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3 Big Things Today, October 18

Soybeans Lower in Overnight Trading; Ethanol Production Falls to Six-Month Low.

1. Soybeans Decline as Dry Weather Allows Producers Into Fields

Soybeans were lower in overnight trading as the harvest accelerates amid drier weather in the Corn Belt.

Weather maps are showing little or no precipitation today, marking about six days since rains that seemingly would never end moved out of areas that had been inundated for weeks. As much as six times the normal amount of rain had fallen in the area prior to the dry spell.

The lack of rain is allowing farmers to harvest crops that had been sitting in fields. Some quality issues are still a concern, especially in beans, farmers and analysts have said, but at least producers can collect their crops due to the dry weather.

“Dry weather is currently allowing corn and soybean harvesting to slowly improve, and fieldwork should progress well in western areas,” forecaster Radiant Solutions said in a report.

The soybean harvest was 38% complete as of Sunday, well behind the average for this time of year of 53%. Corn collection, meanwhile, was 39% finished, which is just ahead of the prior five-year average of 35%, the USDA said earlier this week.

Soybeans for November delivery fell 7½¢ to $8.78¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal futures lost $2.20 to $321.50 a short ton, and soy oil declined 0.26¢ to 29.30¢ a pound.

Corn for December delivery fell 1¾¢ to $3.72½ a bushel overnight.

Wheat for December delivery rose 1¢ to $5.18½ a bushel overnight, while Kansas City futures added ½¢ to $5.21½ a bushel.

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2. Ethanol Production Falls to Six-Month Low, Stockpiles Highest Since March

Ethanol production fell to the lowest level in almost six months, while stockpiles jumped to the highest since March, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Output in the week that ended on October 12 averaged 1.011 million barrels a day, the EIA said in a report. That’s the lowest level since the seven days that ended on April 20.

Companies the prior week averaged 1.04 million barrels a day, on average.

Inventories, meanwhile, moved the opposite direction, rising to 24.130 million barrels last week. That’s the highest since the week that ended on March 9, government data show. Stockpiles the prior week totaled 24.021 million barrels.

Declining production and rising stockpiles are bad news for the corn industry as it may indicate a slowdown in purchases of the grain to make ethanol.

The drop in output comes a week after President Trump signed an order allowing year-round use of E15 blends, which was celebrated by the ethanol industry but panned by oil refiners.

In other news, the USDA will release its Weekly Export Sales Report this morning. Corn sales are pegged from 800,000 to 1.3 million metric tons, soybean sales are seen from 600,000 to 1 million tons, and wheat sales likely will come in from 300,000 to 600,000 tons, according to Allendale.

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3. Weather Mostly Dry With Cold Air Dominating in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan

It looks like a mostly dry day in the Corn Belt, which is good news for growers who want to get some harvesting done.

Freeze warnings, however, are in effect for much of northern Indiana, pretty much all of Ohio, and the southern three fourths of Michigan this morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures in the region have been hovering in the upper 20s and lower 30s all night. The warning is in effect until 9 a.m., the NWS said in a report early Thursday morning.

Flood warnings have been issued in parts of central Texas, as unusually heavy rains have caused several rivers to flood.

The overflowing waterways have destroyed one bridge and killed at least one person. The flood warnings have been issued in a line from north of Abilene south past San Angelo in west-central Texas, according to NWS maps.

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