Category: Agriculture

11 Jun 2021

AG MARKET UPDATE: JUNE 4-11

Corn had another good week that was made better following the bullish news in Thursday’s WASDE report. At the start of the week corn planting was seen as 91% complete with little progress being made from last week but at this point in the process limited progress is expected. The dryness in the Midwest and other areas of the corn belt can be seen in the drought monitor below. The USDA agreed with what many in the industry have been saying by reducing US and world ending stocks.

20/21 US ending stocks was adjusted down to 1.107 billion bushels from 1.257 in the May report while 21/22 ending stocks were adjusted down to 1.357 billion bushels from 1.507 in May. World ending stocks for 20/21 were lowered to 280.60 million tonnes from 283.53 while the 21/22 was also lowered to 289.41 million tonnes from 292.30. There is still a disconnect between the USDA and the public on what’s going on in South America and the size of their crop. Word on the street is that it has been shrinking as weather woes caused issues but the USDA does not have them down nearly as much in this report.

Now that growing season has started weather and specifically where it does and does not rain will be the main price driving factors.  The upper Midwest is dry but the delta just got torrential rains this week and areas in Indiana and Ohio have been soaked too. The rain in the Dakotas and Iowa to end the week will help but still need rain over extended periods to get back to good growing conditions.

Via Barchart

Soybeans slipped a bit on the week but are still hanging on inside the recent range. Bean news has been quiet as of late with no market specific news, unlike corn. Soybean planting was seen as 80% complete to start the week with some continued progress to be made. The USDA WASDE report was more bearish for beans than corn but markets responded well after.

The 20/21 US ending stocks were raised from 120 million bushels to 135 million and the 21/22 ending stocks were raised form 140 million to 155 million bushels respectively. These were both still within trade estimates so no major shock with the US or the world stocks. The 20/21 world ending stocks were raised from 86.55 million tonnes to 88 million and the 21/22 ending stocks were raised from 91.10 million to 92.55. Raising the stocks month over month is usually bearish and old crop took a hit while new crop rallied on the report.

Markets moved lower Friday with rain coming in some much needed areas heading into the weekend.

Via Barchart

Cotton has seen modest gains this week after soaking rains and flooding in areas of the Delta. The WASDE report this week showed the expected directionally bullish revisions. There were no major surprises, but their numbers may be hinting at a continued decline in production going up against the rising levels of global consumption. The USDA projections for 21/22 show a 100,000 bale increase in exports from last month to 14.8 million bales. As exports continue to be strong for the 20/21 crop ending stocks were lowered 200,000 bales to 2.9 million ending stocks. Global ending stocks were lower as well with consumption rising.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow lost slightly on the week as news was slow with no major market news or movers. Covid openings continue as numbers continue to decline in the US while there are still problems around the world.

Lumber

Lumber prices have dipped recently but are still at very high levels historically. Check out our recent post about the lumber market and what all has been going on.

Podcast

Check out our recent podcast with Dr. Greg Willoughby: We’re talking with Greg in the new episode about being a “plant doctor”, weather patterns, GMO & organic produce, crop history, technical advances, level 201 education on agronomy, the agronomy equation, Helena Agri, soil biology, American v European agriculture, Greg’s early background in livestock, and the advancement of native plants to modern produce.

https://rcmagservices.com/the-hedged-edge/

US Drought Monitor

The map below shows current drought conditions and the continued problems in the upper Midwest. More drought conditions have crept into southern Iowa and parts of Nebraska in the last week. Heat over the next two weeks will be a problem in the Dakotas and western corn belt.

Via Barchart

 

28 May 2021

AG MARKET UPDATE: MAY 22-28

Volatility was the story this week as you can see the dip and bounce back over the last few days in the chart below. Surprisingly it was not the funds alone that triggered the selloff but rather a more balanced mix of funds, commercials, and farmer selling – in short – it appears to have been a bit of profit taking into the end of the month.

Corn had strong exports this week with no major cancellations (despite rumors to start the week).  While these rumors of a cancellation dropped prices aggressively, the subsequent large sales of new crop corn to China, following the dip, ended up saving China quite a bit of money while also rebounding our markets. Seller beware when China is the main buyer.

The weekly ethanol grind was 294MGa and well above the weekly pace needed to meet the annual USDA estimate. Corn was seen as being 91% planted to start the week along with great weather across most of the US heading into Memorial Day weekend.

