First Thing Today (VIP) -- August 23, 2013

August 23, 2013 01:33 AM



CORN AND SOYBEAN FUTURES FIRMER OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, new-crop corn was 2 to 3 cents higher, with soybean futures up 9 to 14 cents. SRW and HRW wheat futures are mostly 1 to 2 cents higher, with HRS mixed.

DAY 4 CROP TOUR RESULTS... Day 3 of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour revealed a corn yield in Iowa of 171.94 bu. per acre, which compares to 137.27 bu. per acre last year and a three-year average of 157.09 bu. per acre. Iowa soybean pod counts in a 3'x3' square totaled 927.30, which compares to 999.80 last year and a three-year average of 1,189.74. In Minnesota, the Tour found a corn yield of 181.09 bu. per acre, which compares to 156.19 bu. per acre last year and a three-year average of 172.53 bu. per acre. Minnesota soybean pod counts in a 3'x3' square totaled 869.42, which compares to 934.35 last year and a three-year average of 1,099.44.

PRO FARMER CROP ESTIMATES RELEASED TODAY... We will release our U.S. corn and soybean crop estimates at 1:30 p.m. CT. The estimates are based on Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour data, as well as observations from non-Tour states.

HOUSE PANEL TARGETS USDA, OTHERS ON CLIMATE AGENDA... A House subcommittee wants USDA and several others agencies to identify the climate-related guidance, initiatives and regulations they have undertaken going back to 2005. House Energy and Commerce's Energy and Power Subcommittee will question the agency representatives at a Sept. 18 hearing. While panel Democrats wanted the hearing on the underlying science behind climate change as well as the impacts it is having, the committee will focus on what the administration is doing to address the issue. The agencies were given until Wednesday to name their witnesses. Other agencies that got the letter include EPA, NASA, USAID and the departments of Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Transportation and State.

FTC LOOKING INTO ETHANOL CONCERNS... The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) informed two senators that it will look into their concerns that refiners have discouraged retailers from selling ethanol in higher level blends. "Protecting American consumers from anticompetitive or fraudulent practices in the energy sector has long been one of our most important responsibilities, and I can assure you that we will continue to make every effort to identify, prevent and prosecute practices in petroleum and other markets that violate any statute or rule that the agency enforces," FTC Chairwoman Edith Rameriz said in a letter to Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

CATTLE ON FEED REPORT TODAY... USDA will release its Cattle on Feed Report today at 2:00 p.m. CT. The report is expected to show On Feed at 95.8%, Placements at 97.5% and Marketings at 104.4% of year-ago levels.

STILL WAITING ON CASH CATTLE TRADE... Packers' bids and feedlots' asking prices remained several dollars apart yesterday, signaling cash trade could be delayed until after the Cattle on Feed Report. Improvement in Choice beef values has lifted packer margins this week and tighter market-ready supplies give feedlots more bargaining power.

PORK CUTOUT VALUES SLIP... The pork cutout market has softened sharply this week, but losses moderated yesterday. Pork values slipped just 8 cents yesterday, but movement was lackluster with 385.3 loads changing hands. The cash hog market is called steady to mostly lower today as packers have had no difficulty securing this week's supplies and are already working on next week's loads.

REPORT: FARM FATALITIES DROP, BUT 14 KIDS KILLED IN 2012... Fatal injuries in agriculture fell by 16% last year to 475, according to the Labor Department. But 14 people under age 16 were killed working on farms last year, up from nine in 2011. The deaths last year accounted for all but five of the total fatal injuries among workers under 16. In 2011, there were 10 total fatalities under age 16. But agriculture remains one of the most dangerous occupations. Perspective: There were 21.2 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time workers last year, the highest rate for any industry sector. The oil, gas and mining sector was the second most dangerous with a fatality rate of 15.6. Agriculture, including forestry, accounted for 11% of total U.S. fatal injuries last year.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Saudi Arabia has issued a tender to purchase 660,000 MT of hard wheat and Bangladesh has issued a tender for 50,000 MT of wheat. Export sources say Japan has purchased 153,00 MT of food wheat from the U.S. and Canada this week.

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