybean plants are emerging almost as quickly as they were planted according to responses from growers in our latest Feedback from the Field column. Planting is progressing, but not as quickly as most growers would like.

Most notably, spring wheat producers across North Dakota are already weighing the possibility of prevent plant acreage as rain delays continue to mount. Little progress has been made and it could drastically alter USDA’s 2022 spring wheat production forecasts calculated from last week’s USDA all wheat and winter wheat projections.

Want to see how your farm’s progress stacks up against other growers across the country? Just click this link to take the survey and share updates about your farm’s spring progress. I review and upload results daily to the FFTF Google MyMap, so farmers can see others’ responses from across the country – or even across the county!

Inputs

Market volatility has been rampant, particularly over the past three months, and fertilizer prices have not been spared. Yesterday’s bi-weekly production costs report from the Illinois USDA was a mixed bag of results for producers looking for some relief from inflationary pressures.

Anhydrous ammonia prices soared to new highs, reaching an average price of $1,631.14/ton through the two weeks ending May 19. Anhydrous prices are trending 3% higher over the last month amid some seasonal market pressures. Side-dressing applications will begin to ramp up in the coming weeks as corn plants emerge.

052022 IL biweekly production costs.png

Nutrien and CF Industries Holdings have both announced construction of low carbon emission ammonia plants over the past couple weeks, though those supplies are not likely to ease production demand until they come online over the next couple years.

Potash prices also continued to creep higher over the past two weeks, adding $1.16/ton during that time to $858.87/ton. Potash is largely viewed as one of the hottest inputs on the global market right now, as Russian and Belarusian supplies that are now sanctioned once made up a considerable portion of global usage. Countries – especially in South America – are scrambling to source available supplies ahead of planting activity expected later this year.

But there was some room for hope in yesterday’s report as well. MAP prices backed off a record high set two weeks ago, falling $16.83/ton to $1,011.67/ton. UAN quotes also edged back from highs set at that time, shedding 6.5% over two weeks to $641.49/ton. Urea prices also dropped $40/ton lower during the last two weeks to settle at $945.67/ton.

These price decreases are likely representative of slowing seasonal demand as growers shift away from the application phase of the crop development cycle and continue planting progress. But they also offer some optimism as well.

Overall, indexed prices from the Illinois Production Costs report drifted 1.4% lower over the past two weeks. While those prices are still 84% higher year-over-year, production costs for 200-bpa corn in Illinois fell $11.39-$19.29/acre over the past two weeks ($0.06-$0.10/bushel).

But December 2022 corn futures prices fell $0.165/bushel during that time to $7.36/bushel, negating most of the cost savings. To be sure, NPK and diesel costs to grow 200 bpa corn in Illinois are still high - $224.49 - $247.60/acre. That is a 70%-88% increase from year-ago prices.

What does it mean for growers this spring? It signals that hitting yield projections will be critical for maintaining profit outlooks. With 2022 input pricing likely long locked in for most operations, now is the time for yield performance to match – and hopefully exceed – its investment.

Corn

Corn prices continued to follow the selloff in the wheat market, dipping $0.05-$0.08/bushel lower overnight on hopes that planting speeds will accelerate this week and following weekend showers. Argentina is mulling an expanded export cap, which would limit the global availability of exportable supplies. The morning’s losses were kept in check by that factor.

USDA releases updated Cattle on Feed figures today. Consumer beef demand remains steady in the inflationary era. But producers continue to struggle with soaring feed costs, drought-stressed pastures, and limited feed availability. March 2022 featured high slaughtering rates of cows (breeding stock) as producers had few feed options available amid drought in the Plains to provide necessary feedstuffs to keep the animals thriving.

Sadly, this dynamic is expected to linger in the cattle markets for at least another year. Liquidation will likely be the primary theme for cattle producers – particularly in the Plains – as feed prices remain dry and soil moisture levels remain low.

