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3 Big Things Today, December 6

Soybeans Rise Overnight on China Buy; Winter Wheat Threatened By Lack of Rainfall.

1. Soybeans Rise After China Buys 426,000 Metric Tons From U.S. Supplies

Soybean futures were higher in overnight trading amid signs of demand for U.S. supplies.

Exporters sold 426,000 metric tons of beans to China for delivery in the current marketing year, the Department of Agriculture said on Monday. Export sales since the start of the marketing year on September 1 are up 27% from the same period a year earlier, according to the USDA.

Demand has been strong thus far for the big three crops, as sales of corn are up 76% year over year, and sales of wheat are up 31%. Buyers have been taking advantage of low prices to stock up on supplies.  

Soybeans for January delivery rose 5¾¢ to $10.49¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal futures for December delivery added $1 to $320.50 a short ton, and soy oil rose 0.44¢ to 38.11¢ a pound. 

Corn futures were unchanged at $3.58¼ a bushel in Chicago.

Wheat futures for December delivery rose ¾¢ to $4.09 a bushel in Chicago, while Kansas City futures gained 2¢ to $4.10½ a bushel. 


2. Hard Red Winter Wheat Threatened as Rainfall Scarce in Past 90 Days

You wouldn’t know it looking at the price on the Board of Trade, but hard red winter wheat grown in the U.S. Southern Plains has been quietly getting drier.

Little or no rain has fallen in much of western Kansas and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles in the past 90 days, according to the National Weather Service. The dry weather, along with a cold snap the past week, is threatening hundreds of millions of acres in the area, according to industry group Kansas Wheat.

“Much-needed moisture makes the top of many Kansas wheat farmers’ 2016 Christmas wish lists,” the group said in a statement on its website. “According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, much of western Kansas is currently in moderate to severe drought just a few weeks after the entirety of the state was declared drought-free for the first time in six years.”

Kansas State Extension Speciality Romulo Lollato told Kansas Wheat that this year’s crop has gotten off to a “rough start” as most fields in the Southern Plains haven’t received any rain since they were planted.

The good news is that subsoil remains mostly adequate for the region after an especially rainy summer. That will keep crops alive for a while, but precipitation is needed – and soon.

“It’s a decent stand, but we haven’t had a measurable rain in my part of the country since August 6 or 7,” farmer Gary Millershaski said in the Kansas Wheat report. “We just really need that moisture for the roots to develop down deeply.”

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3. Blizzard Slamming North Dakota to Leave Foot of Snow, Strong Winds

A blizzard warning is in effect for much of North Dakota, as several inches of snow and strong winds are forecast for the state.

As much as 5 inches of snow is possible today, on top of what’s already fallen, bringing the total to about 12 inches in some areas, the National Weather Service said in a report early Tuesday. Snow is already on the ground, and blowing snow will reduce visibility to near zero. Some roads may be blocked by drifting snow, and travel isn’t advised.

“A significant winter storm will bring heavy snow and blizzard conditions over portions of the Northern Plains, primarily North Dakota through Tuesday,” the NWS said. “Snowfall amounts could reach 1 foot leading to dangerous travel conditions. Strong winds and very cold temperatures will also yield sub-zero wind chill readings.”

The storm is expected to move east out of North Dakota this afternoon, the NWS said. Western Minnesota likely will see an inch or two of snow starting today, along with wind gusts of up to 40 mph.  

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