What Traders are Talking About:
* Pro Farmer crop estimates. After pulling nearly 1,200 corn and soybean samples from Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, Indiana, Ohio and South Dakota last week and taking into account the other production areas, along with planted acreage, kernel/bean size and other factors, we estimate the U.S. corn crop at 10.478 billion bu. with the national average yield at 120.25 bu. per acre and the soybean crop at 2.60 billion bu. with the national average yield at 34.8 bu. per acre. For corn, we are using a +/-1% range for a crop of 10.374 billion bu. (119.05 bu. yield) to 10.583 billion bu. (121.45 bu. yield). For soybeans, we are using a +/-2% range for a crop of 2.548 billion bu. (34.1 bu. yield) to 2.652 billion bu. (35.5 bu. yield).
* Isaac bears down on Gulf Coast. Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to make landfall as a high Category 1 hurricane along the Gulf Coast sometime late Tuesday. On the political front, the GOP has altered its national convention schedule this week due to the storm. More important, however, is the market impact. Crude oil futures are being supported by the impending storm, although conditions are not expected to be overly severe, which should limit the price impact. Remnant rains from the storm will obviously be heaviest in the South, Mid-South and Delta, although some rainfall could push into areas of the Corn Belt late this week. Ahead of any potential late-week rains, conditions are expected to be hot and dry across the Corn Belt.
The long and short of it: Late-season rains could help fill soybean pods in the Corn Belt. But given stalk quality, there could be lodging problems with corn if remnant rains from Isaac are heavy and/or are accompanied by high winds.
* RFS remains in focus. Calls for EPA to "do something" in regards to the corn-based ethanol mandate via the Renewable Fuels Standard continue to build as the U.S. corn crop shrinks. Today's Federal Register will include an official call by EPA for a 30-day comment period relative to requests to waive corn ethanol mandate. But we expect no decision prior to the Nov. 6 elections and it's likely there won't be any decision made until 2013 unless there's a major price spike -- to say above $10 -- that forces EPA's (the Obama administration's) hand on this matter.
The long and short of it: The heat on EPA and the Obama administration to grant a waiver of the corn-based ethanol mandate are going to increase, but we are getting no indications from our sources that any decision is imminent.
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