Today’s numbers are likely to reflect that in the form of shrinking placement volumes and slaughtering rates relative to year ago paces. Cattle on feed inventory levels are likely to remain unchanged, though the May 1 reading historically trends lower than the previous month as preparations for summer barbeque season ramp up at the processing level.

052022 cattle trade estimates.JPG

The cattle market is not expected to return to an expansion phase until late in 2023 at the earliest. So today’s report is likely to reflect these shifting dynamics in the cattle market. One would think that it would be a bearish omen for corn prices, but that has not been the case.

Ethanol and export demand are more than sufficient enough to keep supporting high prices and the spring 2022 planting delays and smaller acreage forecasts are adding another layer of bullish pressure to corn markets as global corn supplies dwindle.

Soybeans

Soybean prices were mixed this morning as the trade weighs several contrasting factors against one another. Planting progress is a key driver, though some new crop price weakness was also exhibited from a potential acreage grab from delayed corn and spring wheat plantings in the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains.

Export demand remains unseasonably high for U.S. soy shipments. Indonesia’s export ban on palm oil will be lifted on Monday, but in its place will come a domestic supply quota program.

Wheat

Wheat prices drifted lower this morning, though at a slower rate than the previous two trading sessions. Rains are expected in the Southern Plains this weekend that could help improve yield conditions. Though based on wheat tour insights, it seems that quality is now the more significant issue facing U.S. wheat markets than volume.

Looming forecasts for a large Russian crop and a potential return of Ukrainian sea shipments also weighed on the wheat complex this morning. India is considering further relaxations to its wheat export ban implemented late last week.

"Have the bullish elements all been taken? That is the question now in a volatile environment," consultancy Agritel said this morning to Reuters of wheat.

Wheat tour updates

Yesterday concluded the third and final day of the Kansas Wheat Quality Council’s annual Wheat Tour. My colleague, Jennifer Latzke, who is the editor at Kansas Farmer, was on the tour and had the following updates.

Day 3 of the tour, cars made 48 stops, reporting an average of 55.2 bushels per acre along the route from Wichita to Manhattan. That compares to last year’s Day 3 estimate of 60.7 bushels per acre.

Tallying all three days of reports, the tour made a total of 550 stops, for an average of 39.7 bushels per acre. That makes a final prediction of a Kansas crop from the tour at 261 million bushels. If realized, this will be 100 million bushels lower than the 2021 crop, says Justin Gilpin, CEO of Kansas Wheat. It tracks a little lower than the USDA production estimate of 271 million bushels from earlier in May.

Gilpin says the tour estimate shows an 11% abandonment figure, which is higher than USDA’s predicted 6% abandonment. That’s on par with what they heard from farmers on the ground.

Kansas yield forecasts are currently the lowest since 2018. Kansas is historically the top state producer of wheat in the U.S.

Romulo Lollato, Kansas State University Extension wheat and forages specialist, told Latzke that the biggest surprise came from how far east drought conditions stretched across the state.

“Part of the reason we saw those harsher signals of that region is that there’s a lot of sandier soils, and they can’t hold the water like silt loam can in western Kansas,” Lollato says. “Even though the drought may not be as severe as from out west, the soils just couldn’t hold the moisture for the plants.”

Disease pressure remains low across the state, which is the one silver lining for producers this year.

For Latzke’s reports from Day 1 and Day 2 of the tour, check out the Kansas Farmer website. And a heartfelt “thank-you” goes to Latzke for keeping this grain analyst in the loop on wheat conditions in Kansas!!

Weather

It’s going to be a weekend filled with wild weather activity, according to NOAA’s short-range forecasts. Mixed precipitation is expected in the Western Plains today. Meanwhile, showers will continue to batter the Upper Midwest. Thunderstorms are likely this evening in the Great Lakes region and Central Mississippi River Valley.

Rain will persist across the Corn Belt through the weekend. Chances for clear skies are possible by Sunday evening.

