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COLUMN: Spring planting brings flurry of excitement

CRESTWOOD, Ky. -- It is easy to get distracted in the spring, with all of the data available for the market to digest: weather forecasts for planting, conditions data from the government, global demand trends and several other sources of information.

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CRESTWOOD, Ky. - It is easy to get distracted in the spring, with all of the data available for the market to digest: weather forecasts for planting, conditions data from the government, global demand trends and several other sources of information. It is important for sellers not to get swept up in the excitement of the new spring data and focus on the fundamental situation.
Wheat
Wheat markets are off the lows in Chicago and Kansas City, while Minneapolis prices have risen in the past few days. The market digested the large U.S. supply situation presented by the Wheat Quality Council’s winter wheat tour in Kansas.
Now, the market is looking at protein and condition issues brought on by rain in the Plains. Moisture is a concern in Canada as well, but helpful rains are expected.
Global producers are keeping pressure on the wheat market, with Argentine farmers increasing planted area and shipping record amounts of wheat (because of the elimination of export taxes), and Russia is set to see a huge grain harvest.
Peas and lentils
Lentil markets are firm, even with little trading activity in the past week. New crop sales have been limited, as shippers are hesitant to sell until they see growers selling their crops. The perception presently is farmers are out of old-crop lentils to sell, and all the growers’ attention is on planting, not marketing their product.
Pea prices remain supported, as overseas demand has been firm. Old-crop inventories are tightening, which is keeping pea prices elevated. Export movement has been solid from North America.
The Canadian Grain Commission reports nearly 83,000 metric tons of peas were loaded for export during the first week of May.
Despite news farmer deliveries of peas have slowed, many are optimistic for a strong spring of pea shipments. The slowing deliveries are likely from fieldwork being done by farmers.
In Saskatchewan, warm and dry conditions have allowed farmers to get into fields for planting. According to Saskatchewan Agriculture’s weekly crop report, 35 percent of all crops have been planted, which is just ahead of last year’s 34 percent, but well beyond the five-year average pace of 10 percent by the end of the first week of May. Growing conditions are good in this area, as well.
Soil moisture in the main growing areas are 2 percent surplus, 74 percent adequate, 21 percent short and 3 percent very short. Significant rains have fallen since this report was released, which will improve growing conditions for the newly planted crops.
Durum
The durum market has been flat for the past several weeks. The U.S. had very limited business with Algeria for outstanding durum purchases, and a mere 42,000 metric tons were purchased by unknown destinations for new crop.
Canola
Canola prices have consolidated in the past week, but the market has seen support spill over from the soybean market in the U.S. and European rapeseed markets. Short-term direction has come from weakness in oil and a realization the market was likely oversold.
Also, dryness concerns in Prairies have lessened, with rain in the forecast to provide relief for the newly planted crop.
This does not mean the bears are taking over by any stretch, however. Dry and warm weather have been an issue, and production impact is possible.
Additionally, demand for canola has been strong.
Mustard
The Canadian Grain Commission showed mustard seed movement has surpassed the previous year. Export shipments are reported at 18,400 metric tons for the season through May 8, compared to 16,500 metric tons in the previous marketing year.
Barley
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has shown in its weekly crop progress and conditions report planting is ahead of the normal pace in the U.S. Ninety percent of the crop is in the ground, compared to the five-year average pace of 71 percent.
Conditions of the emerged crop are also very good, with 75 percent of the crop rated good or excellent and just 1 percent poor or very poor. This is much better than a year ago, when 64 percent was good or excellent, and 3 percent was poor or very poor.

Related Topics: WHEATMARKETSCROPS
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