Category: Research

11 Nov 2021

AG MARKET UPDATE: OCTOBER 28 – NOVEMBER 9 USDA REPORT

Corn was struggling this week heading into the Nov 9th USDA report, where it saw a good bounce after its release before falling back to only finish up slightly higher on the day. The corn numbers that came out of the report were fairly neutral, with a 177 bu/acre yield and 15.062-billion-bushel U.S. production. The yield was slightly raised from 176.5 the month before but was right in line with estimates, so there was no significant reaction on that number. Overall, there were not many surprises for corn as most bullish reactions came from soybeans pulling them higher with them. With ethanol margins very profitable and crude oil staying higher, the demand side will continue to keep basis levels high. As harvest was 84% complete at the start of the week, there is still time for any weather issues to create issues to finish up harvest, but this is always expected, so being this far along is helpful.

Via Barchart

Soybeans had an excellent bounce post USDA report but finished well off the highs of the day. The yield came in at 51.2 bu/acre, down 0.3 from last month, along with lower world-ending stocks. As far as U.S. ending stocks. the USDA pegged it at a manageable 340 million bushels, slightly up from last month —these numbers are not outright bullish. South America’s weather is non-threatening right now; however, with solid world crush margins, there is not much reason for a bearish outlook heading into the winter. With funds currently flat, we may hang around this area trading until new news enters the market.

Via Barchart

There were no surprises in the wheat report,, but it did follow beans higher after a down week leading into the report. US wheat stocks came in at 583 million bushels (pre-report estimates were 581 million) and world-ending stocks of 275.80 million metric tons (pre-report estimates 276.5 MMT). Despite the recent pullback, there is still a bullish sentiment in the market moving forward for the time being.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow has continued to trend higher this week as it has put together an impressive month despite Tuesday’s pullback. Many markets have led it higher from tech to industrials, with the new infrastructure bill playing a role.

Side note: The crypto markets have also been on a tear the past couple of weeks. It will be interesting to watch heading into the end of the year after an impressive last year and a half.

Podcast

For the past year, commodity prices have perpetually soared and continue to trend higher. We’re diving into the fertilizer forecast with a unique guest, Billy Dale Strader, a branch manager for Helena Agri-Enterprises in Russellville, KY., who is truly at the epicenter of the rising fertilizer prices.

Billy Dale planted his agriculture roots on his family-owned farm and has managed regional seed and chemical sales at Helena for the past decade. In this week’s pod, we tackle the big question for farmers and ultimately end-users — is the impact of higher-priced inputs, like seeds, chemicals, and fertilizer, on the supply and demand for the major U.S. crops? Listen or watch to find out!

 

U.S. Drought Monitor

The maps below show the U.S. drought monitor and the comparison to it from a week ago. The outlined areas in black are areas that the drought will have a dominant impact.

Via Barchart.com

01 Oct 2021

AG MARKET UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 23 – 30

Corn took it on the chin upon the release of Thursday’s USDA report before bouncing back to finish only slightly lower on the day, but still up on the week. The report may have left more questions than answers hanging around as they raised ending stocks, but as we mentioned last week, the current basis and cash markets hint there may be less corn out there than the USDA believes. Corn stocks came in at 1.236 billion bushels, which was higher than the average estimate going in. Harvest was 18% done at the start of the week, and further progress will have been made with favorable harvest conditions. Exports this week were not great for corn, while beans were strong. The next major report for corn will be the October 12th yield update. With harvest getting off to a fast start, it will be interesting to see if the private estimates and USDA are closer to each other than usual this far in.

Via Barchart                         

Soybeans fell post report as estimates were well lower than the USDA number of 256 million bushels. The average estimate was 174 million bushels which caused the immediate and lasting drop following the report. Obviously, nobody saw this number coming as it was well higher than the highest estimates. It is now time for the market to decide if they believe that number leading up to the October 12th yield report. Beans had great exports this week, but that was not enough to fend off the bears with the report. All the losses for beans on the week came from the report, as it had been pretty flat until Thursday. Soybeans harvested at 16% and will continue like corn this week. Like corn, the October 12th yield update will be critical as harvest has progressed further and we have a better idea of the crop.

