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3 Big Things Today, August 8

Grains, Beans Higher in Overnight Trading; Weekly Illinois, Iowa Corn Ratings Drop.

1. Grains, Beans Higher as Corn Ratings Drop, Chances of Rain Variable

Grain and soybeans were higher in overnight trading after corn ratings unexpectedly dropped.

The amount of corn that earned good or excellent ratings as of Sunday declined 1 percentage point while soybeans rose a point, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report after the close of trading yesterday.

Analysts had expected an increase for both of about 1 point, so the decline boosted prices.

Weather maps are also friendly for prices as they show only a little rain in the Midwest for most of the week. While precipitation is expected to start tomorrow in several areas, storms will be intermittent and extremely variable so rain isn’t guaranteed, according to the National Weather Service.

Corn futures for December delivery rose 1½¢  to $3.88¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soybean futures for November delivery added 8¢ to $9.77¾ bushel. Soy meal rose $2.60 to $316.80 a short ton, and soy oil futures gained 0.28¢ to 34.21¢ a pound.

Wheat for September delivery rose 4¢ to $4.67½ a bushel, and Kansas City futures added 4¼¢ to $4.71 a bushel.

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2. Declines in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska Lead Corn Crop Ratings Lower

Looking at the Crop Progress Report issued late yesterday, it’s not hard to see where the lack of rain – or, in some cases, the excessive precipitation – hurt corn.

The overall rating for the crop unexpectedly fell to 60% good or excellent in the week that ended on Sunday, down from 61% a week earlier. Analysts had expected a rating of 62%.

In Illinois, the rating dropped 5 percentage points to 58% good or excellent. Most of that fell into the fair category, which rose by 4 points. Growers in the Land of Lincoln have had a tough year, with some getting too little rain while other have been flooded out in recent weeks.

In Iowa, it was 64% good or excellent, down from last week’s 65%. In Nebraska, 59% earned top ratings vs. 61% a week earlier, according to the USDA.

Iowa, Illinois, and Nebraska are the top three producing corn states.

The ratings declines come at critical growth stages. About 93% of the U.S. crop was silking, 42% is in the dough stage, and 7% was dented as of Sunday, the USDA said in the report.

Soybeans were rated 60% good or excellent, up from 59% a week earlier, as expected. Some 90% of the crop is blooming and 65% are now setting pods.

Spring wheat ratings actually rose, gaining 1 percentage point to 32% good or excellent, the government said. A year ago, however, 68% of the crop earned top ratings.

About 24% of spring wheat was harvested as of Sunday, ahead of the prior five-year average of 21%, according to the USDA.

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3. Flood Warnings in Effect For Lower Mississippi Valley, Little Rain Expected in Midwest

Flood warnings are in effect for the lower Mississippi Valley today along the Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi state lines.

Several rivers are near or above flood stage already and are continually rising due to precipitation upstream in recent days, according to the National Weather Service.

Little rain is expected in much of the central Midwest – the main corn- and bean-growing areas – today, though the odds of moisture increases tomorrow.

“Between Wednesday and Sunday, there are several chances for thunderstorms (in the Midwest), with some of the most widespread coverage favoring Wednesday,” the NWS office in Omaha, Nebraska, said in a morning report. “While many details regarding the timing and likelihood of thunderstorms over the next several days remain rather unclear, the potential exists for at least a few storms to become strong to marginally severe on both Wednesday and Thursday, capable of producing hail, damaging winds, and locally heavy rainfall.”

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