Tuesday, October 19, 2021
There is very little fresh news in the headlines. Corn is now 52% harvested versus 41% on average. The corn crop condition is unchanged with 97% considered mature. There were a few states that saw conditions deteriorate but there isn’t much chance of reducing yield at this late stage. The talk is still of a 176.5 bushel crop. There is a bit of positive news on the export side but good weather in South America and reduced sales to China result in a wash. The board is trading in a $4.95 to $5.60 range. As soybean harvest wraps up, yields are mediocre at best with a few farms with great yields but I would put overall yields at or below average. China seems content to wait for lower prices. The USDA still is showing a record harvest which will certainly put pressure on prices plus a good start to the South American crop is bearish. Current prices for corn are $5.10 at local elevators and $11.83 for soybeans. Keep in mind, even though we saw higher prices this summer, we’re still a dollar higher than we started the year for corn and $1.30 for soybeans.
Monday, October 11, 2021
Another big report is out tomorrow from USDA, this one being a supply and demand report and will tell us which may the USDA is leaning. With harvest weather not an issue this year, the market looks at demand to move prices. The average trade estimate is 14,973 billion bushels of production, up almost 6% from last year. The yield number continues to rise with many now thinking we’ll see over 176 bushels with the record at 176.6 bushels. The wild card is wide fluctuations in yield, even in the same field but overall we’re hearing very good yields across central and eastern Nebraska. The weekly crop progress report will likely show 40% of the US corn crop harvested. Chinese buyers may step in and buy more soybeans on price breaks, otherwise it’s the same story as corn with harvest going smooth and yield numbers going up. The trade is looking for a 4.415 billion bushel crop, up almost 6% over last year. Crop insurance prices are $5.40 for corn and $12.44 for soybeans with local elevators paying $5.12 for new crop corn and $11.77 for soybeans. Keep an eye on 2022 corn. With prices still close to $5.00 cash, you may want to lock in a little of next year’s production.
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
Combines are rolling across Nebraska and the rest of the U.S. The USDA reported 29% of the corn is now out versus 22% on average. Nebraska is 5% above average at 21% complete. Illinois was able to get 20% of their crop out last week alone. The weather is ideal this week with temperatures in the mid-70’s and no rain predicted until at least next Monday. Yields are decent but I’m not seeing any records. The report also showed 88% of the crop mature with 77% average at this time. There is still a lot of debate about final yield with the over at 175. I have trouble seeing any big gains in prices with a possible 2nd largest crop ever and no new demand news. Soybean harvest is also ahead of normal with 34% of the crop now out versus 26% average. Nebraska is 6% ahead of normal and Minnesota cut 32% of their crop last week. The sooner this crop is harvested, the less harvest risk so again, we’re back to the demand side of the equation to see any bump in prices. The over on the soybean yield is 51 and with great harvest weather is very possible. Prices could push down to $12.00 on the board. Fertilizer prices continue strong with talk of going even higher by spring. We’ve locked in a little MAP to balance some risk but no nitrogen at this time. I’m seeing a few producers looking at all soybeans because of the high fertilizer prices but also attractive soybean prices. Local elevators are paying $5.17 and $11.83 for new crop corn and soybeans.
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Harvest is in full gear in Nebraska with seed corn harvest wrapping up and a lot of guys going in soybeans and wet corn. Silage harvest is done. Country wide, corn is 18% complete and just behind average. Soybeans are 16% out versus 13% average at this time of year. Crop condition reports aren’t moving the market much any more but there still is debate over which side of 175 bushel corn we will end up at. Either way, we’re going to have one of the top 3 crops ever with more concern over demand and the South American crop. The next big report is the Quarterly Stocks report out this Thursday. On the soybean side, China is always the wild card. If they step up and buy as much as the USDA thinks, prices should remain strong into spring. Corn prices have ticked up almost 40 cents since September 9 with cash corn at $5.18 at local elevators. Soybeans have only gained 10 cents in that period with new crop soybeans at $12.31. For those with alfalfa, prices are much higher than last year with round bales at $145 to $150 per ton with quality alfalfa closing in on $200.
