Weekly Crop Commentary - 4/19/2024

Apr 19, 2024

Wes Bahan
Vice President, Grain Division

Good afternoon. It’s been a while since our last communication. There hasn’t been much change in the grain markets.  They just continue to grind along here as we struggle to find a story. Funds are still short in the market, exports are as expected, planting has progressed in the south, and most of the driest areas in the western corn belt have gotten nice rains. We have seen some flashes this week from the USDA on sales confirmations.  We have 138k MT of meal going to the Philippines, 216k MT of corn to Mexico, and 121k MT of beans to unknown.  Brazil is still a very active shipper of beans, and they are taking the bulk of the demand, and the problems with rain in Argentina have calmed down.

The EPA this week said they are going to allow the sale of E-15 into the summer. That’s a win for corn as they typically scale back to E-10 as we get into the summer months. Not only haven’t the futures markets done much of anything the basis across the country has been relatively steady. We are starting to see some improvement west of the Mississippi River, and hopefully, some of the Illinois corn can work in that direction. Basis levels for old crop beans in the processor and container markets continue to be the best, but we are starting to get some interest in rail beans also.  It will be interesting to see how things pan out as the spring and summer move on.

 Not much field activity that I could see this week. I did see some spraying going on Tuesday, but that’s pretty much it on my travels. Not sure about next week either, at this point as cooler temps and steady rain chances look to be on the horizon.

Haylee VanScoy
Director of Grain Purchasing

It’s nice to be back after a few weeks! Grain markets are finishing the week off in the green, however they’ve not greeted us with a warm welcome back over the last month. Corn continues to be rangebound between $4.10-4.40 CK since our lows made on 2/26/24. New crop corn has shared a similar sentiment with their 20-day moving average sitting around $4.70 and that range being between $4.60-4.80.

As for beans, we’ve seen some flash sales this week, however, overall demand is still lacking for the U.S. with Brazil leading the charge on exports. Old crop has really struggled to find some support over the last two months. Today we approached our most recent lows from 2/29/24 before rebounding slightly on the news of Israel’s retaliation attacks on Iran. Also, this week, March NOPA crush numbers came out and we did see a single-month record for 2024 so far with 196.4 million bushels, 10+ million bu higher than last month and this time last year. Unfortunately, just not enough bullish headlines out there to turn this thing around yet.

As weather forecasts continue to shift this spring and planting progresses, be prepared to take advantage of seasonal rallies, whether that’s having target offers in once you get busy in the fields or considering enrolling some new crop bean bushels into our bean averaging program. Enrollment for that program ends on May 8th. Reach out to your local merchandiser to inquire! Hope you all have a wonderful week.

Lou Baughman
Grain Merchandiser, Kenton (Region 1)

A month has gone by, corn has lost about 8¢ and beans took a hit, dropping around 35¢ in that month’s time. There was a spike in the markets overnight following reports that three drones from Israel struck Iran. Markets calmed after Iran indicated they were not going to retaliate, but remain in the green this afternoon.

There is still time to enroll in the Soybean Average Price Program, the deadline is May 8th. If you haul straight out of the field this may be a good tool for you to try. Talk with your local merchandiser for all the details.

Will Gase
Grain Merchandiser, Upper Sandusky (Region 2)

Well, it has been a minute, but happy Friday! Thankful for the plentiful rain showers over the last three weeks, making up for the lack of moisture we received over the course of the winter season. In Wyandot and the surrounding counties, there has not been a whole lot of movement in fields. A little bit of topdressing of wheat, a couple anhydrous tanks moving, and that is about it. Fieldwork and planting should pick up when the rains shut off in the coming weeks.

Looking at grain markets, we look to be down 5-10¢ across the board for the week on all three commodities. Today’s uptick (written at noon) is brought to you by Israel sending missiles into Iran overnight. This is a retaliation attack from last week when Iran sent missiles into Israel. Look for this to continue being a story moving forward if escalations continue to rise.

A reminder that the Soybean Average Pricing Program has a deadline of May 8th, 2024 to enroll bushels. Contact your regional grain merchandiser to enroll! Thank you and have a great weekend!

