Afternoon report: Corn, soybeans and most wheat contracts incur double-digit losses on Friday.

Ben Potter, Senior editor

June 23, 2023

5 Min Read
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The thing about weather rallies – they can evaporate quickly once rains finally arrive. That’s precisely what happened on Friday after traders found plenty of rainfall likely in both the short and midrange forecasts. (More on this below.) That caused nearby corn contracts to erode more than 4.5% lower. Soybean and wheat losses were not as bad, but most contracts still incurred double-digit losses today.

Plentiful rains will be coming to parts of the Midwest and Plains starting this weekend, with a band stretching from the Dakotas through Ohio likely to gather another 1” or more between Saturday and Tuesday, per the latest 72-hour cumulative precipitation map from NOAA. The agency’s new 8-to-14-day outlook predicts seasonally wet weather for most of the central U.S. between June 30 and July 6, with warmer-than-normal temperatures also likely during that time.

On Wall St., the Dow dropped 179 points in afternoon trading to 33,766 on lingering concerns that a recession could emerge later this year. Energy futures were also in the red, with crude oil down 0.5% this afternoon to $69 per barrel. Diesel and gasoline each dropped around 1.25%. The U.S. Dollar firmed moderately.

On Thursday, commodity funds were net buyers of soyoil (+1,000) and CBOT wheat (+2,500) contracts but were net sellers of corn (-8,000), soybeans (-14,000) and soymeal (-8,000).

Corn

Corn prices fell sharply after yield-friendly rains are expected to fall across large portions of the central U.S. starting this weekend, which triggered an ample round of technical selling. July futures lost 30.75 cents to $6.2975, with September futures down 36.25 cents to $5.8075.

Corn basis bids were steady to soft after dropping 3 to 5 cents lower at three Midwestern ethanol plants and trending 5 cents lower at a Nebraska elevator on Friday.

Corn exports found 3.3 million bushels in combined old and new crop sales. Old crop sales were 74% below the prior four-week average. Totals sales were also on the very low end of analyst estimates, which ranged between zero and 31.5 million bushels. Cumulative sales for the 2022/23 marketing year remain substantially below last year’s pace, with 1.325 billion bushels.

Corn export shipments were a bit better, reaching 26.3 million bushels. That was still 50% below the prior four-week average, however. Mexico, China, Japan, Panama and the Dominican Republic were the top five destinations.

Testing continues for a new sprayer that uses artificial intelligence to identify and make highly targeted sprays to weeds, which could reduce usage by 94% in pre-emergence burndown sprays versus a more traditional broadcast application. Farm broadcaster Max Armstrong has the details in today’s edition of Farm Progress America – click here to listen.

Algeria made some purchases in its international tender for 4.7 million bushels of animal feed corn, although traders were initially unclear about the exact volume that was bought. The grain is for shipment in July and August.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 558,394 contracts, which was 27% above Thursday’s final count of 440,633.

Soybeans

Soybean prices fell in tandem with a broad range of other commodities on Friday, trending around 1% to 1.5% lower by the close. July futures dropped 15.5 cents to $14.85, with August futures down 23.25 cents to $13.95.

The rest of the soy complex was mixed. Soyoil prices rebounded with 3% to 4% gains, while soymeal prices tumbled more than 3.5% lower.

Soybean basis bids were mostly steady across the central U.S. on Friday but did tilt 10 cents lower at an Indiana processor today.

Soybean exports gathered combined old and new crop sales totaling 23.0 million bushels. That was also slightly on the higher end of trade estimates, which ranged between 3.7 million and 33.1 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2022/23 marketing year are trending around 100 million bushels below last year’s pace so far, with 1.797 billion bushels.

Soybean export shipments boosted 71% above the prior four-week average, with 14.2 million bushels. Taiwan, Egypt, China, Nepal and Indonesia were the top five destinations.

Hail falling on soybeans can be problematic, but how big of a deal is it, actually? According to Steve Gauck, regional agronomy manager for Beck’s, the reality is that it depends on the size of the hail, the amount of the hail, the size of the crop, weather conditions following the event and more. “Many times, especially early in the season, the damage may sound and look worse than it really is,” he notes. “You need to remain as calm as you can; then check the field. You may even need to give it a couple days to see how plants recover. Then you can make a better assessment.” Click here to learn more.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 315,329 contracts, sliding moderately below Thursday’s final count of 350,292.

Wheat

Wheat prices faced moderate losses following a round of technical selling on Friday, with most contracts falling 1.2% to 1.75%. September Chicago SRW futures dropped 9.25 cents to $7.4350, September Kansas City HRW futures fell 12.25 cents to $8.6025, and September MGEX spring wheat futures lost 12.75 cents to $8.7175.

Wheat export sales only found combined old and new crop sales totaling 4.6 million bushels. That was on the very low end of trade estimates, which ranged between 3.7 million and 14.7 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the young 2023/24 marketing year are off to a relatively slow start compared to last year’s pace so far, with 21.9 million bushels.

Wheat export shipments came in at 5.7 million bushels last week. Ecuador, South Korea, Panama, Mexico and Taiwan were the top five destinations.

After more hot, dry weather, French farm office FranceAgriMer trimmed the country’s soft wheat quality ratings by another two points, with 83% of the crop now in good-to-excellent condition through June 19. That was the fourth consecutive week of declines, but ratings are still well above year-ago results of 63%. Harvest has just begun for Europe’s top wheat producer, with 2% complete through Monday.

And finally, if it’s been awhile since you’ve visited FarmFutures.com, our Friday feature “7 ag stories you can’t miss” is an easy way to quickly catch up with the industry’s top headlines. The latest edition includes a look at diesel price trends, updates on the next Farm Bill and more. Click here to get started.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 180,256 CBOT contracts, shifting slightly above Thursday’s final count to 174,750.

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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