Via Barchart

Cotton has been on a great run the last two weeks as you can see in the chart below. Cotton busted through several technical indicators in the 97 cent range while also clearing the 99.47 high from January of 2012. China has started to inquire about purchasing cotton as many companies look to import cotton and no longer use cotton from Xinjiang. Ultimately this is a supply/demand driven rally from strong global demand and uncertainty about the crop until it is out of the ground. Forecasts for rains in West Texas this weekend are not helpful for the crop and could cause issues depending on how much it does rain. Even with further upside potential to the cotton price this is a good opportunity to set floors to take advantage of this run up. As always look at your production and make the informed decision that applies specifically to your operation and not a cookie cutter plan.

Note: Since the writing above, Cotton has now topped 105 with December 2021 Cotton touching 107.28 on what seems to be a made rush of continued buying…. hold on to your hats!

Via Barchart

Wheat

Wheat saw a post-report rally as all wheat stocks came in at 1.780 billion bushels, which was below the pre-report estimates. Keep an eye on Russia as the export tax on Russian wheat will cut acres from their regular planting and could play out in the US wheat market as well.

Dow Jones

The Dow struggled again this week as September proved to be the worst month for stocks since March 2020, when Covid hit. Rising treasuries and interest rate hikes in the future had some to do with it, but September historically is not a great month for performance. One bad month in the span of a year and a half should not ring the alarm, but it will remind everyone that stocks can go down.

Podcast

Check out our recent podcast where we’ve brought on one of our real-life firefighters from RCM Ag – Jody Lawrence, along with Tim Andriesen from the CME Group to provide us with some inside baseball knowledge of the current state of agriculture markets. They discuss the real-world application of short-dated options to potentially fight the recent blaze of volatility surrounding agriculture markets.

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

US Drought Monitor

The maps below show the US drought monitor and the comparison to it from a week ago. The outlined areas in black are areas that the drought will have a dominant impact.

Via Barchart.com

 

 

17 Sep 2021

AG MARKET UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 2 – 16

Corn was struggling heading into the USDA report last week but has seen a good 30+ cent bounce from the sub $5.00 lows. The USDA raised their expected yield for corn to 176.3 bu/acre and added 600,000 acres. They also raised the ending stocks with higher yield for what some would consider a bearish report, but the reaction was neutral to bullish following it. As harvest gets going, yield estimates cover a wide range, but it appears that a mid 170s is more and more likely. With no significant weather concerns in the coming weeks, harvest should get off to a fast start. As strong as prices currently are, it is always essential to have a marketing strategy to avoid missing out on other opportunities. As you debate how much to store in the bins or go ahead and sell, make sure it is what makes the most sense for your farm. If you want to sell now to get the cash, consider what can be done on paper to not miss out in case of higher prices in the future. As harvest gets rolling expect yield updates to change as well while the markets keep an eye on them.

Via Barchart

Soybeans have had a similar reaction the past couple of weeks as corn. The USDA slightly raised their bean yield to 50.6 bu/acre from 50 and lowered harvested acres by 300,000. China continues to show up in the export report which is both needed and welcome to see after this summer’s lack.. As the ports in New Orleans and the other grain terminals along the Mississippi River reopen following the hurricane, export disruption worry has slowed. Harvest (like corn) should get off to a great start in the coming weeks, and it is crucial to have your marketing plan ready and execute it. Keep an eye on yield reports as they come out in the weeks ahead and the cash market as it will help give an idea of how much people are willing to sell now or store.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow has struggled so far in September like the other indexes. This is not uncommon to see this time of the year but does give investors heartburn when you see back-to-back weeks of struggles.

Wheat

The insurance price was set for the red wheat varieties yesterday at $7.16 and $7.08, a multi-year high.  High prices cure high prices so expect corn to lose acres in the Wheat Belt as the guarantees will motivate additional wheat acres.

Podcast

Check out our recent podcast where we’ve brought on one of our real-life firefighters from RCM Ag – Jody Lawrence, along with Tim Andriesen from the CME Group to provide us with some inside baseball knowledge of the current state of agriculture markets. They discuss the real-world application of short-dated options to fight the recent blaze of volatility surrounding agriculture markets potentially. https://rcmagservices.com/the-hedged-edge/

 

US Drought Monitor

The maps below show the US drought monitor and the comparison to it from a week ago. The dryness will allow harvest to start on time.

