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Investment in technology required

Published on: 09:57AM Aug 22, 2019

Market news this morning is limited to two stories; The ProFarmer crop tour and weekly export sales.  The first has provided us another bit of market positive news while the second, with the exception of wheat, not so much.  

Before we look at the day-3 tour results, a brief comment on the news that the USDA had to pull staff from the tour after an employee was threatened and threats of violence were made in another phone call.  While indicative of the level of frustration and angst in the farm community, not only with the results of crop estimate this year but I dare say, with the entire disregard for the ag sector by Washington D.C. Regardless, resorting to threats of violence will never provide solutions to these issues.  I have to believe that when it comes to crop forecasts, technology will ultimately bring about the improvements that we need, but it also needs to remain in the hands of the public.  Abraham Lincoln founded the USDA with the goal of providing crop information for all, not just for the few and while the technology used to do that has changed over the years, the goal should remain the same.  If we want better information from the USDA, more public investment in 21st-century technology needs to ear-marked specifically for that purpose.  

Now that I am done preaching for the morning, a brief look at the Illinois results published yesterday.  The tour came up with a corn yield in Illinois of 171.2.  This would be 11% below last year, 9.4% below the 3-year tour average and 5.5% below the July USDA number.  Looking at beans, the tour came up with a pod count of 997.7.  This is down 25% from last year and 23% from the 3-year tour average.  But hey, this is only the 2nd largest corn-producing state and the 1st bean producing state, so nothing to be concerned about.  Iowa and Minnesota results will be released this afternoon. 

As I mentioned above, with the exception of wheat, export sales provided us with nothing to write home about, but at least they were an improvement over the previous week. Beginning with the best, for the week ending August 15th, we sold 594,600 MT or 21.85 million bushels of wheat. This was 29% higher than last week and 19% above the 4-week average. Mexico was the top purchaser with 113.8k MT, followed by Guatemala at 60.5k and then Thailand with 60k.  Corn sales came through at 119,300 MT or 46 million bushels.  While that may not sound impressive, it was more than double a week ago and was 31% above the 4-week average.  Here as well, Mexico was the top purchasers with 96.9k MT, followed by Japan at 61.7k and then Canada with 10.6k.  There were also sales of 301,600 MT of sales for the 2019/20 crop year.  Bean sales do not sound inspiring either at 25,900 MT or 9.52 million bushels, but that is over than 5-times greater than the previous week. The top sales spot went to Germany with 68.5k MT, followed by Indonesia with 56k and then Bangladesh for 53.1k but also reductions from unknown of 169k, Pakistan of 62.5k and Japan 27.3k. Making up for this though we made sales of 792,600 MT for the 2019/20 crop year.  The largest percentage of these were made to unknown destinations with 421k MT, followed by Mexico taking 111.5k and then China in for 66k.