Via Barchart


Soybeans made small gains on the week with lower volatility than corn but similar price movement. Exports were solid in old crop beans giving the bulls some momentum to work with heading  into the weekend. Exports were strong again this week, which is a welcome sign after slowing the last couple. The soybean crop was seen as about 80% planted at the start of the week as progress continues across the country. The recent loses have made US commodities competitive again in the world market allowing for some stronger demand into the end of the year. Once we get on the other side of Memorial Day the June weather outlook will start to be important as most of the crop will be in the ground and some already well into growing.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow and other indexes gained on the week with improving opening conditions and support for some of the major market players in the S&P. Republicans and Democrats continue to work on their versions of the infrastructure plan the Biden White House wants to pass.

Lumber

Check out our recent post about the lumber market and what all has been going on.

Podcast

Check out our recent podcast with Dr. Greg Willoughby: We’re talking with Greg in the new episode about being a “plant doctor”, weather patterns, GMO & organic produce, crop history, technical advances, level 201 education on agronomy, the agronomy equation, Helena Agri, soil biology, American v European agriculture, Greg’s early background in livestock, and the advancement of native plants to modern produce.

https://rcmagservices.com/the-hedged-edge/

US Drought Monitor

The map below shows this week’s drought conditions across the US. Many areas across the corn belt received rain over the week while others, like the Dakotas and Michigan, remain dry.

Via Barchart

21 May 2021

AG MARKET UPDATE: MAY 15-21

Corn had a decent week following the collapse to end last week’s trading. The biggest news was on the export front where China continued their large purchases of corn adding on to the impressive pace of Chinese buying for new crop. The US weather looks good for planting as some areas continue to try to get their crop in the ground ahead of summer temperatures setting in across the country. Other corn demand news remains positive as the EPA is expected to leave the ethanol mandate unchanged and Brazil’s second corn crop continues to shrink. Brazilian private analysis firm Agro-consult cut their estimate of Brazil’s corn crop to 91.1 million metric tons which is 10.9 mmt (430 million bushels) under last week’s USDA estimate. With a shrinking South American crop the demand for US corn this year should be high.  That said, anything under 175 bpa yield could really tighten the balance sheets. US corn was seen as being 80% planted at the start of the week with more progress made this week.

Via Barchart


Soybeans continued its dip down this week as the demand has shifted to Brazil where prices are currently lower than in the US in the near term. Funds have taken profits after holding historic long positions.  It will be important for them to get involved if we want another run up as demand and US weather will be the main fundamental drivers for the near future. Soybean planting was seen as being 61% complete to start the week as more progress was made this week. Good weather vs a slowing in demand has given the bears momentum this week but there is still a long way to go and we know China is likely needing to make additional bean purchases along with corn.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow has made small gains on the week as the markets remain volatile with up and down days. Covid around the world delaying reopening’s are causing some issues in places, like Japan, which has the worlds 3rd largest economy.

Lumber

Check out our recent post about the lumber market and what all has been going on.

Podcast

Check out our recent podcast with Dr. Greg Willoughby: We’re talking with Greg in the new episode about being a “plant doctor”, weather patterns, GMO & organic produce, crop history, technical advances, level 201 education on agronomy, the agronomy equation, Helena Agri, soil biology, American v European agriculture, Greg’s early background in livestock, and the advancement of native plants to modern produce.

https://rcmagservices.com/the-hedged-edge/

US Drought Monitor

The map below shows this week’s drought conditions across the US. Some areas received rain over the weekend improving some areas while others, like the Dakotas and Michigan, remain dry.

             Via Barchart 

 

14 May 2021

Ag Market Update: May 7-14

Corn finally had a day with a major pullback as it tested the new expanded limits on Thursday. This move comes after a slightly bearish crop report along with a lackluster trade following it. After the impressive run to this point it makes sense why speculators would take profits and hedgers would begin to manage their risk for this year as we begin to get better picture from the planting starts data. For the bulls, much of Brazil’s safrinha crop will go another 10-14 days without rain continuing to stress the crop. This week the US’ corn crop was seen as being 67% planted with more progress being made thanks to favorable weather. How the week finishes will be important for the bulls and bears to keep momentum on their side. In this week’s USDA report the 21/22 US ending stocks came in at 1.507 billion bushels (estimates were around 1.36 billion) and world 21/22 ending stocks at 292.3 million metric tons. The USDA and WASDE think demand rationing is coming as it cut US exports and increased ending stocks despite a record export and shipping pace.

