After new acreage estimates were given by the USDA on Feb. 23, the corn and soybean markets moved lower and wheat continues to see pressure.
Much of that pressure is still coming from a highly anticipated South American crop that struggled with drought, but seems to have recovered quite well in some regions. With April only a few weeks away, trade is going to shift its focus very quickly.
“Any drought loss and production loss has been dialed into the market (in South America) and then Brazil’s crop continues to be aggressively harvested,” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities in Des Moines. “I think it was all about switching the focus onto North America last week.”
People are also reading…
Recent winter storms have impacted the Midwest, with the upper Midwest receiving as much as two feet of snow while rains pummeled Iowa and the surrounding regions Feb. 27. This is all part of a shift to weather patterns and is being factored in by the USDA moving forward.
“Rain makes grain is the theory, and I think rain in the hard red winter wheat area toward the west has been slamming wheat (prices),” Roose said. “I think it’s fair to say La Niña is fading and the government is definitely taking a look toward more neutral weather in their yield estimates.”
As farmers get their planting preparations completed over the next month, fertilizer prices have been declining, but with much of the fertilizer forward contracted that appears to be a non issue, Roose said. Where the major fertilizer issues will happen is in Europe and a major competitor in the corn market, Ukraine.
“Fertilizer could be an issue for them,” he said. “I don’t think it will be as much an issue here in the United States. I think here it’s going to be the acreage battle that is likely to come down to spring weather. If we have good weather, corn acres will likely stay with estimates. If it gets harsh, guys may be willing to flex some of their acres that can be either corn or beans. If it’s not ideal, they may go beans.”