Another week of listless trade in the corn market as corn futures hold tight to the $3.50 mark. For the week corn was unchanged while soybeans drifted 5 lower. Wheat managed to buck the trend with a modest 2-cent advance.
Harvest progress continues to be stymied especially for corn as wet weather and poor market conditions keep farmers from making significant progress. The latest Crop Progress report showed that only 28 percent of corn has been harvested as of October 15th compared to 47 percent normally. Soybean harvest is moving along a bit faster than corn with 49 percent harvested but is still behind the normal pace of 60 percent. Rains expected in the eastern Midwest will likely delay harvest over the weekend and into Monday. Further precipitation in the eastern Midwest is expected to delay harvest even more late next week.
On the demand side, there has been solid export business to help support prices. Weekly sales were stronger than expected for corn and wheat. Wheat sales of 615,000 MT were up sharply this week and were 75 percent over the four-week average. Corn export sales beat expectations but declined 21 percent from last week. Soybeans sales missed expectations, down 27 percent from last week. Flash sales also featured prominently this week with 584,000 MT of soy deals and 250,000 MT of corn in the last two days of the week.
In international news, Argentinean farmers are expected to plant 8.92 million hectares (22 million acres) with corn, up from 8.48 million hectares (21 million acres) in the 2016/17 crop year, the agricultural ministry said in its monthly crop report. For Brazil, weather continues to be an issue for planting. Welcome rain fell on many areas from southern Mato Grosso into Mato Grosso do Sul, northern Parana, and portions of western Sao Paulo Thursday. Meanwhile, hot and dry weather continued to stress crops and delay planting from central and northern Mato Grosso into much of Goias and northern Minas Gerais. Crops from Mato Grosso and northern Mato Grosso do Sul to Sao Paulo that missed out on rain Thursday will continue to suffer from hot and mostly dry conditions for at least the next two days while many farmers wait for rain before planting and replanting before shower activity increases Sunday.
National Cash Market:
Grain basis took a break from last week’s sell-off to mostly stabilize as slow harvesting keeps pipeline supplies relatively limited, especially for corn. On the week, there was no change in corn and soybean basis on average across the US.
Basis for corn continues to hold up with current basis levels running on par with the same time last year, but soybeans are about 10 cents a bushel weaker than this time last year.
This week saw some strength from corn buyers as end users in the Western Cornbelt continue to see tight pipeline supplies. Double-digit gains in basis were showing up by feedlots and ethanol plants in NE and SD. River terminals saw some modest weakness along the lower MS River and the OH River region as harvest there picked up pace.
For soybeans, buyers were mostly steady to slightly weaker as harvest hits the mid-point for the year. Some soy crush facilities showed 10 to 15 cent losses this week across IA/IL/IN.
For soybeans, the river markets also catapulted higher by 16 cents a bushel from last week’s disastrous readings. Soy crush plants added 2 cents a bushel as a group but plants located closer to river markets followed higher with double digit gains.
Harvest delays are still expected as this weekend should bring rain into the NW part of the grain belt. Some localized flooding is possible, especially in central and southern Iowa, southern Wisconsin, northern Missouri, and northwestern Illinois. This could continue to provide support to corn basis.
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