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3 Big Things Today, March 15, 2022

Wheat Futures Surge Overnight; Weekly Grain Export Inspections Decline.

1. Wheat Futures Higher in Overnight Trading

Wheat futures rose overnight amid a resurgence in attacks by Russian troops on Ukraine, and as drought spreads in the U.S. Southern Plains.

Russian missiles reportedly struck a housing block in the Ukraine capital of Kyiv, killing at least two people, according to media reports. The capital is now under a 36-hour curfew.

Ukrainian officials said more than 2,500 civilians have been killed in Russian attacks in the city of Mariupol, which remains without water or electricity.

Talks between the countries are expected to resume today.

In the Southern Plains, where hard-red winter wheat is overwintering, drought conditions are worsening. 

About 12% of Oklahoma, including much of the panhandle, was suffering from exceptional drought – the worst possible rating – as of March 10, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. That’s up from 3% a week earlier and 0% at the start of the year. 

The Texas panhandle also is seeing exceptional drought conditions. 

Soybeans and corn, meanwhile, plunged overnight amid a favorable weather outlook for parts of South America.

Widespread rain over the weekend in parts of Brazil likely eased short-term stress in about 10% to 15% of the safrinha corn crop, according to Commodity Weather Group. 

“Lingering showers this week and another round in 11 to 15 days limit risk for any expansion of Brazil safrinha corn stress,” the forecaster said. 

Showers also are expected in parts of Argentina in the next six to 10 days.

Wheat for May delivery jumped 9½¢ to $11.05¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade while Kansas City futures gained 1¢ to $11.01 a bushel.

Soybean futures for delivery dropped 28½¢ to $16.42 a bushel. Soymeal was down $7 to $477.30 a short ton and soybean oil futures fell 1.57¢ to 72.38¢ a pound.

Corn futures for May delivery fell 11½¢ to $7.36¾ a bushel. 

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2. Export Inspections of Grains Down Week-to-Week

Grain inspections for offshore delivery declined week-to-week while bean assessments improved, according to the USDA.

Examinations of corn for export in the week through March 10 fell to 1.14 million metric tons from 1.58 million tons the previous week, the agency said.

That’s also well below the 2.27 million tons assessed during the same week last year.

Wheat inspections last week totaled 282,344 metric tons, down from 403,187 tons assessed the previous week and also a marked drop from the 715,052 tons examined during the same week in 2021.

Soybean assessments, meanwhile, rose modestly to 772,719 metric tons from 768,674 tons a week earlier and the 548,951 tons inspected at the same point a year ago.

Since the start of the marketing year on September 1, the USDA has examined 25.9 million metric tons of corn for export. That’s down from the 30.2 million tons assessed during the same time frame a year earlier.

Soybean inspections since the beginning of September are now at 42.2 million metric tons, below the 53.3 million tons examined at the same point last year.

Wheat inspections since the start of the grain’s marketing year on June 1 were reported at 16.2 million metric tons, down from the 19.4 million tons assessed during the same period a year earlier, the USDA said in its report.

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3. Red-Flag Warnings Issued For Parts of Nebraska and South Dakota

Red-flag warnings have been issued for much of Nebraska and parts of southern South Dakota, according to the National Weather Service.

In central Nebraska, southwest winds are expected to be sustained from 15 to 25 mph with gusts of up to 35 mph, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

Relative humidity will drop as low as 13%, the agency said.

The warning will begin at noon local time today and last through 9 p.m.

In southern South Dakota, winds will be around 25 mph with gusts of up to 30 mph. Humidity will drop to as low as 17% starting this afternoon.

In a few counties in eastern Colorado and western Kansas, winds will gust up to 35 mph and relative humidity will drop as low as 12% today, creating dangerously dry conditions, the agency said.

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