It’s not snowing yet on the Colorado Front Range, but my yard could see overnight showers. I have been fighting with the squirrels to stay out of my flowerpots and it looks like I will have to bring them in tonight to ensure the snow doesn’t get them!

NOAA’s 6- to 10-day and 8- to 14-day forecasts updated yesterday are trending wetter for the Eastern Corn Belt and Northern Plains, which could further limit planting progress this spring.

Still digesting last week’s WASDE reports?

Me too! Our team did a lot of insightful work on last week’s WASDE reports – and there was a lot of information to digest! China, fertilizer, tight global corn and wheat stocks, and pending 2022 U.S. production implications were top of mind for me. Here are our team’s best insights on these issues

  • For the top highlights, check out Ben Potter’s and my podcast recapping the report.
  • For my analysis on 2022 U.S. production estimates, check out this article.
  • Fertilizer prices may also impact 2022/23 global corn and wheat production. Here is what to expect.
  • Global corn and wheat acres are expected to contract this year due to high input costs and the conflict in the Black Sea. Soybean acreage is expected to rise, but total acreage for the three crops will shrink for the first time since 2019. Is the global acreage expansion over?

What else I’m reading this morning on our website, FarmFutures.com:

  • Naomi Blohm breaks down the impact of slow planting paces in the Upper Midwest on future production and usage rates. Blohm calculates that planting progress for 13% of the 2022 corn crop is “exceptionally” delayed and that Pacific Northwest exports may be at highest risk.
  • Julio Bravo shares the latest fertilizer insights in the South American Crop Watch, where Middle Eastern companies are investing in fertilizer expansion to meet Brazil’s crop nutrient needs amid the Black Sea conflict.
  • K Coe Isom’s Davon Cook explains why peer groups can help farmers to solve expansion and management issues.
  • Matt Bennett encourages producers to focus on expected margins and to benchmark profitability to be adequately prepared to handle market volatility.

 

 

