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Will USDA Deliver Silver Bullet for Ag Markets Friday?

Acreage estimates seen as most watched data.

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The grain markets continue to look for something to change the direction of June’s dismal trading pattern. Will it come on the last trading day of the month?

On Friday, the USDA will update its 2018 estimates on U.S. acreage and U.S. Quarterly Grain Stocks.

Both reports will be released at 11 a.m. CT.

The trade sees the acreage data as the most market impacting.

In March, the USDA estimated U.S. corn acres at 88.0 million, while soybean acres were pegged at 89.0 million.

Both of the March acreage estimates were down slightly from a year ago.

When the trade looks at what the USDA might print Friday, this year’s planting weather has to be considered.

April’s weather was cold in the western Corn Belt and northern Plains, possibly leading to switching some spring wheat and corn acres into soybeans. Meanwhile, the eastern Corn Belt states of Illinois and Indiana and parts of Missouri had more ideal planting weather, possibly adding corn plantings.

On average, the trade’s estimates for Friday’s June Acreage Report include corn and soybean acres nearly equal to the March estimates.

The USDA is expected to peg U.S. 2018 corn acres at 88.52 million and soybean plantings at 89.69 million.  

Al Kluis, Kluis Advisors, says the key numbers to watch Friday will be the comparison of the March estimates to June.

“The March 29 report projected corn acres would be down by 2% from 2017 and soybean acres would be down 1% from 2017. Based on good planting conditions and lower than usual prevent-plant acres, I think both could be slightly larger,” Kluis stated in a weekly Successful Marketing enewsletter Wednesday.

In The Past

Historically, USDA has raised its June corn acreage from its March estimate in each of the last two years and in five of the last seven years.

The PRICE Futures Group released its pre-USDA estimates Wednesday.

“Overall, we anticipate 493,000 larger soybean plantings while spring wheat is down 321,000 from its previous 1.6-million jump in March intention estimates. Corn’s high input costs have us cautious about a 105,000 smaller area for this feedgrain yet this spring,” the PRICE Futures Group stated in its note to customers.

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