Monday, September 20, 2021
As we get closer to harvest, the weekly crop condition report doesn’t come into play as much as it did during the growing season. Our focus has us looking at harvest results. With natural gas at record prices, there may be a lot of farmers willing to let the crop dry in the field but I’m hearing of a lot of disease pressure so weighing the cost of drying versus possible crop loss will be a very important decision this year. Crop yields are still looking at 172 to 177 bushel corn across the U.S. and 49 to 51 bushel soybeans. The debate over acres is losing interest, or at least the ability to move the market. As production news wanes, supply news will need to ignite this market. If that doesn’t happen, we could see prices fall off even more. The rallies have failed to hold and we are seeing lower lows and lower highs. With higher input costs for corn, there is talk of less corn on corn acres and more soybeans or wheat acres next year. The next big report is the September 30th Quarterly Stocks Report. After a small rally last week we see new crop corn at local elevators at $5.02 with soybeans at $12.13.
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
The latest crop condition report shows a 1% drop in corn but the crop is progressing ahead of normal with 87% now dented and 37% mature. Soybean conditions were left unchanged at 57% in the good to excellent range. The September USDA report left the markets unchanged. The corn yield is up slightly to 176.3 bushels with acres also a little higher. Most of this news has already been digested in the market so no surprises here. Debate over yields will continue through harvest. Some harvest in northern Iowa is coming in a little stronger than earlier thought; if you remember, this was an area that was hard hit by the drought. Use has been a little better but we are still looking at a 15 billion bushel crop which would be the 2nd highest on record. Soybean yields are predicted to bump up to 50.6 bushels with many in the trade thinking we could go below 50 bushels. Acres were actually lowered a bit with demand steady so a net-net, no change in ending stocks. Seed corn harvest is in full swing and I’m seeing a lot of soybean fields dropping leaves so that harvest is coming on quickly. New crop corn at local elevators is $4.94 with soybeans at $12.37.
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
USDA delayed their latest report due to Labor Day. Corn crop conditions fell slightly with soybeans slightly higher. The trade is debating the numbers due out Friday. If corn comes in over 15 billion bushels, more downward pressure is expected on prices. There is talk that acres could increase 1 to 1.5 million and yields could top 175. Stonex is predicting a 177.5 bushels yield with Informa at 175.4; both strong numbers. New crop corn has chart support between $5.00 and $5.20, we’re at $5.11 this morning. There is demand uncertainty coming out of China, uncertainty in global markets, covid and oil supply issues with IDA. The soybean story is very similar to corn, waiting on Friday’s report to see if the USDA has a better handle on where the supply is this year. It’s difficult to pull the lever on more sales at these prices if you missed out on $6.00 corn but we still haven’t seen prices close to $5.00 for a long time. New crop prices at local elevators is $4.91 for corn and $12.28 for soybeans.
Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Rain across most of the state was sure welcome over the past 10 days. We are probably done with the last irrigation on corn and very close on soybeans. Most of the corn is reaching the ¼ to ½ milk line on green, healthy corn. Most of the soybeans are still very green but as they turn yellow, they are still about 3 weeks away from harvest. Keep on the lookout for white mold in soybeans as they mature. A fungicide may reduce infection; the cool, wet weather promotes the disease. The latest USDA crop condition report shows corn unchanged at 60% good to excellent compared to 62% last year. Maturity is slightly behind last year and only 9% of the crop is mature. Soybeans are 56% good to excellent, compared to 66% last year. Maturity is slightly behind last year with 93% setting pods and 9% dropping leaves. The recent rains may be too late to help stressed dryland corn but should add a little weight to the beans so the crop should get a bit larger. Weekly inspections are down a touch but good demand news should reemerge in the coming weeks. Hurricane IDA has shuttered several grain elevators in Louisiana and Mississippi along with oil wells and refineries. The storm is moving north and east bringing a lot of rain and flooding. This could affect yields in those areas. Harvest delivered corn at local elevators is $5.11 with soybeans at $12.40.
