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WEEKLY GRAIN MOVEMENT: Weather market triggers farmer selling

Farmers appear more comfortable about the 2017-18 corn crop.

Beginning late last week, farmers have rushed to sell old- and new-crop corn and soybeans following the swift rise in Chicago, Ill., futures.

One Illinois elevator early on Monday said the “phones were ringing off the hook,” and others had to keep their comments short because of the need to serve farmers anxious to sell.

While concerns remain that hot weather could hurt corn that will be tasseling soon, farmers appeared more comfortable about this year’s crop. In eastern Iowa, they were selling equal amounts of old- and new-crop corn and mostly new-crop soybeans. Sales of old-crop soybeans have been relatively light, as farmers do not have many left.

In the past two weeks, new-crop corn futures have been up 10% and well past $4/bu., while new-crop soybean futures have risen nearly 14% and are near $10.40/bu.

Grain shipments light

Sales of corn and soybeans from elevators to exporters, processors, livestock feeders and poultry farms have been relatively light. However, in Illinois, processors raised bids on corn and soybeans to be competitive with the rail market.

Grain dealers said they loaded some trucks, railcars or barges to satisfy previous sales but have not made many new sales, particularly in the river market.

“June is typically the busiest month, while July is slower,” one river shipper in the Quad Cities said.

Regarding crop development, grain merchants from Iowa and Illinois reported a wide range of maturity in corn. In central Illinois, about 50% of the corn had tassled or will this week, while it will be some time for other fields. Western Iowa fields are dry and need rain, but in eastern Iowa, the fields were in better shape and gave farmers there confidence to make new-crop sales.

Weather maps show storms in the eastern Midwest on Monday and the chance for showers for much of the Midwest on Tuesday and Wednesday. The latest 6- to 10-day outlook (July 15-19) is hot and dry for the Midwest and Plains, which appears to have triggered Monday’s big jump in the grain futures markets.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will release crop condition ratings later on Monday, and Farm Futures expects corn to be at 66% good/excellent versus 68% a week ago and soybeans at 63% good/excellent versus 64% last week.

Gulf barge loadings slow

Barge grain loadings during the week ended July 1 totaled 945,400 tons, up 18% from the prior week and up 19% from a year ago, according to USDA’s "Grain Transportation Report."

Grain vessel loadings at the Gulf totaled 33 vessels during the week of June 29, up 3% from a year ago. Fifty-two vessels are expected to be loaded in the next 10 days, down 10% from a year ago, the report said.

In the rail sector, grain car loadings totaled 21,954 for the week ended June 24, up 1% from the prior week and down 1% from a year ago.

For truckers, the U.S. average diesel fuel price increased about 1 cent during the week ended July 3 to $2.47/gal. That is up 5 cents from a year ago.

Corn at the Gulf was bid 18 over Sept for July shipment versus 31 over July a week ago and bid 19 over September for August shipment versus 23 a week ago, according to wire reports. Soybeans were bid 23 over August for July shipment versus 31 over July a week ago and 35 over August for August compared with 40 a week ago.

USDA’s latest weekly grain inspections are detailed in the following table and charts.

Corn export destinations, bushels – week ended July 6 – USDA

Soybean export destinations, bushels – week ended July 6–USDA

Wheat export destinations, bushels – week ended July 6 – USDA

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