Aug 1, 2014
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July 2014 Archive for Current Marketing Thoughts

RSS By: Kevin Van Trump, AgWeb.com

Kevin Van Trump has over 20 years of experience in the grain and livestock industry.

Will Argentine Default Squeeze the Farmer More?

Jul 31, 2014

The news of the Argentine default has certainly rattled the macro markets but what kind of ripple effects could we see in the grain markets?  This is the second time in 12 years that the country has gone through this process and this time around, does it have the potential to dictate sizable shifts and changes in Agriculture in Argentina?  There has always been government involvement with tariffs and taxes, to the tune of $76 million over the past ten years, with very little of those funds left in the bank.  But with the economy so heavily weighted to the ag sector, will they need to rely more on the local farmers who have been pinched with rising inputs and lower prices?  Will China come to the rescue, and at what expense?  What will happen with the already high grain export duties and tariffs? Will the government be forced to raise them even further and will producers be able to take the hit?  How will the farmers respond? What will happen with the Argentine currency and in return what will happen with the price of agricultural inputs inside Argentina? In fact, recent data indicates there is now 30,000 fewer farms in Argentina than there were 10-years ago, while planted acreage has increased almost 30% and their national harvest has risen by close to 50%, with total exports soaring from $15 to now over  $45 billion. Moral of the story, the Argentine government appears to be in a major financial pinch and their only real assets or major cash-flow seems to continually point back towards agriculture.  How they will squeeze the agricultural sector this time around is currently a bit of a mystery and something we need to closely monitor?  I just hope this isn't a blue-print for other nations in the years ahead (squeezing their ag sector) as the global debt burden continues to rise.  If this scenario plays out, will the local Argentine growers hold bean bushels, as hedge against their currency, as we have seen in the past?

Corn Bulls Thinking Market Could be Ahead of Itself....

Jul 30, 2014

As we have continued to see corn prices trend lower, the question many are asking is have we reached a bottom yet, and that has the bulls excited.  Not for sure if that is the case but we have seen another bank, Goldman Sachs, begin to think the end is near on the corn price descent or at least stabilize.  I would have to agree that the market has a fairly high yield number priced into the market at this point, that may be inching up to the mid 170's bpa.  With the recent dry spell, although coupled with season cool temps, there is enough uncertainty out there that could have many questioning these yield numbers.  I know it seems like the deck is stacked against us, but as I mentioned yesterday, the amount of fund buying power on the sidelines, is unprecedented for the grains.  With a any bullish, or not as bearish, slant on this corn crop and you could see a knee jerk reaction that could whipsaw these prices higher.  The trade appears to be able to digest a yield number up to a 176bpa yield estimate, without too much negative repercussions but anything higher and the wheels could come off.  With that being said, we could still see some price stabilization, as most of the bears question the downside that is still left in the market.  As we have heard over the past weeks, the downside still could slip drastically lower to that $3.10 area, that many tech guys have mentioned, and even further if the crop continues to get better, as many in the trade think.  If we drift to these levels, I still feel like this is in an area we start to see demand pick up.  I think at these price levels guys should be patient and continue to focus on the production side to insure higher yields.  From a marketing perspective, the "basis" is my biggest concern at the moment. Make sure that you have your "basis" information on the radar screen, and if there an opportunity to lock in at an attractive level, pull the trigger.      CLICK HERE for my daily report.... 

Is China's Corn Crop Seeing Some Setbacks? Yes, Chinese production may be pulling back a bit. I'm hearing talk that extremely dry conditions in some minor corn production areas could ultimately cause the Chinese crop totals to be reduced by 6-7 MMTs from their current estimate. The problem is this won't be much different than last years record crop, so don't get overly excited just yet.

Soybean Prices Struggle as Crop Grows....

Jul 29, 2014
We continue to see the bean market backpedal despite many still questioning the record USDA projected yields.  The overnight markets showed some follow through from Monday's rally, but quickly sold off as the trade discounted any weather premium that its tried to build into this market. The old-crop balance sheet tightness provided additional short term bullish sentiment in the market yesterday, but was it too little too late?  Will the US have early beans that will be harvested in the southern growing states?  From what we are hearing, the beans will be harvested early but where will they end up?   The beans appear to be all about weather right now, being to wet early, not enough moisture now, planted late, susceptible to an early frost or freeze and short term cooler temps, with no moisture, on the bullish side.  On the flip side, the bears continue to remind us that, with 85 million acres projected to be planted, if this is not a record crop it will be one of the biggest ever. Most have estimated yields to be between 44 bushels per acre, on the low side, to 48 bushels per acre on the high side.  Say we end up with harvested acres around 84.5 million acres, with these mentioned yields, your looking at a production in the neighborhood of 3.718 million bushels to 4.056 million bushels.  Anyway you slice it, we are talking a big bean crop, with a large carry, that will push these prices lower, unless demand spikes dramatically.   With the new crop beans trading near $11, do we you take more risk off the board, to insure a profitable sale?  I still see the old crop beans providing some support to prices, potentially trying to fill the gap in the chart in the $11.30 range, which would see the new crop trading in the $10.50 to $11.50 range through the month of August. CLICK HERE for my daily report..   