Via Barchart

 

 

Soybeans, despite the big losses suffered on Thursday, finished the week above where they were last week. Beans were down over 80 cents at one point during trading on Thursday before large end user demand rallied prices 30 cents of the lows to show some support. We knew that expanding the daily limits would allow for more volatility but that does not make what has happened this week any easier to get comfortable with. In this week’s USDA report the 21/22 US ending stocks came in at 140 million bushels, slightly above estimates, with world ending stocks coming in at 91.1 million metric tonnes. The 20/21 US bean stocks were 120 million bushels, by starting at 140 million bushels there is not much room for error to be adjusted down without being tight on ending stocks. To finish at these levels export cuts are expected to come in.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow was down on the week along with other major averages as a correction has hit the market this week. The Nasdaq, S&P 500, and Russell 2000 were all down along with the DOW this week showing widespread market weakness and selling hitting all sectors.

Lumber

Check out our recent post about the lumber market and what all has been going on.

Podcast

Check out our recent podcast with Dr. Greg Willoughby: We’re talking with Greg in the new episode about being a “plant doctor”, weather patterns, GMO & organic produce, crop history, technical advances, level 201 education on agronomy, the agronomy equation, Helena Agri, soil biology, American v European agriculture, Greg’s early background in livestock, and the advancement of native plants to modern produce.

https://rcmagservices.com/the-hedged-edge/

Other News

A major bridge over the Mississippi River in Memphis, TN was shut down this week for traffic both over and under it as a major crack/break in the structure was discovered. This backed up hundreds of barges in the Mississippi with no alternate route until it reopened Friday morning.

The CDC announced this week that vaccinated Americans can go about most activities without having to wear a mask or social distance in a welcome announcement for people who have been wanting to get back out and about like normal times.

The Colonial Pipeline hack had many Americans scrambling desperately to fill up their cars and spare tanks, because if there is one thing Americans are great at it is over reacting. The hack caused a disruption in the distribution to many states but was opened back up after only a couple days but the shortages will persist for a little bit of time in some areas.

US Drought Monitor

The map below shows this week’s drought conditions across the US. Some areas have gotten rain this week that will help relieve some of the areas highlighted below.

Via Barchart.com

 

 

07 May 2021

AG MARKET UPDATE: MAY 1-7


Corn continued it’s hot run this month with a great week in both old crop and new crop prices. As Brazil’s safrinha crop keeps facing a dry outlook, pressure is mounting on the US to produce a great crop to fulfill world demand. The US forecast is turning wetter for many major growing areas but remains cool for this time of year. The cool weather is not ideal for early growth, but the rain will be welcome in areas facing drought conditions (see map at bottom). There is a rumor of more Chinese interest in new crop which helped propel old crop to end the week. Despite poor exports this week, this news, along with South America’s troubles, have been the market moving news this week. The US corn crop is seen at 44% planted at the start of the week beginning May 3.

Via Barchart

 


Soybeans followed Corn this week as they also saw strong gains. China’s ASF news has slowed as of late which is good for export expectations to China. The world demand has continued to be strong and helpful to prices in both South America and the US, while US beans remain competitive in the world market even at these levels. The recent wet and colder weather across much of the US is not expected to cause any issues for the soybean crop except maybe pushing planting back in some areas where farmers also must wait to plant corn. 25% of the US soybean crop is seen as being planted for the week beginning May 3.

Via Barchart

 


The big question right now: What is going on with cotton? Cotton has not enjoyed in the rally in 2021 that other commodities have. The demand has been there, but there are already worries about the 2021 cotton crop. Normally these are a recipe for higher prices, right? The fundamentals would agree as higher comparative prices for other commodities may take away some cotton acres by the end of planting season. The technical side has been cotton’s enemy as of late as they have not been able to make new contract highs, unlike the grains. The world shipping bottleneck does not appear to be getting any better and as the US continues to come out of lockdowns along with other countries demand will only make it worse. This problem needs to be solved sooner rather than later.

