2/25/19: Mark's "Market Talk" Blog

Winter hangs on, grain markets lack excitement, USDA releases outlook numbers

We are at the end of February but today we don’t seem to be any closer to spring than we were a month ago. The forecast for Monday’s high is 11 and the average high for now is 40. The forecast for the next 10 days is way below normal but at least the snow chances appear to be limited. With record rainfall occurring through the south it doesn’t look like anyone will have an early spring. The grain markets this past week spent most of the time going nowhere. Corn finished the week unchanged and beans were up a couple of cents. The trade is waiting for more China news as we approach the March 1st deadline that President Trump had set. This past week there was some high level meetings going on so hopefully we will see a good news announcement this week. The USDA released a report from their annual outlook conference Friday. Every year they project what they think will be planted in the coming year. This is not driven by producer surveys like will happen in the late March report. This report is just what the government officials believe will happen. As expected it showed an increase in corn acres of 2.9 million acres more than 2018 while bean acres fall 4.2 acres. All wheat acres were predicted to be 700,000 acres less than 2018. The 3 major crops total 224 million acres compared to 226.1 last year. This would be the lowest acre count for these 3 crops in 10 years. So where did the extra acres go? Cotton will no doubt pick up some as it is profitable right now. The biggest amount is expected to go to prevent plant. It seems early to predict such even though it appears we will have a late spring. It might be more of an indication that some producers could use the insurance program this year to help their cash flow problems.

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