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3 Big Things Today, April 20

Corn, Beans Rise Overnight; Ethanol Production Rises Only Slightly Weekly.

1. Grains, Beans Rise on Bargain Hunting, Concerns About Wet Weather

Grains and soybeans were higher in overnight trading on a general sense of optimism for the markets after prices dropped last week.

Soybean futures last week touched the lowest level in more than a year, but have rebounded slightly in the past few sessions. While the rebound hasn’t been very strong, there’s some sense that prices are too low, leading bargain hunters to come seeking contracts.

Prices also may be rising on expectations that rain will continue in the southern Midwest and Delta regions for the next couple of weeks, which would further slow any planting set to take place.

Showers also are expected to continue in the northern Midwest and perhaps the eastern Midwest for the next day or two, further saturating already-wet soils.

Corn futures for July delivery, now the most active contract, rose 2¼¢ to $3.70½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soybean futures rose 3¼¢ to $9.53½ a bushel in Chicago. Soy meal added $1.60 to $4.36¼ a short ton, and soy oil gained 0.11¢ to 31.90¢ a pound.

Wheat futures for May delivery rose 1¾¢ to $4.36¼ a bushel, and Kansas City wheat gained 3¢ to $4.19¾ a bushel.

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2. Ethanol Production Rises Slightly From Lowest Level in Six Months

Ethanol production rose, but only slightly, in the week that ended on April 14 after falling to the lowest level in six months, according to the Energy Information Administration.

U.S. production of the biofuel averaged 993,000 barrels a day last week, up from 986,000, which was the lowest since October. The decline in production can likely be attributed to what was extremely high inventories.

Stockpiles in the U.S. rose week to week to 23 million barrels last week, up from 22.9 million the previous week, according to the EIA.

Inventories of ethanol have been extremely high in recent weeks, rising to a record in the last week of March, government data show.

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3. Storm Moving Through Southern Plains This Morning May Produce Hail, Strong Winds

A narrow storm is pushing through north-central Oklahoma and southern Kansas this morning, which may mean severe weather for the region.

The system isn’t expected to produce any tornadoes, but the area may see some half-dollar-size to golf-ball-size hail and wind speeds from 60 mph to 70 mph, according to the National Weather Service. So far, the agency gives the region a “marginal” chance of seeing sever weather.

“Scattered strong to severe storms may develop Thursday evening and overnight,” the NWS said in an early morning report. “Heavy rain and large hail will be the primary hazards.”

Scattered thunderstorms also are expected in parts of northern Illinois, Indiana, and southern Michigan today. The storms could turn severe with large hail and strong winds, but likely they will move out of the region by late afternoon.

The Des Plaines and Fox rivers in Illinois are nearing flood levels, which also may pose a problem for the region, the NWS said.

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