GMO Wheat, Weather and Planting Decisions, Oh My

May 31, 2013 01:07 AM

What Traders are Talking About:

Overnight highlights: As of 6:15 a.m. CT, corn futures are mostly 2 to 4 cents higher, soybeans are 7 to 15 cents higher and wheat futures are roughly 3 to 5 cents lower. Corn and soybean traders are focused on planting delays, wet weather and uncertainty over final planted acreage, while the wheat market is being pressured by the GMO situation. Cattle and hog futures are expected to open with a slightly firmer tone this morning.


* More fallout from GMO wheat situation. South Korea has joined Japan in halting shipments of U.S. wheat. South Korean millers have temporarily suspended purchases of U.S. wheat as they await test results from their government on recent shipments. Those results are expected sometime next week. Separately, the South Korea agriculture ministry says it will heighten quarantine measures on U.S. feed wheat shipments. Meanwhile, Taiwan is "reviewing" U.S. wheat shipments and may ask exporters to guarantee they are GMO-free.

The long and short of it: It's very likely this whole situation will turn out to be much to do about nothing, but it's a market factor as long as importers halt U.S. wheat shipments.

* Soybean traders more concerned with yields than acreage switch. Based on recent price action, soyean traders are more concerned with the impact planting delays will have on soybean yields than they are with intended corn acres being switched to soybeans. That's unusual since agronomists say planting date isn't nearly as import for soybeans as it is for corn. With the calendar flipping to June tomorrow, producers with unplanted corn acres must decide whether to take a chance in planting corn late, switch to soybeans or try to claim as prevent-plant. Obviously, if those acres have already been sprayed for corn, the option of switching to soybeans is gone.

The long and short of it: As corn acreage forecasts decline as we move into June, I expect recent buying interest in November soybeans to fade and the contract to come under pressure.

* Brief dry spell this weekend. The current active weather system is forecast to clear out of the Corn Belt by late tonight or tomorrow morning. After that, there will be a couple days of dry, sunny weather. But the next wave of rains is forecast to move into the region next Tuesday. The National Weather Service (NWS) forecast for June 5-9 calls for a large area of above-normal precip over the heart of the Corn Belt, with normal rains expected over the the far western and far eastern edges of the region. The NWS 8- to 14-day forecast shows the above-normal precip moving into Indiana and Ohio, with normal precip expected across the rest of the Corn Belt.

The long and short of it: Given saturated soils, the Corn Belt needs more than a couple days of drying weather. If the forecast verifies, it suggests there will be little planting progress through June 9.


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