Assessing USDA's Prospective Plantings Data

March 31, 2009 07:00 PM

Snapshot of news and events for today

Quick links

* Financial markets

* Ag futures

* USDA reports this week

* NWS forecast

* Major media

* Ag media

* Political humorists

Financial markets Major world indicators

Japanese trading...

  • The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average rose 242.38 points, or 3 percent, to 8,351.91.

  • The dollar was at 98.92 yen from 99.17 yen.

Tuesday's U.S. Markets...

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 86.9 points, or 1.2 percent, to 7,608.92 -- up 7.73 percent for March, it's best showing in six years. For the first quarter, however, it marked a sixth straight quarter of declines, the first time that's happened since 1969 and 1970 and it marks the Dow's worst start for the year since 1939. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained, 26.79 points, or 1.8 percent, to 1,528.59 -- up 11 percent for the month in its best March performance ever. For the quarter, the Nasdaq was down 3.1 percent.
  • The 10-year Treasury note yield fell to 2.66 percent, from 2.71 percent.

  • The dollar was at 98.74 yen from 97.25 late Monday, while the euro was at $1.3249 from $1.3197.

Ag futures Yesterday's action and
overnight indicators

What happened the prior trading day...

  • Corn: Futures surged into the close on strong spillover support and active short-covering to post gains in the upper teens.
  • Soybeans: Futures opened sharply higher on the open and extended gains to close 47 to 52 cents higher.

  • Wheat: Futures opened higher, but saw two-sided trade as they turned weaker in mid-morning trade. Futures returned higher on spillover from neighboring pits, closing higher.
  • Cotton: Futures posted strong gains on the day and finished near session highs.
  • Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures finished 97 cents to $1.42 higher in all but the April contract, which closed 20 cents lower.
  • Live Cattle: Live and feeder cattle futures finished moderately to sharply higher and on or near session highs.

Scheduled USDA Reports & Summaries This Week

Agricultural Marketing Service = (A)
Census Bureau = (CB)
Economic Research Service = (E)

Farm Service Agency (FSA)

Foreign Ag Service = (F)

National Agricultural Statistics Service = (N)

World Agricultural Outlook Board = (W)






March 30

Grain Inspections (A)
Agricultural Prices (N)


Prospective Plantings (N)
Grain Stocks (N)
Rice Stocks (N)
Weather - Crop Summary (N)
Egg Products (N)

April 1

Broiler Hatchery (N)


U.S. Export Sales (F)


Dairy Product Prices (N)
Dairy Products (N)
Vegetables (N)
Peanut Prices (N)

Overview Other reports affecting agriculture
Major media Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact

Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)

  • Global Slump Seen Deepening New Forecasts of Contraction, Trade Drop Cause Worry on the Eve of G-20 Summit Both the OECD and the World Bank are forecasting a global economic downturn for 2009, the first time that has happened since World War II. The OECD sees a 4.3% downturn while the World Bank is expecting a 1.7% decline. The item notes both institutions forecast a steep and damaging plunge in 2009 world trade, the World Bank at 6.1% and the OECD more than double that.
    Related items:
    Drop in Home Prices Picked Up Speed in January
    A Tweak to Bailout Deal Makes Bank Stock Pricier
    Preventing 'Too Big to Fail' Isn't Easy
    World Leaders Lay Out Tests for Obama
    Trade Rhetoric, Action Still at Odds
    G-20: Stimulus vs. Regulation
    A Slate of G-20 Rivals Is Waiting in the Wings

  • Crop Cutbacks by Farmers Spell Higher Food Prices .The article reasons that the downturn in crop acreage this season and the smaller-than-expected increase in soybean planting intentions is poised to bring another increase in food prices.
  • HHS Nominee Sebelius Amends Tax Returns The Kansas governor amended three years of tax returns and paid $8,000 in back taxes and interest. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he would reserve judgment on the nomination.
  • New GM Chief Bends to U.S. Pressure The new head of GM said that he's willing to do whatever it takes to keep the automaker going, even if that means taking the company through bankruptcy.
    Related item:
    Malibu Shows Road to Revival Is Bumpy
    UAW's Chief Has No Good Options
    Cash-for-Clunkers Plan Gains Speed
    GM, Chrysler Face Some Messy Surgery
    Honda to Cut North American Production, Salaries
    Merkel Pledges Backing for Opel

  • Ballot Ruling Favors Franken in Senate Battle. The court ruling would prompt a review of some 400 ballots, making it unlikely that Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) would prevail in the contest where he is said to be behind by 225 votes. His attorneys said they would appeal.
    Related item:
    Murphy Lead Is Razor-Thin in House Race

New York Times (registration to site required)

Washington Post

  • U.S. Plans Key Role In Naming GM Board Government's Sway Over Firms It Aids Is Topic of Debate The White House said the auto task force would be consulting with GM as it seeks to name a new board to direct the company.
  • House Climate Bill Aims to Please Environmental and Business Interests The 648 page "discussion draft" unveiled by the head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee would cut the nation's greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, and by 80 percent by mid-century. But lawmakers stressed this was only the beginning of the climate debate, not the final word.
Ag media Monitoring the countryside

Fargo Forum (North Dakota)

Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska)

Des Moines Register (Iowa)

Laughing with, not at From political humorists

Jay Leno: "President Obama has announced a task force to review the tax code. He's concerned there are too many loopholes and too many people manipulating the system to avoid paying taxes. And that's just in his administration."

Jay Leno: "President Obama said this week that things will get worse before they get better. That's something you never hear before the election, you know? 'Let me tell you, if I get elected it's going to get a lot worse!'"

Jimmy Fallon: "Looking back at his presidential run this week, John McCain said that he got a lot of votes because of Sarah Palin. And weirdly enough, that's the same thing President Obama said."

Jimmy Fallon: "President Obama said yesterday that he believes that Osama bin Laden is plotting new attacks against the United States. Obama came up with this theory when he picked up any newspaper from the last eight years."

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