Harvest marches on through cold weather
Many crops are done with harvest, but two big ones are still incomplete. Corn and soybean harvest in the U.S. have been delayed from the start but are now in the final weeks. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports progress weekly, and showed that the soybean crop was 75% complete while corn is 52% complete. Both of these are lagging the normal pace. At this date, soybean harvest is usually about 80% done and corn is usually around 75% done. Things have sped up in the last week with weather conditions drying out. Looking ahead, temperatures are expected to be below normal, but this is not as big of an issue as things should be dry in most parts of the Corn Belt.
Wheat markets were under pressure this week. Spring wheat harvest is done, but this week's U.S. Department of Agriculture report will offer a resurvey of total acreage in key states of Minnesota and North Dakota that were hit by snow last month. Winter wheat planting is nearly done in the U.S., and conditions have improved from a week ago. The U.S. winter wheat crop is now rated 56% good or excellent. The markets saw this week that both domestically and abroad, supplies of wheat are comfortable. This put pressure on the markets as export competition will be strong through the winter.
Durum markets have been steady. The rally last month has cooled, but the market has not given back any of the gains. Weather drove both durum and the broader wheat market higher as spring wheat harvest had been delayed. Total output is not certain yet, but fieldwork is effectively done.
The canola market showed some signs of life this week. Traders are excited to see support as a lack of Chinese demand for canola over the last several months has kept prices depressed. But a move by China to allow some imports of Canadian protein products (beef and pork) amid the outbreak of the African swine fever has raised hopes of improved relations between the two countries. Canola was not a part of this, but it makes logical sense that if China is willing to trade with Canada for some needed agriculture products, that they could be open to trading canola at some point in the future.
There has been little change in the mustard seed market. Harvest quality is still uncertain, as processors are assessing in both the U.S. and Canada. Harvest is basically done, but frosts were an issue in many areas.