Corn and wheat slightly higher, beans weaker this morning... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading around a penny lower, soybeans are 2 cents lower in old-crop contracts and narrowly mixed in new-crop contracts, while wheat futures are 1 to 3 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is sharply higher this morning.
New farm bill program signup will come later and last into summer... No final decisions have been made on USDA implementation of new farm programs beginning with 2014 crops. But indications are signup could begin no sooner than April, with the timeframe extending into summer. That should give farmers enough time to be educated about their new options, and they have a lot, and to plug their farm information into spreadsheets to determine which program they should opt into.
Choosing between PLC and ARC... If farmers don't make an election for the 2014 crop year to participate in either the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) or Ag Risk Coverage (ARC), then the farm will be considered to have elected to be in PLC for all covered commodities for the 2015-2018 crop years and will receive no ARC or PLC payments for the 2014 crop year. Make sure you elect a program for the 2014 crop.
Sen. Reid against TPA/fast track for new trade agreements... Surprising few but coming just after President Barack Obama signaled he wanted Congress to approve Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reaffirmed his stance against TPA. "I’m against fast track," Reid said, referring to the former name given to TPA. "Everyone knows how I feel about this," Reid said. "[Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max] Baucus (D-Mont.) knows. [Sen. Ron] Wyden (D-Ore.) knows. The White House knows. Everyone would be well-advised not to push this right now." Under TPA, the administration can negotiate trade agreements with foreign countries and bring them back to Congress for an up or down vote with no opportunity for amendments. Officials from some countries have indicated they would not be willing to offer additional trade incentives if they did not feel Congress would not approve TPA. Some sources say Reid's opposition could be a tactic to garner Democratic-pushed concessions such as funding for worker training in order to get him to put TPA on the Senate floor agenda.
Bird flu costs Chinese producers billions... Chinese poultry farmers have lost 20 billion yuan ($3.3 billion) due to bird flu, according to the country's Ministry of Agriculture. Chinese poultry meat and egg prices have dropped sharply and sales have slumped as consumers shy away from poultry as the number of bird flu cases increases. The Shanghai Securities News reports the Chinese government will implement new policies to support the poultry industry, without giving specific details.
China's manufacturing sector contracted in January... China's final HSBC purchasing managers' index (PMI) dropped to 49.5 in January from 50.5 in December. That was a six-month low and the first time in that span with a reading below the contraction threshold of 50. Output and new orders slumped during January, signaling slackened demand.
Weekly export sales out this morning... For the week ended Jan. 23, traders expect: corn sales between 550,000 and 750,000 MT; wheat sales between 300,000 and 500,000 MT; soybean sales between 750,000 and 1.05 million MT; soymeal sales between 100,000 and 200,000 MT; and soyoil sales between 0 and 30,000 MT.
Wholesale beef prices plunge... Choice boxed beef prices were $3.99 lower Wednesday while Select beef dropped $3.24. With Choice values down more than $8 from last week's record high and showlist supplies up from week-ago, it appears the run of record cash cattle prices will likely come to an end.
Pork movement climbs... Pork movement has increased each day this week, reaching a 405.78 loads yesterday. Given the surge in wholesale beef prices, packers are buying more pork for what should be increased late winter/early spring pork features. Building pork demand and strong packer margins should keep cash hog bids steady to firmer today.
Overnight demand news... Japan purchased 179,343 MT of wheat in its weekly tender, including 91,247 MT of U.S. supplies. Jordan tendered to buy 100,000 MT of optional origin milling wheat and 100,000 MT of optional origin feed barley.