3 Big Things Today, August 30
1. Wheat Futures Higher on Smallest Spring Crop Since 1988
Wheat was higher overnight on speculation that production of spring varieties in the Northern Plains, which is being harvested early, will be even smaller than originally expected.
The USDA in August pegged the 2017-2018 spring wheat crop at 364 million bushels, down from 493 million a year earlier. If realized, that would be the smallest crop since 1988, according to USDA data.
The crop ended its season at 34% good or excellent, down from the prior year when two thirds of the crop earned top ratings. About 76% of the crop is harvested, well ahead of the normal 66% for this time of year. Some growers harvested early due to the poor quality of the crop.
Rain has fallen since the harvest started, but it’s a bit too little too late.
Wheat futures for December delivery rose 2½¢ to $4.32¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Kansas City futures added 2¢ to $4.28¼ a bushel.
Corn and beans were little changed overnight.
Corn futures for December delivery rose ¼¢ to $3.49 a bushel overnight.
Soybean futures for November delivery gained ¾¢ to $9.38 a bushel. Soy meal rose 20¢ to $299.40 a short ton, and soy oil futures lost 0.05¢ to 34.60¢ a pound.
2. Tropical Storm Harvey, After Strengthening in Gulf, Ready to Make Landfall Again
Tropical Storm Harvey, formerly known as a hurricane, will make landfall again near the Texas-Louisiana border, dumping as much as 20 more inches of rain on the already-beleaguered Gulf Coast.
The storm, when it’s all said and done, is expected to drop as much as 50 inches of rain in some areas. So far, less than a dozen deaths have been reported due to the storm, though tens of thousands are now homeless due to flooding.
Livestock producers are expecting losses, photos of cattle attempting to navigate floodwaters have hit the news and social media sites, and cotton farmers worry that their crop, which was reportedly lush this year, will be all but lost.
The storm moved back over the Gulf earlier this week, strengthened, and is coming back ashore. While the initial storm hit wasn’t as devastating as some had been in the past, its rotational movements have kept the coastline, along with counties more than 100 miles inland, under constant threat of rain since Friday when Harvey made landfall.
Ranchers said they started moving cattle on the Monday before the storm, but they also said nobody could’ve predicted 50 inches of rainfall.
The storm will obviously bear watching for another few days as it, hopefully, dissipates as it moves north over land.
3. Harvey to Cause ‘Catastrophic, Life-Threatening’ Flooding in Southwestern Louisiana
Tropical Storm Harvey will make landfall again and is expected to cause catastrophic and devastating damage to parts of Louisiana.
“Harvey has now set a preliminary record, surpassing 50 inches, for the greatest amount of measured single-storm rainfall for the continental U.S.,” the National Weather Service said in a report early Wednesday. “Additional rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches are expected to the north and east of Houston from far east Texas into southwestern Louisiana. This is producing devastating flooding. Numerous flash flood warnings are in effect.”
Along with tropical storm warnings all along the Gulf Coast, flood watches are, in effect, as far north as the bootheel of Missouri.
Heavy rainfall is expected in pretty much all of Arkansas as the storm moves north. Some of the storms will be severe with damaging winds and isolated tornadoes, the NWS said. A few damaging storms also are expected along the Mississippi River.