Nearby Bean Balance Sheet, Keeps Bulls in the Game....

Jul 28, 2014

Soybean bulls keep trying to revive the glory days by stoking the potential flames associated with the old-crop balance sheet.  Anyway you want to slice it this story is still not 100% dead, but there is only 30-45 days left before the story is "officially" over.   In other words, as bearish as the new-crop balance sheet may appear longer-term, there are still some traders in the marketplace very uncertain about nearby availability of supply.  In other words, it wouldn't surprise me anytime between now and the end of August to see a $0.30 to $0.50 cent rally, maybe even a $0.50 cent to $1.00 rally if we can catch some type of bullish weather story from down South to go along with the old-crop supply shortage headlines.  All we need is talk of a delayed harvest or flooding conditions down South and the front-end of the soybean market takes back off to higher ground.  Remember, the trade is desperately counting on the early new-crop bushels to immediately solve the current supply shortage concerns.  Understand, I am by no means bullish the soy market longer-term (just too many US and South American acres in the ground), but I do believe we might get an opportunity to make some additional new-crop sales between $11.00 and $11.30 vs. NOV14 if we catch the final tail winds that the old-crop bulls are trying to stir up. Pay close attention and keep one finger on the trigger.  I'm afraid our opportunities to reduce more long-term risk may be fleeting at best between now and harvest.  To say the August weather is going to be extremely important to the soybean market would be an obvious and gross understatement...sorry to keep pointing out the obvious!Keep your eye on the USDA's latest crop condition ratings, most suspect soybeans to stay at our near the 73% "Good-to-Excellent" rating reported last week, the highest in the past 20-years.                                 CLICK HERE for my daily report...      

Geopolitical News Lifts Wheat Prices....

Jul 25, 2014

Wheat bulls are trying got stoke the flames in regard to ongoing conflicts in the Black Sea region. There were some rumors out this morning that Ukraine could lose 500,000 or more tons of grain due to war in country's eastern areas.  The US late on Thursday accused Russia of firing artillery across the border into eastern Ukraine, and of planning to send new missile launchers and heavy weapons to separatist groups.  From what I can see early this morning the market isn't overly excited about the headlines. In fact the story of "Little Red Ridding Hood" comes to mind... I think the bulls have "cried wolf" one to many times.  In the end we simply see Black Sea wheat prices moving lower and their exports making it tougher on US suppliers ability to compete.  Closer to home the bears are quick to point out the Wheat Quality Council's spring wheat tour of North Dakota, showed a final yield estimate of 48.6 bushels per acre, the highest in 22 years of the event.  We are also hearing reports that South Dakota is looking at extremely strong yields and very high quality spring wheat as well.  From my perspective, the only real hope from the bullish side of the fence is that the Spring crop is late-developing, where as a cool and wet weather could create some problems later on, especially if the market starts to eventually question complications that could arise from an early frost...unfortunately that's still a ways off.                            CLICK HERE for my daily report...

Unexpected Soybean Demand Supports Prices....

Jul 24, 2014

Soybean bulls desperately trying to stoke any old-crop flames that still exist by talking about strong Chinese demand (lack of cancelations) and the thought that US crushers will NOT have as early of access to new-crop supplies as some had once anticipated. In simple terms, the bears were thinking the Chinese would eventually make some old-crop cancellations. That would have freed up some additional surplus for domestic meal demand. The bears were also thinking US crushers had enough inventory and soybean supplies on hand to hold out until new-crop supplies arrived.  The problem is a good portion of the crop in the South is now running a bit behind, as indicated by the USDAs weekly "blooming" numbers that showed MS, TN, KY and LA all a bit behind their respective 5-year average. Wetter conditions to the South might also eventually delay the harvest of early-soybeans. There is also some fear in the marketplace that the farmers aren't going to be as eager to sell directly out of the field this year with prices having fallen to such low levels. As I have noted the past couple of weeks many ag banks across the country are starting report an increase in producers looking to extend lines of credit in order to hold and store more bushels for longer periods of time. In other words the trade is wondering if the crushers to the north are going to end up having a tougher time than originally imagined sourcing enough new-crop soybeans in time to supply end-users with meal???  I should also point out the fact the trade is closely watching the I-States (Iowa, Illinois and Indiana) as they account for about 30% of our harvested soybean acres. Not only is moisture important during the next 45-days, but so will be cooler than normal temps across the largest producing soybean states. Remember when I said a few days back the trade wasn't concerned or worried about "demand"...well now all of a sudden they are starting to scratch their head a bit?  The "death march" lower has, at least temporarily, been placed on hold, I'm assuming until more is known about demand and the true availability of new-crop beans. Producers who need to reduce more risk should look very closely at an opportunity above $11.00 per bushel.         CLICK HERE for my daily report....

