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Selling opportunities for corn producers

Ray Grabanski 01/25/2012 @ 8:06am President, Progressive Ag www.progressiveag.com

Dry weather in southern South America has once again emerged. For the next seven days, Argentina and southern Brazil are expected to experience a dry forecast.  

That is providing support to the market recently, with prices moving up into the gaps created when USDA's Jan report hit, with its bearish implications of more US and world ending stocks.  

The last two weeks has been a different forecast than most of December and early Jan., with significant precip falling in both dry areas in Argentina and southern Brazil.  The recent precip and cooler temps should have slowed the decline in crop conditions in much of this dry area, while the northern portions of Brazil continued to have good precip and below normal temps.  

The recent change in the forecast back to drier than normal comes at a critical time for the soybean crop, as we are in the equivalent of late July in US crop development, so rains for now would be extremely important to the soybean crop development.  We are getting towards the time of year when the rain will help the corn crop less, although this is still a critical time for corn, too. 

The recent change back to a dry forecast for the dry southern South America belt means more support for the grain market, and thus firming of prices into late January.  The rally is pushing grain prices back into the gap left by the sharply lower trade on report day for the Jan USDA report, when corn fell to limit losses (40c) and another 5c losses on the synthetic trade.  Can we fill those gaps lower in this current rally?

Everything depends on the weather now, but the recent shift back to dry weather forecasts in southern South America is a healthy sign.  The only problem for the bulls is that the forecast is updated twice daily, and changes back to a wetter pattern (like the past two weeks) could put the nail in the coffin for grain prices.  

Unfortunately, the rest of the world is not in dire need of grain crops like recent years, and that whole scenario has already played out in the Jan. USDA report.  

While much has been made of the South America drought in southern growing areas, Pro Ag suspects that the damage might be overestimated due to the shortage of rains.  Typically, moisture deficits like we've recorded in southern South America the past six weeks will be accompanied by excessive heat.  But, this year cannot be classified in that category, as temps have only averaged about 1-3 degrees above normal during this period in southern South America, and actually have been cooler than normal in northern Brazil (where heat typically is a bigger problem).  The northern portions of South America continue to have high yield potential, putting a damper on any significant rally due to South America weather. 

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