Afternoon report: Wheat prices also firm on Friday, while soybeans slide lower.

Ben Potter, Senior editor

July 14, 2023

5 Min Read
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Grain prices were mixed but mostly higher to close out the week. Corn futures solid inroads as traders expressed some doubts that yield and production potential will be as high as USDA estimated in this week’s WASDE report. Wheat jumped 2.5% to 3% higher as the Black Sea shipping deal that allows for safe passage of shipping vessels has not yet been extended (it otherwise expires on Monday). Soybeans failed to follow suit, although August futures only saw minimal losses today.

The eastern Corn Belt could see a fair amount of rainfall between Saturday and Tuesday, with some areas likely to gather another 1” or more during this time, per the latest 72-hour cumulative precipitation map from NOAA. Further out, NOAA’s new 8-to-14-day outlook predicts a return to seasonally dry conditions for most of the Corn Belt between July 21 and July 27, with cooler-than-normal conditions developing throughout the Ohio River Valley.

On Wall St., the Dow trended another 159 points higher in afternoon trading to 34,554 following the release of some strong Q2 corporate earnings reports. Energy futures spilled back into the red in contrast, with crude oil down nearly 2% this afternoon to $75 per barrel. Diesel dropped 0.5%, with gasoline down around 1.25%. The U.S. Dollar firmed slightly.

On Thursday, commodity funds were net buyers of all major grain contracts, including corn (+10,000), soybeans (+15,000), soymeal (+5,000), soyoil (+5,000) and CBOT wheat (+3,500).

Corn

Corn prices rose noticeably higher on Friday amid lingering questions over production potential in the U.S. and rising geopolitical challenges in the Black Sea region. July futures gained 6.25 cents to $5.9975, while September futures rose 13.5 cents to $5.07.

Corn basis bids were steady to mixed on Friday after moving as much as 10 cents higher at an Indiana ethanol plant and as much as 10 cents lower at an Iowa river terminal.

Artificial Intelligence has been perhaps the biggest buzzword of 2023 so far. In particular, Mike Downey points out that GhatGPT has become the fastest growing software application in history. “Among its many applications it can write and debug computer programs, compose music, plays, fairy tales, student essays, answer test questions, generate business ideas, and write poetry and song lyrics,” points out Downey, the co-owner of Next Gen Ag Advocates. But what does it all mean for the agriculture industry? Downey walks through some opportunities – and potential threats – in his latest blog – click here to learn more.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 314,288 contracts, which was modestly higher than Thursday’s final count of 275,064.

Soybeans

Soybean prices failed to follow corn and wheat higher following a Friday session that featured some technical selling. July futures lost 22.25 cents to $14.9575, while August futures eased 1.75 cents to $14.83.

The rest of the soy complex was mostly lower. Soymeal futures were mixed after some uneven technical maneuvering, while soyoil futures faded as much as 2.5% lower today.

Soybean basis bids were steady to weak after eroding 10 to 20 cents lower across four Midwestern processors and easing 2 cents lower at an Ohio elevator on Friday.

Beware – it is in fact possible to overthink your marketing plan, argues Matt Bennett, commodity analyst with AgMarket.net. “How we manage risk is up to the individual producer, but for me, I want to keep my flexibility,” he says. “I like buying a put option or a put spread-and in the case where a producer is willing to put a ceiling on prices, sell a call or two [for soybeans] up at $15 or so to cheapen the cost. Another way to latch onto some of the profit margins in a flexible manner would be to sell beans as an HTA or fall delivery, then buy a call spread. This will give the producer a chance to participate should the market rally higher after we sell some of these beans.” Bennett walks through some additional analysis in today’s Ag Marketing IQ blog – click here to learn more.

U.S. growers planted a record number of canola acres in 2022. That momentum may not be over, according to Dan Marquardt, North Dakota farmer and president of the Northern Canola Growers Association. “This renewable diesel expansion is going to be a big plus,” he says. “EPA is predicting we’re going to be up to 2.95 billion gallons of renewable diesel just from canola by 2025. Last year, we raised 1.76 million acres in North Dakota, and we’re hoping those acres might push to 2 million this year alone.” Click here to learn why more farmers are considering adding canola to their rotations.  

Ahead of the next monthly report from the National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA), out Monday morning, analysts expect the group to show a June soybean crush totaling 170.568 million bushels. That would be 4.1% lower than May’s tally but 3.6% higher than June 2022’s crush, if realized. Soyoil stocks are anticipated to come in at 1.816 billion pounds through June 30.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 202,683 contracts, which was slightly above Thursday’s final count of 194,449.

Wheat

Wheat prices jumped significantly higher on Friday. All eyes are on Russia, which has yet to agree on an extension for the Black Sea deal that allows shipping vessels to navigate safely. Ongoing drought conditions in both the United States and Canada lent additional support. September Chicago SRW futures gained 20.25 cents to $6.60, September Kansas City HRW futures rose 20.75 cents to $8.2675, and September MGEX spring wheat futures climbed 21.25 cents to $8.83.

Why have wheat prices inched lower despite the ongoing conflict in Ukraine? Naomi Blohm, senior market adviser with Stewart Peterson, walked through several factors that have been creating headwinds in yesterday’s Ag Marketing IQ blog – click here to learn more.

Thailand purchased 2.2 million bushels of animal feed wheat, likely sourced from Europe, in a deal that recently closed. The grain is for shipment in September.

And finally, if you haven’t been to FarmFutures.com in a while, our Friday feature “7 ag stories you can’t miss” is an easy way to catch up on the industry’s top headlines. The latest batch of content includes a look back at Wednesday’s WASDE report, a sneak peek at a new soybean variety that captures more carbon while yielding higher protein and more. Click here to get started.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 87,516 CBOT contracts, sliding slightly below Thursday’s final count of 90,973.

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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