3 Big Things Today, March 3, 2021

Grains, Beans Lower Overnight; Bill Aimed to Boost Transparency in Cattle Introduced.

1. Grains and Beans Decline in Overnight Trading

Grain and soybean futures were weighed down overnight by slack demand for U.S. products and some profit taking, though concerns about wet South American weather are limiting losses.

Exporters said Japan bought 175,000 metric tons of corn for delivery in the marketing year that ends on Aug. 31, but that was the first reported purchase of more than 100,000 tons of U.S. agricultural products since Feb. 12, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The USDA last week said corn and wheat sales in the week that ended on Feb. 18 both dropped to marketing-year lows and soybean sales plunged 63% from the prior seven-day period.

The agency is scheduled to release its weekly export-sales report tomorrow.

Still, wet weather in parts of Brazil is underpinning prices.

In east-central and northern growing areas, excessive rain has slowed the soybean harvest, according to Weathertrends360.

The forecaster said it now expects showers to continue in east-central and northern areas. The precipitation will further slow soybean collection.

The rains also may delay planting of the country’s safrinha, or second, corn crop, which would mean producers would harvest during Brazil’s dry season, Weathertrends360 said.

Corn for May delivery dropped 6¼¢ to $5.38¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soybean futures fell 4¢ to $14.08½ a bushel. Soymeal was down $2 to $419.70 a short ton, and soy oil rose 0.17¢ to 49.83¢ a pound.

Wheat futures for May delivery lost 7¼¢ to $6.59 a bushel, while Kansas City futures fell 4¼¢ to $6.31 a bushel.

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2. Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Cattle Industry Transparency

Sen. Deb. Fischer, a Nebraska Republican, and Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, yesterday introduced a bill that is designed to improve transparency in the cattle industry after it was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill would establish regional mandatory cash minimums and improve access to market information, according to a statement from the senators.

It would require the Agriculture Department to create a library of marketing contracts between packers and producers that would ensure confidentiality.

The bill also would prohibit the government from using that confidentiality as a reason for not reporting and would require the USDA to report all information under the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act in a manner that ensures confidentiality, the senators said.

“Cattle ranchers and rural economies have been hit especially hard during the COVID-19 public health crisis,” Wyden said in the statement. “And that economic fallout gets compounded for Oregon producers who face both a lack of processing facilities and opaque cattle markets that add up to a serious disadvantage.”

The bill would mandate packers report to the USDA the number of cattle scheduled to be delivered for slaughter in each of the ensuing 14 days and require the agency to report the numbers on a daily basis, the statement said.

“This detailed and common-sense bipartisan bill would provide our state’s rural producers the transparency and accountability they need to negotiate fair prices, stay in business, and continue generating jobs throughout Oregon.”

Nebraska cattleman William H. Rhea III said in a statement that price discovery has been an issue for the past decade.

“Additionally, directing USDA-AMS (Agriculture Marketing Service) to work with economists and industry to establish regionally negotiated cash, plus negotiated grid marketing volume minimum thresholds will enhance robust price discovery goals and commitments for the betterment of all cattle producers,” Rhea III said.

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3. Frozen Fog Expected in Parts of Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin

Freezing, patchy fog is expected this morning and again tonight in parts of southeastern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa, and southwestern Wisconsin, according to the National Weather Service.

Visibility may fall to less than a mile and roads will be slippery in spots, the NWS said in a report this morning.

Conditions may reappear Thursday morning, the agency said.

In southwestern Kansas where hard-red winter wheat is overwintering, fire dangers are elevated due to low humidity.

“With humidity in the teens and light winds, limited fire weather conditions can be expected, with isolated spots of elevated not out of the question,” the NWS said.

The area may see some thunderstorms Thursday, though the odds of severe weather are low.

In eastern Nebraska, meanwhile, a flood warning is in effect due to ice jams on the Platte River, the agency said.

“Water levels around ice jams are notoriously unpredictable and can change quickly with little or no warning,” the NWS said. “Anyone living or recreating near the river should pay close attention over the next few days and prepare for additional changes in water levels.”

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