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USDA focuses on 2014 crop-season

02/20/2014 @ 10:19pm

The featured presentation at today’s session of the USDA’s annual Outlook Forum gave updated acreage numbers compiled by USDA economists.  The estimates were 92 million acres of corn and 79.5 million acres of soybeans.  That’s fewer bean acres than the market was expecting and the main reason November bean futures were the upside leader, with prices moving 8 cents higher. 

Actually, the overall total acreage pie presented by the USDA looks a little small.  With lower prices, one would expect that some marginal acres would not be planted.  But there are 1.5 million acres recently released from the CRP and a total of 8.3 million acres that were “prevented planting” in 2013.  Most are looking for an increase in cotton and possibly hay acres, but not 10 million acres!  It may take the farmer surveys in the first part of March for the USDA to better judge the total acres farmers hope to plant.   

Tomorrow, more details will be released, including a first look at supply and demand tables for the 2014-15 crop year. 

Also out early Friday morning will be the export sales report.  Soybeans, as in past weeks, will gather the most attention.  The market continues to look for clues regarding Chinese purchases.  Will they cancel any outstanding sales on the books?  Will they shift to more Brazilian beans?  Or did they over-purchase US beans in an attempt to avoid the delays of last year?  Corn sales could be interesting, as the market wonders if the unrest in the Ukraine causes any opportunities for increased US sales. 

Once the Outlook Forum data becomes old news, the market will have to wait until the end of March for some survey based data—the Prospective Plantings and the March Grain Stocks numbers.  Otherwise, the most exciting numbers could be the estimates of South American production from different groups that will surface periodically. 

 

The risk of loss in trading commodities can be substantial.  You should therefore carefully consider whether such trading is suitable for you in light of your financial situation. 

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