3 Big Things Today, March 17, 2021

Soybean, Wheat Futures Lower Overnight; European Crops Off to ‘Fair’ Start.

1. Soybean, Wheat Futures Lower in Overnight Trading

Soybean futures were lower in overnight trading as some much-needed rain fell in parts of Argentina and more is expected in eastern areas of the country.

Argentina has been extremely dry, potentially curbing production in the South American country.

As much as an inch of rain fell across several states including Cordoba, Santa Fe, Entre Rios, and northern Buenos Aires, Commodity Weather Group said in a report.

Topsoil is expected to improve only “slightly,” the forecaster said. In the longer-term outlook, rain may “aid moisture and hinder early harvest in southern and western Argentina,” CWG said.

Wheat futures were lower overnight as a blizzard hits parts of the southern Plains today, which will give overwintering hard-red winter wheat cover from any extreme cold from here on out while potentially boosting soil moisture.

As much as 5 inches of snow is expected in parts of southwestern Kansas and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles today.  Rainfall is expected in other parts of the U.S. Winter Wheat Belt, which should help “eradicate moisture deficits and improve wheat growth substantially,” CWG said in its report.

Subsoil moisture in Kansas was rated 65% adequate or surplus as of Sunday, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s up from only 52% a week earlier.

Winter-wheat conditions improved to 38% good or excellent at the start of the week vs. 36% a week earlier, the agency said.

Corn was modestly higher in overnight trading after the USDA reported sales of 1.16 million metric tons from U.S. supplies to China for delivery in the marketing year that ends on Aug. 31. That’s the first sale of 100,000 metric tons or more of any agricultural commodity since March 2, government data show.

Soybean futures for May delivery fell 6¼¢ to $14.17 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soymeal fell $3.60 to $402.50 a short ton, and soy oil rose 0.12¢ to 55.21¢ a pound.

Wheat futures for May delivery fell 5¼¢ to $6.41¾ a bushel, while Kansas City futures lost 5¾¢ to $6.02½ a bushel.

Corn was up ½¢ to $5.54¾ a bushel in overnight trading.  

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2. European Crops Off to ‘Fair Start’ After Rapid Temperature Change

It’s been a “fair start” to the spring for winter crops in Europe after cold spells in February were followed by warm weather that kick-started plant growth, according to the European Union’s MARS forecasting agency.

Cold weather in southern Russia likely caused some damage to winter crops, MARS said in a monthly report released Tuesday.

Temperatures in parts of western and northern Europe swung from -15°C. (5°F.) to 15°C. (59°F.) in February.

“The warm weather contributed to rapid snowmelt and the restart of growth and development after winter dormancy,” the agency said.

Despite the weather woes, MARS said it now expects – based on trend models – 2021 yields to top recent years that were disappointing, Commerzbank analyst Michaela Helbing-Kuhl said in a note to clients.

Wheat yields are pegged by the agency to rise 3.1% year-over-year and 3.5% over the prior five-year average. Rapeseed yields will rise 4% from 2020 and almost 7% above the average, Commerzbank said, citing MARS data.

“Soil moisture levels are not described as particularly problematic; even in the eastern EU countries, moisture levels are above critical thresholds,” Helbing-Kuhl said in her report.

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3. Blizzard Warning in Effect Until Wednesday Evening in Southern Plains

Blizzard warnings are in effect for much of the southern Plains as rain will change to snow this morning amid strong winds that will continue throughout the day, according to the National Weather Service.

About 2 to 5 inches of snow is expected in parts of southwestern Kansas and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles today, the NWS said in a report early this morning. Wind gusts are forecast up to 60 mph.  

The blizzard warning is in effect until 7 p.m. CDT.

“Visibilities may drop below (a quarter mile) due to falling and blowing snow,” the agency said. “Whiteout conditions are expected and will make travel treacherous and potentially life-threatening.”

Farther east, severe thunderstorm warnings and watches have been issued for parts of southern Missouri. Flash flood watches are in effect.

“Torrential rainfall” is expected with the storms that may lead to flooding, the NWS said. Winds nearing 60 mph are expected along with penny-size hail, the agency said.

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