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3 Big Things Today, May 24, 2022

Wheat Futures Rise Overnight; Weekly Corn Export Inspections Surge

1. Wheat Futures Again Higher in Overnight Trading

Wheat futures were higher in overnight trading amid ongoing global supply concerns and as the quality of the U.S. winter-wheat crop was little changed week-to-week.

Ukraine has called for safe passage for its wheat that's been stuck in fields, in storage, or in shipping ports as Russia continues its attacks on the country.

Several media reported that satellite images showed Russians loading grains into their own vessels, allegedly stealing Ukrainian agricultural products. It's been widely reported that Russians have been accused of stealing all sorts of farm equipment from Ukrainian producers.

Read More: Ukrainian farmer attacked by Russian pilot while cultivating dies of his injuries

The ongoing Russian attacks have further destabilized food security globally. Without grain from Russia and Ukraine, which before the war started were the first- and third-largest wheat exporters, respectively, global food crises will worsen, the United Nations has said.

In the U.S., extremely dry weather in the Southern Plains has left some fields parched. Crop losses have been reported, and the Department of Agriculture said in a report yesterday that 28% of the U.S. winter-wheat crop was 28% good or excellent at the start of the week.

While that's up slightly from 27% a week earlier, it's well below the 47% that earned top ratings a year earlier, the USDA said.

About 63% of the crop was headed as of Sunday, close to the prior five-year average of 65%. See the full story.

Planting has accelerated in the past week as dry weather allowed farmers into their fields. About 72% of corn was in the ground as of Sunday, a jump from the 49% that was in the ground a week earlier, but still behind the prior five-year average of 79%, the government said.

Fifty percent of the U.S. soybean crop was planted as of Sunday, up from 30% a week earlier but behind the normal 55%.

Spring wheat planting was 49% finished this week, up from 39% but still well behind the average of 83%, the USDA said in its report. Only 29% had emerged as of Sunday, up from 16% last week and the average of 50% for this time of year.

Wheat for May delivery rose 11¢ to $12.01 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade while Kansas City futures gained 5 3/4¢ to $12.82 1/4 a bushel.

Corn futures were down 3/4¢ to $7.85 ¼ a bushel.

Soybean futures for July delivery added 6¢ to $16.93 a bushel. Soymeal gained $3.20 to $425.70 a short ton, while soybean oil futures rose 0.82¢ to 81.29¢ a pound.

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2. Corn Inspections Surge in Week Through May 19

Inspections of corn for overseas delivery jumped in the seven days that ended on May 19 while bean and wheat assessments declined, according to data from the U.S. Ag Department.

Corn export inspection rose to 1.7 million metric tons, up from 1.06 million tons a week earlier, the USDA said in a report. The total, however, was down from the 1.75 million metric tons during the same week last year.

Soybean inspections, meanwhile, declined week-to-week to 575,781 metric tons from 802,575 tons the previous week, the agency said. That was higher than the 222,107 tons examined during the same week in 2021.

Wheat assessments last week dropped to 309,501 metric tons from 348,937 tons a week earlier and about half the 598,941 tons assessed at the same point a year earlier.

Since the start of the marketing year on Sept. 1, the USDA has inspected 40.8 million metric tons of corn for overseas delivery, down from 49.1 million metric tons during the same timeframe a year earlier.

Soybean assessments since the beginning of September are now at 49.1 million metric tons, down from 56.5 million tons in the same period the previous year, the government said.

Wheat inspections since the start of the grain's marketing year on June 1 are now at 19.7 million metric tons, trailing the 25 million metric tons assessed at this point last year, the USDA said in its report.

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3. Flood Warnings In Effect From Texas North Into Kansas

Flash flood warnings, flood warnings and flood advisories have been issued for a wide stretch of land from the Texas panhandle into northeastern Kansas, according to the National Weather Service.

In northwestern Oklahoma, a slow-moving storm will produce heavy rainfall for several days, leading to flooding in the area, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

Between 3 and 6 inches of rain already has fallen overnight in the region and another 2 inches are possible, the agency said.

"Flash flooding is already occurring," the NWS said.

In the Texas panhandle, excessive rainfall may lead to flooding today due to excessive runoff.                 

"Multiple rounds of showers and thunderstorms will continue today and tonight," the agency said. "Some of these storms may produce locally heavy rainfall, and flooding will be possible especially in areas where numerous thunderstorms move through the same locations."

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