AGRONOMIST SAYS FREEZE DAMAGE MOST SEVERE IN SOUTHWEST KANSAS... Kansas State agronomist Jim Shroyer says repeated hard freeze events are taking their toll on the Kansas wheat crop, with the most severe damage likely in the southwest corner of the state. Meanwhile, he says some of the freeze-damaged wheat in west-central and northwest Kansas is already greening back up as new tillers begin to grow.
But Shroyer notes freeze damage is not the only problem for dryland wheat in western Kansas This year. "Dry soils and mite damage are limiting the yield potential of dryland wheat in western Kansas as much or more than the freezes. The smaller wheat hasn't been hurt much by the freezes except for leaf burn, but it will need some moisture to produce much grain," he says. Click here for more.
WHEAT MARKET SLOW TO REACT TO WEATHER... Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory and Senior Markets Analyst Brian Grete discuss why the wheat market has been largely apathetic to weather concerns on AgDay TV. Click here to view the clip.
6-10 DAY FORECAST: COOL START TO MAY... The National Weather Service forecast for May 2-6 calls for below-normal temps across all but the far northern and far western Corn Belt and a mix of precip. The eastern half of Illinois to the East Coast is expected to see above-normal precip, while below-normal precip is expected across most of South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and western Iowa. Normal precip is expected across Minnesota, the rest of Iowa, Missouri and western Illinois. Click here to view the maps.
COMMITMENT OF TRADERS' DATA SIGNAL FUNDS ARE (TOO) BEARISH... How traders are positioned tells a lot about their attitude toward the market. Since last fall, traditional funds have dramatically trimmed their long positions and the following suggests the downside may be overdone.
Corn: Traditional funds are net long 17.3% of open interest, or 106,488 contracts (532 million bushels). This is the smallest net-long position funds have held since early June 2012, when they began to build a large net long position that peaked in September. Index funds are net long 24.2% of open interest -- 390,798 contracts (1.954 billion bushels). Commercials are net short 41% of open interest at 2,289 contracts (11.4 million bushels).
Soybeans: Traditional funds are net long 20.5% of open interest, or 85,145 contracts (425.7 million bushels). This is up slightly from the previous week, but down sharply from late August when these traders were net long more than 250,000 contracts (1.25 billion bushels). Index funds are net long 19.4% of open interest -- 118,350 contracts (591.8 million bushels). Commercials are net short 46.3% of open interest at 65,186 contracts (325.9 million bushels).
Chicago wheat: Traditional funds are net short 21.5% of open interest, or 18,308 contracts (91.54 million bushels). Index funds are net long 32.8% of open interest at 148,497 contracts (742.5 million bushels). Commercials are net long 43.8% of open interest at 40,340 contracts (201.7 million bushels), which signals a pickup in demand.
NUTRIENT DEMAND SPARKS PRICE INCREASES... Demand for nutrients drove retail fertilizer prices higher in Missouri last week, and as northern growers find opportunities to get into the field, we may see these increases follow crop progress north into the heart of the Corn Belt. Urea pricing has bucked this trend and fallen steadily at all points along the supply chain since June 2012. Despite prices being at a 10-cent premium per pound of N to anhydrous, the added safety concerns surrounding anhydrous ammonia make urea an attractive alternative source of nitrogen to an increasing number of growers. Click here for more.
BIOTECH COMPANIES TAKE A PROACTIVE APPROACH TO GMO LABELING PUSH... Executives from major biotech crop developers are trying to take a more proactive approach to efforts to force the labeling of genetically modified crops. The latest assault took the form of legislation introduced Wednesday by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) that would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to label genetically modified foods as such. Last year, the biotech industry spent $40 million to defeat a labeling measure in California alone, and similar initiatives are currently in the works in 20 other states. The biotech firms, including companies such as Monsanto, DuPont and Dow Chemical, are working on a nationwide campaign with a major social media component to turn the tide on growing opposition to GMOs.