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3 Big Things Today, March 13

Wheat Futures Fall Overnight; Kansas Hard Red Winter in Better Shape Than Year Earlier.

1. Wheat Futures Drop Overnight on Profit-Taking

Wheat futures dropped overnight as some investors and hedgers liquidate their bullish positions after yesterday’s big jump.

Wheat futures surged 24¢ on Tuesday, partly due to a weaker dollar that may boost demand for U.S. supplies. A weaker greenback gives overseas buyers more purchasing power when buying dollar-denominated goods.

Soybeans and corn were slightly lower this morning on continued uncertainty about a trade deal with China. Very little information is flowing from Washington or Beijing at this time, though reports still suggest Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping will meet later this month to sign an agreement.

State-run Xinhua News Agency reported this week that negotiators from both sides have had phone conversations to determine the next step of a deal, but no official news from the White House has been released.

Wheat for March delivery dropped 7¼¢ to $4.45¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures lost 7¢ to $4.35¾ a bushel.

Soybeans for March delivery fell 3¢ to $8.94 a bushel overnight. Soy meal declined 50¢ to $302.50 a short ton, and soy oil dropped 0.14¢ to 29.85¢ a pound.

Corn for March delivery fell 1¼¢ to $3.64½ a bushel in Chicago.

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2. Hard Red Winter Crop in Kansas Much Improved From Same Point Last Year, USDA Says

The hard red winter wheat crop in parts of the Southern Plains is improved from last year, according to state National Agriculture Statistics Services offices. 

In Kansas, the biggest producer of winter wheat in the U.S., the hard red winter crop was rated 51% good or excellent as of Sunday, the Kansas NASS office said in a report this week. That’s well ahead of the 12% that received top ratings during the same week last year.

Some 40% of the crop was rated fair and 9% was poor or very poor, according to the government. Last year at this time, 35% was considered fair while 53% was poor or very poor.

In Oklahoma, it’s been cold and dry throughout the state, and some areas haven’t seen rain in more than 60 days, the state NASS field office said in a report. About 12% of the state was considered abnormally dry to being in an exceptional drought, up 1 percentage point from the previous week.

Winter wheat was 5% jointing, down from 12% at this time last year and 5% from normal, the government said.

About 31% of topsoil in the state had a surplus of moisture, unchanged week to week but up from 2% last year. For topsoil moisture, 45% was adequate, 20% was short, and 4% was very short vs. 37%, 19%, and 42%, respectively, last year.

Subsoil in Oklahoma this year was 29% in surplus, 48% adequate, 18% short, and 5% very short. Last year at this time, it was 3% in surplus, 29% adequate, 24% short, and 44% very short, the USDA said.

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3. Twenty Inches of Snow Forecast For Parts of Central Nebraska, South Dakota

As much as 20 inches of snow are forecast for parts of central Nebraska and South Dakota starting today, according to the National Weather Service.

Blizzard warnings are in effect as total accumulations will range from 10 to 20 inches with ice accumulations of .2 of an inch expected. Winds will gust up to 65 mph, which will cause “significant” blowing and drifting snow, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

Farther south, in much of Kansas and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, a high-wind warning is in effect this morning.

Winds will be sustained from 40 to 50 mph with gusts from 60 to 65 mph in the Southern Plains, the agency said in a report.

“Strong winds could cause tree, property, and power pole damage, with scattered power outages possible,” the NWS said. “Visibility will also be reduced in falling snow across parts of the area.”

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