Spring has sprung the soybean prices

I’m sure we all remember that immortal poem. You remember the one — you learned it just after “roses are red.” It came to me as I walked the dog this morning. “Spring is sprung, the grass has riz, I wonder where the flowers is.”

Maybe not Wordsworth or Longfellow, but it fits the season. My Persian Lilac is showing green buds. My earliest maple tree is budding. There is a vase on the coffee table with three kinds of daffodils. I like the ones with the orange centers best, but that might just be the Ulster Scot heritage showing.

Wheat fields have turned green, and the lawn is not far behind. The wheat is prettier, because it is the first harbinger of spring here in snow country, and it doesn’t make me think of work I need to do. My mower has come back from Fred Shohayda’s shop ready to go and is sitting under the Ohio State grill cover, waiting. The snow melts, and we have a monochromatic landscape except for the wheat.

Gray markets, too

Grain markets have been monochromatic since the March 31 USDA Planting Intentions Report. This has been a soybean rally, primarily, and the last week in corn futures has reminded us that corn has just been along for the ride.

Monday was a good example of that, and the overnight into Tuesday has reinforced that attitude.

The beans are trading on their own now, and the corn is staggering. Monday, the March soybean futures got back to the new recent high of 10.30, repeating the April 9 high. That is now $1.33 above the low trade the day before the report, quite a move! It is nearly $2 above the recent low of 8.38 1/4 just back on March 2.

It is also getting close to the congestion point on the chart back in January in the 10.40s, with the high of 10.69 very briefly on Jan. 12. That came from a reaction to the USDA Inventory Report.

Soybean surprise

The soybean surprise from March 31 was that we were going to plant several million acres fewer soybeans than the trade had anticipated. At the same time, we were only going to cut corn acres 1 million instead of the 3 million a lot of traders anticipated.

The main surprise was that bean number. The secondary surprise was that the corn still went higher, following the beans.

March corn futures made the recent low on March 2 at 3.44 1/2, then bounced to 4.03 3/4 by the 23rd. Anticipating bad news, the traders took the March to a low of 3.76 3/4 the day before the report. On report day we zoomed to 4.06, then made a recent high of 4.07 1/2 on April 2.

That was a 63-cent gain in exactly a month.

What’s corn worth?

March corn traded eight consecutive days above $4, but that is over. Monday we made a low at 3.83.

Now comes the time when we have to decide what corn is really worth. The more times it trades at the same level, just above $4, the harder the ceiling on the charts becomes, and this is starting to feel like a hard ceiling.

You can always tell when the top is in. That is when the farmers all move their targets higher!

And, just to add insult to injury, the hardest job this spring is not buying corn. It is finding a home for it. I have turned down 40 trucks in the last two weeks just because the homes are all staying full of local farmer corn in central Pa.

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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