3 Big Things Today, October 14, 2020
1. Grain Futures Lower Overnight as Harvest and Planting Continue
Grain futures were lower as the corn harvest in the Midwest and winter-wheat planting in the southern Plains press on.
About 41% of the U.S. corn crop was harvested as of Sunday, up from 25% a week earlier, the Department of Agriculture said in its weekly crop progress report that was delayed due to Columbus Day.
In Iowa, 42% of U.S. corn was in the bin at the start of the week, up from 25% a week earlier, and in Illinois, 45% was harvested vs. 26% a week earlier. The prior five-year average was 17% in Iowa and 53% in Illinois.
The two states are the biggest producers of corn and soybeans.
About 61% of the soybean crop was harvested at the start of the week, up from 38% seven days earlier and well ahead of the 42% average for this time of the year.
Iowa growers have collected 78% of their beans already, up from 55% a week earlier and the average of 35%, while Illinois producers are 56% complete with the harvest, up from 25% a week earlier and the normal 50% for this time of year.
Wheat farmers, meanwhile, have about 68% of the U.S. winter-wheat crop in the ground, up from 52% a week earlier and ahead of the five-year average of 61%, the USDA said.
In Kansas, the biggest grower of the grain, 74% is in the ground vs. 56% a week earlier.
About 41% of U.S. winter wheat had emerged as of Sunday, up from 24% seven days earlier and ahead of the normal 35% for this time of year.
Corn futures for December delivery fell 1¼¢ to $3.90 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.
Wheat futures for December delivery lost 4¼¢ to $5.89¾ a bushel, while Kansas City futures were down 5¢ to $5.26¼ a bushel.
Soybean futures for November delivery rose 1¢ to $10.48 a bushel overnight. Soymeal rose $2.30 to $358.30 a short ton, and soy oil fell 0.16¢ to 33.46¢ a pound.**
2. Export Inspections of Soybeans Rise While Grain Assessments Fall
Inspections of soybeans for overseas delivery rose week-to-week while grain assessments declined, according to the USDA.
Soybean inspections in the seven days that ended on Oct. 8 rose to 2.16 million metric tons from 2 million tons the previous week, the agency said.
That’s more than double the 956,056 tons examined during the same week in 2019.
Corn assessments last week were reported at 632,184 metric tons, down from 884,157 the previous week. Still, that’s up from the 480,647 tons examined at the same time last year.
Wheat inspections fell week-to-week to 514,086 metric tons from 678,715 tons, the USDA said. Government inspectors examined 497,468 tons of the grain during the same week a year earlier.
Since the start of the marketing year on Sept. 1, the agency has inspected 4.32 million metric tons of corn for offshore delivery.
That’s well higher than the 2.51 million tons assessed during the same time frame last year.
Soybean assessments since the beginning of September stand at 9.1 million metric tons, up from 5.16 million at this point last year, the government said.
Wheat inspections since the start of the grain’s marketing year are at 10.4 million metric tons, up from 9.5 million tons examined during the same period in 2019, the USDA said in its report.
3. Red-Flag Warnings Issued in Several States as Extremely Dry Conditions Persist
Red-flag warnings, indicating extremely dry conditions, have been issued for counties in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, and a sliver of Indiana, according to the National Weather Service.
In east-central Nebraska and northern Kansas, relative humidity is expected to drop as low as 18% today, the NWS said in a report early this morning.
Winds will be sustained from 20 to 30 mph with gusts of up to 40 mph.
“Northwest winds will increase as a cold front moves through around 10 a.m.,” the agency said. “Humidity will gradually drop behind the front through the afternoon. The strongest winds will be in the late afternoon with gradually decreasing winds through the evening.”
In northern Illinois and a few counties along its border in Indiana, humidity is expected to drop to 25% with wind gusts of up to 50 mph.
“The combination of strong winds, very low relative humidity, exceptionally dry fuels, and warm temperatures will promote extremely dangerous behavior of any fires,” the NWS said.
In the Texas Panhandle, meanwhile, record heat along with relative humidity from 3% to 5% and wind gusts of up to 35 mph will create tinderbox-like conditions.
Temperatures in the area are expected to top 100°F. today, the agency said.