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3 Big Things Today, September 20

Wheat Futures Higher Overnight; Weekly Export Sales of Corn, Soybeans Strong.

1. Wheat Higher Overnight as Rain Slows Spring Harvest

Wheat futures were again higher in overnight trading amid concerns about the pace of harvest in the U.S. and Canada and on some demand news.

About 76% of the U.S. spring wheat crop was harvested at the start of this week, well behind the prior five-year average of 93%, according to the USDA. Quality issues also are reportedly starting to pop up as the harvest continues.

In North Dakota (the biggest producer of spring varieties in the U.S.), 73% was collected vs. the usual 91% at this time of the year, the agency said in a report earlier this week.

As much as six times the normal amount of rain has fallen in the Northern Plains in the past 30 days, according to the National Weather Service, keeping some farmers out of their fields and increasing the potential for fungal diseases.

Rainfall in Alberta and Manitoba is slowing the wheat harvest in the Canadian provinces.

On the demand side, Egypt (the world’s biggest importer of the grain) and Algeria both bought from world supplies this week.

Wheat for September delivery rose 3¼¢ to $4.91¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures gained 2¼¢ to $4.11¾ a bushel.

Soybean futures for November delivery fell 1¢ to $8.92 a bushel. Soy meal declined 20¢ to $295.90 a short ton, while soybean oil lost 0.21¢ to 29.76¢ a pound.

Corn futures for December delivery rose ¼¢ to $3.73 a bushel overnight.

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2. Corn, Soybean Sales Strong in First Full Week of 2019-2020 Marketing Year, Wheat Sales Drop

Export sales of corn and soybeans were both strong in the seven days that ended on September 12, according to the USDA.

Corn sales last week, the first full week of the 2019-2020 marketing year, were reported at 1.46 million metric tons.

Mexico accounted for the bulk of the sales, purchasing 1.16 million tons of the grain from the U.S. Japan purchased 133,700 tons, Costa Rica was in for 98,900 tons, Guatemala took 55,000 tons, and El Salvador purchased 32,300 tons, the USDA said.

An unknown customer canceled a shipment for 59,100 tons.

Soybean sales came in at 1.73 million metric tons as China jumped back into the market. The Asian nation purchased 593,200 tons from U.S. supplies, an unknown buyer took 427,400 tons, Mexico bought 194,800 tons, Egypt was in for 129,100 tons, and Spain bought 71,900 tons, the agency said.

Wheat sales, however, plunged to 286,600 metric tons, down 53% from the previous week and 47% from the prior four-week average.

For the grain’s 2019-2020 marketing year that started on June 1, Mexico bought 146,900 metric tons from the U.S. supplies, Colombia was in for 57,400 tons, South Korea purchased 53,600 tons, Ecuador took 41,800 tons, and Chile bought 36,300 tons, the USDA said.

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3. Flood, Flash Flood Watches in Effect in Parts of Kansas, Missouri, Eastern Iowa, Northern Illinois

Flood watches and flash flood watches are in effect from northeastern Kansas east into northern Illinois this morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Flood warnings are in effect along the Missouri River along Missouri’s border with Nebraska and Kansas and inland toward Carrollton, Missouri, NWS maps show. The rest of the northern half of the state is facing a flood watch.

“Scattered storms may develop today, tonight, and through the day Saturday, but the focus for the torrential rain that could result in flash flooding will be Saturday night through the day Sunday, as the cold front moves through,” the agency said in a report earlier this morning.

In eastern Iowa and northern Illinois, meanwhile, flooding is forecast for the weekend as an “unseasonably moist air mass” moves into the area.

The heaviest rainfall is expected late Saturday through Sunday.

“During this time frame, there is the potential for storms to move repeatedly over the same area and produce excessive rainfall with high rainfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour,” the NWS said.

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