Pro Farmer's First Thing Today: Wheat Crops, Ethanol Exports and More

09:53AM May 06, 2020
Here are audio highlights from around the ag industry, courtesy of Pro Farmer.
( Pro Farmer )

Good Morning farm country. Davis Michaelsen here with your morning update for Wednesday May 6. From Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today, these are some of the stories we are watching this morning:

Corn futures are mixed after holding to a very narrow trading range overnight. Soybeans saw two-sided action overnight, but futures are currently trading high-range and steady to a penny higher. Winter wheat futures are down 1 to 4 cents, and spring wheat is steady to a penny lower. The U.S. dollar index is again testing the 100.00-point threshold. Crude oil futures are marginally higher.   

Oklahoma wheat crop prospects are down from year-ago, with dryness and frost damage concerns… After completing their annual tour of Oklahoma, educators with Oklahoma State University Extension and private crop consultants projected the state’s 2020 winter wheat crop at 96.52 million bu. with an average yield of 33.16 bu. per acre.  Last year on the tour, the group projected the crop at 119.27 million bu., with an average yield of 37.38 bu. per acre.

Argentina will likely produce a record-setting 21 MMT wheat crop in 2020-21, forecasts the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange. That would be a 2.2-MMT increase from the previous crop year.

Over the first quarter of the year, exports to China are down 15.4% from the first quarter of 2019.  Agricultural exports to China in fiscal year 2020 currently total $8 billion and year-to-date 2020 exports total $3.1 billion — both well below the pace needed to meet USDA’s current projection and the Phase 1 commitments.

The Texas Railroad Commission confirmed the expected Tuesday, officially killing a motion forcing companies in the nation’s largest oil producing state to cut their crude output. “I don’t believe pro-rationing is the magic bullet that will save the industry,” said Wayne Christian, the commission’s chairman, at a remote hearing.

U.S. ethanol exports totaled 96,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2019, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), down from the 2018 mark and the first fall in U.S. ethanol exports since 2015. However, the level of shipments still was at the second highest level on record.

USDA on Tuesday morning finally sent the proposed rule to implement the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue previously said he wanted signup for the CFAP to take place early this month, with payments by the end of May to early June.

Vice President Pence told reporters that the coronavirus task force created to manage the federal government’s response to the pandemic could be disbanded within a month because “of the tremendous progress we’ve made as a country.” The Trump administration is considering setting up a new group focused on “safety and opening” but would continue to consult with doctors and public health officials within the administration.

Light cash cattle trade got started yesterday in Iowa at $95 for heifers and $107 for steers, with Kansas and Nebraska also seeing some action at $95. This was generally in line with the low end of last week’s action. Concerns about meat shortages helped push the pork cutout value another $5.77 higher on Tuesday, with bellies up more than $23 and butts up nearly $15. Movement was strong at 360.43 loads, especially considering current price levels.