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3 Big Things Today, April 23

Wheat Futures Higher Overnight; Money Managers Boost Bullish Bets on Beans.

1. Wheat Rises Overnight as Weekend Rains Disappoint

Wheat futures were higher in overnight trading after rainfall in the Southern Plains disappointed.

Weather forecasters last week had predicted more widespread rain – up to almost 2 inches in some areas – but only patchy rains that didn’t offer widespread relief fell.

The next chance for rain in the Oklahoma panhandle is in about a week, and there’s only a slight chance at this point, according to the National Weather Service.

Even if rain had fallen in hard red winter wheat country, it may have been too little, too late for some areas that hadn’t seen precipitation in more than six months. The area is still under an extreme or exceptional drought, the worst-possible conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Corn and soybeans were also higher overnight

Wheat for May delivery rose 1¼¢ to $4.78½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures gained 4¢ to $5.06 a bushel.

Corn futures added 1½¢ to $3.87 a bushel overnight.

Soybean futures for May delivery rose 1½¢ to $10.41¾ a bushel. Soy meal gained $1.10 to $379.70 a short ton, and soy oil rose 0.04¢ to 31.60¢ a pound.

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2. Money Managers Boost Bullish Bets on Soybeans, Curb Net Longs in Corn

Money managers boosted bullish bets on soybeans, while curbing net-long positions in corn last week, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Speculative investors held a net-long position of 188,163 futures contracts in soybeans in the week that ended on April 17, the CFTC said in a report. That’s up from 169,539 contracts a week earlier and the highest in more than a month.

Investors, however, reduced their bets on higher prices in corn, curbing net-long positions to 126,389 contracts from 169,785 futures contracts seven days earlier, the agency said. The total is the smallest such position since the week that ended on March 27.

Speculators likely reduced bullish bets on corn, as planting is set to begin now that extreme winter weather has finally moved out of the Midwest. Planters likely will be rolling this week, and producers can get a lot of seed in the ground in a short amount of time.

Investors also bumped net-long positions in hard red winter wheat amid ongoing drought. The Southern Plains, where the grain is grown, saw some rain over the weekend, but it wasn’t enough to replenish moisture for soil that hadn’t had precipitation in more than six months.

Investors were net long by 35,501 hard red winter contracts last week, up from 32,286 seven days earlier, according to the CFTC. They held a net-short position of 46,690 soft red winter wheat contracts as of April 17, little changed from the prior week, the agency said.

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3. Snow Runoff Leads to Flooding in Parts of South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa

Weather maps are relatively quiet after the fireworks of the past few weeks, though some parts of the Upper Midwest are seeing some flooding this morning.

Flood warnings have been issued for several rivers and tributaries in South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, and northwestern Iowa, according to the National Weather Service. Runoff from recent snowfall is pushing several waterways over their banks.

Runoff from snow and, in some areas, weekend rains have led to flood warnings along the west fork of the Des Moines River just east of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the Redwood River, the James River, and the Big Sioux River, among others, the NWS said in a report early Monday morning.

“As the runoff from melting snow continues into next week, significant rises on area rivers and streams will occur,” the agency said. “Most of the flooding will only reach the minor category, but a few locations will reach moderate.”

In parts of central Nebraska, thunderstorms are expected today, which may further delay planting in the area.

Isolated storms are expected this afternoon and evening, and some wet snow is even possible Tuesday night. Temperatures, however, will remain above freezing, and accumulations are “uncertain,” the NWS said in this morning’s report.

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