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Grains find end-of-week bumpGrains find end-of-week bump

Afternoon market recap: Corn, soybeans and wheat all make modest inroads in Friday’s session.

Ben Potter

September 22, 2023

5 Min Read
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At a Glance

  • Corn prices trend 0.5% higher, with soybeans gathering fractional gains
  • Wheat pries test variable gains, with some contracts moving almost 0.75% higher
  • Plus: What were this week’s “7 ag stories you can’t miss”?

Grain prices have suffered through some rough recent sessions but managed to earn a modest end-of-week bump following some bargain buying on Friday. Corn prices firmed 0.5%, with soybeans only trending around 0.1% higher. Wheat gains were variable, with some contracts only finding fractional gains while others moved almost 0.75% higher.

A large swath of the central U.S., stretching from the Dakotas all the way into Arkansas, could deliver another 1” to 2” of rainfall between Saturday and Tuesday, per the latest 72-hour cumulative precipitation map from NOAA. In contrast, most of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio may not see any measurable moisture during this time. Further out, NOAA’s new 8-to-14-day outlook predicts more seasonally wet weather for the western half of the country between September 29 and October 5, with warmer-than-normal temperatures probable for the Midwest and Plains.

On Wall St., the Dow looks to put a losing week to a close after dropping another 67 points lower in afternoon trading to 34,002, on pace for losses of around 1.5% since Monday morning. Energy futures were mixed but mostly lower. Crude oil tested modest gains this afternoon, staying just above $90 per barrel. Diesel dropped 1.5%, with gasoline down more than 2%. The U.S. Dollar firmed moderately.

On Thursday, commodity funds were net sellers of all major grain contracts, including corn (-6,000), soybeans (-12,000), soymeal (-5,500), soyoil (-3,500) and CBOT wheat (-6,000).


Corn prices managed moderate gains in the wake of some end-of-week bargain buying on Friday. December and March futures each added 2.5 cents to close at $4.7775 and $4.9250, respectively.

Corn basis bids were largely changed across the central U.S. on Friday but did tilt 10 cents lower at an Indiana ethanol plant today.

Historically low water levels on the lower Mississippi River is causing havoc for barge traffic. For example, barge rates originating at St. Louis have jumped 376% higher since early June, and barge weight restrictions are increasingly common so they will be able to navigate shallower waters. Click here to learn more about the unfolding situation.

Researchers in Mexico are hard at work developing more non-GMO yellow corn hybrids with the intent of displacing genetically modified grain imported from the United States. The new crops could be ready for planting by 2025. “What we're going to do is make available to the producer the seed that they need... and the technological package to achieve the desired yields,” according to Claudio Carballo, the operational manager of the University of Chapingo’s corn seed production project. Ultimately, researchers think these new hybrids could replace around one-third of Mexico’s annual import needs.

French farm office FranceAgriMer showed slightly lower corn ratings in the week through September 18, with 81% of the crop in good-to-excellent condition over that time. Another 15% of the crop is fair, with the remaining 4% rated poor or very poor for Europe’s top grain producer. Harvest progress moved from 1% complete last week up to 6% through Monday.

South Korea purchased 2.6 million bushels of animal feed corn, likely sourced from South America or South Africa, in an international tender that closed earlier today. The grain is for arrival in early January.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 135,626 contracts, fading moderately below Thursday’s final count of 181,097.


Soybean prices followed other grains higher on Friday but didn’t manage very impressive results after pushing through a choppy session today. November futures picked up 1.5 cents to $12.9525, while January futures added 1.75 cents to $13.1250.

The rest of the soy complex was mixed. Soymeal futures drifted more than 0.5% lower, while soyoil futures trended around 1.75% higher.

Soybean basis bids remained steady across the central U.S. on Friday.

“Right now, an intense mass of warm, dry air continues to block moisture in much of Brazil’s main growing region,” notes Matthew Kruse, president of Commstock Investments. “There is a southern Atlantic ridge that Brazil would like to see move further north. It is too far South, thereby leaving Northern Brazil predominantly dry in areas such as Mato Grosso do Sul, Goiás and the MAPITBA region.” Kruse explores the possible implications for the upcoming soybean season in today’s Ag Marketing IQ blog – click here to learn more.

Argentina’s government reported yesterday that the country’s 2023/24 soybean plantings could come in around 39.5 million acres, which would be mostly steady from last season’s footprint, if realized. Argentina is hoping to move beyond last season’s drought-plagued effort, as it is among the world’s top soybean and soymeal exporters.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 194,380 contracts, sliding moderately below Thursday’s final count of 230,372.


Wheat prices improved modestly on Friday but have suffered a significant technical setback in recent weeks amid lingering worries that U.S. grain is not competitively priced in some key overseas markets. Today, December Chicago SRW futures gained 3.75 cents to $5.7950, December Kansas City HRW picked up half a penny to $7.11, and December MGEX spring wheat futures added 2.5 cents to $7.70.

Ukraine’s agriculture ministry reported that the country’s wheat harvest has totaled 815.7 million bushels so far. The country’s total grain harvest in 2023 is expected to see slightly year-over-year gains of around 2%, according to the ministry.

Taiwan purchased 3.4 million bushels of milling wheat from the United States in a tender that closed earlier today. The grain is for shipment starting in early November.

And finally, if you haven’t been to FarmFutures.com in a while, our Friday feature “7 ag stories you can’t miss” is one of the easiest ways to quickly catch up on the industry’s top headlines. The latest batch of content includes a look behind tumbling fertilizer prices, doubts over how good ethanol actually is for the environment and more. Click here to get started.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 66,086 CBOT contracts, which was slightly lower than Thursday’s final count of 73,424.

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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