Via Barchart

 


Dow Jones
The Dow was up this week while other indexes were mixed with the Nasdaq and Russel falling. As earnings continue to be reported many of the winners of the last year have posted strong quarters but it appears the momentum behind them have slowed as good earnings have sometimes been followed by selling.

Lumber
Check out our recent post about the lumber market and what all has been going on.

Podcast
Check out or recent podcasts with guests Elaine Kub and Kyle Little. Elaine and Jeff discuss grain markets and trading grains while Kyle helps give insight into the Lumber markets and what has been going on.

Listen with Kyle:

Listen now with Elaine

CME
CME Group announced this week that it will not re-open its trading pits that were closed last March at the start of the pandemic. The Eurodollar Options pit will remain open. See the full press release here.

US Drought Monitor
The map below shows the current drought conditions throughout the US as planting continues across the country.

 

Weekly Prices

Via Barchart.com

 

 

30 Apr 2021

AG Market Update: April 24-30

Volatility was the name of the game this week as many days saw wide trading ranges on both sides of unchanged. Looking at the chart below you can just how wide ranges the last few days have been.  Despite the volatlity, the May contract settled squarely within the range as of Thursday.  This volatility came about as we’ve faced a short squeeze on the front month May contract.  Coming into the week, there were nearly 200,000 open contracts, as of this morning there are only 12,500 – presumably many were on the short side and needed to cover.

Regardless of what has caused the rally – higher prices is GREAT for the American Farmer!

For the July contract and new crop Dec, the markets followed the May higher this week and most April as South America’s struggles with drought conditions begin to be seen in yield estimates.  Any rain after May 10th probably won’t be able to add must help this late in the game. As expected, exports were good this week but that has become the new normal. The epanded limits coming next week along with higher prices means we should probably expect volatility to hang around.

Via Barchart

Soybeans had small gains on the week as they also traded in wide ranges in the May contract in addition to future months. The short squeeze has end users scrambling with physical delivery coming up. Along with beans rallying, we have seen basis improve in many areas as buyers try get what is left out of farmers bins. A growing consensus among traders is that continued strong US cash bids indicate that the stock numbers are lower than the USDA reports.  Will the USDA adjust in the June report is a major question?  Bean meal and oil have also rallied in the past couple weeks aiding to soybeans rise. The fundamental news around the market was less in focus this week with the May contract expiration causing for most of the volatility.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow was up slightly on the week as more news about reopenings continue to roll in and President Biden gave his first speech to Congress. Vaccination rates continue to be strong in many cities and New York City announced this week they will lift all restrictions for reopening July 1st.

Lumber

Check out our recent post about the lumber market and what all has been going on.

Podcast

Check out or recent podcasts with guests Elaine Kub and Kyle Little. Elaine and Jeff discuss grain markets and trading grains while Kyle helps give insight into the Lumber markets and what has been going on.

https://rcmagservices.com/the-hedged-edge/

 

Other News

On Monday, daily trading limits will expand for our major markets with corn increased from 25 cents to 40 cents, beans from 70 to $1.00 and wheat from 40 to 45.  The CBOT is not tipping their hand that they expect volatility this summer, the daily limit increases are largely due to the high prices to keep daily ranges in line with historic percentages of price.

 

US Drought Monitor

The map below shows what areas are currently experiencing drought conditions across the US. Not much changed from last week. The rains in Texas will help alleviate some dryness in the area but will not solve their moisture issues. Some dryness has crept into Illinois and Indiana but nothing to worry about right now.

 

Weekly prices

Via Barchart.com

23 Apr 2021

Ag Markets Update: April 17 – 23

Off to the races? Corn was limit up Thursday as prices for May corn topped $6.50 for the first time since 2013 continuing its impressive weekly run. The May option expiration occurring Friday has traders scrambling to cover short call option positions by buying futures and positioning themselves for next week’s first notice day. As we have been seeing in the cash market for a while with improving basis, it seems the futures market is catching up and realizing the market needs corn and it needs it now. Any farmers with old crop remaining has the cards in their hands looking to get prices high enough for them to make any sales. The cold weather/snow across much of the country this week is not expected to cause many issues except delaying planting a little longer in some areas as we wait for soil temperatures to get back up. Brazil’s dry outlook has not changed and will continue to put stress on a crop that does not need anymore problems. Continue to monitor the dryness in South America as problems there will transition to gains in our new crop markets as the world will need the US to produce a large crop.

