3 Big Things Today, February 18, 2021

Soybeans, Corn Lower in Overnight Trading; USDA Expected to Forecast Higher Acreage.

1. Soybean and Corn Futures Decline in Overnight Trading

Soybeans and corn were lower in overnight trading ahead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual outlook forum.

The USDA’s chief economist is expected to indicate an increase in acreage for soybeans, corn, and wheat in a speech scheduled for 8:30 a.m. in Washington.

Speculative investors who were long the market, or had bet on higher prices, may be selling futures and liquidating contracts after prices hit multiyear highs recently, analysts said.

Farmers and traders alike are keeping an eye on South American weather where rain is slowing fieldwork in parts of Brazil.

Northern Brazil will likely see 4 to 8 inches of rain in the next two weeks, but damage risks to soybeans remains low, Commodity Weather Group said in a report.

Moisture levels in parts of southern Brazil likely will decline in the next two weeks, but the area already has a positive soil moisture profile so damage isn’t expected, CWG said.

Prices also may be under pressure as the extreme cold that threatened livestock and winter-wheat plants has abated somewhat in the past 24 hours.

Wind-chill and winter-storm warnings have ended in much of the Corn Belt, though storms are still raging from the southern Plains to the Mid-Atlantic, weather maps show.

“Temperatures (will) moderate in the Plains over the next two weeks, easing livestock stress and minimizing further winterkill risks,” CWG said.

Soybean futures for March delivery fell 7¾¢ to $13.77 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soymeal was down $2.30 to $428.90 a short ton, and soy oil lost 0.34¢ to 45.8¢ a pound.

Corn for March delivery fell 3¾¢ to $5.47 a bushel.  

Wheat futures for March delivery dropped ¼¢ to $6.47¾ a bushel, while Kansas City futures gained 1¢ to $6.31¼ a bushel.

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2. USDA Expected to Forecast Increased Acreage for Corn, Beans, and Wheat

The Agriculture Department’s annual outlook forum begins in Washington today and along with it comes the chief economist’s outlook for the state of agriculture.

USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer is scheduled to give his 2021 agricultural economic and foreign trade outlook at about 8 a.m. in Washington. He’ll precede a group of advisers and secretaries from the department and Congressional leaders who also will be speaking.

Analysts polled by Reuters are expecting him to forecast corn acreage at 92.9 million acres, which if realized would be up from 90.8 million planted last year.

Estimates ranged from 91.5 million to 94.7 million acres, the news agency said.

The survey shows that the trade believes the USDA will peg soybean area at 89.4 million acres, which would be up considerably from last year’s 83.1 million acres.

Forecasts ranged from 84.5 million to 91 million acres.

Wheat area is seen at 45.5 million acres, the survey said, which would be up slightly from the previous year’s 44.3 million acres.

Expectations ranged from 42.6 million to 47 million acres.

The two-day event is composed of several smaller forecasts including outlooks on food price and farm income, trade priorities and initiatives for agriculture, and adapting to the COVID-19 crisis, according to an agenda.

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3. Winter Storm Warnings Still in Effect From Texas to Atlantic Coast

The extremely cold wind chills have abated in most of the country, though winter weather still dominates most weather maps.

Winter storm warnings are still in effect from Texas to the Mid-Atlantic region, according to the National Weather Service.

In southern Arkansas, another inch or two of snow may fall today in areas that saw more than a foot in the past few days, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

“Heavy snow and blowing snow will make travel dangerous,” the agency said. “Any additional snow and lower visibilities after dark will make it more difficult to drive. The weight of too much snow may compromise roofs of structures, including some homes and businesses, barns, sheds, and chicken houses.”

In southern Illinois and Indiana, additional snow accumulations of up to an inch are possible, but the winter weather warning in the area was downgraded to a winter weather advisory, the NWS said.

The cold weather isn’t finished, however, as wind chills in parts of central and southern Kansas are expected to fall as low as -10°F. tonight, the agency said.

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