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3 Big Things Today, April 4

Wheat, Corn Slightly Higher Overnight; More Than Half of Winter Wheat in Good, Excellent Shape.

1. Wheat, Corn Slightly Higher as Traders Focused on Planting

Wheat and corn futures were modestly higher in overnight trading as investors continue to trade on the Department of Agriculture’s planting report from last week.

Wheat area was pegged at 46.1 million acres, down 4 million from the prior year. Winter wheat acreage was forecast at 32.7 million, down 3.42 million from the prior year, and spring wheat was seed at 11.3 million, down 300,000 from last year, the USDA said.

Corn area would total 90 million acres, down 4 million from last year and below expectations of 91 million, according to the USDA. The lost acreage will likely be made up in soybean planting, which was forecast just below corn at 89.5 million acres, an increase of 6.1 million from the previous year and above trade expectations.

Wheat futures for May delivery rose 1¼ ¢ to $4.29 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Hard red winter wheat added 2¼¢ to $4.21¼ a bushel.

Corn futures for May delivery rose a penny to $3.68¾ a bushel in Chicago.

Soybean futures rose 2½¢ to $9.40¾ a bushel. Soy meal added $1.30 to $308.90 a short ton, and soy oil fell 0.01¢ to 31.41¢ a pound.


2. More Than Half of U.S. Winter Wheat Rated Good, Excellent in First Report of Year

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its first Crop Progress Report of the year, and while conditions haven’t been ideal in the Southern Plains, they’re not as bad as some expected.

Winter wheat was rated 51% good or excellent in the first poll of the season, below 59% at the same time last year, according to the USDA. The Kansas crop was 43% good or excellent, while 41% of the Oklahoma crop earned top marks.

Bringing up the average for the country was soft red winter country. In Arkansas, 70% of the crop was rated good or excellent, and 65% of Illinois wheat was in top condition, according to the USDA.

Southern Plains weather thus far has been a tale to three seasons. Extremely cold weather hit the region in January, which was followed by a six-week drought that led to wildfires and drought, and in the past couple of weeks, ample rain has fallen, giving hope to growers.

The rain has replenished subsoil moisture, which, in Kansas, is at 68% adequate or surplus. In Oklahoma, it is 54% adequate or surplus.

About 15% of the sorghum crop has been planted, up from the five-year average of 12%, and 13% at the same time last year, the USDA said.

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3. Rain in Indiana, Ohio Expected to Cause Flooding; Winter Weather Hits Southern Plains

Rainfall is expected in parts of northern Indiana and Ohio, which may cause some flooding, according to the National Weather Service.

“Minor flooding will continue on some rivers in the area,” the NWS said in a statement on Tuesday morning. “More rain is expected Wednesday and Thursday with some locally heavy rainfall possible, which may cause additional and more substantial flooding.”

There’s a “significant” risk of heavy thunderstorms on Wednesday afternoon, which might include large hail and damaging winds, the agency said.

In the Southern Plains, snow is expected late this morning with as much as 3 inches possible in the western tips of the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles. A rain-snow mix is expected farther east, while thunderstorms are expected in other areas, the NWS said.

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