Grain prices: Looking for Mr. Goodmarket


Traders are looking around for something to hang their collective marketing hats on. There have been no surprises in the harvest so far, so we are looking at outside markets, weather, and tea leaves and chicken entrails for direction this morning.

Stir those entrails anyway you want, and it is still hard to see any real direction. Grain prices are content to trade in a small range, looking for direction.

It is hard for northeast Ohio farmers to recognize, but the crop is just where we expected. While we here are well into the earliest harvest in our lifetimes, others are just on pace, and with the crop that was expected.

The current numbers do not encourage bullishness, even from this level. With a 168 bushel/acre yield, we get a 13.555 billion-bushel corn crop and no real reason to move prices. And the weather reports tell us that good harvest will continue.

One hint of possible change comes in the form of the Commitment of Traders Report, out Friday. That showed that the speculators had flipped from being short 2411 contracts of corn to being long 52,065 contracts. That represents a change of mood, and it is a large position change that did not change the market. Probably the elevator selling to hedge ownership was negated by the buying of the specs.

The numbers

Corn prices have bounced off the contract low of 3.60 1/2 made on Sept. 4, but the high of a tick off $4 a month later has been strong overhead resistance. We are currently trading just above 3.80 on this Tuesday morning, Oct. 13.

The soybeans are trading in a small range, looking for news. The news being talked about that has not moved the market yet is that Brazil is very dry and planting has been delayed, waiting for rain. Planting normally starts in the north the middle of September. This is now becoming of critical interest.

November soybeans made the low of 8.53 3/4 on Sept. 11. The high was almost exactly 50 cents higher, on Sept. 30. We are currently 8.93 1/2, up 6 cents for the day, and in the high end of the range.

The wheat planting seems to be on normal pace. Actual numbers for this and harvest for the other crops is noticeably lacking today because of the Columbus Day/Indian Heritage Day holiday Monday, Oct. 12. Those numbers will be a day late.

Heritage confusion

Perhaps you did not notice that Oct. 12 has become Indian Heritage Day. Wait, that is still not right, since I am not being PC. I should have said “Native American Day.” The celebration of Columbus thinking he had discovered India is slowly being overshadowed by guilt for genocide and a Eurocentric history that has apparently confused us about our real heritage. I struggle with my white European guilt.

Wait a minute… no, I guess I don’t really. A recent book on the four voyages of Columbus sits on my shelf, unopened. I thought I should study it, but I find I really don’t care.


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