Will MIR-162 Miraculously Find Approval?

Jul 23, 2014

Corn harvest rolling in Texas and several independent Crop Tours taking place across the US belt reporting some of the best looking corn seen in years (many fields reporting +200 bushel yields). In return prices fall to levels not seen since July of 2010. The problem is I'm afraid we may soon be testing the Sept 2009 lows at around $3.00 per bushel, especially if the bull's can't soon find a way to stop the current bleeding at or above the $3.50 level. If there is any bullish hope out there right now it's coming from more talk amongst producers in parts of the Western corn belt, and producers in parts of Iowa who are saying the corn and soybean crops might not be nearly as good as "advertised."  Several areas in the top-producing state and some areas out West are reporting less than ideal rainfall as of late and possibly limited moisture in the days ahead.  The bears are quick to diffuse this potential bullish bomb by talking about the extremely cool temps.  In other words, the cooler than normal temps are trumping the talk of limited rainfall right now.  We are certainly going to keep a close eye on the situation and will continue to stay in close contact with producers all across the Midwest, in regard to any sign of moisture deficits. The other bit of "potential" bullish news is the fact US prices are trending lower and Chinese prices are trending higher.  There is some speculation starting to arise that as import margins into China approach EXTREMELY profitable levels, MIR-162 might soon miraculously find approval...obviously if this were announced the corn market would at least post some type of knee-jerk reaction higher.  CLICK HERE for my daily report...        

Comparing Current Conditions To Years Past: The USDA recently released their rendition of "crop-condition" art. As you can see the 2014 corn crop conditions are running well ahead of the conditions seen during the record setting 2009 crop year, but slightly below the conditions from the record setting 2004 crop year. Bottom-line, this years corn crop conditions are some of the highest we have seen in the past 20-years. Yes, we are still a long ways from the finish line, but we are certainly past the halfway point and running at a potential record setting pace. Sorry for pointing out the obvious, I just wanted to give you another way to view the data.      

Taking A Look At Growing Degree Days: There has been some talk amongst producers that with the cool temps the growing degree days are are running well behind.  The graphic below was released yesterday by the USDA and NOAA.  From what I can tell, states like NE, KS, KY, TN, IL, IN, OH, and most of IA, MO, WI and MI are looking good. Yes, MN, AR and most the Dakota's are running a bit behind. Net-net nothing real bullish to speak about.CLICK HERE for my daily report.


 

 

Will Corn Prices Continue to Trade Sideways?

Jul 22, 2014

Corn market seems bound and determined to print a $3.50 price tag, while I'm continuing to hear many bearish technicians inside the trade continuing to call for an additional drop in price to between $3.05 and $3.15 by harvest. Not only are we looking at the potential for a NEW record corn crop, but many inside the trade are starting to questions the growth of overall corn demand. Demand for ethanol appears to be strong, but remember estimates for corn being used as a feed grain was reduced substantially in the last USDA report, and US exports continue to be questioned. From where I sit, as long as China continues to band US MIR-162 corn varieties and US based DDGs its going to be tough to change the mindset of the trade.  Also keep in mind EU corn imports are being reduced as well on increased importing tariffs.  Moral of the story, the balance sheets simply don't appear to be getting any tighter...at least not any time soon. Obviously the remainder of the US growing season will ultimately determine how the supply side story ends.  The trade seems to currently be using a 168 to 172 type yield estimate. My guess is it will take a big surprise to the downside to stop the bleeding and provide the balance sheet guru's with a slightly less bearish mentality.  Keep in mind the funds are still long the corn market, therefor more long liquidation could continue pressuring the trade to the downside. Producers MUST keep hedges in place and continue to stay under protective shelter until the bearish storm shows more clear signs of dying down. CLICK HERE for my daily report...     

Thinking About Getting Long The Corn Market? From a spec perspective corn well-below the cost of production certainly looks enticing, especially if you're? a longer-term investor.  You have to imagine the upside reward during the next 3 to 5-years could be somewhere between $2.00 to perhaps even $3.00 per bushel, just depending on the various circumstances. You also have to believe the upside looks to have more potential than the downside risk (which might another $1.00 per bushel). My only reminder to those looking to be longer-term bulls in the corn market is that it might take some time. Don't forget US corn prices have been below the cost-of-production way more often than they have been above!   CLICK HERE for my daily report....

Could a Late Summer Rally be in the Cards?

