Weather issues concentrated
It has been quite a while since there has been any significant weather problem in the U.S. impacting crop growth. Going back to the disaster in 2012, widespread heat and dryness impacted corn, soybean, wheat and all crops across the country. Unlike that awful summer five years ago, 2017 has been marked (so far) by a very distinct area of hot and dry weather. A look at the U.S. Drought Monitor highlights just how bad things are in North Dakota and eastern Montana, while the rest of the country has very little moisture problems. Only parts of South Dakota and Nebraska even come close. This provides an interesting market dynamic, where strength in the spring wheat market in Minneapolis is pulling up all wheat and is even having a bullish impact on the corn and soybean market to some degree. All of this is occurring in a time when those crops are in decent condition.
Wheat prices had been surging to the upside over the last month and a half (and in earnest for the last two weeks). This week, the market took a breather and, though prices are still firm, the rally has stalled. As mentioned in the open, the U.S. spring wheat crop is struggling. Crop conditions dropped again, this week. The U.S. Department of Agriculture showed 37 percent of the crop rated good/excellent from 40 percent a week ago. Now 33 percent of the crop is poor/very poor. Winter wheat harvest efforts in the U.S. are about half way done. The USDA's weekly progress report showed 53 percent rated good/excellent compared to 54 percent for the five-year average. The market is anxiously awaiting next week's USDA supply and demand estimates that will provide an update on yield projection for the 2017 crop. With lower planted area known at 45.7 million acres, any significant drop in yield will be noticed.
The durum market has stayed firm from a week ago. The market is being supported by the poor weather in the Northern Plains, with much of the crop needing rain and a break from the heat. The USDA showed North Dakota's crop is rated just 33 percent good/excellent.
The canola market has been supported since the acreage report. Planted area was above expectations heading into the Statistics Canada report. Since then, however, some weather concerns are mounting. Rain is needed to help the crop develop, and little is in the forecast. The crop is not in trouble yet, however, and some good moisture in the next two weeks would go a long way.
Peas & Lentils
The pulse market is settling in. Lower planted area is known at this point, and the market is watching the weather. Old crop supplies remain plentiful.
Planted area in Canada for mustard seed is down big from 2016. Statistics Canada reported a drop to 380,000 acres from last year's 525,000 acres. The U.S. is also seeing a big drop, falling to 76,000 acres (a 26 percent decline from a year ago). Recall last year's big increase came as alternative crops (crops not corn, wheat or soybeans) jumped as farmers saw an opportunity to capitalize on tight stocks of those crops versus corn/wheat/soybeans.
Barley development in the U.S. is just behind the average pace, with 51 percent of the crop headed. Crop conditions took a hit in the last week: 52 percent of the crop is rated good/excellent compared to 60 percent a week ago and 75 percent last year. Seventeen percent is rated poor/very poor compared to 12 percent last week.