3 Big Things Today, September 19
1. Corn, Soybeans Little Changed as Investors Weigh Solid Early Harvest Reports
Corn and soybeans were little changed as investors weigh recent reports of better-than-expected yields with expectations for less-than-ideal numbers as the harvest moves north.
Yields recently have topped expectations, according to yield reports. Still, growers, traders, and analysts aren’t convinced that trend will continue as the harvest rolls on.
The Crop Progress Report also showed that collection of the corn crop is behind the normal pace for this time of year, which may be underpinning markets. Investors, however, likely will stop scrutinizing the report in favor of yield readings, analysts said.
Soybean demand has been strong, which is keeping the market afloat, after China reportedly bought 261,000 metric tons from U.S. supplies and an unknown buyer purchased 126,000 tons, according to the USDA.
Corn for December delivery gained a penny to $3.52½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.
Soybeans for November delivery rose ¼¢ to $9.68 a bushel overnight. Soy meal futures added 10¢ to $312.70 a short ton, and soy oil declined 0.11¢ to 34.32¢ a pound.
Wheat for December delivery added 3¢ to $4.46½ a bushel in Chicago, while Kansas City futures rose 3¼¢ to $4.45½ a bushel.
2. Corn Harvest Well Behind Average, Soybean Collection Close to Normal
The U.S. corn harvest is chugging along – actually, chugging is a strong word.
Only 7% of the U.S. crop was collected as of Sunday, up from 5% the prior week, according to the USDA. That’s well behind the normal five-year average for this time of year of 11%.
In Iowa, only 1% of the crop was harvested vs. the normal pace of 6%, the USDA said in a report. Illinois growers are only 5% finished, way behind the average of 13%.
Maturity isn’t faring much better with 34% of the U.S. corn crop mature vs. the prior five-year average of 47%, according to the government.
The soybean harvest, which is 4% complete, is close to the average of 5% for this time of year. In Iowa, only 1% of the crop has been collected, but normal is only 2%. It’s a similar story in Illinois where 1% has been harvested, on par with the average.
The corn crop is behind for a variety of reasons. Wet weather is keeping farmers out of soggy fields in some areas and late-season varieties aren’t yet ready to be harvested, analysts said.
The good news for growers is that despite the slow pace of maturity for the crop, there’s no threat of frost in the near-term forecast. At least not yet. It’s getting late in the season in northern areas, so it may be something to keep an eye on.
3. Thunderstorms Continue in Parts of Nebraska, Iowa, and Are Expected to Move Into Illinois Wednesday
The round of thunderstorms in the Midwest continues to bring rain to parts of Nebraska and Iowa and likely will lead to precipitation in parts of Illinois starting tomorrow.
In Nebraska, western Iowa, and some parts of southeastern South Dakota, rainfall is expected tonight, though thunderstorms are likely to be isolated, according to the National Weather Service.
Some of the storms are forecast to turn severe with large hail and damaging winds possible, the NWS said. The storms are likely to move east into Illinois starting tomorrow evening, though no severe weather is in the forecast.
Meanwhile in the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Jose is causing life-threatening surf and rip currents and possible heavy rainfall along portions of the East Coast. Tropical storm watches and warnings are in effect from New York to Massachusetts.
Maria, now a category 5 hurricane, isn’t too far behind, and is expected to slam Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands starting Tuesday night, the NWS said.