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
The UDA is now showing our corn crop at 60% good to excellent, down 2% from last week, the soybean crop is 56% in that category, down 1% from last week but compared to 69% last year at this time. Crop progress has 85% of the corn in the dough stage, 41% dented and 4% mature, all about the same as last year. Soybeans are 97% blooming, 88% setting pods and 3% dropping leaves, a little behind last year at this time. I would say the corn and soybeans in Nebraska are ahead of the national averages. The Pro Farmer Crop Tour didn’t really have any surprises. South Dakota and Minnesota were both showing lower corn yields than last year but Nebraska, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa showing gains over last year. They travel the same areas each year to be consistent but I don’t feel they saw the really drought stressed corn in the Dakotas and Minnesota. Their soybean count was a mixed bag with some states higher, some lower. The demand side for corn isn’t seeing any new headlines. We are now almost $1 below highs set May 7. We saw another leg higher on June 10, July 1 and August 12. Each leg lower than the previous one, forming a triangle on the chart. Prices are below the 20 and 50-day moving averages. We’re going to need some strong demand news to digest the 2nd highest production ever. New crop corn at local elevators is $5.12 with soybeans at $12.49.
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
USDA came out with a friendly report last Thursday and dropped the corn yield from 179.5 to 174.6 thus dropping production from 15.165 billion bushels to 14.750. This was much more bullish than the trade anticipated. On the other side, the bears look at data from the FSA that could add more acres, this will be constantly adjusted between now and the end of the year. Total US corn demand was dropped by 190 million bushels to 14.7 billion, also a surprise to the trade. Overall it was a positive report and corn jumped 35 cents on the news but settle only 14 cents higher. The strength didn’t continue to this week. This week’s news is the Pro Farmer Crop Tour. The western leg of the tour will not see the drought stressed corn in North Dakota and only a small portion of South Dakota. As they travel to Grand Island, NE, what they see will not represent many of the problem areas. The eastern could see record crops in Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. Soybeans didn’t see the jump that corn did as the report last week was generally neutral. The yield dropped from 50.8 bushels to 50.0 but is offset by increased acres. With a tight balance sheet, there is still potential for a rally this fall. New crop corn prices at local elevators is $5.43 with soybeans at $13.17.
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
I was on the road yesterday to central Nebraska and saw areas with really wet fields and a few miles away with no rain, irrigation on and non-irrigated crops showing a lot of stress. If you were lucky enough to catch some rain, you’re in pretty good shape as we move past the milk stage in corn to dough and then dent. I was surprised to see some seed corn fields that are still tasseling, it seems late as that harvest usually gears up in a few weeks. Watch your fields for plant disease and corn rootworm. As of yesterday, 64% of the U.S. corn crop is in the good to excellent category up 2% from last week on favorable weather and little in new headlines. The Dakota’s and Minnesota continue to see problems. The trade keeps looking for a yield of 175 to 178. Anything outside of this range should move the market. This appears to be a demand driven market which usually has a longer life than a supply driven market. The soybean market is making lower highs with a yield of either side of 50 bushels. Anything much less than 50 should fuel the bulls. Many soybeans I’ve looked at are setting pods. Local elevator new crop corn is $5.22 with soybeans at $12.76.
Monday, August 2, 2021
As we move into August, summer is getting away from us. Crops are progressing well in most areas with a lot of fungicide being applied to corn and soybeans. There have been quite a few cloudy days, mostly from wildfires, and I wonder what this does to maturity. Has it slowed down our GDU accumulation? The latest USDA report has the U.S. corn crop at 62% in the good to excellent category versus 72% last year at this time with Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa below the 5-year average. Corn is 91% silked, 38% in the dough stage and the dent stage to be determined next week. The market is consolidating near the 100 day moving average. The U.S. soybean crop is at 60% good to excellent versus 73% last year; Minnesota and North Dakota are well below the 5-year average. Soybeans are 86% blooming with 58% setting pods. The trade was steady last week with debate on the final yield. Bulls are hoping for a sub 175 bushel number with bears thinking we could go north of 180. Brazil still struggles with domestic production and Argentina is having trouble meeting export demands. China might be back in the U.S. market sooner than expected. Soybean bulls still think the tight balance sheet will keep prices at high levels especially if yields dip below 50 bushels per acre. New crop corn prices are $5.31 into local elevators with soybeans at $12.92.