Via Barchart

 

Soybeans gained on the week as they followed corn for similar reasons. The South American weather issues will not effect the soybean market like corn but as we have seen good news for one has been good news for the other. The may option expiration came into play as beans saw a strong rise on Thursday even though they were not limit up. Exports this week were nothing to write home about but still within expectations and well ahead of the pace needed to meet USDA estimates. With world demand high, the US needs to have a great crop to meet it and not cause issues in the world pipeline. As volume begins to pick up in the November contract it will be important to have a plan for marketing your crop this year as volatility is always around.

Via Barchart

 

Cotton did not enjoy the rally the grains had this week as they continue to trail the other markets in price competitiveness. Weekly exports are expected to decline going forward, not from a lack of demand, but from a lack of supply left in the US, which should be seen as bullish despite lower export numbers appearing bearish. The big head scratcher is why cotton prices are lagging the grain market so much when prices need to be competitive just to get all the acres in the ground. With corn and soybeans taking their next leg up this week, December cotton equivalent price should be about $1.11 vs. the current $.84. What is needed to get to this level? We could see what is currently playing out in the grain markets on option expiration causing a big boost when the next one comes up, but cotton needs a boost to get it all in the ground.

Via Barchart

 

Dow Jones

The Dow had been trading fairly evenly on the week with some down and up days until Thursday’s losses following the Biden administration stating their plans to increase the capital gains tax to over 40% for high earners. A number that high will face headwinds from the house and senate and is unlikely to come to fruition but the Biden administration did campaign on raising those and a raise should be expected.

Lumber

Check out our recent post about the lumber market and what all has been going on.

 

US Drought Monitor

The map below shows what areas are currently experiencing drought conditions across the US. Not much changed from last week.

 

Weekly Prices

Via Barchart.com

 

21 Apr 2021
lumber-header

Lumber: A Demand Driven Rally….On Steroids

If you haven’t been watching one of the more esoteric futures market lately – Lumber – you’ve been missing a rather  parabolic up market – up nearly 9% last week, 27% for the month,  78% for the year, and 280% over the past 12 months. Move aside dogecoin!

So how does a $300 commodity that regularly deals with  events such as wildfires and sharply higher housing starts now come to be trading at almost $1300?

To answer that question, we checked in with our lumber expert Brian Leonard to get the inside scoop:

Unlike most other commodities, lumber is used in a product with a long decision-making process. Housing has a long timeline. While the production of a 2×4 is rather quick, the cycle from tree to house  is much longer. And because of that abnormally long period of time, lumber futures have the possibility of overlapping economic cycles and seasons. With that amount of lead time available how did this commodity get so under-bought, so under-produced and so under-supplied to cause a 300% increase (!!!) from it’s typical price?

#1 is the effect on housing due to the increase in federal funding (or QE as we now call it). It is the way for the Fed and Treasury to shore up the economy which leads to the building of wealth and ease of access to funds at a low interest rate. In doing so, there can be a positive affect on the stock market, as we’ve seen – and in typical fashion, the housing market tends to increase in tandem with the stock market and the U.S. economy. In this case, history serves as an indicator in three occasions of this excessive capital spike in recent history. The first was the run in the late 1940’s after WWII, then in the mid 2000’s caused by a substantial drop in cold war funding in the 90’s and September 11th. Today the flood of funding has been caused by Covid, and the numerous stimulus packages and prevalence of low rates – which can generate excessive demand.

Today what we have is one of the greatest economic “perfect storms” ever seen in a commodity; one that has been brewing for years. This current explosive market dates all the way back to 2006 when annualized average new housing unit starts hit a historic high of 2,273,000 (Census.gov) with close to 50%  made up of second home buys and limited credit – we saw a top and the net result was a saturated housing market.

Note: (That was occurring at that time when the bug kill timber out of BC was peaking keeping production abnormally high.)

The oversaturation slowed building month over month and by the second half of 2007 the starts number fell below the teardown rate. For baseline, the teardown rate is considered between 850 and 1 million homes tore down or destroyed each year. Construction from mid-2007 to mid-2012 was less than teardown and was the longest period in history for such a low number of new homes built.  The “great recession” of 2008 to 2010 was the biggest factor causing the depressed state of construction.

One of the lasting effects of the recession on the industry was an increase in permanent closing of producing mills in North America. While there were plans already in place because of shifting supplies and landscapes for timber etc….the recession seemed to ramp up the pace.

