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3 Big Things Today, October 5

Corn, Soybeans Little Changed in Overnight Trading; Cargill Profit Rises 66% on Improved Cattle Processing.

1. Grains, Beans Little Changed Overnight on Strong Demand, Harvest Pressure

Grains were little changed overnight as investors sit on the sidelines, unsure whether to bet on futures due to signs of demand or bet against crops as favorable weather allows growers to speed the harvest.

Exporters reported a sale of 100,000 metric tons of corn for delivery in the marketing year that started on September 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report yesterday. Export sales have been strong this year.

Corn sales since the start of the marketing year are up 76% from the same time frame a year earlier, and wheat and soybean sales have each increased 27%, according to the USDA. Actual shipments are up 51% for corn, 78% for beans, and 28% for wheat.

Still, prices are under pressure as the harvest rolls on. Dry weather the past week has allowed growers to speed the harvest. About 24% of corn was collected as of Sunday, up from 15% the prior week, and 26% of soybeans were harvested, up from 10%, according to the USDA.

Corn futures for December delivery fell a penny to $3.47¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soybeans for November delivery rose ¾¢ to $9.64¼ a bushel in Chicago. Soy meal futures for December delivery added $2.30 to $308.60 a short ton, and soy oil declined 0.27¢ to 32.83¢ a pound.

Wheat futures for December delivery fell ½¢ to $3.95 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures declined ¾¢ to $4.02¼ a bushel.

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2. Cargill Sees First Quarter Profit Jump 66% Amid Increased Cattle Processing

Cargill, the closely held agricultural giant, said revenues in the fiscal first quarter were mostly flat year over year, but net earnings jumped 66% to $852 million due to increased cattle processing in North America.

Revenues were reported at $27.1 billion, down only slightly from last year’s $27.5 billion.

The company’s animal nutrition and protein segment was the biggest contributor to earnings in the first quarter, the company said. Profits rose on rising cattle volume and increased consumer demand for beef, Cargill said in a statement.

Its poultry and turkey processing segments, along with its egg processing business, also saw increased earnings from the same quarter in 2015. Animal nutrition sales increased due to increased revenue in Asia and North America, Cargill said.

Adding to its protein portfolio, Cargill purchased Five Star Custom Foods, a company that specializes in cooked protein products for food service and food manufacturing businesses. It also announced it will sell two cattle yards in Texas to Friona Industries, which is already a supplier of fed cattle to the company.

Cargill also said it will soon launch its antibiotic-free Honest Turkey product line to keep up with demand for turkeys raised without the use of antibiotics.

“We posted a strong start to the new fiscal year,” said David MacLennan, Cargill’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We’ve been charting a new path to higher performance, and it’s rewarding to see the many changes we’ve made resulting in gains across much of the company.”

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3. Wet Weather, Some Severe Storms, Expected in Parts of Kansas

Rain is expected to fall in much of northeast Kansas starting this evening, with some severe storms possible, the National Weather Service said in a report on Wednesday.

“There is a chance for thunderstorms from the late afternoon through the overnight hours tonight,” the NWS said. “There is the potential for a few of these storms to be strong to severe, with hail being the main hazard.”

The threat will continue through tomorrow, with tornadoes possible, the agency reported.

Wet weather also is expected in parts of Iowa tonight, and while the weather isn’t expected to be severe, rain is likely. The Mississippi River is already over flood stage in many cities including Rock Island and Davenport, according to the NWS.

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