Hoping for a hat rack grain market

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I have to admit I love to coin names for market moves. You have seen a lot of weird ones in this space. (Ed. note: And here’s another one, The Age of Aquarius, and who could forget Jose Cuervo.) None of them have ever caught on generally, as far as I know.

This morning, the effort is the “hat rack” market. That is where we are right now, as we look for some kind of market news to “hang our hat on.”

You know what I mean. There must be some piece of news that will turn this market around.

Maybe the news will be in the USDA Supply and Demand Report. Maybe it will be in the Crop Production Report, out in two weeks. Maybe it will relate to the weather. Shall we bet on too wet or too dry? Just hope the bad weather is for the other guy.

Bad weather has hit Pennsylvania the last few weeks in the form of torrential rains. A few days ago, Jon Hart in our Mifflintown office was bemoaning the assumed damage in the wheat crop there, with 10 inches of rain.

That rain pattern has not improved, and it did not improve his attitude when I told him we had been dry and needed the rain we were getting. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Holding pattern

Prices have plummeted the last few weeks, with last week being mostly a market in a holding pattern looking for news.

The calendar page is moving to July. We spent June worrying about the crops being late. We normally spend July worrying about being too dry.

The traders need to be worried to drive prices higher, and we are struggling to find worries. The market is not concerned with the wheat crop in Pa. any more than it lies sleepless worrying about crop problems in northeastern Ohio. We are not a big factor.

General rains are delaying the Plains wheat harvest, however, and that becomes a factor. It has not shown up in the markets yet, as the wheat where the harvest is not is still enjoying one last drink to fill berries.

Fickle speculators

It was the speculators that ran the prices up in April and May, and they have fled the market, leading to the decline. They are fickle, looking for a short-term profit. They can jump in just as fast as they dropped out, but they need a reason.

Overnight prices are higher on the Chicago Board of Trade. There should be a reason, but the best I can come up with is the trend to a “turn-around Tuesday.” It is common after a down week to change prices on Tuesday.

September corn that was down 7 cents Monday is up 3 on the overnight trading. July soybeans were up 14 yesterday, but most of the day the November beans that we are focusing on were down 7.

That is because this is an old-crop rally, pulling along the new. The rope pulling the new got broken by the pull of good crops in the ground.

Chicago wheat futures were down Monday, but are up overnight. The hard wheat harvest has been going for nearly two months. The soft is starting. Prices will normally decline in harvest unless the harvest is disappointing.

If rains degrade the quality yield of the crop, that will change.

View from Ashtabula Co.

Locally, it seems the Millers’ ammonia crowd has been working overtime, and most of the N is on. The rain has stopped the field work, and most of the corn is too high now for side dressing anyway.

Several Wayne Township farmers did not like the weather Thursday night. Hail did drastic damage to hundreds of acres of crops near Routes 11 and 322.

Personally, Monday was a great day in Ashtabula County with Squeeze and me celebrating our 35th anniversary. Dinner was at the Welshfield Inn, but I did not drive two miles south to visit Rick Briggs’s farm while I was there.

I thought about it, but I have learned something in the last few decades with Squeeze.

About the Author

Marlin Clark trades producer and elevator grain from an office near Andover, Ohio for Town & Country Co-op. You can reach him for comment at 440-293-4055. More Stories by Marlin Clark

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