Grain prices continue to slump lower

Afternoon market recap: Corn, soybean and wheat prices spent Thursday’s session in the red.

Ben Potter, Senior editor

May 30, 2024

5 Min Read
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At a Glance

  • Corn prices eroded 1.5% lower, with soybeans down 0.25% to 0.5%
  • Wheat prices mostly faded 1.25% to 1.75% lower on Thursday
  • Plus: Share what’s going on at your farm with Feedback from the Field!

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Grain prices were once again caught in the crosshairs of a broad selloff that weighed heavily on Wall St., energy futures, cattle and more. CBOT wheat contracts suffered the largest cuts after stumbling 1.75% lower. Corn futures also faced moderate losses of around 1.5%, while soybean prices eased 0.25% to 0.5% lower.

The Southern Plains, Mid-South and much of the Corn Belt will receive bountiful rains between Friday and Monday, with some fields likely to gather another 1” to 2” or more over the weekend, per the latest 72-hour cumulative precipitation map from NOAA. Later on, NOAA’s new 8-to-14-day outlook predicts drier-than-normal weather in store for the Northern Plains between June 6 and June 12, with cooler-than-normal conditions likely for most of the central U.S. during this time.

On Wall St., the Dow stumbled another 296 points lower in afternoon trading to 38,145, weighed down by Salesforce after its stock price was slashed by 21% after missing Q1 revenue expectations. Investors are also anxious about the next round of inflation data that will be released on Friday. Energy futures also eroded lower, with crude oil down another 1.5% to $78 per barrel this afternoon. Diesel fell more than 2.5%, with gasoline down around 2.25%. The U.S. Dollar softened moderately.

On Wednesday, commodity funds were net buyers of soyoil (+3,000) contracts but were net sellers of corn (-10,000), soybeans (-5,000), soymeal (-3,000) and CBOT wheat (-4,000).

Corn

Corn prices continue to face seasonal planting pressure after U.S. farmers “caught up” to the historical five-year average despite some delays earlier this spring. July futures dropped 6.75 cents to $4.4850, with September futures up 7.5 cents to $4.5750.

Corn basis bids faded 4 cents lower at an Ohio elevator and tracked 5 cents higher at a Nebraska processor while holding steady elsewhere across the central U.S. on Thursday.

Ethanol production improved for the third consecutive week after reaching a daily average of 1.068 million barrels in the week through May 24. That was also the highest weekly volume since late February. Ethanol stocks shrunk 4% lower last week.

Ahead of Friday morning’s export report from USDA, analysts expect the agency to show corn sales ranging between 23.6 million and 55.1 million bushels for the week ending May 23.

Grain traveling the nation’s railways saw another 19,730 carloads on the move last week. That brings cumulative totals for 2024 to 426,631 carloads, which is trending 1% above last year’s pace so far.

Corn settlements on Wednesday were for 280,905 contracts.

Soybeans

Soybean prices followed a broad set of other commodities lower following a choppy session on Thursday, but losses weren’t as steep as they were with corn and wheat futures. July futures dropped 3.5 cents to $12.1050, with August futures down 5 cents to $12.0875.

The rest of the soy complex was also in the red today. July soymeal futures dropped 1.3%, while July soyoil futures were down almost 0.4%.

Soybean basis bids moved 3 cents higher at an Iowa river terminal while holding steady elsewhere across the central U.S. on Thursday.

Prior to tomorrow morning’s export report from USDA, analysts think the agency will show soybean sales ranging between 7.3 million and 20.2 million bushels in the week through May 23. Analysts also expect to see soymeal sales ranging between 100,000 and 410,000 metric tons last week, plus up to 20,000 MT of soyoil sales.

How close are you to being finished with planting? Share your insights with us in our ongoing Feedback from the Field survey! This is an ongoing crowd-sourced farmer survey where your peers share what’s going on at their farm throughout the growing season. New comments are reviewed and uploaded on a regular basis.

“When it comes to farm size and profits, a concerning trend is starting to emerge,” notes David Kohl, professor emeritus with Virginia Tech University. “With more zeros and commas on the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statements, when macroeconomic variables align in a positive direction record profits can be earned.” Kohl tackles the ever-present question of “do farm profits equal farm size” in his latest column – click here to learn more.

Soybean settlements on Wednesday were for 239,481 contracts.

Wheat

Wheat prices were slashed by double digits following another round of technical selling on Thursday. July Chicago SRW futures lost 12.25 cents to $6.8050, July Kansas City HRW futures stumbled 10.75 cents to $7.09, and July MGEX spring wheat futures dropped 10.25 cents to $7.4175.

Ahead of Friday morning’s export report from USDA, analysts expect the agency to show wheat sales ranging between 3.7 million and 18.4 million bushels for the week ending May 23.

South Korea issued an international tender to purchase 4.9 million bushels of animal feed wheat from optional origins that closes on Friday. The grain is for arrival in July and August.

Taiwan purchased 3.6 million bushels of milling wheat from the United States in two consignments that are for delivery starting in late July.

Thailand importers purchased 2.2 million bushels of animal feed wheat from optional origins in a tender that closed on Wednesday. The grain is for shipment in the first half of June.

And finally, preparing the farm for the next generation is one of the most monumental tasks your operation will undertake. What steps can you undertake to position the next generation for success? Darren Frye, CEO of Water Street Solutions, tackled that question in his latest Finance First column – click here to learn more.

And finally, Mental Health Awareness Month is in May, which is nearly over. But mental health is important every month of the year, especially for a high-stress career such as farming. Indiana Prairie Farmer senior editor Allison Lund ruminates more on this critical topic – click here to learn more.

CBOT wheat settlements on Wednesday were for 117,168 contracts.

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About the Author(s)

Ben Potter

Senior editor, Farm Futures

Senior Editor Ben Potter brings two decades of professional agricultural communications and journalism experience to Farm Futures. He began working in the industry in the highly specific world of southern row crop production. Since that time, he has expanded his knowledge to cover a broad range of topics relevant to agriculture, including agronomy, machinery, technology, business, marketing, politics and weather. He has won several writing awards from the American Agricultural Editors Association, most recently on two features about drones and farmers who operate distilleries as a side business. Ben is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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