May 1: Wheat Prices Pop as Winter Wheat Tour Kicks Off

Ongoing delays in the corn planting process helped push grain prices higher. Markets were also reacting positively to planting delays for soybeans and spring wheat, and news of drought stress across winter wheat states. Tack on another round of technical buying and grain prices were largely in the green here in Chicago.

Let’s take a quick dive into grain prices at the Chicago Board of Trade.

Winter Wheat Prices Pop after Quality Report 

In Chicago, July 2018 SRW wheat prices added 17.25 cents to close the day a tick below $5.30 per bushel. The September contract added 18.75 cents and closed the day at $5.44.

Down in Kansas City, the July HRW contract added 15.5 cents and closed at $5.53. The September HRW contract added 15 cents to close the day above $5.70. Today, the annual hard red winter wheat tour kicked off. The early reports indicate that drought stress has widely affected the crop, which ties in with yesterday’s progress report from the USDA.

On Monday, the USDA reported that winter wheat rated “good to excellent” came in at 33%. That figure represented a 2-percentage point increase from last week and topped average expectations by a point. That figure

well behind last year’s rating of 54% G-E at this time in the marketing calendar.

Finally, in Minneapolis, spring wheat prices pushed higher thanks to delays in U.S. planting. The July MGEX contract added 8 cents to close the day at $6.235. The September contract added 8.25 cents and finished the day a tick above $6.29 per bushel.

Yesterday, the USDA reported that just 10% of the spring wheat crop has been planted. That number is 26 points back of the 5-year average and 20 points back from last year’s pace.

Soymeal Prices Continue to Rally

A rise in soymeal prices helped push beans higher on Tuesday. July and August soymeal contracts popped more than 2% on the day. July soybeans added 4.75 cents on the day to close just under $10.49 per bushel. The August contract added 4.75 cents and ended at $10.555.

This afternoon, the USDA reported its March Fats & Oils crush report. The agency reported that 182 million bushels were used (or 5.47 MMT) in soybean mills. That figure was slightly below the 183.2 million bushels that analysts had expected for the month.

Markets were also reacting positively to news that 5% of the nation’s crop has been planted as of Sunday. That figure was 4 percentage points behind the pace from last year. We’re still waiting for Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota to start the planting progress.

Markets were also positive after the USDA reported a private sale of 120,000 MT of soybeans for delivery to Argentina for the new crop year.

Corn Prices Find 1% Gains

Corn prices found gains Tuesday thanks to ongoing delays in planting across the United States. The July contract added 5 cents on the day to close just under $4.06. The September contract added 5.25 cents to close the day a tick under $4.13 per bushel.

Today, the USDA released its update on the monthly ethanol crush.

Yesterday, the USDA reported a slight delay planting. NASS said that farmers have planted 17% of corn acres. The chart below provides a glimpse into crop progress in the top producing states.

Trade expectations ranged from 18% to 20%.

However, it’s worth noting that farmers made up a lot of progress from last week. For the week ending April 22, just 5% of the crop had been planted.

The 17% figure is still 10 percentage points behind the 5-year average.

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About the Author
Garrett Baldwin

Garrett Baldwin is a content strategist and editor at FarmLead. He covers the global grain markets and public policy issues related to the agricultural industry. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Economic Policy from The Johns Hopkins University, an MS in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University, and an MBA in Finance from Indiana University.

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