Few revisions expected in USDA’s December supply and demand report

Today, Dec. 9, we get the December World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but typically there is little difference in U.S. ending stocks numbers. USDA doesn't change corn and soybean yields ...

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Today, Dec. 9, we get the December World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but typically there is little difference in U.S. ending stocks numbers. USDA doesn’t change corn and soybean yields in this report  (only the final report on Jan. 12).  USDA might tinker with some supply and demand numbers in the U.S., but typically there are few significant changes in the December report. USDA likely will have similar carryout projections for the U.S. wheat, corn and soybean crops, compared with the November report - big carryouts. That will mean low prices will likely hang around awhile, at least until the January report, where we think USDA once again will increase corn (1 to 2 bushels per acre to 171.5 bushels per acre) and soybean (maybe 0.1 to 0.3 bushels per acre) yields. 

As we’ve said before, in 2015, so far we have harvested a record crop of soybeans and, so far, USDA predicts a near-record-yield corn crop, so prices are in the process of bottoming. Since bottoms typically last months, we are looking at a very slow grain market for the next three to five months. We think corn acreage will be increased 1 to 2 bushels per acre in January to a new record yield.

Forget about selling this winter, and instead focus on lowering cash rents. You will project a 50- to 80-cent or more loss all winter, projecting current prices at harvest. It will be ugly, as you will need to show your banker that you are financing the 50- to 80-cent loss per bushel of corn. 

We think now that harvest is over, markets will slow down their descent, but still might go lower and test the 2009 lows of $3.30 per bushel for weekly corn prices, which implies another potential 25- to 30-cent downward price risk in corn into January (when corn yields are likely to be revised higher by 1 to 2 bushels per acre to a new record-large yield of 171.5 bushels per acre).

You can view the Dec. 6 webinar here . Progressive Ag Marketing and Progressive Ag Law PLLC provide a lot of advice and information on what marketing and management decisions to make in the next few months, and even the next two years, as well as information on the Syngenta corn GMO case.


Remember: Do not sell anything at these large losses. In fact, do not sell any grains for the next five months. Instead, buy at the bottom. Buy back all your hedges and keep your corn and soybeans and wheat, because there is little downside risk from here. If you are a livestock producer who uses corn and has to buy feed, buy all your needs for the next two years in the next five months (after the Jan report, which we think will be bearish and cause the bottom to be formed).  If you are a speculator, buy. The best way to do so at the bottom is to sell puts after Jan. 12.  Sell and sell and sell puts. 

They will likely all expire worthless for the next 6 months at least, or longer. Sell puts and take the downside price risk if you are a producer, speculator or trader.  Make sure you have the capital to hold these positions until expiration, because there will be a few up days. But not many.

Weather is becoming a nonfactor until mid-March in the U.S., as winter wheat is slipping into dormancy nationwide, and nearly all the corn and soybeans have been harvested (as have almost every other crop).  Weather in South America is still warm and dry for northern Brazil, but perfect for central and southern Brazil and Argentina, with warm weather and normal precipitation the next seven days.  Thereafter, the eight- to 14-day forecast improves for northern Brazil, with generous rainfall and cooler temps that will improve conditions there if realized.  Weather in the U.S. hardly matters from Dec. 1 to March 15, with early spring weather the next major impact on the now dormant HRW wheat crop.  

By 11 a.m. today we will see the USDA Dec. report, and if there are any surprises, the market will react immediately (Progressive Ag doesn’t expect any major surprises this month, but expects a bearish surprise in January.

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