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
The USDA released its weekly crop progress report showing corn crop conditions slightly lower. But what caught the bulls attention was the Iowa crop rating down 3% from last week. Corn has 79% of the US crop as silking versus 73% last year at this time. Corn in central Nebraska has pollinated last week so ahead of the US. Soybean conditions drop 2% down to 58% this week versus 65% last year at this time. Too much rain in some areas and too dry in other areas should move the market a little bit. Most all the soybeans are now blooming. The big news is in the spring wheat crop condition with only 6% in good to excellent category versus 70% last year. The report also showed that 66% of the spring wheat was in the poor to very poor category. New crop corn at the local elevators is $5.26 with soybeans at $13.15. Looking ahead to the 2022 crop has new crop corn at $4.65 and soybeans at $11.86.
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Most commodities were down as we start the week of July 19th. Corn hung on just enough to post a small gain. Natural gas was higher and lumber saw its first up day in weeks. Soybeans took the biggest drop, down 19 cents. Energy was down across the board as Crude Oil had its biggest loss since March. On the other side was spring wheat as it hit a new 52-week high. High temperatures across Canada and the Dakotas have the trade talking about reduced yields. There are pockets across the Corn Belt with hail and wind damage but that never seems to move the needle in Chicago. Keep an eye out for Japanese beetles, they are really doing some damage in soybeans. We have some nice farms coming up for sale soon. Check out our listings from time to time to see if there is anything in your area. New crop corn is $5.26 at local elevators with soybeans at $13.19. We made a few more sales last week on a nice rally.
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
The June 12th USDA crop progress report shows 65% of the corn in the good to excellent category, up 1% from last week but down 4% from a year ago. A little over 25% of the corn is now silking, up 16% from last week but the same as a year ago. On the soybean side, 46% of the crop is blooming, up 17% from last week and the same as last year. Recent rains and warm weather have this crop maturing quickly, especially in central Nebraska. Many areas had over an inch of rain over the weekend. The July USDA Supply and Demand left the corn yield unchanged even though the ending stocks were increased from 1.357 billion bushels to 1.432 billion; harvested acres increased to make up the difference. The soybean balance sheet was left unchanged with a 50.8 bushel average yield predicted. New crop corn has dropped 57 cents since the first of the month and over $1.00 since the high on May 7. New crop soybeans have lost 42 cents since July 1 and over $1.00 from the high on June 8. New crop corn is $5.04 at the local elevator with soybeans at $12.92.
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Summer is moving along fast and crops continue to develop as there is a lot going on as both corn and soybeans begin their reproductive cycles. This is a time when hot, dry weather can really impact your yield. If you’re an irrigated farm, you’ll need to keep up with watering, if not, let’s hope you get a rain soon as these temperatures warm up. We had a nice bump in prices last week after the June 30th planting acreage and stocks report but things went sharply lower today with new crop corn down the limit and soybeans down 90 cents, just off the limit. Today’s crop condition report has the US corn crop as 64% good to excellent versus 71% last year and 69% for a 5-year average. Corn is 10% silking, on pace with last year. Soybeans are 64% in the good to excellent category, down from 71% last year and below the 5-year average of 66%. We’ll find out tomorrow morning what caused the big drop today. Last Thursday, new crop corn was within 20 cents of the high setback on May 7th and close to the June 10th close but ended up the day almost $1.00 off the contract high. Last week, new crop soybeans were 62 cents off the high from June 8th. We’re now back to prices we say last April 20th. Local new crop prices are $5.11 for corn and $12.56 for soybeans.
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Prices jumped on Monday the 28th of June as traders were squaring positions ahead of the Quarterly USDA stocks and acreage report with new crop corn up 38 cents and soybeans up 43 cents. All eyes will be on today’s report with the estimate at 93.787 million acres for corn and 88.955 million acres for soybeans. Anything below these numbers will further fuel the bulls. We’re still 87 cents below the contract high for corn so we have some room to go. Yesterday’s USDA crop progress showed corn conditions slipping again with most traders thinking it would get better. South Dakota dropped another 10% and now has only 24% of their corn in the good to excellent category. Most states dropped but Iowa and Illinois improved 4% from recent rains. Iowa is still 24% behind last year at this time while Nebraska is 6% better. Soybean conditions remained the same although most states are lower than last year with Nebraska and Indiana the only major producing states ahead of last year. Wheat harvest is well behind last year with only 33% harvested versus 40% last year. New crop corn is $5.21 at local elevators with soybeans at $12.48.
