Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

Wittal: USDA reports seen neutral to bullish

Our online grain markets columnist Brian Wittal 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.

April 8 — Financial markets were able to settle back down and actually show small gains today which hopefully they can hold onto going into the long weekend. The Dow Jones closed up 47 points for the day.

The U.S. dollar finished down one-10th of a cent. The Canadian dollar is down fractionally by 0.02 cents, to close at US80.81 cents.

Crude oil finished up 23 cents, closing at US$49.38 per barrel.

Corn finished up two to six cents a bushel, beans are up six to 17 cents a bushel and wheat is down three to 12 cents a bushel. Canola is up $1-$2 per tonne and barley finished up $9.40 per tonne, closing at $135 per tonne.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s monthly supply and demand report, as well as the weekly shipments report, are due out tomorrow morning, so some position-squaring ahead of that helped to keep the markets in a neutral to slightly positive tone today.

These reports are expected to be neutral to bullish for the most part for the grains.

A Reuters report Wednesday from Buenos Aires says parched soils, lack of credit and anger over government policy could lead Argentina’s farmers to seed less wheat next month. Normally in the top five among wheat exporting nations, the country’s last wheat harvest was the smallest since 1982 due to a harsh drought and reluctance to plant wheat after two years of government price controls and export restrictions that were meant to put pressure on rising food prices.

And wheat prices have dropped 40 per cent in the last year, which will seeding wheat even less appealing, Reuters noted.

“The big carrot of high prices isn’t there so I think the government meddling may play a bigger role in people’s steering away from wheat,” said Sean Cameron, a farmer from Buenos Aires province and head of a major wheat association, told Reuters.

What’s more, the drought that cut Argentina’s last harvest nearly in half, to 8.3 million tonnes, has lingered in many areas. Last season, seeding area dropped 22 per cent to 11.5 million acres, which the Agriculture Secretariat said was the smallest available acreage since 1992-93, Reuters noted.

Just a reminder that markets are closed this Friday for the Easter holidays. I will be gone tomorrow until April 17 on a family vacation.

Take the time to enjoy the Easter holiday with your family and friends. The spring farm work will start soon enough.

That’s it until the 17th! — 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.

COPA Medallion COPA finalist in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
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