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3 Big Things Today, July 10

Grains, Soybeans Lower Overnight; Oil Refineries Want RFS Waivers Kept Secret.

1. Grains, Soybeans Decline Ahead of WASDE Report

Grains and soybeans were lower in overnight trading ahead of tomorrow’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) Report.

The report is expected to forecast corn stockpiles at the end of the 2019-2020 marketing year at 1.692 billion bushels, up from 1.675 billion last month, researcher Allendale said. Soybean inventories likely will be pegged at 812 million bushels, well below last month’s 1.072 billion.

The hot weather in the U.S. Midwest also is being closely watched, as heat values are expected to hit as high as 115˚F. in Oklahoma today and 109˚F. elsewhere.

Still, the corn and soybean crops are looking relatively decent for this time of year.

The corn crop was rated 57% good or excellent as of Sunday, which is up from 56% last week, the USDA said in a report. That’s still well below last year’s 75% that earned top ratings at this point in 2018.

Soybeans were 53% good or excellent at the start of this week, down from 54% seven days earlier, the government said. Last year at this time, 71% had earned top ratings.

Corn futures for December delivery fell 3¾¢ to $4.33½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Wheat for September delivery lost 2½¢ to $5.00¼ a bushel, while Kansas City futures declined 2¼¢ to $4.37 a bushel.

Soybean futures for November delivery fell ¾¢ to $9.03½ a bushel overnight. Soy meal fell $1.10 to $314.80 a short ton, and soybean oil rose 0.11¢ to 28.60¢ a pound.

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2. EPA Urged by Refineries to Keep RFS Waiver Applications Under Wraps

The EPA is being urged by a law firm representing small U.S. oil refineries to keep applications for waivers from the Renewable Fuel Standard a secret.

The waiver program is designed to save oil refiners millions of dollars, but the corn industry says it cuts demand for ethanol. Waivers to bypass rules under the RFS have tripled since President Donald Trump took office, according to a Reuters report.

Perkins Coie, the firm representing the refineries, said in a letter to the EPA that the applications for waivers contain confidential business information, the report said.

The letter asserts that the USDA will share the information with the agriculture industry and undercut refiners’ ability to compete.

In a statement last week, the National Corn Growers Association said the EPA has granted 53 exemptions to the RFS accounting for 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel. At last count, the number of waivers awaiting approval stands at 38.

The NCGA also said in its statement that the EPA has failed to uphold a circuit court ruling in 2017 that requires it to account for 500 million gallons worth of improper waivers.

On July 5, the EPA released its renewable volume obligation rule for 2020 but failed to account for lost volumes due to refinery waivers, the NCGA said.

“We are frustrated the EPA did not account for potential waived gallons going forward in the proposed rule,” NCGA President Lynn Chrisp said in a statement. “If the EPA continues to grant retroactive waivers, the RVO numbers are meaningless, and the EPA is not following the law. Farmers are facing a very tough economic environment, and the continued waiver abuse chips away at farmers’ bottom lines.”

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3. Heat Wave in Southern Midwest Expands, Now Reaches Into Northern Illinois

The heat wave in the southern Midwest is expanding and now stretches from central Texas into northern Illinois, according to the National Weather Service.

In eastern Missouri and west-central Illinois, heat indexes are expected to reach as high as 109˚F. today due to high temperatures and humidity, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

In Oklahoma, an excessive heat warning is in effect along with a heat advisory. Heat index values in the state are expected to top 115˚F.

“The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are likely,” the agency said in its report this morning.

Farther north in central Nebraska, flood warnings and flash flood warnings persist after as much as 9 inches of rain fell yesterday.

Another inch or two of rain fell overnight exacerbating the problem, as soils are already saturated. That is leading to flash floods in several counties in the center of the state. A severe thunderstorm warning remains in effect for parts of northern Kansas and extreme southern Nebraska this morning, according to the NWS.

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