3 Big Things Today, May 20, 2020

Wheat Futures Lower Overnight; Growers Eligible For COVID-19 Relief Payments.

1. Wheat Futures Lower Overnight on Favorable Weather

Wheat futures were lower on favorable global weather, while soybeans gained in overnight trading.

Rain is expected in parts of the Canadian Prairies this week, which should ease dryness in spring wheat-growing areas, according to Commodity Weather Group.

“Wetter trends” also are seen in parts of the U.S. Southern Plains where hard red winter wheat is currently filling, alleviating some drought stress in the region, the forecaster said.

The potential for showers in Ukraine and Russia will improve in the next 10 days, which should keep moisture levels “mostly adequate,” CWG said. Rainfall also will give growing areas in the eastern half of Australia a boost this week.

Corn futures also declined as rainfall is expected in parts of the western Midwest into the weekend, which should aid production, the forecaster said.

Soybeans were higher in overnight trading on speculation that overseas demand will pick up as economies reopen.

Wheat futures for July delivery lost 1¢ to $4.98 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, and Kansas City futures fell ½¢ to $4.41 a bushel.

Corn futures for July delivery dropped 2½¢ to $3.18¾ a bushel.

Soybean futures gained 4¼¢ to $8.46¾ a bushel overnight, while soy meal jumped $1.80 to $286.40 a short ton, and soy oil lost 0.02¢ to 27.07¢ a pound. 

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2. Producers Eligible For Payments on Everything From Corn to Cattle Under USDA Program

Farmers will receive payments on either half of their 2019 production or the supplies they had in their bins on January 15 as part of a coronavirus assistance package from the USDA, the government said on Tuesday.

Growers are set to receive 32¢ per bushel of corn, 45¢ per bushel of beans, and 30¢ for sorghum under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, or CFAP, the USDA said. Cattle producers will receive $92 per head, fed cattle will fetch $214 a head, and hog producers will receive $18 a head.

Several other commodities including canola, oats, and milk also are eligible for payments.

The USDA will begin accepting CFAP payments on May 26. The program is designed “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus by providing support for agricultural producers impacted by coronavirus, including producers of specialty crops, producers that supply local food systems, including farmers markets, restaurants, and schools, and livestock producers, including dairy producers,” the USDA said.

About $9.5 billion has been set aside under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act that was passed on March 27.

In a separate report released Monday, the USDA said pork production in April fell more than 11% as hog processing facilities reduced throughput because of labor shortages caused by COVID-19.

For the full year, pork production is expected to decline only 1%, though processing plant throughput will be constrained in 2021. That, in turn, will temper export growth of U.S. pork.

Inspections of beef by federal officials plunged 21% year over year last month, the agency said. Broiler production dropped 2%, and turkey output fell 8.3% on an annual basis in April.

Beef production will decline because of challenges faced by meatpackers for the rest of the year. Demand from overseas buyers is uncertain at this point, though exports are expected to rebound in 2021, the agency said.

Cattle imports and exports this year likely will decline, but are forecast to recover in 2021, the USDA said.

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3. Strong Thunderstorms Possible in Parts of Southern Plains Wednesday

A strong thunderstorm or two are possible in parts of the Southern Plains starting today, with nickel-size hail and gusty winds the most likely results, according to the National Weather Service.

The storms are forecast to continue late Thursday, with quarter- to golf ball-size hail possible along with winds of more than 60 mph, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

“Daily chances for thunderstorms continue Friday through Memorial Day weekend and into midweek,” the agency said in its report.

Thunderstorms also are possible in parts of South Dakota and Nebraska starting tomorrow, mostly west of Interstate 29, the NWS said.

While strong storms aren’t in the forecast, some locally heavy rains are predicted along the border between South Dakota and Nebraska, the agency said.

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