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Monday’s USDA crop condition report shows further deteriorating conditions. Iowa stands out with a drop in the good to excellent category from 77% 2 weeks ago to 63% last week and to 56% this week. Minnesota is just 50%, North Dakota is 39% and South Dakota only 34% in the good to excellent category. Overall the conditions dropped to 65%, compared to 72% last year at this time. There have been some rains over the Midwest last week which should increase conditions but we’re also getting into the dog days of summer and pollination not too far off. The market has chopped around this past week with corn down the limit last Thursday, regained most of that loss on Friday but is down this week. New crop corn is down 87 cents from the high on May 7th and have dropped below both the 20-day and 50-day moving average. Soybean conditions are lower with 60% in the good to excellent category versus 70% last year. North Dakota is rated at 23% versus 70% last year. On the demand side, there are rumors China has stepped in and made some large purchases. New crop soybeans are off $1.25 from the high on June 7. There are obviously some potential problems with this year’s crop. New crop corn is $5.22 with soybeans at $12.46. Still very good prices that we haven’t seen for many years.
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Yesterday’s USDA crop progress report shows 68% of the corn in the good to excellent category compared to 71% last year and a 5-year average of 70%. Nearly all the corn has now emerged. They pegged the soybeans at only 62% good to excellent versus 72% last year and the same for the 5-year average with 94% of the soybeans now emerged. The USDA released a World Ag Supply and Demand Estimate (WASDE) last Thursday and was bullish for corn by adding another 75 million bushels in demand although the market wasn’t able to hold on to the news. Last Friday, there was a general rain across much of the Corn Belt, especially in the northern Plains where there had been some drought concerns, we’ve dropped 35 cents in the last 2 trading days. We have some heat moving into the area again with little chance of rain so the bulls argue the recent rains were not enough to end the drought. Bears on the other hand are arguing for larger planted acres and higher yields. The WASDE report was neutral for soybeans with a slight drop in demand. Soybeans have dropped 53 cents in the last 2 days. Driving through the country, there are a lot of fields that look fantastic. There is a little herbicide damage on Dicamba soybeans but it will soon come out of it. New crop prices at local elevators for corn is $5.45 with soybeans at $13.20.
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Yesterday’s USDA crop progress report shows 90 % of the U.S. corn emerged and 72% in the good to excellent category, just behind last year and the 5-year average. Nebraska is 84% in the good to excellent category, just ahead of last year and the 5-year average. The U.S. has 76% of the soybeans emerged with 67% in the good to excellent category. The monthly supply and demand report is out this Thursday. The U.S. drought monitor has most of North Dakota in an exceptional drought with moderate to severe drought moving into South Dakota, northern Iowa and parts of Minnesota. Temperatures are rising with highs in the 90’s for most of the next 10 days. The scattered showers we had in May won’t last long with above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation. Corn is trying to build on last week’s 45 cent gain and was up 25 cents for a while on June 6th but backed off before the close. The trade is expecting Brazil to trim their production forecast and tighten the U.S. and global balance sheets. After losing $1.16 from May 7th and are now within 35 cents of the high. New crop soybeans gained back 60 cents last week and took out the contract high briefly this morning before closing just below the May 12th close. New crop corn at local elevators is $5.75 with soybeans at $13.70. The processors are $5.90 and $14.05.
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Grains have rallied off the lows set May 26. Corn dropped $1.16 from May 7 to the 26th, then bounced back 55 cents to today. Soybeans dropped 96 cents from May 12 to the 26th and have rebounded 57 cents to today. Corn is strong as good demand makes the weather very important this summer. Hot and dry conditions across the northern Plains and part of Canada have the trade on edge. With most of the corn now in the ground, the trade is looking at the weekly crop progress report from the USDA. This week shows 76% of the corn is in good to excellent condition. Illinois is 80%, Iowa at 81% and Nebraska at 88%. In 2012, the USDA had 72% of the crop in this category but by the end of July had slipped to just 24%. There is still a lot of debate on the amount of planted acres and yields. The additional acres will most likely pull down the overall yield. Corn could run into technical resistance very soon if the rally continues. The soybean balance sheet is still extremely tight and any weather hiccups will add more risk premium. The USDA has 84% of the soybeans in the ground with 62% emerged. New crop corn prices are $5.50 at local elevators with soybeans at $13.37. Processors are $5.65 and $13.66. Alfalfa prices have been locked at $100/ton for quite some time. Most producers will get their 1st cutting this week.