Jul 21, 2014

Corn traders have to now consider the fact over 50% of the US corn crop has "pollinated," under what appears to have been near ideal conditions. Yes, we are heating  back up to more traditional mid-summer levels early this week, but it's still increasingly tough to argue against NEW record US corn production and higher yield estimates in the days ahead (bears thinking perhaps 170 plus coming down the pipe). Another scary thought in regard to why the US corn yield could move higher (its not all just about weather), is the fact soybean acres have seen such a dramatic jump.  In other words, many producers who had suspect corn ground went ahead and rolled that into more soybean acres this year.  Hence we have a record 85 million plus in soybean acreage and at the same timed may have lost some of the lower yielding corn acres. Today the trade will be eager to see the latest weekly USDA crop-condition estimate (scheduled for release at 3:00pm CST) most seem to be looking for another slight uptick, perhaps 77% now rated GD/EX.  CLICK HERE for my daily report...

Could A Late-Summer Rally Be In The Cards? Many of the bulls like to reference and point to the 2010 corn crop for the possibility of a late-summer rally. For the sake of those who still have new-croup bushels to price (like myself) lets hope the market gives it some consideration. If you remember it was back in August of 2010 that the USDA estimated the crop at a NEW record high 165.0 bushels per acre.  Weather conditions in some key areas started to shift and the national yield eventually fell to 152.8 bushels per acre by year end. To proved some detail I went back and did a bit of research. I found the USDA raised their yield estimate in Aug 2010 to 165.0 bushels. In their Sept 2010 report they lowered it down to 162.5.  By Oct 2010 they lowered it down to 155.8. In Nov it was lowered again to 154.3. The Dec 2010 report they left the yield unchanged at 154.3. And by the final Jan 2011 report they reduced the yield down to 152.8.  Below is a graphic we created to shows you the current USDA crop-condition estimate of 76% rated "Good-to-Excellent" compared to previous years at this juncture.  Keep in mind, back in 2010 the USDA was still showing 70% of the crop rated "Good-to-Excellent" at the end of August, and 17% of the of the US corn crop was categorized as "Mature."  In fact the last crop-condition report released that year by the USD was given the week ending October 10, 2010. At that point in time the crop was still rated at 68% "Good-to-Excellent" and we had already harvested 51% (to see details Click Here).  In other words, even though conditions are better than we have seen in a long time, there is still a chance the overall US corn yield could end up sub-170 bushels per acre and below what the market currently has penciled in. I'm not saying this is actually going to happen, but I am letting you know just a few years back the overall yield fell by over -7% for the USDA's August estimate while the "crop-conditions" only setback a touch from 72 to 68% "Good-to-Excellent."  I'm going to continue keeping our hedges in place and keep my "wait-and-see" approach towards additional cash marketing.  CLICK HERE for my daily repoort..... 

Corn Bulls Look to Recent Demand to Support Prices...

Jul 18, 2014

Corn bulls are talking about good global demand for US corn (strongest weekly export sales since March), but this data continues to be trumped by the thought of expanding global supplies.  Remember, not only are we looking at what could be a record US crop, but the USDA is also forecasting the highest global supply level we have seen in the past 15-years.  I keep hearing talk from the bulls who continue to reference a couple of years back, when the USDA estimated the US corn crop in August at a record 165 bushel yield, but we watched this yield estimate fall to just under 153 bushels per acre on more extreme heat hitting the crop through late-summer.  On the flip side the bears are worried that the USDA is falling further "behind-the-curve" in regard to bumping yields higher... sounds very similar to what stock market bears are saying about Yellen and the Fed in regard to interest rates (everybody is falling "behind-the-curve").  Corn, at least for the interim, seems to have found some balance, nearby chart support seems to be in the $3.70 to $3.75 range, but the longer-term "tech bears" continue to talk about the $3.10 range... I suspect the trade will pause for a bit and wait for more direction and clues in regard to the Black Sea conflict. Once the green flag is waived and the track is cleared for more high-speed racing, I suspect we resume our downward descent.  Producers should continue to use any and all rallies as a way to reduce additional exposure and risk.  CLICK HERE for my daily report....     

Highlights from the KC Fed Ag Symposium...

Jul 17, 2014

Crop Prices? There was an electronic poll taken taken right of the gates in regard to what was most on attendees minds, as you can imagine the number one response was overall "RISK" associated with plummeting prices.  In other words the extreme swings are making it very difficult for everyone in the industry to mitigate risk. One great line I heard this week came from a large lending institution who's clients are primarily in the row-crop business... He said, "well we've had our shot at trying to manage the insane swings and huge profit margins, now lets see how the livestock boys handle it."      CLICK HERE for my daily grain report...