A second factor under the radar of economists was the effect the recession had on many families, especially future first-time home buyers. The ones we called the “lost generation” in housing which were those who graduated between 2008 and 2012. This group had difficulty finding a job that would earn enough to pay off their student debts let alone marry and buy a home. The housing market now lacked those first-time home buyers and there was a major shift to apartment living in the urban areas. Pubs and pups was the new mantra – marriage, kids, and house was no longer a goal of most.

The period from 2013 to 2018 saw a steady slow growth in housing led by the boom in multifamily. Single family construction was still lagging. 2018 showed the first signs of an imbalance between supply and demand in lumber causing a sharp run up in futures to a new historic high of $659.  The previous all time high of $493.50 was made in 1993 and caused initially by the spotted owl issue. The 2018 run up had many other issues such as a tax duty, long commodity funds and an industry short. There was also a more aggressive embrace of  just-in-time inventory management and these factors combined were setting a bullish tone Firms were set up to be under inventoried and forced to pay higher prices.

Today, the biggest factor changing the landscape was the Covid-effect. This market was likely heading higher due to the low housing supply (requiring more lumber demand) and going to see issues regardless, but the Covid reactions have multiplied  them.

The biggest factors that have led up to this run up:

  • A drawdown in production capacity of dimension lumber
  • A low inventory of new single-family homes
  • Historic lows in mortgage rates
  • Historically high amounts of capital flowing into the system
  • Greater wealth caused by a sharply higher stock market
  • An unprecedent shift to single family homes

 

Adding Covid to the mix;  we saw a stoppage of production at mills with only a marginal slowdown in construction. At the same time, we saw rail and trucking slow, and  to this day  rolling shutdowns at some mills and rail remain. Another issue affecting lumber prices is trucking and the lack of available drivers; we currently have the smallest pool of new drivers in recent history. T This shrinking pool has slowed or stopped any increase in available trucks as Covid has shifted many to Amazon.

Real Time Issues:

  • Inability to increase production causing supply constraints
  • Buyer paralysis either mentally or financially… financially could be a low credit line and over budget all because of a $160K train load of lumber.
  • Unprecedented rush to single family homes with a yard (no more commuting, work from home effect?)
  • Reduced distribution chain which points back to issue 2 above

 

So where is the relief? The relief from higher prices will only come from a slowdown in demand. That slowdown might be self-inflicted because of the lag in the building chain either because of the lack of OSB (Oriented Standard Board), appliances or a paint color. This will slowdown construction down and allow some of the froth to be lopped off the top. It will not decrease construction plans, but maybe just draw them out. The greater relief valve will be a slowdown in traffic going into the summer. The higher prices for homes and the longer time frame for construction will start to weigh on the market. But this also will only give temporary relief. A fundamental change in buyer sentiment needs to happen. In the meantime, if you cannot or will not build inventories, the marketplace will always be short. It is that simple.

 

– Brian V. Leonard
Brian Leonard is a 30+ year veteran in the commodities trading space. Brian began his career as an assistant in the Soybean pit in the early ‘80s, and moved on to wood products in 1994. Brian’s current role for RCM Ag Services is to serve as a Risk Analyst, specializing in the wood products sector. His customer base spans a large spectrum ranging from wood producers to home builders with all different types of risk management needs. Brian also assists with risk management within the currency and fuel sectors. Brian recently received an MA in Pastoral Studies at University of St. Mary of the Lake, and uses that to work with churches in low income neighborhoods in the Chicagoland area.

19 Apr 2021

Ag Markets Updates: April 10-16

Corn had a good week as we reach new contract highs in May for old crop. As you can see in the 1 year chart below after trading in the $5.30-$5.60 range for a couple months corn has seen a strong response since the Projected Plantings report came out. The export numbers this week were not great, yet corn was still able to post a positive day following the report as the number was still 10 million bushels above the weekly total needed to meet USDA estimates. Analysts are expecting Brazil’s safrinha crop to potentially lose 5 million metric tonnes due to the late planting and stress from the drought conditions that have been present for a while. Ethanol stocks are the lowest mid-April they have been since 2014 showing that demand has ramped back up as re-openings continue. Some corn planting has started in areas across the country but this week’s cold weather will bring it to a stop as many areas will have to wait for it to warm back up to continue planting.

