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Corn shines as winter returns 'with a vengeance' and planting remains delayed

AgweekTV's Michelle Rook and Randy Martinson of Martinson Ag Risk Management discuss what a northern Plains blizzard may mean for corn, wheat and soybean markets, as well as an up week for cattle and hogs.

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Corn was the market star this week, with cash bids in parts of the region hitting above $8, AgweekTV's Michelle Rook and Randy Martinson of Martinson Ag Risk Management said.

With markets closed on Friday, April 15, for Good Friday, Rook and Martinson discussed the week's happenings for the Agweek Market Wrap a day early.

Corn prices continue to gain weather premium as planting in both the Corn Belt and northern Plains remains pushed back. Even though planting isn't too far off of normal pace yet, the expectations that recent storms — including a massive one in the northern Plains that brought winter back "with a vengeance" — will delay planting could mean fewer acres get planted for corn, Martinson said. Plus, corn that does get planted later likely won't produce as much.

"The later the planting, the potential yield," he said.

That would mean even tighter stocks than was expected after the Prospective Plantings report showed corn acreage dipping considerably from past years.

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Corn needs to buy back 1.5 million to 2 million acres, Martinson said. And he doesn't expect the market to relax about the weather until at least a third or even half of acres are planted. So he thinks corn prices are going to keep growing.

Soybeans had more of a "sideways week," Rook said. Oil has strong demand, but the soybean market has to contend with an expectation of more acres, Martinson said.

Soybean oil faces demand both for use in renewable fuels (as does corn) as well as for vegetable oil. Sunflower oil is "off the market" due to Ukraine and Russia being the main exporters, and demand is tight for other oils, like canola oil and palm oil.

Minneapolis wheat was up as it continues to bid for acres. Martinson said getting wheat planted in many places will be dicier given this week's blizzard. Many producers want to have wheat planted by late April or early May, and recent moisture means that's "not going to happen," he said.

The storm may have cost spring wheat a quarter to a half million acres, he estimated.

Kansas City and Chicago wheat were up as drought concerns continue in the major winter wheat growing areas.

While the weather pushed wheat higher, exports remain down, Martinson said.

Cattle traded higher on the cash market, despite the highs in corn, and were up on the futures, too.

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"Can we build on this next week, Randy?" Rook asked.

"I hope so," he said. Supplies continue to tighten and the beef cow herd reduction continues. However inflation also puts a damper on the optimism.

Rook and Martinson said the hog market appears to have put in a bottom, and tight supplies appear to be coming into play.

What to read next
Amid escalation of war and ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine, the wheat market took off this week, Randy Martinson of Martinson Ag Risk Management told Carah Hart of Red River Farm Network on the Agweek Market Wrap.
Speculation of escalating war between Russia and Ukraine and Russia not allowing further exports out of Ukraine at the end of the month played a roll in the markets this week, as did early harvest results.