Weekly Crop Commentary - 3/8/2024

Mar 08, 2024

Lou Baughman
Grain Merchandiser, Kenton (Region 1)

China has started to cancel wheat shipments, and there could be more cancellations to come. Turned out to be a not so big report day. The focus of the trade was on the USDA’s production estimates for Brazil. USDA only lowered the Brazil bean production 1 million to 155 MMT; many were expecting it to fall to 152.3 MMT. Brazil’s corn production was unchanged, but Argentina’s production is making up for Brazil’s losses.

We now will focus on the weather as planting season nears and the March 28th planting intentions report. Stay safe, and don’t forget to Spring Ahead Sunday. 😊

Will Gase
Grain Merchandiser, Upper Sandusky (Region 2)

Happy Friday! I am writing this pre-report, but if things hold steady, we are looking at two weeks in a row in the green (positive). Corn is looking at being up about 15 cents on old crop and 15 cents on new crop in the past two weeks. Beans are looking at 15-20 cents on old crop and new crop as well. It’s a small rally, but it is a rally. Funds (money in the market) are slowly moving towards being less short which is a good thing for prices. Combining that with a couple decent weeks of some export sales calls for a small rally. After today, all eyes will be pointed towards March 28th with the planting intentions report from the USDA. The 28th gives us an idea on what it is going to look like for the upcoming crop year.

Heritage is rolling out Average Price Programs for corn and beans this year. We are taking the closing price of each trading day (corn runs 4/15 - 7/12 and beans run 5/13 – 8/16), adding it up at the end, and giving you an average over those pricing dates. No double up, no knockout, and cost is 1 cent/bushel. Over the past ten years, the trading ranges we picked boast the highest averages over the course of the calendar year. It’s another tool for the toolbox, in my opinion, and offers a good baseline for your operation. Give your local merchandiser a call to learn more and/or enroll bushels into the programs. Have a great weekend, and stay dry!

Steve Bricher
Grain Operation Manager, Urbana (Region 3)

Another nice weather week and the farmer is looking to an early spring. We have seen grain activity pick up this week. With the nice weather everyone seems like they want to get something done.

We have seen the corn rally continue this week. We are not up as much as we were last week but we will take the price improvement. I am not sure why we're seeing the market move higher, but it is welcome as we are getting cash corn back close to 4.00. Cash prices are the highest they have been in over a month. We will see if we can continue this price action. I believe you have to be a seller on this rally. There is still a lot of corn on the farm that needs to move.

We have a nice bounce in soybeans also. Like corn, we are back to price levels we saw in mid-February. Exports were ok, but South American harvest is in full swing, and they are taking most, if not all, new sales to most customers. New crop values are back to 11.00. We have seen some activity here, as everyone is nervous about what could happen if we plant a big crop and have trend line yields.

Wheat has been getting abused. Russia is setting the market, and they keep lowering the price. When the war started 2 years ago most large multi-national grain companies pulled out of Russia, so they are not setting the price to get wheat moved to make room for their 2024 crop. Also, China canceled a purchase they made last fall. It is not a good time to be a wheat farmer.

Lisa Warne
Grain Merchandiser, Marysville (Region 4)

Happy Friday! Today’s USDA WASDE report has come and gone and we saw no changes to the domestic corn and soybean supply/demand tables this month. Wheat S&D had a reduction in exports, increasing carryout 15 million bushels. Traders had expected cuts to Brazil’s corn and soybean production numbers, but USDA mostly kicked the can down the road on that decision. Brazil corn was left unchanged (trade expected nearly a 2 MMT reduction) and soybeans were only reduced by 1 million metric tons instead of the anticipated 3.7 decrease.

We’ve had a decent rally to end the week with cash corn at Marysville finally returning to $4 after being below the threshold for over three weeks. Soybeans have been quite the yo-yo today, but we’re looking to finish the day with cash nearing 11.55.

I’ve had some customers starting to lock in new crop bushels. This afternoon we’ve got fall delivery corn at 4.30 and beans around 11.20 at Marysville. I know many of you might not think that’s enough, but it can give you a floor for a small portion of your bushels. Another idea is to check out our new Average Price Programs for corn and beans. Over a selected period of time, we will take a part of your contracted bushels and price some each day. Contact one of us for more details. Have a great weekend!

Ralph Wince
Grain Merchandiser, Canfield (Region 5)

Good afternoon, USDA March update is out with no big surprises today. It was pretty much what the traders were looking for. USDA left U.S. carryout on corn and beans unchanged. We did see world carryout pull back some, and that has supported the market today. Now we move on and have 3 weeks before the next USDA report, and that is when we will get our first look as to what we think will be planted for corn and bean acres this year. That will be our best chance for a change in direction from the current environment that we are in.

The speculative funds are still extremely short and are looking to cover some of those short positions when and if we see something that spooks them. We have seen some of that over the past few months from time to time, but it is very short lived. When we see those rallies, we have been seeing farmers selling, and that has limited how much to the upside we go. I would encourage you to take a look at what you have to sell still and reward the market when we see those spikes to the upside.

Last, I would like to again remind you that we are going to have a period this spring and early summer to participate in an “Average Price Program” window. The cost is minimal, and we would love to take some time to explain it to you. Please feel free to give us a call to talk about it and other marketing options we have available to help you maximize your grain marketing for the 2024 crop. Have a great weekend!!!

Read More News

Mar 22, 2024
What another wild week in the grain markets. Volatility is still very high, and even the slightest bit of news, good or bad, has massive implications on prices.
Mar 15, 2024
Good afternoon. First of all, we want to keep folks affected by the tornadoes last night in our prayers. We did have some very nice weather for the majority of the week, and receipts did pick up nicely as farmers decided to haul grain.
Mar 01, 2024
I hope everyone survived the storms earlier this week with no major damage. This cold front appears to be moving out and it looks like we might reach 70 degrees come the end of the weekend into the first of next week. Spring planting will be here before we know it!