 

Via Barchart.com

 

 

20 Aug 2021

AG MARKET UPDATE: AUGUST 12-19

Corn fell on the week tied to better than expected rain totals and uninspiring demand news. Weather over this weekend is expected to provide relief in some areas before normal late summer weather returns to much of the corn belt. Exports were good but lagging this week and as we have seen recently we need consistent and strong buying, not just good. Thursday’s strong downturn was commodity wide as all grains and energies struggled. The western corn belt is expected to get rain this weekend – it needs it – as you can see in the drought monitor below. We are still within the pre-report trading range so how the market trades on Friday and rainfall over the weekend will be the market movers the next couple of trading days.

Via Barchart                          Soybeans, like corn, fell on the week lead by the losses on Thursday. Bean oil and meal also struggled over the last few days as world demand remains in question going forward. The rains expected over this weekend should help the bean crop more so than corn in those areas so the actual rainfall received will be important come Sunday night. Like corn, exports were good but not great and we NEED great to get people excited. If we see China buying new crop beans (or corn) in the coming weeks that would be welcome support for the market that is needing direction. The Biden administration has yet to make up their mind on what they want to do with biofuel mandates presenting the markets with a big question mark that they must work with for now.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow lost on the week as markets try to solve the mystery of the Fed and their tapering while also worried about the Delta variant. The consumer demand report and weakness in China consumer demand are hanging over the markets with a possible correction on the way according to some analysts.

US Dollar

The US Dollar hit a 10 month high adding to the bearish reaction across all commodities this week. A weaker USD helps US commodities be more competitive, but we are still a long way from where we were pre-pandemic.

Podcast

Check out our recent podcast where we’ve brought on one of our real-life firefighters from RCM Ag – Jody Lawrence along with Tim Andriesen from the CME Group to provide us with some inside baseball knowledge of the current state of the agriculture markets and to discuss the real-world application of the use of short-dated options to potentially fight the current blaze of volatility surrounding agriculture markets.

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

US Drought Monitor

The maps below show the current drought conditions with rains expected over much of the corn belt over the weekend. Last week’s is also there for comparison week over week.

Via Barchart.com

27 Jul 2021

Managing Today’s Market Risks through Short Dated Options with CME Group

It is no secret that commodity markets have been on fire over the past 12 months.   On today’s podcast we’ve brought on one of our real-life firefighters from RCM Ag – Jody Lawrence along with Tim Andriesen from the CME Group to provide us with some inside baseball knowledge of the current state of the agriculture markets and to discuss the real world application of the use of short dated options to potentially fight the current blaze of volatility surrounding agriculture markets.

As the director of Research for RCM Jody is no stranger to the podcast.  Tim, is the Managing Director of Agriculture products for the CME Group and is responsible for management of the company’s global agriculture commodities business – including grain, oilseed, livestock and dairy risk management products.

 

Find the full episode links for The Hedged Edge below:

23 Jul 2021

AG MARKET UPDATE: JULY 15 – 22

Corn made small gains early in the week only to fall short heading into the weekend as weakness continues to creep into the market with poor exports continuing and weather uncertainty. The hottest temperatures of the year for the plains and western corn belt are expected in the next few days with the only relief possibly coming past the 7 day forecast. As bad as things seem in the western corn belt, the eastern corn belt is having great weather, but will it be enough to offset those loses?

Brazil’s crop continues to get smaller, despite the USDA not making any major outlook changes, as they experience more freezing temperatures on their corn crop. China continues to sit on the sideline with no big purchases as they wait for lower prices before buying US corn. We know they will need to make purchases at some point but as we have seen in the past when there is no news from China prices tend to dip until they make a purchase so they will be quiet waiting for the right time to buy.

Via Barchart                          Soybeans had a rough Thursday as the extended forecast offered a chance of help.  We have to remember that extended, is just that – it’s NOT tomorrow – and just as help was added it can go back to hot and dry in one weather report. You’ll note in the chart below that beans have been trading mostly sideways since the start of May. This will probably continue unless some unforeseen news hits the markets or a major weather event/change in forecast happens. The next major report is the August 12th report which could be what finally gets us out of the range (whether to the upside or downside is TBD).

The bean oil market has added volatility to beans as well as the Biden administration’s silence on their direction for the bio fuel industry.  Their lack of action, one way or the other, is hurting beans and bean oil as producers remain with unanswered questions which leads to uneasiness (read volatility).

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow lost on the week (Thursday-Thursday) following a large selloff on Monday followed by 3 straight days of gains. The market was trading positively into the week’s end as well getting back over 35,000 in intraday. The Delta variant worries seem to be biggest fear in the market right now as it spread dangerously throughout under vaccinated areas of the country threatening the continued reopening.

