- The corn market continued to consolidate for the fourth consecutive day, as it closed slightly higher following two-sided trade. Significant market news remains relatively quiet, nor have there been any new private corn export sales reported since last Tuesday, but buying strength in the soybean market did help keep a floor under corn futures during the session.
- AgRural estimates Brazil’s first corn harvest to be 7.9% complete, as compared to 5.1% last week and 5.9% last year. The agency also estimates that seeding of the second (safrinha) corn crop is 4.9% complete versus 0.4% last week, and 1% last year.
- A Brazilian crop watcher reduced its estimate of Brazil’s 23/24 corn production in its latest release, by 11% to 118.5 mmt. The reduction is likely due to delays in the soybean crop which would lead to a potential drop in planted area as planting of the second (safrinha) crop gets pushed back. The USDA currently estimates Brazil’s corn production at 127 mmt.
- It is also estimated that if Brazil’s production does fall that much, it is possible that the country’s 23/24 exports could fall to 35 mmt from last year’s 56 mmt. An export drop of 21 mmt for Brazil could open the door for increased US exports for the coming year.
- US corn export prices are currently below both Brazil and Argentina through February, after which Argentina is more competitive.
- Soybeans ended the day significantly higher and are now 38 cents off last Thursday’s low. Support came from higher soybean meal and oil, and some of the early yields from the beginning of Brazil’s soy harvest that have come in poorly.
- Over the next week, Argentina is expected to be relatively dry, but the good growing conditions they have had so far this season should keep the crop in good shape. Brazil is expected to receive scattered showers over the next week with some dryness in the western region of the country.
- The big question over the next few months will be the size of South America’s total production as the USDA is likely forecasting Brazilian production too high but may be predicting Argentina’s too low. Their guess of 157 mmt for Brazil is above most analysts’ expectations which range between 150 and 155 mmt, with some much lower, but increases by Argentina could offset some of those losses.
- Demand has been mixed with domestic crush very strong and December’s crush numbers breaking records, but export demand has been lagging with exports below last year by 20%. Crush margins have narrowed over the past few weeks, and the US’s export window for soybeans is nearing its end with South American harvest underway.
- Wheat closed mixed amongst the three futures classes. Despite being about a dime higher at one point, March Chicago wheat settled unchanged, potentially pressured by another rise in the US Dollar Index. Some weakness may have also stemmed from recent rains in Australia that, according to some private estimates, may boost their crop to 30 mmt. For reference, the USDA is at 25.5 mmt.
- According to the EU’s Monitoring Agricultural Resources unit, winter crops in northern European countries may experience damage due to a cold front. However, Russian wheat is said to be protected by thick snow cover, so not much damage is expected there.
- The Canadian wheat production estimate for 24/25 is seen rising 4.2% to 33.3 mmt, according to an estimate from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). While planted acreage is expected to be down slightly, yields are expected to be higher.
- China has been encouraging hog producers to reduce capacity after farmers lost about eleven dollars per head on average. While this does not directly affect the wheat market, it is important to note that it may affect the commodity complex as a whole, especially if Chinese hog farmers require less feed grain. Additionally, as they try to become more self-sufficient, there are concerns that down the road China will import less grain in general.
- The 2024 Class III milk average dropped over 13 cents during today’s trade, continuing a dizzying slide lower.
- Class IV futures were in the green today and the 2024 average have been in a 30 cent range since October of 2023.
- The gap between second month Class III and Class IV prices currently sits at $3.38 per CWT.
- Tomorrow is a busy day for fundamentals with Cold Storage and Milk Production reports being published in the afternoon.
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