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May 2011 Archive for Marketing Toolbox

RSS By: Brian Grete, Pro Farmer

Here's an in-depth look at agricultural marketing.

Advisory: My Daily Market Commentary Has Moved

May 05, 2011

Advisory: My daily market commentary has moved to the home page of the Pro Farmer web site under the space titled

"What Traders Are Talking About."



to access today's edition.

This blog spot will now be used to answer market questions and for various market tutorial purposes. Updates to the "Marketing Toolbox" will be much less frequent, likely once per week. If you have market comments or questions, I encourage you to send them to me at bgrete@profarmer.com

Brian Grete
Sr. Market Analyst, Pro Farmer

Follow me on Twitter: @BGrete

Need a speaker for a seminar or special event? Contact me: bgrete@profarmer.com


Corn Planting Pace Slower Than Expected

May 03, 2011

What Traders are Talking About:

* Corn planting pace slower than expected. As of Sunday, USDA reported only 13% of the U.S. corn crop was planted, which was at the bottom end of the trade guess range and slower than the average trade guess of 16%, according to a poll conducted by Reuters. While the corn planting pace is getting most of the attention, the emergence pace is more important. As of Sunday, only 5% of the U.S. corn crop was emerged, including 0% in Iowa, Indiana and Minnesota; 1% in Nebraska; and 3% in Illinois.

The long and short of it: The planting pace will increase more rapidly this week in areas of the western Corn Belt. But emergence isn't likely to make a big jump as soil temps are still too low to trigger rapid germination across much of the Corn Belt.

* HRW crop ratings continue to fall. Rains in the Central and Southern Plains last week failed to improve the condition of the HRW crop. Based on our weighted Crop Condition Index (CCI), the HRW crop dropped another 2 points to 246. Heavy rains in the southern and eastern Corn Belt also started to take a toll on the SRW crop, which declined 6 points to 365 on the CCI.

The long and short of it: Very poor crop condition ratings for the HRW crop have heightened attention on the Wheat Quality Council tour through Kansas, which kicks off this morning.

* Army Corps of Engineers blows hole in levee. A hole was blasted into a levee near Birds Point, MO, late Monday to lower water levels at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers in an attempt to save several towns in Illinois and Kentucky from being flooded. The result: Around 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland will be flooded. Heavy rains continue to pound the southern and eastern Corn Belt, causing those along the Mississippi River in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi to expect flooding.

The long and short of it: The expected flooding of some 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland due to the levee blast is extremely disheartening for those directly involved. But in the grand scheme of things, it's a small amount. The broader scoping concern is how many acres of farmland will be flooded naturally by the heavy, relentless rains?


Follow me on Twitter: @BGrete

Need a speaker for a seminar or special event? Contact me: bgrete@profarmer.com


Osama bin Laden is Dead

May 02, 2011

What Traders are Talking About:

* Osama bin Laden dead. U.S. forces killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden Sunday just 40 miles from the Pakistan capitol of Islamabad. He was later buried at sea. This closes the book on a man who was responsible for the death of so many innocent men, women and children during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the nearly 10 years thereafter.

The long and short of it: Traders responded initially by removing risk premium from the market -- strength in the dollar and weakness in most commodities. Crude oil futures were hit the hardest. But for grain markets, focus is likely to be mostly fundamental-based now that the initial reaction to the bin Laden news is over.

* A little drier in the western Corn Belt. Warmer and drier weather allowed some producers to get back into fields in the western Corn Belt yesterday. Forecasts call for scattered rains across the western Belt this week, but conditions should be a little warmer and drier than they have been. Cold, wet conditions are forecast to continue in the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest, with potential for heavy rains in some areas of the southern and eastern Corn Belt this week. Meanwhile, cold temps are the latest threat to the HRW crop, as there is a chance for a frost/freeze as deep as central Oklahoma tonight.

The long and short of it: The corn planting pace should pick up in the western Corn Belt this week, but the overall pace will remain well behind normal. Guesses for corn planting progress this afternoon are relatively wide, ranging from 12% to 20% complete.

* HRW crop tour runs this week. Traders will pay a lot of attention to first-hand reports from Kansas as the Wheat Quality Council conducts its annual HRW wheat tour Tuesday through Thursday. Other groups are also conducting separate tours in Colorado and Oklahoma this week. Traders will be intently waiting to see if recent rains in the Plains were enough to give the HRW crop a meaningful boost.

The long and short of it: While wheat traders will remain focused on weather and crop conditions, these first-hand accounts of the HRW crop should give traders a better idea of crop potential.


Follow me on Twitter: @BGrete

Need a speaker for a seminar or special event? Contact me: bgrete@profarmer.com


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