BRAZILIAN SOYBEAN ESTIMATE COULD INCREASE... South American crop consultant Dr. Michael Cordonnier left his Brazilian soybean crop estimate unchanged from last week at 80 MMT but says it could climb to near 82 MMT if the weather pattern turns wetter in central and northeastern Brazil. He says farmers in Mato Grosso are generally pleased with early harvest results, but rainfall in Mato Grosso has been irregular this growing season. That points to mixed results as harvest progresses -- as about 20% of the soybean crop could use additional moisture.
"Dry pockets in central and northeastern Brazil have led to concerns about the soybean and corn crops, but rainfall in the drier areas improved slightly over the last few days. Approximately 20% of the soybean crop could use additional moisture. The soybeans in the drier areas were planted later and are still flowering and setting pods," says Dr. Cordonnier, who adds, "The condition of the soybean crop in Parana and Rio Grande do Sul continues to be rated over 90% in good condition."
Dr. Cordonnier left his Brazilian corn estimate unchanged at 70 MMT. He says the full-season corn is southern Brazil is doing very well, but is concerned about dry weather in central and northeastern Brazil. He is waiting on Conab's first assessment of the safrinha crop -- which will account for slightly more than half of the country's corn production -- before altering his estimate.
ARGENTINE SOYBEAN PLANTING 86% COMPLETE; CORN PLANTING 84%... Dr. Cordonnier reports 86% of Argentina's soybean crop has been planted, which is now equal to last year's pace and leaves 2.9 million hectares to be planted. He says corn planting at 84% is still running behind year's pace, with 600,000 hectares left to be planted.
Dr. Cordonnier left his Argentine soybean crop estimate unchanged at 54 MMT and says two-thirds of the unplanted soybean acreage is in the far northern provinces where heavy rain was seen over the weekend. "Any double-crop soybeans remaining to be planted in central and southern Argentina should be planted within the next week or two as the wheat and barley harvest wraps up," he says. "With a significant percentage of the Argentine soybean crop planted later than normal, I think we need to be conservative with our Argentine soybean estimate."
Dr. Cordonnier also left his Argentine corn estimate unchanged at 22.5 MMT, but says he remains concerned about yield potential of the late-planted crop.
MONSANTO NOTES EARLY MOMENTUM OF U.S. SEED BUSINESS... Monsanto Company, in delivering its first-quarter fiscal year 2013 earnings report, said strong results reflect contributions from the continued expansion of its Latin American corn business, early momentum in its U.S. seeds and traits business and performance of its ag productivity segment. Monsanto also highlighted 18 phase advancements across its integrated yield pipeline -- a record for its annual research and development update.
Monsanto said it was aiming for $4.30 to $4.40 per share, on an ongoing basis in fiscal 2013, up from its previous guidance of $4.18 to $4.32 per share. If achieved, it would mark the third straight year of ongoing earnings growth.
During its webcast to discuss the quarterly results, Monsanto said early corn seed orders in the U.S. for spring planting are ahead of last year's pace and it expects larger corn and soybean seed sales for the 2013 crop season compared to last year. Monsanto said it was expecting U.S. farmers to plant 36 million to 38 million acres with its key corn seed products, up from 27 million acres in 2012. It was projecting farmers would plant about 39 million to 41 million acres with its Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans, up from 32 million acres in 2012.
EIA SEES LOWER CRUDE OIL AND GASOLINE PRICES IN 2013... The Energy Information Administration (EIA) says it expects crude oil and gasoline prices to be down on average in 2013 compared to last year. EIA expects that the Brent crude oil spot price, which averaged $112 per barrel in 2012, will fall to an average of $105 per barrel in 2013 and $99 per barrel in 2014. EIA expects that falling crude prices will help national average regular gasoline retail prices fall from an average $3.63 per gallon in 2012 to annual averages of $3.44 per gallon and $3.34 per gallon in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Diesel fuel retail prices averaged $3.97 per gallon during 2012 and are forecasted to fall to an average of $3.87 per gallon in 2013 and $3.78 per gallon in 2014. Click here for more.
2012 WEATHER RATES SECOND AS 'MOST EXTREME' ON RECORD... The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says 2012 was a historical year for extreme weather that included drought, wildfires, hurricanes and storms, although tornado activity was below average. The U.S. Climate Extremes Index indicated that 2012 was the second most extreme year on record for the nation. The index, which evaluates extremes in temperature and precipitation, as well as landfalling tropical cyclones, was nearly twice the average value and second only to 1998. Click here for related map.