 Last year at this event there was talk of $3.00 corn...same thing this year, more talk of $3.00 corn.  Soybeans still seem to remain a bit of mystery to everyone simply because there is no real substitute for the higher protein. Wheat concerns stem primarily around logistical issues and geopolitical tail-risk i.e problems in the Middle East, Ukraine, etc... Chinese demand clearly remains the #1 focus for most ALL global lenders and risk managers.  Will the demand and rate of growth stay strong and for how long?                                                  

There were many other great topics discussed during the two day event.  These ranged from taking a look at the current US transportation and logistics problems, to industry thoughts on land values and rents, to some great arguments to be bullish US ethanol, both short and long term.                    CLICK HERE to see my take on the event and all of my daily grain comments..

Should you lock in your fuel needs?

Jul 15, 2014
Over the past couple of weeks, oil prices have gained some welcome relief from news that production will be ramping up in Libya. The government cut deals with rebel leaders in the east to end long-running blockades of some key export terminals. That relief may be short lived however, with guards at the state-run Sirte Oil Company shutting down production. This facility only produces about 43,000 barrels per day, but this type news could cause some headwinds in the oil markets this week as traders begin to worry that turmoil in the country is far from over. Fighting has also erupted at the country’s main airport between two rival militia groups and the US government is warning the violence could become more widespread. The rebel groups had been on the government payroll, but the two factions are now incensed over revelations of election fraud in the June 25 parliamentary vote. There are many such militia groups in Libya that all continue to struggle for power and which the government has obviously failed to reign in. The election fraud allegations seem to have sparked NEW ambitions to do away with a corrupt central-government once and for all and establish control of the country for themselves.  Gaining control of the country’s number one resource - oil - would go a long way in cementing their power. You have to wonder if the newly reopened oil terminals are going to remain that way for long?  If you need to lock in Diesel fuel for the fall this might be a good opportunity, start doing your homework and checking local prices??? Click Here to recieve my next recommendation.

 

With Latest USDA Corn Numbers, Battling Price Can't be Main Focus...

Jul 14, 2014

Corn has fallen by over -$1.30 (new-crop) since the May 9th high of $5.14^6. The trade continues to focus on the "supply" side of the equation as US producers enjoy near ideal growing conditions.  The talk inside the trade is if the weather continues it's current trend (which looks to be the case for the moment), the USDA will be forced to drastically increase their yield estimate in their August 11th report (a 168-172 bushel yield number seems to be most of the debate).  This in turn has the trade talking about a 14.0 billion bushel plus US corn crop and an ending-stocks number north of 2.0 billion bushels. As for price, many technicians seem to believe new-crop DEC14 should start finding some good support in the $3.50 to $3.75.  On the flip side many of the bearish fundamentalist believe as long as wheat prices continue to slide so will corn, possibly all the way down to between $3.10 and $3.35 before it finds more heavy cash demand.  As producers we can't necessarily battle "price" at this stage of the game, but we can continue battling "production."  From my perspective, it's going to be vitally important that you take the extra steps and do everything you can to secure the current condition of your crop.  Get with your agronomist or local ag retailers and find out what's the biggest bang for your buck (fungicides???) and try to do whatever you can to insure the biggest crop possible. Remember a -30% reduction in price from $5.00 will drop us down to $3.50, but if you can take your field from 150 bushels per acre to 195 bushels per acre, you have essentially offset ALL of the price break (in other words it would be just like selling 150 bushel corn at $5.00).  CLICK HERE for my daily report...      

What You Need To Know About USDAs Most Recent Corn Numbers: The USDA made several changes this past Friday below are a few that believe you need to fully digest: 

 

  • Global corn ending stocks pushed higher by 3.5 MMTs. Currently at 188 MMTs and now the highest level since 2000. Brazilian corn production estimate raised higher from 76 MMTs to 78 MMTs, Chinese and EU corn output also raised higher.  
  • Corn for "feed usage" was drastically reduced in both old and new-crop balance sheets. Old-crop demand for feed usage cut by -125 million bushels and new-crop lowered by -50 million bushels.  Old-crop corn used for ethanol was actually raised higher by +25 million bushels. 
  • Yield for new-crop corn was left "unchanged" at 165.3. This now has many sources inside the trade thinking if weather continues to cooperate and the overall conditions of the US crop stay at or around these levels then the USDA could make a massive push higher in the August report, perhaps closer to 170 bushels per acre and ending stocks closer to 2.2 billion.                CLICK HERE for my daily report...            

Limit Additional Expenses: Is it Time to Lock in Propane?