Via Barchart                                                               

Soybeans saw small gains on the week, but for the most part it was a quiet week for beans after a slight dip then gains. The news in the market around soybeans has been limited which is why the corn and bean chart are starting to look different. The cold weather that will delay/pause planting in some areas will not have much, if any, effect on soybean planting as they usually begin later anyway. Beans are now well off their contract highs for old crop and until we get back to those levels do not expect any strengthening look from the charts. Soybean’s will continue to move with exports and if anything crazy happens in South America but will probably slowly follow corn just how corn followed soybeans until now for the short term.

Via Barchart      

Cotton continues its rebound from the recent lows as world demand continues to increase and consumer spending rebounds. The dollar has also weakened recently supporting commodities as well. Retail sales for the month of March were reported this week climbing 9.8% as stimulus checks were spent and consumers get back out in the market. With cotton prices where they are compared to other crops many farmers are stuck with a difficult decision on which to plant. In some cases, farmers in areas such as west Texas, currently suffering from bad drought conditions, may elect to plant sorghum (milo) as a cheaper to produce alternative that has a much wider planting window. The drought conditions are a problem (see map below) in many areas, but when 40% of the cotton crop is expected to be planted in Texas the supply and demand story come the fall comes into play.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow gained on the week despite the news that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution will be put on hold after 6 cases of a rare blood clot after giving out over 7 million doses. The reopening strength has still been playing in the markets as many consumers are out and about again after receiving stimulus checks.

Lumber

In case you have not been paying attention to it, lumber prices have been high for a while now but continue to climb. In the cash market any wood that is for sale is bought immediately and this is also being reflected in the futures market with it now trading over $1,200. This plays out in the cost to build houses in a real estate market that has been hot the last year in the US despite the pandemic.

US Drought Monitor

The map below shows what areas of the US are currently suffering from drought conditions and as you can see it is widespread. As planting begins in many areas some areas will be delayed as they wait for a good rain to help them get in the field. The drought in Texas will have the biggest effect on Cotton as over 40% of the US cotton crop is expected to be planted there.

Weekly Prices

09 Apr 2021

AG MARKET UPDATES: APRIL 3 – 9


The grains have started to separate themselves from each other as they begin to have their own trades tied to the US growing season coming into view. After last week’s plantings intention report, corn had a couple down days but has climbed back to the post report level heading into Friday’s USDA April report. Corn’s exports this week were better than expected along with news that China may buy up to 80 million bushels into late summer (bullish news for old crop corn). Basis is showing us that supplies are tightening despite the lagging data from the USDA stocks report.   Even if Friday’s report does not show this expected change, will the market believe the USDA or the cash market? Brazil’s safrinha crop is under stress as it continues to be dry with no immediate relief which is expected to cause even more damage to a crop that has had its issues coming down the home stretch. Brazil’s corn production according to this week’s CONAB report is still expected to be a record 4.29 billion bushels despite the stress. The US forecast is dry in many areas as early planting looks to be available across multiple regions.

Via Barchart

 


Soybeans had a tough week following last week’s rally post acreage announcement. World vegetable oil prices have been falling and have pulled beans down with it. The markets are trying to figure out how to price beans.  ASF in China is still a problem while world demand continues to rise outside of hog feed. US consumer demand coming out of Covid-19 lockdowns has been supportive to bean prices, despite the reopening issues in other parts of the world. Looking at new crop beans, they continue the slow climb higher, as the US crop is expected to play a major role in meeting the post lockdown demand towards the end of 2021. The USDA report on Friday will show the updated stocks and, like corn, soybean demand should be higher than the last report based off continued exports since the last report.

Via Barchart

 

Dow Jones
The Dow gained on the week as interest rate anxiety is calming down and funds reposition themselves away from tech and into more cyclical sectors following tech’s run to end 2020. The Biden administration announced their plan for a $2+ trillion-dollar infrastructure plan this week that covers many different areas. Investors will keep their eye on the implementation of the plan and what sectors will be the best benefactors.

Basis
Cash basis levels in many areas continue to move higher even on days when futures prices rally. The cash market is reminding us that demand is still strong and many farmers have sold most of their old crop, so finding corn and beans is not as easy since farmers have sold with the rally of the last several months.

Weekly Prices

Via Barchart.com