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Published April 21, 2014, 09:44 AM

Planting progress begins

Wheat traded with gains during the Easter shortened week. Declining crop condition ratings and another flare up in the Russia and Ukraine saga helped support wheat. As of 9:30 a.m. April 17, May Minneapolis was up 39 cents, September Minneapolis was 40 cents higher, July Chicago was 37 cents higher and July Kansas City gained 49 cents.

By: Ray Grabanski, Agweek

Wheat

Wheat traded with gains during the Easter shortened week. Declining crop condition ratings and another flare up in the Russia and Ukraine saga helped support wheat. As of 9:30 a.m. April 17, May Minneapolis was up 39 cents, September Minneapolis was 40 cents higher, July Chicago was 37 cents higher and July Kansas City gained 49 cents.

Wheat started the week with strength as traders worked a weather premium back into the wheat exchanges. Support came from international concerns as the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine heated up again. Light support was also a result of weather forecasts calling for potential freezing temperatures for the Southern Plains.

Wheat trade was higher April 15 as cold temperatures provide support. Freezing temperatures might have damaged the winter wheat crop, though the extent of damage will not be known for about a week. Dry conditions provide further concern with little moisture expected in the near term, though some relief can be found in the forecast.

The April 16 session had wheat trading on the defense. Wheat has been trading the same news for the past few weeks, so without any new news to feed the bull, technical selling seemed to be the main feature of traders attentions. Bears also got a little help from weather forecasts that called for another potential weekend rain shower for the Southern Plains. The biggest bearish item came from news that Jordon bought 150,000 metric tons of wheat from the Black Sea region, which means even with the flare up in tensions there, they are still exporting grain.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated wheat export shipments pace for the week ending April 11 at 25.1 million bushels. This brings the year-to-date export shipments pace for wheat to 1 billion bushels, compared with 845.1 million for last year. Wheat export sales pace was estimated at 29.3 million bushels, with 16.1 million being old crop and 13.2 million being new crop. This brings the year-to-date export sales pace for wheat to 1.13 billion bushels, compared with 964.1 million last year. With seven weeks left in wheat’s export marketing year, shipments need to average 25 million bushels and sales need to average 6.4 million to reach USDA’s expectations of 1.175 billion.

USDA’s weekly crop condition rating report showed another decline in the U.S. winter wheat crop rating. As of April 13, 34 percent of the winter wheat crop was rated good to excellent, 34 percent was fair and 32 percent was poor or very poor, a 1 percent decline from the previous week. Kansas’s crop declined the most, dropping 3 percent to 26 percent good to excellent, 44 percent fair and 30 percent poor to very poor. As of April 13, 5 percent of the crop was headed, compared with zero the previous week and zero for the five-year average. Spring wheat planting was 6 percent complete, compared with zero the previous week and zero for the five-year average.

Corn

The corn market lost some ground last week and buying interest was thin. The corn futures remain stalled out with the recent run in the wheat and soybean markets. There is also talk that the 2014 corn acres will increase with the recent rally that we have seen in the futures and there will be fewer prevent plant acres. The futures were up to start the week with cool and wet weather, but selling interest reentered the trade and the weather looks favorable for planting progress next week. As of midday April 17, the May contract was down 4 cents for the week, while the December contract lost 3 cents.

Corn was up the night of April 13 and that carried over to the day. Support came from sharp gains in the wheat complex that spilled over to corn. The export inspections were good and ethanol margins remain strong. South Korea bought 193,000 metric tons of corn over the weekend. The weather also offered support with rain in the east over the weekend and cool temperatures last week that will delay field work. Traders continue to talk about a late spring and we did receive our first planting progress report that showed 3 percent of corn is in the ground. It is interesting to look back at 2013 when we only had 5 percent planted by April 28 and 43 percent of the acres were planted between May 12 and 19. We produced the second-largest yield in 2013.

Corn drifted lower on April 15 and was under pressure the rest of the week, as traders looked to warming temperatures into the weekend and a dry forecast through the end of the month. Planting progress will pick up this week and is keeping buying interest on the sidelines. The wheat market also broke lower and added additional selling pressure in corn. Argentina’s harvest is progressing with an open week of weather, and larger crop estimates continue to surface for South America.