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 maps below show the current drought conditions in the US. The second map is last week’s so you can see how the areas that received rain improved or did not. The wild fires continue to rage in the west as smoke from them has carried all the way to Southeastern US.

Via Barchart.com

09 Jul 2021

AG MARKET UPDATE: JULY 1-8

The corn market fell thanks to the rain that was received in the Upper Midwest over the 4th of July weekend. As always when it rains in areas that need it the most, the market freaks out as if it is a crop making/saving rain. The reality is, although the rain was helpful, there are still significant drought conditions across most of the areas that received rain (see in the drought chart at the bottom). With this said, next week is forecasting rain across the western corn belt providing some more relief to those areas before returning to hot and dry after.

CONAB (Brazil’s USDA) updated their yield expectations this morning by cutting their corn crop by 3 million metric tons (120 million bushels). This change came before a freeze event they had recently which could lead to problems and another cut of their expected crop. The USDA will update their estimates of the South American crop next week in the report.

The weekly ethanol report was bullish as production was 2% ahead of pre-Covid 2019 levels. US drivers drove a record amount over the 4th of July weekend with indications that usage for the summer could be a new record. The USDA is expected to increase their estimates for corn used for ethanol coming up as their numbers are lagging the actual pace.

Via Barchart                        Soybeans, like corn, fell following the holiday weekend with huge losses on Tuesday to start the week. Weather remains the main focus of the markets as rains in the next week will help but forecasts have it followed by heat and dryness. Bean crop conditions this week were down 1% to 59% g/e. The soybean balance sheet does not have as much room for error as corn so any adverse soybean news will be bullish for the market. The long term up trend broke about 3 weeks ago but prices are still at a great level compared to what we were seeing this time last year. The report on Monday will help tell us what other news should be moving the market other than weather but headlines love to say it rained.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow lost on the week after a tough Thursday in the markets. The market bounced back well off its lows on Thursday into the close however to keep some momentum. The markets have been volatile, but the big picture is important as we have traded in the range above 34,000 for most of the last 2 months. The delta variant has had many people worried and keeping an eye on the market for any indicator of how bad it could end up being for continued reopening around the world.

Lumber

Lumber prices have flattened out the last couple weeks after losing over half its value from the peak. Markets are hinting at this being the beginning of a rebalancing as the producers and suppliers feel out the supply and demand story.

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 maps below show the current US drought conditions this week vs last week. As you can see the rain that freaked out some in the markets did not exactly fix the drought problems. The rain was helpful but will need more consistent sustained rain to help the crop in the coming months.

Via Barchart.com

 

 

21 Jun 2021

AG MARKET UPDATE: JUNE 11-18

Corn had a volatile week much like beans having a limit down day on Thursday then a strong recovery on Friday. Corn had had a choppy trade this week before Thursday but the collapse in soybeans and soybean oil brought corn down with it. The bearish news for corn was that it was expected to rain in the drought stricken upper Midwest. This rain is much needed and will help but more consistent rainfall over the coming weeks would be needed to help the crop more. The rain will likely pressure markets lower to start the week if forecasts were accurate. If it does not rain as much as predicted it could fuel the bulls to continue from Friday. The dip on Thursday allowed some bulls to get back in the market at an attractive area while the bullish news remains the same.

Via Barchart                          

Soybeans nosedived on Thursday as they took full advantage of the expanded limits and fell over $1. The pressure on beans has been coming from the soybean oil and crush markets as crush numbers have decreased and soybean oil prices have fallen rapidly. With US yield estimates coming in around 52 bpa the price levels from earlier in the year would be hard to get back to. South America had a good bean harvest so there is not as much stress on the supply side like there is for corn. If dryness continues into the summer and yields begin to take a hit we could see a rebound for the bulls. The trade over the next week and half going into the June planted acreage report will give us an idea of what to expect in the report at the end of the month.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow suffered loses on the week as the Fed announced they would begin looking at raising rates to help combat inflation. Although they said the plan would be to not raise til 2023 the market seems to think that timeline will probably be moved up if inflation accelerates.

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. Drought conditions continue in the Midwest with some areas getting relief over the weekend. For reference the second chart below is this time last year.

Via Barchart.com

 

 

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

 

 

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