Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

Wittal: Quality crop may boost fertilizer prices

Sept. 3 — Outside and financial markets started the day off in a better mood and for the most part ended the day with positive gains.

Grains tried to follow that example but it didn’t take long before selling started to undermine the futures and turn them lower, ending the day with further losses.

Strong export sales numbers for beans helped to start the day in a positive mood but that didn’t last long. Yield estimates for corn continue to climb, putting pressure on the futures as total anticipated production keeps growing. The key is, will the crops make it to full maturity to realize these yields, or will frost take its toll?

Poor weekly export sales numbers for wheat had futures falling right from the start of trade and that continued further once corn and beans started to slide.

All three grains closed below key support levels today, which may mean further downward momentum in an effort to find price support as this harvest market continues to build.

The U.S. dollar rose minimally today, six-100ths of a cent; the Canadian dollar closed up 0.25 cents at US90.76 cents.

The Dow Jones September quote is up 53 points at 9,330.

Crude oil is down nine cents a barrel, at US$67.96.

Corn closed down two to four cents a bushel today; beans closed down seven to 27 cents a bushel on the day.

Wheat futures closed down four to 12 cents a bushel on the various US exchanges. Minneapolis September wheat closed down 7.6 cents a bushel.

Canola closed mixed, with the November down 30 cents a tonne and the forward months unchanged to up $1.80 per tonne today.

October Western Barley jumped $3 per tonne, closing at $105 per tonne. November futures are up $3 per tonne, at $144.

Reports that potash prices are starting to drop are good news for producers. Potash has been the one product to take the longest to see prices drop back to pre-2007 levels equivalent to where other fertilizers are currently priced.

With the harvest uncertainties out there right now, I don’t think you will see much if any change in fertilizer pricing until after harvest is complete. If the crop comes off in good quality I would suspect you will see some price increases sooner than later. If we get frost and poor-quality crops, I would think the industry would be somewhat reluctant to increase prices any too soon as producers’ total income will no doubt be down significantly due to quality loss.

Keep an eye on the Canadian dollar, and if it gets back to the 95-cent-plus level it may be a good time to consider buying some fertilizer for spring.

That’s all for today. — Brian

— Brian Wittal has spent over 27 years in the grain industry, including as an elevator manager and producer services representative for Alberta Wheat Pool, a regional sales manager for AgPro Grain and farm business representative for the Canadian Wheat Board, where he helped design some of the new pricing programs. He also operates his own company providing marketing and risk management advice for Prairie grain producers. Brian’s daily commentaries focus on how domestic and world market conditions affect you directly as grain producers.

Brian welcomes feedback and information on market conditions in your area, such as current offering prices, basis levels, trucking premiums and special crops contracts. Contact Brian today.

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