Jul 11, 2014

I continue to field calls from farmers asking about locking in propane prices. As I sit here today ?,? I think this is? a? very smart play and something I have definitely been recommending for the past couple of weeks, at least on ?a ?significant portion of your fall and winter needs. Personally, I think securing 70% of your estimated needs makes a lot of sense at these levels. ? I am NOT saying we don't have the propane to meet our needs here in the US, because we do. But what you have to understand is as we make the transition to an energy "exporting" nation ?,? the logistical infrastructure we have for years depended on has now been turned upside down. We saw what happened last year and many forecaster are already calling for an early cool fall followed by a somewhat harsh winter. You also have to ask yourself with a record crop set to come down the pipe, possibly being harvested at significant moisture levels, there could be a big push for drying. The other MAJOR concern is that ?the ?Cochin Pipeline is still out of the loop. For those of you who didn't realize it, one source of last winter’s supply issues and sky high prices can be associated with was the reversal project of the Cochin Pipeline (Which runs from Canada down through the US). According to an ICF International study, the Cochin Pipeline had been the largest single source of propane supply into Minnesota (38 percent) and North Dakota (29 percent), and it was a major source of supply into Indiana (17 percent) and Iowa (13 percent). Wisconsin, which has no Cochin terminals within the state, was also highly dependent on the pipeline, sourcing propane from terminals in Minnesota. From what I am hearing, the folks up north now have to bank on rail delivering their needed supplies. The kicker is, as ICF International estimates, between 65 and 100 incremental rail deliveries per day would be needed during peak periods to replace the Cochin Pipeline. Can the industry drum up that many railcars? I highly doubt it. Moral of the story, with propane prices having drastically pulled back during the past several months and the logistic of the market drastically changing, best-of-practice seems to be reducing any unforeseen potential hiccups or price increases within your inputs. With corn price getting hammered as of late we have to make certain we don't incur any additional expenses. If you ?'re ?looking to do more research about the logistical problems?,? start here at LPGas.  CLICK HERE for my daily report...

Where do Bean Prices Find Traction...

Jul 10, 2014

Soybean bears have watched the market trade lower for eight consecutive session. Most "technicians" believe the market has one major (nearby) objective in mind, and that's to take out the January NOV14 contract lows at $10.88 as quickly as possible.  Perhaps once we close below that level the market might start to find more equilibrium and balance...the key word there is "might."  I'm afraid with 85 million soybean acres planted, it's going to take a very big weather hiccup (which doesn't look to be in the cards) to drop yields to levels that need major bullish consideration. There is some talk that soybean acres in India are going to see a -5% reduction.  There's also some talk if prices continue to break planted soybean acreage in South America may also tapper back a bit.  These are real long-shot headlines though and certainly NOT nearby game changers.  Many source now predicting, if weather stays in a similar pattern, soybeans will eventually trade in the single digits (in other words sub-$10.00). Tough for me to argue, especially when you consider we have such massive planted acreage and one of the best condition ratings in US history. Nearby the basis seems to be firming a bit both here in the US and Brazil, while there is still no real noted farmer selling in Argentina.   The outside markets a re bit more nervous than we've seen and commodities are getting a bit of a bounce this morning. Some bulls may stick around clinging to one last glimmer of hope in old-crop...but I have to believe the long side of this market still looks like the wrong side of this market over the next few weeks.    CLICK HERE for my daily report...        

Will There Be a Jump in Yield This Friday?

Jul 09, 2014

Corn bears continue to talk about potentially higher yields for the US crop. In returnSEP14 corn prices fall below $4.00 per bushel. The USDA is currently using a 165.3 bushel yield estimate.  The concern amongst many in the trade is this isn't yet high enough considering how good of condition the US crop is in.  Let me remind you the crop is currently rated better at this stage of the game than both the record setting 2004 and 2009 crops.  I should also remind you how the USDA often likes to play their cards: 

Will There Be A Jump In Yield this Friday?  From what we have found in our most recent studies, the USDA doesn't really like to increase their yield for either corn or soybeans a whole lot from the June to their July report. Rather preferring to wait until the August report to make any type of real significant jump.  My fear this year however is that they actually had some reason to raise their yield estimate a touch from May to June but didn't, so a slight hike seems almost certain in the July data.  My guess, like most in the trade is that we end up a bit higher after Friday's report...say somewhere between a 165.8 and 166.3 bushel per acre yield....but then what?  CLICK HERE for my daily report....

Can Demand Strength Overcome "Sea of Soybeans"?

Jul 08, 2014

Soybeans traders are not only digesting record US acreage (Potential 85 million plus) but also now have to consider the fact this is the second best overall crop-conditon rating (72% of the crop rated GD/EX) we have ever seen for soybeans at this stage of the game and the absolute best since 1994. Yes, its still early for soybeans and we are a long ways from the end of August, but you can't ignore the current facts... which are record acreage and near ideal growing conditions. In return the race is on to see who can project the highest average USDA yield.  As of right now it seems the trade has bid up the yield estimate to a NEW record 46 or perhaps even 46.5 bushels per acre! The only real bright spot I can find is the fact demand remains strong, which was made apparent by yesterday's USDA announcement of 347,000 MMTs of new-crop beans being sold to China.  Unfortunately this is still not near enough to combat the "sea of soybeans" we may soon be swimming in.  CLICK HERE for my daily report....

