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Weather 'feeding the bulls'

Fall harvest is ahead of schedule in much of the nation's midsection, but with widespread rain expected in parts of the Corn Belt over the weekend and into next week, market-watchers have weather on the mind, both at home and abroad. And, that could mean the grains' rally over the last few days could continue for the foreseeable future.

Behind the momentum is more than just harvest-delaying rain in the U.S. 

Even the weather experts are sitting around the radar-room talking about the vast amount of world crop-weather issues.

“My counterparts have been talking the past few days about this. Have you ever seen so many major growing areas in the world having problems like we see right now? It is really amazing,” Charlie Notis, Freese-Notis Weather Inc. says. 

To be sure, Russia’s drought, that has already decimated much of its wheat harvest, continues to shelve many acres for next year’s planting season, according to Freese.

“It looks like only 50% of the major Former Soviet Union (FSU) growing areas will have a good rain in the next week or two.

Elsewhere, western Australia is dry as a bone. However, the rest of that country is fine, Freese says. For Brazil, no rain is seen until October, causing a later planted soybean crop. China's frost-talk for its largest soybean-producing region is much to do of nothing, Notis says. “China will get frost, but it’s coming just a week earlier than normal.”

And, the frost that hit parts of Canada Thursday night and Friday morning isn't expect to spill south anytime too soon.

“We do not see a frost for any of the Corn Belt this year,” Notis says.

Still, these world crop-weather uncertainties add up to more upside potential going at least into next week, according to Jack Scoville, PRICE Futures Group vic-president. " "It's the same weather issues we have been hearing about. A frost in Canada likely to stop growth up there, but I would think it should not cause much if any damage," the analyst said Friday. "Still, this is a market where people are scared to be short so anything that creates production doubt is just feeding the bull."

One of those bull-feeders is in China. Matt Pierce, a floor trader and market analyst for Pitguru.com in Chicago, says Thursday's overnight trade into Friday was fed higher largely by heavy rains and cool temperatures in the nation that's rolling more and more demand into the global corn and soybean markets.

"The weekend forecast calls for temps in to the low 30s with possible high 20s in the northern reaches of the Mongolian plains. This is a major problem for China and goes against everything they have been saying concerning production increases in both beans and corn," Pierce said Friday. "China is short (naturally) and wants to project an idea of stable supply...this is not justified following their problems with weather this year early with planting, drought during development and now an early frost."

Add the Canadian frost to the China situation and Pierce says it adds up to "the necessity of a monster bean crop in the central U.S."

Next week's harvest

This weekend, the western and northwestern parts of the Corn Belt will receive harvest-delaying rains, Freese says. 

“Also, the 6-10 day forecast for these same areas looks wet. It could be quite wet in the western-half and northern two-thirds of the Corn Belt. We do see harvest delays coming up.”

"The biggest worry about this wet weather would be for Minnesota and northeastern parts of South Dakota, areas where a lot of rain fell earlier this week and thus soils are already pretty wet right now. We are obviously still very early in the growing season though, and with good indications that things are going to dry out for the final few days of this month and into the opening days of October, it is not a situation that has me overly worried...and certainly I am a long ways from predicting the sort of harvest-delay fiasco that we had in October of last year," Notis said Friday. "The other notable feature about the weather coming up is still the abnormal warmth that is going to be seen next week. It will likely be cooler for next weekend but then warm again after that, so it still looks like a frost-free month of September for the Corn Belt."

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