Morning Ag Commodity Prices - 5/20/2022
Contract Units High Low Last Net Change % Change
JUL '22 CORN $ / BSH  7.82 7.75 7.7675 -0.065 -0.83%
SEP '22 CORN $ / BSH  7.495 7.4325 7.445 -0.06 -0.80%
DEC '22 CORN $ / BSH  7.3525 7.285 7.2975 -0.0625 -0.85%
MAR '23 CORN $ / BSH  7.38 7.3175 7.33 -0.065 -0.88%
MAY '23 CORN $ / BSH  7.3725 7.3175 7.3175 -0.075 -1.01%
JUL '23 CORN $ / BSH  7.32 7.255 7.265 -0.0675 -0.92%
SEP '23 CORN $ / BSH  6.7025 6.68 6.68 -0.0475 -0.71%
JUL '22 SOYBEANS $ / BSH  17.0275 16.8325 16.96 0.055 0.33%
AUG '22 SOYBEANS $ / BSH  16.415 16.2275 16.335 0.03 0.18%
SEP '22 SOYBEANS $ / BSH  15.69 15.5025 15.58 -0.0075 -0.05%
NOV '22 SOYBEANS $ / BSH  15.2675 15.06 15.1625 0.0175 0.12%
JAN '23 SOYBEANS $ / BSH  15.29 15.0875 15.1725 -0.0025 -0.02%
MAR '23 SOYBEANS $ / BSH  15.2025 14.9725 15.0925 0.035 0.23%
MAY '23 SOYBEANS $ / BSH  15.1875 14.955 15.0525 0.0175 0.12%
JUL '23 SOYBEANS $ / BSH  15.15 14.955 15.0175 0.005 0.03%
AUG '23 SOYBEANS $ / BSH  14.835 14.835 14.835 0.0225 0.15%
JUL '22 SOYBEAN OIL  $ / LB 80.73 79 80.25 0.72 0.91%
AUG '22 SOYBEAN OIL  $ / LB 78.33 76.65 77.86 0.67 0.87%
JUL '22 SOY MEAL $ / TON 428.3 423.9 424.8 -0.5 -0.12%
AUG '22 SOY MEAL $ / TON 422.8 418.6 419.4 -1.2 -0.29%
SEP '22 SOY MEAL $ / TON 416.2 412 412.9 -2.1 -0.51%
OCT '22 SOY MEAL $ / TON 409 404.7 405.6 -2.9 -0.71%
DEC '22 SOY MEAL $ / TON 410 405 405.7 -3.3 -0.81%
JUL '22 Chicago SRW $ / BSH  12.08 11.82 11.9 -0.105 -0.87%
SEP '22 Chicago SRW $ / BSH  12.1375 11.885 11.965 -0.095 -0.79%
DEC '22 Chicago SRW $ / BSH  12.1825 11.935 12.005 -0.095 -0.79%
MAR '23 Chicago SRW $ / BSH  12.1475 11.935 11.9925 -0.1025 -0.85%
MAY '23 Chicago SRW $ / BSH  11.975 11.77 11.8225 -0.1 -0.84%
JUL '22 Kansas City HRW $ / BSH  13 12.7525 12.82 -0.1325 -1.02%
SEP '22 Kansas City HRW $ / BSH  13.0125 12.7875 12.8525 -0.1375 -1.06%
DEC '22 Kansas City HRW $ / BSH  13.0575 12.82 12.89 -0.13 -1.00%
MAR '23 Kansas City HRW $ / BSH  13.0025 12.85 12.85 -0.1425 -1.10%
MAY '23 Kansas City HRW $ / BSH  12.745 #N/A 12.715 0 0.00%
JUL '22 MLPS Spring Wheat $ / BSH  13.3 13.145 13.1575 -0.1475 -1.11%
SEP '22 MLPS Spring Wheat $ / BSH  13.3 13.14 13.1475 -0.1425 -1.07%
DEC '22 MLPS Spring Wheat $ / BSH  13.2525 13.1125 13.2525 0.0025 0.02%
MAR '23 MLPS Spring Wheat $ / BSH  13.2 #N/A 13.2225 0 0.00%
MAY '23 MLPS Spring Wheat $ / BSH  13.1 13.1 13.1 -0.0225 -0.17%
JUN '21 ICE Dollar Index $ 103.17 102.805 102.955 0.204 0.20%
 JU '21 Light Crude $ / BBL  112.7 110.85 112.67 0.46 0.41%
 JU '21 Light Crude $ / BBL  110.34 108.13 110.19 0.3 0.27%
JUN '22 ULS Diesel $ /U GAL 3.8236 3.7713 3.7911 -0.0009 -0.02%
JUL '22 ULS Diesel $ /U GAL 3.6914 3.6402 3.6695 0.0024 0.07%
JUN '22 Gasoline $ /U GAL 3.896 3.7968 3.8651 0.0334 0.87%
JUL '22 Gasoline $ /U GAL 3.7373 3.6441 3.7132 0.0356 0.97%
MAY '22 Feeder Cattle $ / CWT 0 #N/A 154.125 0 0.00%
AUG '22 Feeder Cattle $ / CWT 0 #N/A 165.2 0 0.00%
 JU '21 Live Cattle $ / CWT 0 #N/A 131.5 0 0.00%
 AU '21 Live Cattle $ / CWT 0 #N/A 132.025 0 0.00%
JUN '22 Live Hogs $ / CWT 0 #N/A 105.3 0 0.00%
JUL '22 Live Hogs $ / CWT 0 #N/A 106.975 0 0.00%
MAY '22 Class III Milk $ / CWT 25.11 25.1 25.1 -0.02 -0.08%
JUN '22 Class III Milk $ / CWT 24.8 24.78 24.78 -0.02 -0.08%
JUL '22 Class III Milk $ / CWT 24.81 24.81 24.81 -0.04 -0.16%

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