Soybeans, corn, wheat gain ground on weather concerns
Soybeans were higher on commercial and technical buying, with new crop outgaining old crop and November closing above $12. Dry weather continues to be an issue in Argentina and southern Brazil, with harvest delaying rain in northern Brazil. According to AgRural, 15% of Brazil’s soybean crop is harvested, the slowest in a decade and well behind the year ago pace of 31%. Demand is strong with the USDA expecting tight supplies through at least next marketing year. Weekly export inspections were down on the week but remain well ahead of the pace needed to meet USDA projections for the current marketing year, with the next set of USDA supply and demand estimates out March 9th. The top destinations were China and the Netherlands. Cofeed estimates China’s February bean crush at 4.84 million tons, which would be down on both the week and the year. Soybean meal was mixed on bear spreading by commercial traders, while bean oil was supported by strong vegetable oil demand.
Corn was higher on commercial and technical buying, also with new crop outgaining old crop. Corn is also watching South America, especially the slow second crop corn planting pace in Brazil. The end of the optimal planting window for that critical crop is this week for most areas. The second crop is the largest of Brazil’s three crops and the source of most of their exports. Parts of Argentina should see rain soon, but those forecasts will need to follow through and some yield potential has likely been lost. Corn and sorghum export inspections were both above what’s needed to meet expectations for the 2020/21 marketing year. Mexico and Japan led the way for corn, while sorghum shipments were mainly to China. Corn is also keeping an eye out for acreage clues ahead of the USDA’s Prospective Planting report out March 31st, along with quarterly grain stocks. Ethanol futures were unchanged.
The wheat complex was higher on speculative and technical buying. The big issue for wheat is drought or near drought conditions in the U.S. Plains. Winterkill is probable in parts of the Plains and Midwest, but full damage won’t be known for a while. The USDA’s next set of monthly state crop progress and condition stories is out this week, while the weekly state and national reports resume in April. The trade is also watching overwintering conditions in the European Union, Russia, and Ukraine, pre-planting weather in the northern U.S. Plains and Canada, and harvest activity in Australia. Wheat export inspections were bearish heading into the final quarter of the marketing year. The biggest destinations for the week were China and Peru. DTN says Tunisia bought 100,000 tons of soft wheat and 92,000 tons of durum, while Pakistan is tendering for 300,000 tons of wheat from an unnamed origin.