Ethanol production for the week ending April 11 averaged 939,000 barrels per day, up 4.8 percent from the previous week. Total ethanol production for the week was 6.573 million barrels. Corn used in production is estimated at 98.6 million bushels and needs to average 98.48 million bushels per week to meet this crop year’s USDA estimate of 5 billion bushels. Stocks were 15.952 million barrels, down 2.77 percent from the previous week.

The crop progress report showed 3 percent of the corn is planted versus 2 percent one year ago and a five-year average of 6 percent.

USDA’s export inspections report was bullish for corn at 57 million bushels versus the 38.9 million needed to keep pace with USDA projections of 1.75 billion. Corn export sales were estimated at 23.7 million bushels, which was above the 4.7 million needed to stay on pace with USDA’s estimate of 1.75 billion. The shipments came in at 43.7 million bushels, above the 38.6 million needed to keep pace with USDA projections.

Soybeans

As of the April 16 close, May soybeans were 55.75 cents higher for the week, while the November contract gained 22.5 cents. In early April 17 trade, nearby soybeans were down around 7 cents, while deferred contracts were about 3 cents higher.

Soybeans closed with solid gains April 14 as stocks remain extremely tight, indicated again by solid export inspections. The exports pace remains strong, though the narrowing of the May to July spread indicates softening nearby demand. April 14 export inspections came in well above the amount needed to keep pace with USDA’s projection.

Soybean trade was higher April 15 as the July contract set a new closing high. Commercial buying provided support as stocks remain extremely tight while commercial demand has stayed strong. On the morning of April 15, the National Oilseed Processors Association said 158.3 million bushels of soybeans were crushed in March. This was well above the 145 million to 146 million expected and is reportedly the highest March total on record.

Commercial buying supported soybean trade as the market closed with solid gains again April 16. Tight supplies continue to provide support with a bullish April 15 NOPA crush report reinforcing that tightness. A report from Dow Jones that China’s first quarter GDP was up 7.4 percent from last year was better than expected, adding to the bullishness. New crop soybeans continue to follow the old crop higher as the fundamental outlook remains highly uncertain.

USDA reported soybean export inspections pace for the week ending April 11 at 9.8 million bushels. This brings the year-to-date export shipments pace for soybeans to 1.504 billion bushels, compared with 1.232 billion for last year at this time. Soybean export sales pace for the week ending April 11 was estimated at 15.4 million bushels (0.7 million for 2013 to ’14). Soybean export sales remain above USDA’s demand projection of 1.58 billion bushels. Shipments were reported at 12.5 million bushels.

Barley

As of April 13, 16 percent of the nation’s barley had been planted, compared with zero the previous week and zero for the five-year average. USDA reported barley export shipments pace for the week ending April 11 at 27,500 bushels. No export sales were reported for barley. At midday April 17, cash feed barley bids in Minneapolis were unchanged at $3.95 per bushel, while malting barley bids were unchanged at $6.

Durum

USDA reported durum export shipments pace for the week ending April 11 at 1.07 million bushels, all going to Algeria. Export sales pace for the week ending April 11 was reported at 0.4 million bushels. At midday April 17, cash bids for milling quality durum were at $7 per bushel in Berthold, N.D., while the Dickinson, N.D., bid was at $7.

Canola

As of midday April 17, May canola futures on the Winnipeg, Manitoba, exchange were $10 (Canadian) higher on the week at $471 (Canadian). The canola market was supported throughout the week by spill-over support from a higher U.S. soybean complex, as well as from concerns over the Russian and Ukraine conflict that does not seem to go away. The main concern that exports out of the Ukraine could be disrupted continues to help support the grain complex. Speculative buying and concern that persistent cold weather could delay planting provided additional support. As of midday April 17, cash canola bids in Velva, N.D., were 55 cents lower on the week at $20.27 per hundredweight.

Sunflowers

Soybean oil export sales pace for the week ending April 11 was estimated at 5.5 thousand metric tons. As of midday April 17, May soybean oil was up $1.47 cents for the week at $43.57 per hundredweight. Cash sunflower bids in Fargo, N.D., were 76 cents higher for the week at $21.95 per hundredweight.

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