First Thing Today (VIP) -- August 27, 2013

August 27, 2013 12:51 AM


MIXED TO LOWER TONE OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading 2 to 3 cents lower, soybeans are 6 cents lower to 6 cents higher, SRW wheat is 2 to 3 cents lower, while HRW and HRS wheat are narrowly mixed. The U.S. dollar index is modestly firmer this morning after two-sided trade overnight.

CORN, SOYBEAN CCI RATINGS DECLINE... When USDA's weekly crop condition ratings are plugged into the weighted Pro Farmer Crop Condition Index (0 to 500 point scale), the corn crop dropped 6 points to 355 while the soybean crop fell 8 points to 351. While crop ratings declined in most of the Corn Belt states, the two biggest production states of Iowa and Illinois paced the crop deterioration.

ETHANOL PROPONENTS PREDICT CONGRESS WILL FACE HURDLES IN ATTEMPTS TO ALTER RFS... Congress has been unable to resolve larger issues, casting doubt on its ability to successfully pass revisions to the renewable fuels mandate, Tom Buis, chief executive officer of Growth Energy, said. "It's pretty hard to see them moving forward," he said. Buis also said revising the RFS is unnecessary because EPA already has the authority it needs to make any changes necessary to administer the annual blending requirement. EPA said it would consider revising the blending requirement for 2014 to avoid forcing petroleum refiners to blend more than 10% ethanol into the gasoline supply. Meanwhile, Growth Energy, which represents ethanol producers, launched a series of national advertisements Aug. 26 in defense of the RFS, accusing the petroleum industry of mischaracterizing the benefits of ethanol. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will be considering possible amendments to the RFS this fall after Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) called on four Republicans to review possible revisions for the committee's consideration. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is also planning a hearing on the RFS this fall.

CROP INSURANCE PAYOUTS FOR 2013 CREST $2.5 BILLION... Indemnities for 2013 crops under the crop insurance program reached $2.592 billion as of Aug. 26 with the loss ratio rising to .23, according to Risk Management Agency (RMA) data. For 2012 crops, payouts hit a record $17.401 billion. Net acres insured for 2013 are at 285.412 million, passing the record of just over 282 million that was set for 2012 crops. Premiums paid into the program for 2013 reached $11.326 billion with a subsidy of $7.0 billion, also above the 2012 levels in both areas.

BULLISH CASH CATTLE HOPES, BUT SOME HURDLES TO CLEAR... Traders are generally hopeful for higher cash cattle prices in the Plains this week, but showlist numbers are up from week-ago and the boxed beef market had a sluggish performance Monday. As a result, there's some cash cattle uncertainty, which is likely to lead to choppy price action in cattle futures until active cash cattle trade develops.

LIMITED DEMAND FOR CASH HOGS... Pork plants are well supplied for the week, which will limit packer interest in buying cash hogs. As a result, the cash hog market will remain under pressure, especially since the pork cutout value dropped $1.28 Monday.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Taiwan tendered to buy 60,000 MT of U.S. or South American corn, South Korea tendered to buy 40,000 to 70,000 MT of optional origin corn.


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