Morgan Stanley Cuts Soybean Rating: From what I heard yesterday, the bank cut from "neutral" to "neutral-bearish" its rating on soybean futures. On the flip side I hear they seem to have a bit higher hopes hopes for corn, cotton and wheat and, especially, live cattle, which it sees as one of the best bets in commodities. The big US bank is focused in on the NEW record number of US acres (3 to 5 million more than most had anticipated) and the fact we could soon be looking at a seasonal pickup in Argentina's soybean crush and export pace. Even though they are bearish soybeans and seem to believe another $1.00 break could be in the cards they seem to be the most bearish the sugar market.

USDA leaves weekly soybean crop-conditons unchanged at 72% GD/EX; 23% Fair; 5% P/VP. Soybeans blooming now at 24% vs. 14% last week vs. the 5-year average 21%. Here is the current ranking from best conditions to worst: KY 81%; ND & TN 80%; WI 77%; MO & SD 76%; IL 75%; IA, LA & NE 73%; MI 72%; IN 71%; MS & OH 70%; NC 65%; KS 62%; MN 61%; AR 57%  CLICK HERE for my daily report...

Are Crop Conditions Pointing to Record US Yield?

Jul 07, 2014

Corn continues to dance to the same old song... "June 1st stocks were more than 1 BILLION bushels greater than last year."  The other concerning factor for the bulls is that this year's new-crop production could end up in excess of 14.0 billion bushels... simply assume 83 million harvested acres x 168.7 bushel per acre yield = 14.002 billion bushels of total US corn production. As this simple math logic penetrates deeper into the market I have to suspect prices will continue to fall under pressure as traders speculate on the greater probability of increasing supply. There is already a lot of talk about the USDA drastically decreasing their "feed usage" estimate, and when you throw on top a record crop, this could push US ending stocks (over 2.0 billion) to the highest level we have seen in over a quarter century.  I suspect this headline will certainly start to gain more trade attention, especially if the overall US corn crop stays rated at 70% "Good-to-Excellent" or higher during the month of July. The way it looks right now that  could very well end up being the case, especially when you consider the crop is currently rated 75% GD/EX and there is very little in the weather forecast that makes me believe we are going to see a major hiccup.  Keep in mind, most sources are thinking over 50% of the entire US corn crop will be "pollinated" within the next 10-days.  Meaning after that a large portion of the crop risk is basically off the table.CLICK HERE for my daily report.

Are Crop Conditions Pointing To Record US Yield? Below is some USDA data I recently compiled that I thought you might find interesting. What's important is that in 2009 the crop was rated 70% GD/EX at the end of July and we ended up setting a NEW record yield at 164.7 bushels per acre.  In the same breath, the following year (2010) the crop was rated 71% GD/EX at the end of July and we ended up with a below trend-line yield of 152.8 bushels per acre.  Moral of the story, there's still a ton of time left: 
 
    • 2013 (week ending July 28th) - 63% of the US crop was rated GD/EX. We ended up harvesting 87.67 acres @ 158.8 yield.  
    • 2012 (week ending July 29th) - 24% of the US crop was rated GD/EX. We ended up harvesting 87.38 million acres @ 123.4 yield.  
    • 2011 (week ending July 31st) - 62% of the US crop was rated GD/EX. We ended up harvesting 83.99 million acres @ 147.2 yield.  
    • 2010 (week ending Aug 1st) - 71% of the US crop was rated GD/EX. We ended up harvesting 81.45 million acres @ 152.8 yield.   
    • 2009 (week ending July 26th) - 70% of the US crop was rated GD/EX.  We ended up harvesting 79.49 million acres @ 164.7 yield (NEW Record US Yield).  
    • 2008 (week ending July 27th) - 66% of the US crop was rated GD/EX.  We ended up harvesting 78.57 million acres @ 153.9 yield.  
    • 2007 (week ending July 29th) - 58% of the US crop was rated GD/EX.  We ended up harvesting 86.52 million acres @ 150.7 yield. CLICK HERE for my daily report...

Does Bullish Livestock News Hold Water?

Jul 05, 2014

There is an interesting argument floating around that the improving US economy is paving the way for more "tolerance" for higher meat prices. It does hold some water as demand has completely outstripped expectations and to some degree is putting a real stress on not just supplies, but meat packers. They are actually having a hard time keeping up just at the processing level. Before we jump to conclusions, keep in mind that the latest demand needs were coming ahead of one of the biggest grilling holidays in the US. Demand typically starts to taper off in the last half of July. We also have to consider that for cattle, pasture conditions are improving on lessening drought conditions. That means that producers actually MIGHT be able to start increasing the cattle herd under economically viable conditions. We certainly aren’t going to see a huge jump in supplies overnight, but the idea that the supply situation will be drastically different by this time next year is going to start weighing on prices. In the short term though, the supply constraints of both cattle and hogs does dictate prices remain elevated in order to ration extremely low inventories. CLICK HERE for my daily report and check out my new "Quick Look" weekend update....

