Grain Markets: The Calm Before the Storm

April 12, 2019 09:00 PM
For the week ending April 12, corn and soybean prices were both just a few cents down. This is despite excessive moisture and snow that’s slowing fieldwork and planting progress. 

If the grain markets have nearly lulled you to sleep in the last few months, you’re not alone. Other than the big drop following the March 29 Prospective Plantings report, markets have made just incremental moves up or down.

For the week ending April 12, corn and soybean prices were both just a few cents down. This is despite excessive moisture and snow that’s slowing fieldwork and planting progress. 

“The market is a proactive market and looks ahead,” says Jerry Gulke, president of Gulke Group. “It saw this weather system coming through the Midwest a few days ago. So, when it materializes, the markets say, ‘Now what? That's an old story.’”

Part of the new story is farmers in some areas are getting into the field and making planting progress. The other part of the story is there is plenty of old-crop grain in storage to provide a cushion. That was evident is the April 2019 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report from USDA, which published this week.

“USDA found more corn in the bin,” Gulke says. “Combine that with the Planting Intentions report, which showed that our intentions were to plant 1 million more acres than most people thought. On the surface, you say, ‘Well, farmers intended to plant corn, so odds are that when it dries up, they are somehow going to get that done.’”

Soybeans have a similar story, with excessive stocks and more than enough planned acres.

“It’s really up to weather again and government action to move prices,” Gulke says. 

All of these factors equal grain markets with little volatility. “We aren't seeing a 20¢ or 30¢ move in beans or a dime in corn,” he says.

For farmers with snow on the ground and grain in the bin, it may be hard to sell grain, Gulke acknowledges. “I think that’s holding up the price of corn—the reluctance to sell.”

Soybeans have an interesting pattern playing out, Gulke says, something that hasn’t happened in years.

“We have a carry in that market,” he says. “Normally, the market didn’t pay us a dime to store past March or the first part of April because we had another crop coming in South America. Now they're paying us to store the large 900 million bu. carryover. Someone will get paid to hold that excess, either a commercial elevator or on-farm stored.”

Gulke says the longer these sideways and slightly lower markets last, the bigger the potential for a price explosion once factors change—be it up or down. 

Find more analysis from Gulke and listen to audio commentary at

Read More
April 9 USDA Reports: Next Price Mover?

Jerry Gulke: Trade Deal or No Deal?

Jerry Gulke: USDA Shock and Awe

Check current market prices in AgWeb's Commodity Markets Center.

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Spell Check

Small town Indiana, IN
4/13/2019 12:29 PM

  Sorry fellas it not Jerry's or the USDA's fault on all this corn.You can thank scott pruitt and andrew wheeler and all the ILLEGAL RIN WAIVERS they gave out like candy!!! But when you are in big oils back pocket , what did you expect ??? Do not forget to thank their boss as well . I LOVE ETHANOL , REMEMBER????

Osterdock , IA
4/13/2019 10:45 AM

  Don’t be so hard on’s the USDA .YOU NEED TO POINT YER frustration at...they found more corn in the bin...ever notice when China is in the market for corn,,,the USDA pulls more out of their wazoo...

Kearney, NE
4/13/2019 12:59 PM

  WE are at fault for all of the corn that is left on hand. It's FARMERS who tore out millions of acres of pasture to plant row crops-short term gain for long term pain-when crop prices were high. Add in the CRP acres returned to crop production, and there is your culprit for too much grain. The USDA never forced anyone do this. WE are our own worst enemies.


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