Grain markets higher after USDA reports


Grain markets have made new recent highs in the last week.

The USDA Prospective Plantings Report, followed by friendly export reports, have helped fuel some bullish enthusiasm for the grains.

As we discussed last week, the corn acres were down, but not much. The big surprise was in the soybeans, which ended up with acres several million smaller than expected.

Soybean yo-yo. The results have been dramatic, especially in the soybeans. The recent (if you think of January as recent) high in the May soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade was the $10.69 posted Jan. 12. That was followed by a $2.30 plus drop in less than two months.

This acreage report is the primary factor in rallying us back nearly all of that. Since the May low of 8.38 1/4 March 2, we have gained to as high as 10.09 by Monday the 6th — a gain of over $1.70.

The soybeans did not make a steady gain, having gained from the early March low to 9.81 1/4 by the 23rd, then losing 16 cents before the report gains. Tuesday’s overnight is just even, however, and the trading Monday did not hold the 10.09 high.

We are currently (April 7) at 9.94, 15 cents off the high, and looking for reasons to go higher.

On the corn side

The January high that we keep looking at in corn is 4.39 1/2. We lost most of a buck off that by the first week of March, then rallied to 4.03 3/4 March 23 before the report. I was surprised by that, anticipating a lot of corn acres.

When the report came, we made a new contract high on report day, March 31, at 4.06. April 2, we got up to 4.07 1/4 briefly, and we touched that again this Monday. We are currently trading a nickel below that.

Corn is a sale now. The bullish beans are helping corn more than the acreage report for corn. That cannot last forever.

New crop corn futures are higher than current. December futures are trading 4.34 overnight.

When will planters drop

The next big news is planting progress. Reports will start soon. Planting may be delayed, as it should have started in some areas, and we have snow instead. It is too early to talk about delays for real, but that is what will run the market now.

First, it is planting progress, then the actual planted acres. As I mentioned last week, USDA has a record of being accurate on the corn acreage estimate, but not the bean acreage estimate. The beans seem to be more driven by weather issues. The corn gets planted in all but the worst years.

The USDA Prospective Plantings Report has given us one more good chance to price grain. Respond to this now or regret it later.

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