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Grain Comments: 03-16-2023

Good Morning

The front end of the corn complex has put in a fairly steady rebound off lows so far this week despite overall commodity headwinds and a general malaise in the sector compared to others; old-crop/new-crop spreads are starting to stretch out in soybeans as well, with OC supplies generally tight but optimism abounding for a strong U.S. production season in 2023. The bulls could use another flash sale and/or strong export sales this morning.

Private analysts Allendale estimated 2023 U.S. corn planted acres at 90.4 million following an annual farmer survey, up from 88.6 mln ac last year but above the 91.0 mln ac USDA Ag Forum estimate; soybeans came in at 87.8 mln ac, up from 87.5 mln ac both last year and from the Ag Forum. All-wheat plantings were pegged at 48.7 mln ac, up from 45.7 mln in 2022/23 but below the USDA’s 49.5 mln ac working figure.

Friday afternoon’s USDA Cattle on Feed Report is expected to show all U.S. cattle on feed as of March 1 at 11.620 million head, or 95.5% of last year; February placements are seen at 94.0% of last year, while February marketings are estimated at 95.6% of last season.

February NOPA soybean crush came in at 165.4 million bushels yesterday, down from the average 166.1 mbu trade estimate and 179.0 mbu in January, but above 165.1 mbu last Feb. Trade estimates ranged from 162.0-173.0 mbu.

The U.S. radar picture is active this morning with heavy action expected to-day in the Midwest, a bit lesser so in the Plains; forecasts remain wet going forward, with temps closer to normal but still on the cool side through March.

Argentine rains held north over the past 24 hours, but coverage looks solid through the weekend, with above-normal precipitation center-north for the 6-10 day. Brazilian rains were light but widespread yesterday, with action better west going forward, and some dryness concerns developing center-northeast.

US weather conditions are having more of an impact on daily price discovery, and depending upon what region you are in, the results vary. The Corn Belt has areas of both excessive moisture and drought. This is the same in many parts of the United States. One region that is getting more attention is the US Delta where ongoing rains and wet fields are expected to slow seedings, although at the present time corn planting is ahead of average in all reporting states. While rains may eventually slow corn planting it is too early to be worried about acreage loss. Where corn acres may be affected by soil conditions is in the Upper Plains where heavy snowpack is being seen. It will take time for this snow to melt and as it does it will leave fields saturated. This is most noted in the Dakotas and into Minnesota where corn production has been impacted by adverse weather for the past several years. Again, it is too early to predict acreage losses, but it will take near perfect spring conditions to reach the level of corn seedings that trade is predicting. At the same time, a lack of precipitation in the Southern Plains is leaving 55% of the winter wheat crop in drought. Now that the La Nina weather event has officially ended, we may see a return to normal conditions. The question is how long it will take for these to develop.

Have a great day!

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