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3 Big Things Today, July 21, 2021

Wheat Futures Rise Overnight; Ethanol Production Down in Quarter Through May.

1. Wheat Futures Rise in Overnight Trading

Wheat futures were again higher in overnight trading amid dismal spring wheat conditions and calls for dry weather in some growing areas.

Only 11% of the U.S. spring wheat crop was rated good or excellent as of Sunday, down from 16% a week earlier, the Department of Agriculture said in a report this week.

At this time last year, 68% of the crop had earned top ratings, the agency said.

Little or no rain has fallen in much of North Dakota in the past week, government maps show. The dry weather also has been persistent in northern South Dakota and much of Minnesota.

Intense heat likely will threaten crops further in the next 10 days, Commodity Weather Group said in a report. Stress likely will persist for at least two-thirds of wheat in North Dakota, Minnesota, and the Canadian Prairies, CWG said.

All of North Dakota, the biggest spring-wheat grower in the U.S., is suffering from some sort of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Almost 8% is seeing exceptional drought, the worst possible rating. 

Some 90% of South Dakota is seeing drought conditions with almost 20% suffering from an extreme drought, the second-worst possible rating, data from the monitor show. 

Wheat futures for September delivery rose 2¢ to $7.02½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures gained 4¼¢ to $6.64½ a bushel.

Corn futures for May delivery fell ¼¢ to $5.65½ a bushel.

Soybean futures for November delivery fell 6½¢ to $13.82 a bushel. Soymeal rose $1.40 to $371.10 a short ton, while soy oil declined 0.8¢ to 63.13¢ a pound.

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2. Ethanol Producers’ Use of Corn Rises Modestly in Third Quarter

Ethanol producers used 1.28 billion bushels of corn to make biofuel in the fiscal third quarter that ended on May 31, up narrowly from the previous three-month time frame, according to a report from the USDA.

The amount of corn used for food totaled 386 million bushels, use for feed was reported at 888 million bushels and exports were reported at 1.04 billion bushels for total use of 4.11 billion bushels.

Total corn use is now pegged at about 15 billion bushels for the 2020-2021 marketing year that ends on Aug. 31, the USDA said in a previous report.

Of that, 5.05 billion will be used to make ethanol, 1.42 billion will be used for food and industrial uses (excluding ethanol), 5.725 billion will go to feed, and 2.85 billion bushels will be exported, the agency has said.

In the 2021-2022 marketing year that starts on Sept. 1, the USDA is forecasting total corn use of 14.84 billion bushels.

Ethanol output will claim 5.2 billion bushels, food and industrial uses will take up 6.615 billion bushels, and about 2.5 billion bushels of corn will be exported next marketing year, the USDA said.

Production of the biofuel in the December through February quarter – the latest data available – totaled 3.44 billion gallons, the agency said. That’s down from 3.86 billion in the prior quarter.

Total use in the quarter through February was 3.49 billion gallons, down from 3.78 billion in the previous three-month period.

Ethanol output in 2020 totaled 13.9 billion gallons, down from 15.8 billion a year earlier, the USDA said.


3. Heat Indexes in the Triple Digits Expected in Parts of Missouri

Extremely hot weather is forecast for parts of north-central Missouri and far eastern Kansas starting overnight, according to the National Weather Service.

Heat indexes will be in the triple digits for several days in parts of the region, the NWS said in a report early this morning. Actual temperatures will be in the lower 90s for some time.

Farther north in parts of northern Illinois, isolated thunderstorms are likely this afternoon, with lightning and heavy rain locally possible in some areas.

Flooding is expected to continue along some rivers in northern Illinois, the agency said.

Still, it’s going to be hot with heat indexes hitting as high as 103°F. through the weekend into early next week.

Scattered thunderstorms also are likely through the weekend in parts of northern Illinois, the NWS said.

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