Grain markets: Rain makes grain, or so we hope

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Last week, Trumbull County farmer Dean Miller told me that we sure could use a half-inch of rain. Remind me to be in Florida when he wishes for a little snow. We finished the week with several inches of rain, and we are plumb full. The fields around here were filled to flooding, though the ponds went away overnight.

Now we are have moisture and could sure use some sunshine. It is 52 degrees as this is written, and the corn is shivering. (No, really! Put your ear to the ground and you can hear it!)

It is now June, and now the market switches over from a planting mentality and thinks that “rain makes grain.” Give us some heat and the market will be right.

Huge crop

The mentality of the traders seems to be that we are going to have huge crops at cheap prices. So far we have the cheap prices.

We made new lows in corn and beans Monday, but wheat closed sharply higher after a poor week for prices. July wheat is now at 5.00 1/2, up six and three quarters for the day in early trading Tuesday, June 2. We had a low of 4.60 3/4 on May 5, then a high on the 18th at 5.30 1/4. Rains in the Plains seemed to moderate prices as the rain helped conditions.

Now the idea is more that too much rain hurt conditions, so prices are a little better again. The July corn futures made a low Monday at 3.48 1/4, matching the May 28 low. We have bounced mildly to 3.54 3/4, up two and a quarter this morning so far. The December corn futures had a low of 3.65 on Monday, but are currently 3.72, up three cents for the day so far.

The damage done by the large corn acres in the March 31 USDA Planting Intentions Report is obvious as the major reason for decline. The high that day was 4.21 1/4 before the report, and we lost over 56 cents after that.

Soybeans

In the case of soybeans, we were higher after the acreage report, but have drifted lower, especially the last two weeks as the planting has pushed the idea of a big crop. Monday we were lower by 8 cents, but so far today we are higher by 13 cents.

The new crop November futures put in the recent low on Monday at 8.96 3/4, but have bounced almost 18 cents off that so far on Tuesday, where we are up almost 13 cents for the day.

Planting progress

Planting progress is now a dead issue, but we can look at the numbers. Ohio corn planting is at 93 percent, well above the average of 81 percent. We gained 6 percent this week. The U.S. is at 95 percent, just above the 94 average. We were at 92% last week.

It is no surprise that the Ohio emphasis this week was for soybean planting. We gained 23 percent to 61 percent planted, although locally we are above that. The average is 41 percent, so we are well ahead of normal with the big gains this week. The fast planting progress has resulted in a corn crop that is now rated at 74 percent good and excellent, unchanged from last week.

The fast progress and good crop has traders expecting next week to see a higher crop production number in the June Supply and Demand Report from USDA.

The first soybean Crop Condition Report will be out next week. I don’t expect the conditions there to be as good as corn, as beans are now struggling to get out of cool, wet soils.

The wheat crops have a couple of problems. The harvest is being held up by wet weather, although we won’t quantify that until the first harvest progress report out on next Monday. We had freezes in Canada and North Dakota that may have hurt winter wheat crops, although the spring wheat will shrug that off.

The crop condition is off 1 percent because of recent wet weather, and that seems like too small compared to the flooding reports on the TV. We might see a further decline next week.

We are seeing some movement on corn from the farms, which might be characterized as “give up” selling. Some market letters have cautioned that we can see big price improvement this summer, but they are moving that ahead on the calendar and sounding less positive.

This will be another marketing season for “As the Stomach Turns.”

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