By Carrie Muehling
BLOOMINGTON – The grain trade continues to watch South American weather as it anticipates the next round of reports due out from the USDA on Friday.
It appears a good soybean crop is coming out of Brazil, although it may not be quite as large as earlier expectations because of some dry weather. Brazil is also looking at a good corn crop, as is Argentina.
Expectations for Friday’s report include a minor increase in the corn carryout from what the numbers showed in February, linked to a slight reduction in exports. Analysts do not expect much change in soybeans as the carryout can’t go much lower. Markets on Monday rallied at the end of the day to ration demand with higher prices.
The bigger report for corn will be the March 28 grain stocks report, which will give an estimate of what the stocks were on and off farm on March 1 including feed use. Export trends show good demand for soybeans and poor demand for corn, which has been the pattern all year. The markets will also watch acreage numbers scheduled for release that day. USDA is conducting prospective plantings surveys now.
“Once those reports are out of the way, it’s almost the unofficial kickoff to the planting season. Get into April, of course, and it will be up to the weather to see how fast we can get the crops planted, and we’ll have a benchmark then to work for from the standpoint of the acreage number and you can start to pencil in what a yield would be, and therefore what the production will be this fall,” said Brian Basting, commodity research analyst with Advance Trading.
At that point, weather here in the U.S. will be key as much of the nation looks to move past last year’s drought.
“We’re just cautiously optimistic. We’re seeing here in Central Illinois some recharge of moisture the last couple months that has been much welcomed,” said Basting. “When you go further west of the Mississippi River, it’s not as good so far. [They are] still mired in a drought in many parts of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Kansas.”
Recent snows have helped, but more recharge needed in those areas.
Basting mentioned crop insurance continues to be an important piece of the marketing plan for many producers, and that sign up is underway. Analysts also continue to watch what is happening in Washington, D.C. with the farm bill and the financial situation.
Carrie Muehling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.