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
Today’s USDA corn progress report shows 90% of the corn is now planted, just ahead of last year and well ahead of the 5-year average. The biggest change were Ohio at 37%. Corn emerged is 64% compared to 61% last year and 54% of a 5-year average. Soybeans are 75% planted versus 63% last year and a 5-year average of just 54%. There are now 41% of the soybeans emerged, higher than last year and the average. Continued strong demand from China has stopped the bleeding but new crop corn has dropped 98 cents since May 7th. We’ve now slipped below the 21-day moving average and are only 15 cents higher than the 50-day moving average. Rainfall across the Midwest, although sparse, has eased drought concerns a bit. Soybeans have also been on the skids but new crop has only dropped $1.20 in the past few weeks; a large drop but a smaller percentage drop than corn. I read a lot about the cattle market that I really don’t understand but there are a few U.S. Senators looking to review anti-trust laws in the beef processing industry. High prices at the meat counter aren’t being shared with the producer. There is a lot of consolidation in the meat packing world. New crop corn prices at local elevators is $5.11 with soybeans at $12.96. The processors are $5.28 and $13.23.
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
The USDA released a bombshell report last Wednesday showing US corn supply rising and demand declining. This after months of nothing but bullish news. We all knew that this huge runup in prices was due for a correction, I just thought it would be weather-related, sometime this summer. New crop corn production is estimated at 15.0 billion bushels but there is still debate on the number of planted acres. While ethanol usage is projected to increase, corn exports will drop, erasing any increase domestic use. We’re trying to digest the report after new crop corn lost 90 cents since then. Keep in mind that for every million acres added, we add 175 million bushels to the balance sheet so if we jump to 96 million acres, we could add almost 900 million bushels. The stocks to use ratio for last year’s crop is 8.5%, the lowest since 2012. Next year is forecast at 10.2%. The report left old crop soybean ending stocks at 120 million bushels and estimated new crop at 140 million bushels. The trade considered this neutral. New crop soybeans were off 50 cents since the report. The balance sheet on soybeans is still much tighter than corn so any weather issues this summer could push us to lifetime highs. Corn planting progress is ahead of normal with 86% of the corn planted and 61% of the soybeans in the ground. Overall 41% of the corn has emerged. New crop corn at local elevators is $5.14 with soybeans at $13.38. The processors are $5.30 and $11.91.
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
The markets took a breather yesterday after new crop corn had jumped $1.80 since April 1 and over 70 cents last week alone. The USDA shows 67% of the corn is planted. Nebraska planted 27% of their corn last week and are now at 71% planted. This compares to 76% last year but well ahead of the 5-year average. All states in the Midwest are planting at a good pace. The USDA have begun monitoring emergence with 20% of the corn out of the ground. This is just below last year and about the same as the average. Soybeans are 42% planted with Nebraska at 47%; this is well ahead of the 5-year average. Traders are eager to see tomorrow’s USDA supply and demand report. Some bulls are looking at even higher ethanol and export demand for a further reduction in ending stocks. They are also looking for a slight drop in the Argentine and Brazilian crop. Soybeans shouldn’t have much of a change in stocks. Higher grain prices have created a lot of optimism in the rural community. The Ag Economy Barometer is near its all time high. This sentiment index is based on a survey of producers and agribusiness leaders. New crop corn prices at local elevators are $5.88 this morning with soybeans at $13.62. The processors are $5.97 and $13.87.
Monday, May 3, 2021
Grains push higher again this morning on China purchases, South American harvest delays and weather in the U.S. Most of Iowa is extremely dry extending into Southern Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota. Nebraska, Indiana and Ohio are also very dry. We keep missing rains but parts of Central Nebraska received over an inch on May 2nd. We are seeing a lot of center pivots running to get the corn germinated but they can only run during the day as it is getting too cold at night. Soil temps are holding steady at 55 degrees. This compares with 58 last year and a 10 year average of just 50. The nearby corn contract added another 80 cents last week and is up $2.00 in the last 20 trading sessions. New crop corn is up $1.00 in the last month. We all remember that when markets go up this fast, they can come down just as fast. There is nothing wrong with reducing some risk and making sales at these prices. The USDA puts corn percent planted at 46% compared with 48% last year and 36% for the 5-year average. Iowa is at 69%, up 49% last week with Nebraska at 42%, up 36% for the week. The record pace for Nebraska is 42% of those acres planted in one week back in 2011. Corn percent emerged is at 8% which is about average. Soybean planting progress is 24%, vs 21% last year. New crop corn at local elevators is $5.40 with soybeans at $12.80. The processors are $5.50 and $13.15.
