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3 Big Things Today, May 16

Wheat Futures Lower in Overnight Trading; Corn Growers Accelerated Planting Last Week.

1. Wheat Futures Decline Overnight as Crop Ratings Still Better Than Some Had Expected

Wheat futures declined in overnight trading after a government report showed the condition of the winter wheat crop was better than what some may have expected.

Some 51% of the crop was in good or excellent condition as of Sunday, and while that’s down 2 percentage points from the prior week, it’s still better than most had projected considering damage from a snowstorm two weeks ago.

In Kansas, the biggest producer of wheat and the epicenter of the snowstorm, 44% earned top ratings, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In Oklahoma, 48% was rated good or excellent.

As much as 2 feet of snow fell in parts of western Kansas on April 29 and 30, burying some fields and snapping stems in other fields. No official word of how much damage was done has been presented since the storm.

Wheat for July delivery fell 1¾¢ to $4.21½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Kansas futures declined 4¢ to $4.24½ a bushel.

Soybean futures for July delivery rose ¼¢ to $9.65½ a bushel in Chicago. Soy meal rose 20¢ to $312.70 a short ton, and soy oil futures gained 0.04¢ to 33.06¢ a pound.

Corn futures fell 1¾¢ to $3.66 a bushel in overnight trading.


2. Corn Growers Plant About 22.5 Million Acres in One Week as Sowing Now Ahead of Average

Proving yet again what a resilient bunch farmers are, corn and soybean plantings are now ahead of the average pace after growers kicked it into high gear last week.

Producers were 71% finished with corn planting as of Sunday, up from 47% last week and now ahead of the five-year average of 70%, according to the Department of Agriculture.

That means almost a fourth of the U.S. corn crop – about 22.5 million acres – were planted in one week, which by historical standards is astounding. Illinois growers were 75% finished with seeding, behind the average by 2 points; those in Indiana were 56% done, behind the average of 62%.

Some 31% of the crop was emerged, below the average of 36%, the USDA said.

Soybean planting was 32% finished, up from 14% last week and on par with the prior five-year average, according to the government. In Illinois and Indiana, both hit hard by excessive rainfall the past few weeks, 23% of the crops are planted, behind the average of 31%.

Making up for Illinois and Indiana, however, is Iowa where 85% of corn and 40% of soybeans were sown, easily topping the respective averages of 75% and 32%, USDA data show.

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3. Severe Thunderstorms Bear Down on Southern Plains, Storms Expected in Northern Plains

Thunderstorms are expected, some severe, in parts of the Southern Plains today, according to the National Weather Service.

There’s an “enhanced” chance of numerous severe storms possible today in parts of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and western Kansas, the NWS said in an early report on Tuesday.

“A few tornadoes are possible,” the NWS said. “Storms may contain heavy rain and local flooding.”

Storms are also expected in the Northern Plains stretching to the Great Lakes, according to the agency. Scattered thunderstorms will move from west to east across the eastern Dakotas into Minnesota and Wisconsin today, though severe weather isn’t expected.

The chance of storms continues through Wednesday night near Madison, Wisconsin, the NWS said.

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