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3 Big Things Today, October 3

Corn, Beans Little Changed Overnight; Money Managers Cut Bean Bets as Harvest Rolls On.

1. Corn, Soybeans Little Changed as Investors Weigh Harvest Vs. Quality

Corn and soybean futures were little changed in overnight trading as traders weighed forecasts for an accelerated harvest pace against concerns about the size and quality of crops.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has pegged record production of both corn and beans this year, but farmers are finding decent, but not excellent, crops as the harvest moves on. Extremely wet weather for much of the past three months has left some fields under water and others suffering from diseases.

About 15% of corn and 10% of soybeans were collected as of last week, but that should be advanced considerably when the USDA puts out today’s Crop Progress Report due to dry weather the past week. Prices tend to reach marketing-year lows around the harvest.

Corn futures for December delivery gained ¼¢ to $3.37 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soybeans for November delivery added ½¢ to $9.54½ a bushel in Chicago. Soy meal futures for December delivery rose $2.60 to $302.20 a short ton, and soy oil declined 0.35¢ to 33.09¢ a pound.

Wheat futures for December delivery declined 1½¢ to $4.00½ a bushel in Chicago, while Kansas City futures fell 1½¢ to $4.14 a bushel.

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2. Speculative Investors Reduce Net Longs in Beans to Six-Month Low

Money managers reduced their bets on higher soybean prices to the lowest level in six months as the U.S. harvest rolls on, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in a report.

Speculative investors were net-long 54,612 soybean futures contracts as of September 27, the fewest since the seven days that ended on March 22, according to the CFTC. The soybean harvest was 10% complete as of a week ago, only slightly behind the five-year average of 13%, the USDA said in a report. The agency will update its progress report today.

Investors were net-short 177,733 corn futures contracts, the highest number of bets against the grain since September 9, according to the CFTC. About 15% of corn was collected as of last week, behind the five-year average pace of 19%, the USDA said.

The government has pegged corn production at a record 15.1 billion bushels on yields of 174.4 bushels an acre. Soybean output also is estimated to be a record at 4.2 billion bushels on yields of 50.6 bushels an acre, the USDA said.

Farmers have said they’re finding good yields, but thus far most of the crops they’ve collected haven’t been great due to excessive rain that left some low-lying fields flooded and others riddled with fungal diseases (such as sudden death syndrome) in beans.

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3. Wet Weather May Move Into Iowa, Illinois Later This Week   

Dry weather should reign in much of the Midwest today, though there are some chances of scattered thunderstorms in parts of Iowa and Illinois later this week, the National Weather Service said.

Storms may form over central and eastern Iowa starting tomorrow and make their way into Illinois. The risk of severe storms is small, however, according to the NWS. Heavy fog in some regions looks to be more of a threat than strong storms.

 Flooding continues along the Mississippi River and its tributaries on the Iowa and Illinois border. The river was at 16.6 feet this morning in Rock Island, well above its 15-foot flood stage. In Dubuque, the Mississippi was at 17.1 feet, topping flood stage of 17 feet, though levels are falling, the NWS said.  

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