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3 Big Things Today, August 15

Corn, Soybeans Higher Overnight; Ethanol Production Rises to Highest in Almost a Month.

1. Corn, Soybeans Higher Overnight on Bargain Hunting

Corn and soybeans were higher in overnight trading as some bargain hunters seek cheap contracts.

Prices yesterday for corn declined 7¢ while soybeans dropped almost 11¢. Prices have been in a downtrend this week after a bearish World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) Report that was released Monday.

The report from the USDA said growers planted 90 million acres with corn, topping consensus compiled by Reuters for 88 million. Yield was seen at 169.5 bushels an acre, well ahead of forecasts for 164.9 bushel.

Production was pegged at 13.9 billion bushels, also topping expectations for 13.2 billion bushels.

Some farmers, traders, and other market-watchers are skeptical, saying the USDA overshot with its estimates.

Soybean acreage was seen at 76.7 million, the USDA said. Yield is expected at 48.5 bushels an acre, resulting in production of 3.68 billion bushels, down from the previous outlook for 3.845 billion.

Corn futures for December delivery rose 2½¢ to $3.72¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soybean futures for November delivery gained 1½¢ to $8.79½ a bushel overnight. Soy meal was unchanged at $299.90 a short ton, while soybean oil lost 0.17¢ to 29.38¢ a pound.

Wheat for September delivery dropped 3½¢ to $4.70¼ a bushel, while Kansas City futures added 1¢ to $4.01¾ a bushel.

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2. Ethanol Production Rises to Highest in Almost a Month, Stockpiles Increase

Ethanol production in the seven days that ended on August 9 rose to the highest in almost a month, and stockpiles also increased week to week, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Output last week averaged 1.045 million barrels a day, up from 1.04 million the previous week and the most since the week that ended on July 12, the EIA said in a report.

In the Midwest, by far the biggest producer of the biofuel, production was reported at 969,000 barrels a day, on average, up from 961,000 barrels a day. That’s also the highest level since July 12.

West Coast producers increased output to 17,000 barrels a day from 16,000 barrels, on average, the only other regional gainer.

East Coast production fell to 22,000 barrels a day from 25,000, and Rocky Mountain output declined to 13,000 barrels from 14,000 barrels a day, on average, the EIA said. Gulf Coast output was unchanged week to week at 24,000 barrels a day.

Weekly inventories increased to 23.883 million barrels in the week through August 9, up from stockpiles of 23.117 million barrels the previous week, the agency said in its report.

Last week, the EPA issued 31 waivers that allow small refineries to bypass the ethanol mandate, angering ethanol and farm groups.

The Renewable Fuels Association said the decisions to grant the waivers – the EPA granted 31 of the 40 requests – is “cloaked in secrecy and bias” and that 13 ethanol plants have closed due partly to demand loss created by the waivers. The Small Refiners Coalition, however, applauded the decision.  

The National Corn Growers Association said in a statement this week that President Donald Trump needs to step in and keep promises made to corn growers with regard to ethanol.

“It’s time for this administration to act in the best interest of farmers,” the NCGA said.

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3. Chances For Thunderstorms Every Day Through Weekend in Parts of Central Midwest

Chances for thunderstorms will increase late tonight in much of Iowa and northern Illinois, though there’s little risk of severe weather at this time, according to the National Weather Service.

Farmers needing rainfall in the central Midwest will be pleased as there are chances for thunderstorms every day through the weekend, the NWS said in a report early this morning. Some heavy rains are expected, though it’s too early to tell if storms will become severe.

Some precipitation is expected in the Northern Plains where the spring wheat harvest has started.

The area has been getting too much rain – as much as six times the normal amount has fallen in the past week – and there’s another chance for storms through the weekend.

The NWS said in a report that the threat for sever weather will be low, but chances for storms persist through the middle of next week.

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