Warm temperatures in South America heat up the soybean market

AgweekTV's Michelle Rook and Randy Martinson of Martinson Ag Risk Management talk about the big moves for the soybean market, a positive week for corn, a not-so-positive week for wheat, and struggles for livestock.

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The first full week of 2022 was a big week for soybeans.

March soybeans were up 71 cents, mostly on news of hot South American weather.

"We knew that we were talking about dry conditions and the possibility of some heat, but forecasts came in late in the week showing they were expecting five days up over 105-degree temps," Randy Martinson of Martinson Ag Risk Management said on the Agweek Market Wrap. "There is still rain in the forecast for the following week, but you go through temps like that, there's going to be some damage done to the soybeans and the corn, especially since a lot of it is in the pollinating stage."

AgweekTV's Michelle Rook said with Argentina being the largest meal market in the world, that really pushed the soybean meal prices and pulled along soybeans and oil as well.

"The bean market looks a lot different than it did a week ago," Martinson said.


How far can the market go? In the short term, Martinson said verification of the heat will dictate "how much more we're going to push this market." Longer term, some big USDA reports are coming out next week, and it'll be interesting to see where their estimates for the South American crop end up.

Rook wondered if USDA will follow the lead of some private analysts that already have greatly reduced their expectations for Brazilian and Argentinian crops. But Martinson said he expects USDA to be more conservative in their estimates.

Corn, too, was up this week, but in a more subdued manner, Rook and Martinson said. That was due to struggles from wheat that "threw the wet blanket on corn," Martinson explained.

Wheat continues to struggle with lack of demand as well as expectations for good crops in Australia and Argentina. But Rook questioned whether wheat may be close to hitting lows, and Martinson isn't so sure.

"You'd like to think so," he said.

The soybean market helped pull all of the other grains up, he said. A big indicator for the way forward will be how winter wheat comes out of dormancy, as well as whether there is a big acreage cut for wheat from the USDA.

"A pretty ugly week here for the wheat market," Martinson said.

Rook said Wednesday will be a big "data dump" from USDA.


It was a tough week for the cattle markets, with a combination of fund liquidation and slower slaughter pace. Martinson explained the slaughter pace is linked to plants struggling with employee illnesses from COVID-19, slower than expected demand and weather slowing down the movement of cattle. However, cold weather also slows down gain in cattle, which typically is a good sign for the market.

"I'm still friendly cattle," Martinson said.

In hogs, a spread remains between February and farther out months.

"It just seems like they've checked themselves out on the February contract," Martinson said.

Farther out, expected tighter supplies have contracts stronger.

To watch previous episodes of the Agweek Market Wrap, click here.

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