BETTER-THAN-EXPECTED MONTHLY EMPLOYMENT REPORT... This morning's employment report from the Department of Labor showed non-farm payrolls of 165,000 were added in April, which is just above expectations of 145,000 to be added. The unemployment rate ticked down slightly to 7.5% from 7.6% last month. Employment increased in professional and business services, food services, retail trade and health care. Revisions to the February and March figures showed an additional 114,000 jobs were added from previous data. Click here for more.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed above 15,000 for the first time ever in reaction to the report, but finished just below this psychological level.
INFORMA UPDATES WINTER WHEAT CROP PEG... Informa Economics updated its winter wheat crop forecast ahead of next week's first survey-based estimate of the crop by USDA. The firm reportedly pegs the crop at 1.529 billion bu., 117 million bu. below last year's crop and 52,000 bu. below its own mid-April forecast. Informa reportedly estimates total
winter wheat acreage abandonment of 8.0 million acres, or 19% of plantings. The firm sees hard red winter (HRW) wheat production of 798 million bu., 206 million bu. below last year. Kansas, according to Informa’s estimates, will produce 304.2 million bushels.
NWS 6-10 DAY FORECAST: MIX OF PRECIP... The National Weather Service (NWS) forecast for May 9-13 calls for below-normal precip across the western Corn Belt, with above-normal precip expected across most of the eastern Belt. Most of Illinois and Minnesota are expected to see normal precip. Below-normal temps are forecast across the western Corn Belt, while normal temps are expected in the eastern Belt. The precip forecast is more favorable for planting in the western Corn Belt, though soil temps need to re-warm after plunging this week. Click here for related maps.
WEATHER LEADS TO HIGH PRICE VOLATILITY... Corn futures started the week with sharp to limit gains amid planting delay concerns and then spent the remainder of the week trying to decide if Monday's gains were justified. Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory and Senior Markets Analyst Brian Grete outline corn's volatile price action and what lessons can be learned in this week's Pro Farmer Profit Briefing clip on AgDay TV. Click here.
SLOW PORK EXPORTS FOR MARCH & THE FIRST QUARTER... U.S. Meat Export Federation analysis of USDA data released today reflects ongoing struggles in the U.S. pork export market. U.S. pork exports for March of 131,760 MT were down 29,410 MT (18.2%) from year-ago. In terms of value, U.S. pork exports in March declined $91.736 million from year-ago, which also equated to an 18% year-over-year decline. Pork exports for the first quarter of the year also declined to 407,316 MT, compared to 480,554 MT last year. This represents a 15% year-over-year drop. The disappointing data confirms recent Cold Storage Reports that signaled heavy frozen pork stocks. But recent improvement in the pork market signals that domestic demand is helping to chew through burdensome supplies.
Beef exports for the month of March posted less drastic changes relative to year-ago. Beef exports for March fell 3,061 MT in terms of volume (4.7%) to 61,538 MT, but rose $5.032 million (1%) in terms of value from year-ago. For the first quarter of the year, beef exports fell 1% in terms of quantity to 185,220 MT, but rose 6% in terms of value to roughly $1.151 billion. Beef exports to Russia fell 100% in terms of volume for the first quarter relative to the year prior, highlighting the impact of the ongoing ractopamine dispute.
HONEY BEE HEALTH REPORT: MULTIPLE FACTORS FOR BEE DISAPPEARANCE... USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday released a comprehensive scientific report on honey bee health. The sudden and widespread disappearance of adult honey bees from beehives has been occurring since 2006 -- a phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder. The study found that "there are multiple factors playing a role in honey bee colony declines, including parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure." The devastation of honeybee colonies is of particular concern to agriculture, as an estimated one-third of all food and beverages are made possible by pollination, mainly by honey bees. In the U.S., pollination contributes an estimated $20 billion to $30 billion in crop production annually. Get more details about the study's findings.