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Global crop weather concerns abound

01/17/2014 @ 7:49am

As we begin wrapping up the workweek, it appears corn, soybeans, and wheat have run out of any momentum that may have been building over the past several days. Mar'14 wheat is currently 570-2, Mar'14 corn 425-4, with Mar'14 soybeans 1309. One of the "hot topics" as of late has been regarding the heat wave in Argentina.

Although heat and dryness will last in many of the Argentine growing areas through early Sunday, model agreement has solidified regarding a wetter pattern next week, especially for central and eastern Buenos Aires where rainfall through next Friday could exceed 3 inches in spots. However, most of the Argentine growing regions (80% coverage) will receive at least 1 inch of rainfall, which along with cooler temperatures, should improve growing conditions across these areas.

There are some indications for a drier pattern developing during the 11-15 day period. Across Southeast Brazil, particularly from Rio Grande do Sul northeast to Parana, hot and dry weather will persist over the next several days, with a wetter pattern holding off until at least the 25th. However, examination of 30 and 90 day rainfall reveals sufficient soil moisture which should buffer these growing areas (Which account for roughly 38% of Brazilian soybean production) from any significant impacts.

The next topic of interest is with regards to Winter wheat. With a colder pattern set to unfold after the 20th, is there any direct threat to the winter wheat crop? For HRW wheat, I do not see any direct threat, the reasoning being the worst of the cold will be off to the north and east, centered from the central Midwest eatsward to the Atlantic Seaboard. SRW wheat may have some winterkill threat on the morning of the 21st, although any damage will likely be isolated and insignificant. Beyond, a very cold pattern will try to set up after the 23rd of the month.

Confidence is far too low this far into the future to make any further speculations concerning winterkill potential. Of course, will a cold pattern set to unfold next week, natural gas drawdown will once again increase along with a spike in energy demand. It is hard to believe that natgas prices won't challenge at least $4.50/mmbtu over the next several days. Both the 6-10 and 11-15 day timeframe appear equally cold, with at least a few days in this timeframe featuring high temperatures 10-20 degrees below normal, especially across the eastern Midwest eastward into western New England.

There have been some indications from our long-range models that the stubborn Pacific ridge will finally begin to break down. Too good to be true? Quite possibly. However, there is some support for a moderation trend to occur sometime near the beginning of February across the central and eastern US. It even appears the drought-stricken west may have a shot as some significant precipitation after the 28th of the month. Again, confidence is low in this timeframe.

Elsewhere, colder weather will be returning to the winter wheat areas of the central FSU. Recent warm and dry weather has resulted in a thin and patchy snow cover in some of these areas. However, snowfall should be widespread enough at the onset of this colder pattern to protect most of the winter wheat crop from any winterkill.


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