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3 Big Things Today, Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Wheat futures fall overnight; equipment sales drop for first time in 8 months.

1. Wheat futures fall in overnight trading

Wheat futures were lower in overnight trading as investors who were long the market, or bet on higher prices, sold contracts and booked profits. 

Futures yesterday closed at the highest level since late March amid ongoing Russian attacks on Ukraine that's disrupting global markets and as dry weather persists in the U.S. southern Plains.

Russian troops continue to advance on parts of eastern Ukraine, and U.S. President Biden said Russia is committing genocide, according to media reports.

Despite several setbacks and strategic losses, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his troops will keep fighting.

Still, investors are taking money off the table this morning after the recent run up. 

Corn futures also were lower overnight after touching a five-week high. Prices rose yesterday after Biden announced a plan that would extend sales of fuel with a 15% ethanol blend throughout the summer in a bid to bring down fuel costs. 

Wheat futures for May delivery fell 5¢ to $10.98 3/4 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures lost 9 1/2¢ to $11.52 3/4 a bushel. 

Corn futures fell 3 3/4¢ to $7.72 1/2 a bushel. 

Soybeans were down 2¢ to $16.68 1/4 a bushel in overnight trading.


2. Tractor, combine sales down for the first time in 8 months

According to recent data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), ag tractor and combine sales declined for the first time since July 2021.

Total farm tractor sales in the U.S. fell 21.1% in March compared with a year ago. Sales for self-propelled combines also dipped 10.2%, with 343 machines sold. One area that saw growth was the 100+ hp. 2WD segment, which was up 7%.

The sub-40 hp. segment saw the biggest losses, down 25.5%. Mid-range tractors between 40 and 100 hp. fell 14.1%.

4WD tractors remained nearly flat for the second straight month, dropping 2%, with four fewer units sold in March.

Year-to-date, total farm tractor sales were down 7.9%, while combines were down 19.2%.

Canada saw a drop across all segments, with a 5.1% decline in total farm tractor sales. Down 43.3%, the 4WD machines saw the biggest loss. Sales for 2WD machines were down in every segment by 3.7% overall.

The number of combines sold was also down, falling 36.8% (60 units sold).

Year-to-date farm tractor unit sales are down 0.7%, while combine sales are down 36.2%.

Curt Blades, AEM’s senior vice president, industry sectors & product leadership, says the sales report was not a surprise. “Inventory levels are down more than 10% in both the U.S. and Canada, and this is the result of supply chain difficulties catching up with this segment of the manufacturing industry.”


3. Severe weather as well as some flash flooding possible Wednesday from the Lower Mississippi Valley north to the Midwest

Yesterday’s major winter storm will continue today over parts of North Dakota where an additional 6 to 12 inches of snow may fall by Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Heavy snow combined with strong/gusty winds will likely result in blizzard conditions. Significant impacts to livestock are also possible.

On the backside of this system, temperatures are expected to continue to drop significantly, with high temperatures likely to stay 20˚F. to 30˚F. below average over the Northern Rockies/Plains through Thursday. Ahead of the winter storm, temperatures will likely to be 15˚F. to 25˚F. warmer than normal today through Thursday, which is well above normal.

Expect flash flooding and severe thunderstorms in the warmer areas of this powerful winter storm today. Forecasters expect thunderstorms and heavy rain to follow a strong cold front that is likely to sweep across the Mississippi Valley today. A slight risk of flash flooding is in effect from southern Louisiana to southern Michigan, where the heaviest rainfall is likely to occur.

Severe thunderstorms capable of producing multiple tornadoes, strong significant damaging winds, and large to very large hail could happen anywhere from the Lower Mississippi Valley to the Upper Midwest today. The Storm Prediction Center issued a moderate risk (level 4/5) of severe thunderstorms over parts of the Lower/Middle Mississippi and Tennessee Valley. Major cities like Memphis and Little Rock are under this moderate risk, notes the NWS.

Very dry, windy conditions coupled with an existing drought, will mean the threat for fires over portions of the Southern Plains today, says the NWS. The cycling of an upper-level low will continue to drive moisture into the Pacific Northwest through Thursday. Heavy snow for the southern Cascades and northern Sierra, as well as heavy rain for portions of coastal northern California, will persist during this period, notes the NWS.

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