Steve Bricher
Grain Operation Manager, Urbana (Region 3)

It has been a few weeks since I have written about the market, unfortunately not much has happened. We did see a little fieldwork done earlier this week and the planters ran for a day or so before they got rained out.

The corn market has been in about a 20¢ range for the last 6 weeks and does not seem to want to break out of that range currently. The market seems to be comfortable today with where we are in the world with the current supply and demand.

The soybean market has lost 80¢ since late March and is trading back to the lows we set in February. Again, like corn, the world is comfortable with where we are today with supply. China has slowed demand so that is weighing on the markets. It is not just soybean prices that have fallen meal and oil are down also. If the March planting report is correct, we are going to see increased soybean acres in the US, we also know that if we do see any planting delays the farmer will switch those acres to soybeans as the profitability is not that much different than corn today.

We will have to see how planting progresses over the next month and whether will that help or hurt our price movement.

Lisa Warne
Grain Merchandiser, Marysville (Region 4)

A lot has happened in the last four weeks. First, I want to thank you all for your patience and understanding while we’ve had our computer issues. Secondly, the soybean market has lacked any bullish data to keep it elevated. Nearby beans have declined about 50¢ since the last time we wrote, but it is staying above the low set on Leap Day and we’re seeing a nice recovery effort today. The nearby corn market remains in its tight window. Since March 1st, there’s only been a swing of 26¢, but most of the time, cash at Marysville fluctuates between $3.95-$4.05. We now have free delayed price on both corn and soybean deliveries at all the western half of Ohio locations.

In between rainstorms, there’s some local field activity starting, but nothing widespread. In the US Planting Progress report this past Monday, corn is at 6% planted versus 7% last year and 5% on the five-year average. Soybeans are 3% planted, the same as last year at this time, with the average at 1%.

We have about 2½ weeks left for you to enroll soybean bushels in our new Average Price contracting program. The deadline is May 8th, so feel free to ask one of us for more information between now and then. Thank you to those who signed up bushels for the corn program. Have a great weekend!

Ralph Wince
Grain Merchandiser, Canfield (Region 5)

Good afternoon, I hope all of you are doing well. We have seen a lot of wet weather here in NE Ohio in the first half of April. Up to this point, there has not been anything planted that I am aware of. I looked yesterday at the May precipitation & temperature maps and May looks to change some. Temps look to be above average and a lot of the Midwest looks to be normal on precip, including us. We all know how fast the farmer can plant the crop today with the size of equipment we have. So, if you were looking for a push in the markets from weather issues I don’t believe we are there today.

As far as the grain markets go, we have been pretty range-bound in corn. I looked today to see what the corn trading range has been on the front month of May contract since 3/1/24. We have only seen a whopping 26¢ trading range. May corn traded a low on 3/1/24 of $4.22 and on 3/28/24 we saw May corn trade as high as $4.48. As I write this today May corn is trading at $4.33. So, you can see what I am talking about. Beans have had a little broader range but not huge. On 3/1/24 beans traded as low as $11.37 and on 3/21/24 they were as high as $12.12. That was a 75¢ trading range and right now May beans are at $11.52. There continues to be plenty of grain around and every time the market has a slight rally it is drawing grain out of the farmers' hands and the CBOT does not have to work hard to get the grain purchased.

Finally, I would say this. By no means am I bullish the markets today but I would say that we are starting to hear some about Midwest getting dry later this summer. Eric Snodgrass pointed out in today’s Stone X’s Market Intelligence that the current sea surface temperature patterns appear to be closest to what they were at this same time in 2020, making it a possible analog year. Corn yields ended up modestly below trend that year, while soybean yields were modestly above-trend levels. Time will tell. The bottom line is this though. We will need to see some type of weather event or something that we don’t see on the horizon to rally grain prices significantly. Have a good weekend.

Read More News

Jun 10, 2024
Good afternoon. This week was yet another wild one in the grain markets. We worked our way lower for the majority of the week, and then Thursday came and we won back most of those losses.
May 31, 2024
Good afternoon. Hard to believe we are at another month's end, but here we are. Scattered rains since the weekend have kept field activity this week at a minimum.
May 24, 2024
Good afternoon. Hard to believe we are on the Memorial Day weekend. Another month has absolutely flown by. Planting progress made great strides this week.