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3 Big Things Today, December 8

Wheat Futures Rise in Overnight Trading; Ethanol Production Rises to Highest Since August.

1. Wheat Rises Overnight Amid Dry, Cold Weather in Southern Plains

Wheat futures were higher in overnight trading as dry weather persists in much of the Southern Plains.

Little or no rain has fallen in western Kansas or the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles for the past 90 days, according to the National Weather Service. While soil moisture is still decent at this time, continued dry weather will leave winter wheat plants without water while they overwinter.

Cold weather also is becoming a concern as much of the region lacks snow cover, leaving young plants exposed to bitterly low temperatures and stinging wind.

Soybeans were lower despite strong demand for U.S. supplies, and corn was modestly higher in overnight trading.

Wheat futures for March delivery added 6¢ to $4.07 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures rose 5¾¢ to $4.05¾ a bushel. 

Soybeans for January delivery fell 5¾¢ to $10.43¼ a bushel in Chicago. Soy meal futures for December delivery lost $1.50 to $319 a short ton, and soy oil declined 0.32¢ to 37.61¢ a pound. 

Corn futures rose 1½¢ to $3.59½ a bushel in Chicago.

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2. Ethanol Production Jumps to Highest Since March, EIA Says

Ethanol production rose to the highest level since August last week, the Energy Information Administration said in a report.

U.S. output rose to an average 1.023 million barrels a day in the week that ended on December 2, up from 1.012 million the prior week and the highest since August 26, according to the EIA.

The administration has said that it expects ethanol consumption to average about 940,000 barrels a day in 2017, unchanged from this year, and that ethanol will compose about 10% of all gasoline sales.

Inventories of the biofuel also rose week over week, coming in at 18.53 million barrels. That’s up from 18.45 million the prior week but below the week before that, according to the EIA.

Demand for corn has been propping up prices since the start of the marketing year on September 1, but with increased ethanol production, it’s possible U.S. growers can find another home for their grain.

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3. Excessively Cold Weather Hits Parts of U.S. Southern Plains

The Southern Plains, where the bulk of winter wheat is grown in the U.S., is under a “significant risk” of excessively cold weather today, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures are expected to fall with wind chill readings as low as -10˚F., the NWS said in report on Thursday morning. The level of risk diminishes throughout the rest of the week.

Guymon and Boise City, Oklahoma, could see sustained temperatures as low as 26˚F., which could potentially cause damage to newly emerged wheat plants that are trying to enter winter dormancy. The cold weather stretches down into the Texas Panhandle, according to the NWS.

In the Midwest, a wintry blast is expected to dump as much as 3 feet of snow on parts of western Michigan, weather maps show.

“Lake-effect snow warnings are in effect for the Great Lakes, with 2 to 3 feet of snow possible,” the NWS said. “Arctic air extends across much of the U.S. with breezy winds and temperatures 15˚ to 35˚ below normal in the Northern Plains.”

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