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3 Big Things Today, November 8

Grains, Beans Little Changed; USDA Says WHO’s Antibiotic Recommendations Not Sound Science.

1. Grain, Soybean Futures Again Little Changed Before USDA Report Tomorrow

Crop futures were again little changed overnight with grains slightly lower and beans a touch higher.

Prices are stuck in a narrow trading range ahead of tomorrow’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) Report.

Speculators have a considerable net-short position in corn, which may mean fireworks if there’s a bullish surprise in the report. That said, analysts are saying that it’s likely the USDA will raise its forecasts for both yield and production for corn and beans in tomorrow’s estimates.

This morning, at least, traders and hedgers don’t seem to want to push their positions one way or another.

Corn futures for December delivery fell a penny to $3.46¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. 

Wheat for December delivery dropped 2½¢ to $4.24¾ a bushel in Chicago. Kansas City futures declined 1½¢ to $4.25 a bushel.

Soybean futures for January delivery added 1¾¢ to $9.97¾ a bushel overnight in Chicago. Soy meal rose 40¢ to $315.90 a short ton, and soy oil gained 0.16¢ to 35.18¢ a pound.

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2. World Health Organization Draws Criticism From USDA Over Antibiotic Use in Animals

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in a report that it believes countries should stop using antibiotics in healthy animals in a bid to prevent the spread of resistance.

The organization said its recommendations help preserve the efficacy of antibiotics that are important in humans and reduce “unnecessary” use in animals. Some 80% of total antibiotic consumption in some countries is in the animal sector and is used largely for growth promotion, WHO said in a release on Tuesday.

“A lack of effective antibiotics is as serious a security threat as a sudden and deadly disease outbreak,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the organization, said in the release. “Strong, sustained action across all sectors is vital if we are to turn back the tide of antimicrobial resistance and keep the world safe.”

The group’s guidelines say antibiotics can’t be used to promote faster growth, and they shouldn’t be used only to prevent disease in healthy animals. Veterinarians globally should avoid using products that are “critical” to human health and calls on governments to ban the use of newly discovered antibiotics in animals.

The USDA responded to the WHO release, saying that the recommendations are not in alignment with its policies and are not based on sound science. The organization had requested standards for on-farm antibiotic use from the USDA, but before the first meeting to discuss the standards, WHO’s guidelines were released.

“Under current Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy, medically important antibiotics should not be used for growth promotion in animals,” Chavonda Jacobs-Young, USDA’s acting chief scientist, said in a statement on Tuesday. “The FDA allows for the use of antimicrobial drugs in treating, controlling, and preventing disease in food-producing animals under the professional oversight of licensed veterinarians. While the WHO guidelines acknowledge the role of veterinarians, they would also impose unnecessary and unrealistic constraints on professional judgement.”

The USDA admits that more data is needed to assess progress on antimicrobial use and resistance and that more development of alternative therapies is needed to treat, control, and prevent diseases.

“We remain committed to addressing antimicrobial resistance in people and animals,” Jacobs-Young said. “We will continue to work with the WHO, the World Organization for Animal Health, and the Food and Agriculture Organization to promote antibiotic stewardship to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.”

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3. Cold Front Moving Through Parts of Northern Midwest, Indiana Flooding Continues

A cold front is moving through parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin tonight, bringing a couple hours of light snow with it.

Accumulations likely will be less than an inch, but roads likely will be slick, the National Weather Service said in a report on Wednesday morning.

Lake-effect snow, meanwhile, is expected in parts of north-central Wisconsin starting tomorrow. Local snowfall totals will range from 2 to 6 inches in the region. More snow may fall this weekend as another weather system moves through, according to the NWS.

Farther east, lowland flooding is expected to continue in parts of Indiana and Ohio after the weekend rains. The good news is that no rainfall is forecast until Saturday, which should allow rivers and streams to fall back to normal levels by the end of the week, the NWS said.  

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