Monday, April 26, 2021
The bull market is in full gear. We were holding steady to moving slightly lower at the end of March but new crop corn has added $1.07 in April with the Board up to $5.59. We continue to make contract highs and haven’t seen these prices for 8 years. We’re currently 56 cents higher than the 21-day moving average and 74 cents higher than the 50-day. Experts are citing uncertainty with Brazil’s 2nd crop production, a continued shrinking balance sheet, Chinese buying and the U.S. weather remains a wild card. We’re in territory we haven’t seen for a long time so make sure you visit with your broker or elevator about locking in some good profits; I’ve heard a lot of people locking in 2022 prices. The USDA will release their weekly crop progress report later today. Farmers are probably around 15-20% complete which is behind the 5-year average. With warmer weather and no rain in the forecast, we’ll see a huge jump this week. On the soybean side, the balance sheet is incredibly tight leaving little error for production problems. Acreage numbers and planting progress will be very important this year. Like corn, soybeans have jumped $1.63 in April alone and up $5.60 from this time last year. Soil temperatures this morning are up to 52 degrees. Corn needs over 100 GDU’s for emergence while soybeans need about 130. Also, keep in mind, dry conditions at planting can have a large impact on yield by causing uneven root development. This can affect populations, nutrient uptake and even the size of ears. As a historical perspective, corn prices were $4.98 on 1/21/08, jumped to $7.63 on 6/23/08, dropped to $3.39 by 11/17/08 and maintained a mid $3.50 price for a year and a half. Then we saw prices around $8.00 on 8/27/12 but dropped to $4.68 a year later and $3.56 a year after that. New crop corn prices at local elevators are $5.30 with soybeans at $12.84 with the processors at $5.42 and $13.10.
Monday, April 19, 2021
Cold temperatures are sweeping across the Midwest today through Wednesday with lows in the mid-20’s and highs from 40 to 50. We may not see 70 degrees until next week. Soil temperatures have tanked and are now in the mid-30’s. Corn planted when it was warm may have a chance. The imbibition process for corn takes about 48 hours, this is when corn absorbs moisture. Anything below 50 degrees can cause severe harm. This early planted corn is just sitting there waiting for warmer conditions and the longer it sits, the more things can go wrong. The USDA has begun crop progress reports. Last week the U.S. was 4% planted, I don’t look for it to change much. With today’s technology, we can plant a lot of corn in a short amount of time. We learned this in 2019. Corn pushed to 8-year highs last week on concern with Brazil and U.S. weather. Some of this early planted corn may need to be replanted but usually, corn is safe until the V6 stage. Soybeans gained another 30 cents last week. Bulls are pointing to a possible report showing ending stocks below 100 million bushels. Both crops are anxiously awaiting final planted acres. Chinese imports are up 500% over last year with corn 438% higher. Local new crop prices are $4.85 for corn and $12.15 for beans. The processors are $5.00 and $12.42.
Monday, April 12, 2021
The USDA fed the corn bulls again late last week with a favorable ending stocks report, although it didn’t move the market much as a lot of this was already expected. The USDA raised exports by 75 million bushels, corn used for ethanol up 25 million bushels and feed and residual increased 50 million bushels. Global ending stocks were lowered a bit more than the trade was forecasting. Corn ending stocks are pegged at 1.352 million bushels vs 1,919 last year and 2.221 in 2019. South American production was down slightly. Old crop corn on the board is nearing $6.00 with new crop closing in on $5.00, now at contract highs. Weather and China will be the next things to watch. The soybean bulls were disappointed with the USDA putting ending stocks “unchanged” at 120 million bushels. This compares to 525 last year and 909 the year before. Exports were higher but domestic crush was lower. New crop soybeans are at contract highs. Chart watchers are looking at moving averages. December corn is now 20 cents over the 21-day average and 28 cents higher than the 50-day. Soybeans have also moved higher than the moving averages. Fat cattle are $123, just $2 off the high set in mid-February. Good alfalfa is selling at $110 per ton in large rounds, $175 per ton in large square bales. Good grass hay is $95-$100 per ton in large squares. New crop corn at local elevators is $4.68 with soybeans at $11.88. The processors are $4.78 and $12.15. There were some corn and soybeans planted last week, just before rain across most of the state and a drop in temperatures. Soil temperatures dropped to 43 degrees in corn stalks and 44 in soybean stubble after being 50 degrees earlier in the week. We’re still higher than last year and the 10-year average.
