Weekly Crop Commentary - 1/12/2024

Jan 12, 2024

Haylee VanScoy
Director for Grain Purchasing

Between the cold weather on the way this weekend and a bearish January WASDE report this afternoon, it’s not been a very exciting Friday. Grain markets have bounced off their lows today, however corn and beans are still down a dime and wheat is down 7c.

Corn and beans both saw a slight decrease to harvested acres, however it was quickly offset by increases to yields, further increasing production numbers. Corn did see an increase of 25 mil to feed demand and 50 mil to ethanol, but that wasn’t enough to offset carryout. We’re still looking at a 2.16 bil bu corn carryout compared to 2.13 bil bu last month. If we continue to plant 90+ mil acres of corn this year, I’m not very bullish on the corn price outlook unfortunately. On the bean side of things, demand was pretty well unchanged and increased carryout from 245 million to 280 million bushels. Brazil did have some cuts to their production numbers, but not as much as expected, further adding to the bearish tone along with higher than anticipated quarterly stocks numbers.

What does this all mean to you? Calculating your input costs and figuring break evens will continue to play an important role in profitability as we navigate these lower commodity prices. Talk with your local merchandiser to discuss marketing options for what’s in the bin and new crop. Have them help you develop a marketing plan that fits the needs of your operation. Reminder that markets are closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Hope you all stay dry and warm this weekend! Have a great week.

Will Gase
Grain Merchandiser, Upper Sandusky (Region 2)

Good afternoon and happy Friday. Feels like the calm before the storm here. Last few hours before rain, snow, wind, and frigid temps arrive. I, for one, am excited to do just about nothing besides a little cleaning inside the house and to watch football all weekend since it will be too cold to do anything else.

Now the important stuff, I am sure others will touch on it but today the WASDE report came and went and it is pretty ugly. Increased yield and production for corn and beans has our carryout figures up. That is bad news for the markets as we are down double digits for both as I type this. Something to keep an eye on… support level for corn is around 4.47 futures for March and beans at 12.00 futures for March. If we close below those numbers, that commodity has the chance to continue falling. So keep an eye on that the next week or so as we work through trading these report numbers. My guess would be we have found the new trading range for corn and beans will continue to trade news out of South America until we get into March if we close above these levels.

In a market like this, alternative contracts and options can be your friend to ensure profitability. Look at price points you need to be profitable and give us a call if you are interested in either of the two and we would be happy to help. Have a great weekend and try to stay warm!

Steve Bricher
Grain Operation Manager, Urbana (Region 3)

We have survived the holidays, and I am getting back to a normal routine. The phones have been very quiet since I returned from vacation as the farmer today is sitting on his hands.

Since the first of the year corn has traded in about a 10 cent range, watching paint dry is more exciting than the corn market these days. Unless we received a surprise from the crop report today I do not see the corn market doing much over the next 5 months for the following reasons. We have plenty of corn 2.0 billion bushel projected carryout. Export sales are not good and do not look to improve today. The livestock sector, namely the hog producers, are not showing great margins. The ethanol sector has "ok" margins but stocks are building. Yes, there is carry in the market to summer but does that more than cover the cost of interest today? At this point any kind of small rally needs to be sold.

The soybean market has lost 50 cents since the end of the year. The reasons are similar to what I listed in the corn market but adding that weather has improved in South America and crush margins here in the US are getting squeezed. It seems that the crusher is building meal stocks and that is going to weigh on margins for a while.

The weather outside has turned cold and gray, but do not continue to sit inside and do nothing about getting your crop sold.

Lisa Warne
Grain Merchandiser, Marysville (Region 4)

Well, it’s hard to be the bearer of bad news, but the USDA report today was full of bearish data. The kneejerk reaction in the first hour after the report had corn down 17 cents, soybeans down 33 cents, and wheat down 7 cents. Fortunately, the market has come off the lows of the day, though. With these lower prices, hopefully next week will bring some bargain-buyers and better export sales. Export sales were dismal again this week. While we are ahead of the pace needed to meet USDA’s soybean export projections for this year, it is 154 million bushels behind last year’s figure at this time.

Looking at the data from the report, Ohio’s corn yield was 198 bushels per acre, up 11 from last year and breaking 2021’s record of 193. The US also set a record average for corn at 177.3 BPA. For soybeans, Ohio finished at 58 BPA, breaking 2021’s high of 57. Average yield for the US came in at 50.6, tying for 4th highest.

With all the bearish numbers thrown out today, it’s important to pencil out your costs and know what price levels are required to still make money. Just “hoping to catch the high” is not a recommended marketing strategy. Know your breakeven so you can protect your risk. This goes for old crop in the bin and what you’re planning to plant in 2024. Have a great weekend and we’ll chat next week!

Ralph Wince
Grain Merchandiser, Canfield (Region 5)

Good afternoon. Well, the long awaited USDA Jan Report is out and it gave nothing for the market bulls today. Corn and bean carryouts grew and the market did not appreciate the numbers at all. As I write this Mar24 corn is .10 lower and Mar24 beans are .20 lower. Not what we were hoping for today. Below is a what the 23-24 carryouts looks like for corn, beans and wheat.


As you can see, the corn and beans both went up compared to the Dec USDA numbers. Beans are showing the biggest jump and some of that looks to be because of the increase of bushels per acre going from 49.9 in December to 50.6 here in the January report. I also have concern that at some point we might see USDA pull back it’s export number. I read this week that Brazil is around .80 cents per bu cheaper landed China verse the U.S. Gulf. Time will tell if this plays out. Now that the numbers are out we will have to move forward with what our marketing plans need to look like. Give us a call and we can discuss them. It sounds like we have some of the coldest weather of the season coming our way over the next week. Stay warm, and have a good weekend.

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