Soybeans Take Title from King Corn.....

Jul 03, 2014
Soybeans Taking the Title-Belt from King Corn:  In case you missed the numbers the USDA is now projecting that US producers will harvest 84.058 million acres of soybeans vs. just 83.839 acres of corn in 2014. I had our research team in the office compile a couple of easy to read charts showing how all of this came about. Who would have ever thought???               CLICK HERE for my daily report...

CLICK HERE for my daily report.....

Are You Sure You're Covered??

Jul 02, 2014

I have had lots of guys tell me as of late there is absolutely no need for them to make sales in new-crop corn since we are trading well under the spring revenue insurance guarantee of $4.62. This could be very dangerous logic and something you need to make sure you really understand, especially for those producers who have little to any currently priced. I put together a simple graphic (below) that will give you a better idea of why I'm concerned. What we have to first understand is that most producers have "revenue" related policies. In other words they are based on an equation that consists of: (your APH x the spring guarantee of $4.62) less ("total" new-crop bushels produced x the spring guarantee of $4.62). What many folks fail to realize is the fact if you produce a crop that is substantially above your APH (which as of right now looks to be the case for many here in the US), then prices might have to drop below $3.50 per bushel before you see any type of insurance check.  Take the time to meet with your insurance agent and carefully work ALL of the numbers and variables associated with your specific operation. Click here to receive my daily newsletter

Weekly Crop Conditions State the Case on Corn and Beans....

Jul 01, 2014

 Weekly Corn Crop-Conditions: It's hard for many to believe, but the USDA reported weekly corn crop-conditions actually improved a hair last week.  Remember, most in the trade were thinking the heavy rains and storms last week had caused some damage...not according to the latest USDA estimate. Several top producing states are now well ahead of last years conditions:  According to the data, Iowa's crop has about 22% more of their crop rated in GD/EX condition when compared to last year; MO & WI about +20% better; IL +11% better; SD +9% better; MN & ND +7% better; MI +6% better... IN, NE & OH all a little worse off than last year.     CLICK HERE for my daily report... 

 



Weekly Soybean Crop-Conditions: The USDA reported weekly soybean crop-conditions as "unchanged" from the previous week at 72% rated GD/EX; 20% Fair and 5% P/VP. This now makes it one of the top rated US soybean crop's (at this stage of the game) since records have been kept. Similar to corn, many of our top-producing soybean states are seeing much better crops than last year at this time: Iowa is about +19% better than last year; MO +16% better; ND +9%; SD +7%; AR +3%; IL +2%... IN, NE, OH & KS are a little worse off than last year in regard to overall soybean conditions.  MN seems to be about the same as last year with 59% of their crop rated GD/EX.  Below are the weekly adjustments,  The states in Green improved from the previous week while the states in red saw overall crop conditions fall under pressure.   CLICK HERE for my daily report...

USDA Total Acreage Number Has Many Scratching Their Head...

Jul 01, 2014

USDA Report stuns the market by reporting "Total All-Crop" planted acres at almost  328 million, up an unbelievable 5.7 million acres from last year and the highest "total" acreage number since 1997.  This has many in the trade scratching their head as lower prices generally tend to decrease total planted acreage. 


Corn falls to NEW contract lows as the USDA shocks the trade by showing more old-crop supplies. In fact about 140 million bushels more than most had expected and an estimated 39% more than June of 2013.  The acreage number was bumped a bit lower from 91.7 million down to 91.641 million, the lowest corn planted acreage number since 2010, but still the fifth largest corn crop ever. Bottom-line no real surprise in acreage. Below are a few additional thoughts:  CLICK HERE for my daily report...
  • Harvested acres were lowered down to 83.839 million.  If these numbers hold true a national yield of 167 or higher produces a crop in excess of 14 billion bushels.  
  • Feed usage fro corn is looking more and more like it was well overstated.  The current 5.3 billion estimate is obviously too high and reductions in the coming reports will be in order perhaps 50-150 million bushels.   
  • Old-Crop Ending Stocks could be well understated and a 1.3 to 1.5 billion number is starting to feel more realistic.  
  • New-Crop Ending Stocks could now easily end up being well north of 2.0 billion bushels. Take a bit off of export demand, a portion away from feed usage and more old-crop supplies available being to carry forward and we are looking at glut of corn supplies to chew through in the months ahead.  
  • Global Supplies Skyrocketing - With China supposedly looking at another record crop and huge production coming out of the Black Sea region, South America and the EU, all it will take is a record US crop (which looks like it could be the case) to provide icing on the cake.  Unless we see a significant weather event that rocks the US crop I'm afraid we could continue to grind lower.                CLICK HERE for my daily report...
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