Monday, April 5, 2021
The USDA gave us a big surprise last week with their quarterly stocks and planting intentions report. The market reacted in a huge way with limit up moves in corn and soybeans from nearby through new crop. Corn stocks came in at 7.701 billion bushels with the trade estimate at 7.767 to 7.952 so within the range. The surprise was in the intended corn acres. The USDA is predicting 91.44 million acres with the trade guess at 93 to 94 million. With this being such a shock, most think the acres will increase and be closer to 93 million by the time we’re done. Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois are all down about 3.0% from last year. The soybean story is very similar with the stocks coming in at 1.564 billion bushels with the trade estimating 1.534 to 2.255 billion, also in the range but closer to the low side. The acres were also a surprise with the trade thinking we will plant over 90 million acres and the USDA predicts just 87.6 million acres of new crop soybeans. Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois were up from last year. If anyone was holding on to old crop bushels, the market just gave you another chance to clean out the bins. Wheat acres were actually higher than the trade guess. This week begins the first full week in April and planters are rolling in parts of the Midwest. The drought map looks very similar to 2012 and worse in parts of Nebraska. Demand is still very good but there could be strains in the US-China relationship. We took out the high from March 9th and have moved 16 cents higher than the 21-day moving average and 26 cents higher than the 50 day. After a year of wearing masks, social distancing and the closure of businesses, it looks like we are turning the tide and getting back to normal. A high percentage of people are getting vaccinated so hopefully this virus will be behind us. New crop corn is over $4.50 at most local elevators with soybeans over $12.00. The processors are $4.70 and $12.35.
Monday, March 29, 2021
New crop corn topped out March 3rd and has traded lower, losing 20 cents since. As a chart watcher, corn has moved below the 21 day moving average is only 2 cents higher than the 50 day moving average. Old crop corn has been trading at the upper end of the range between $5.40 and $5.60. We haven’t been this high since July 2013 so there isn’t any reason to be holding old crop at this time. A recent purchase from China didn’t move the market so it seems that a high may be in or tempered by better weather in South America and the potential for more U.S. corn acres this year. A Quarterly stocks report out this week could tell us where we are with the trade estimating 150 to 250 million bushels fewer than last year. Anything less than 7.65 billion bushels would be a win, anything over 7.8 billion would fuel the bears. Coronavirus is still having an effect on the markets as well as severe winter weather, trucking issues and ethanol plant closures. On the soybean side, the news is about the same as corn. Depending on the next stocks report from the USDA, we could see a limit move based on the remaining bushels. The report will also forecast planting intentions with both corn and soybeans expected to show increases over last year. Wheat has dropped over $1.00 per bushel over the past month but there is a lot of bullish news that could turn it around. In other news, a massive cargo ship is stuck in the Suez Canal and delaying shipments in and out of the region. It’s surprising that an event so far from home can have an impact on our markets and supplies of common household products. Mexico is banning GMO corn but this only applies to food-grade corn, corn for livestock is still allowed. Nebraska has been dry since last August and didn’t get much moisture from the snow this winter but a rain in mid-March provided much needed topsoil moisture. We then picked up more rain and are now beginning to replenish subsoil moisture. Warmer temps and no rain predicted this week will have farmers itching to get back into the fields. Planting in Central Nebraska is now less than 2 weeks away. New crop corn prices at local elevators is $4.31 with soybeans at $11.38. ADM in Columbus is $4.49, Green Plains in Central City at $4.39 and soybeans into ADM Lincoln at $11.67.