Mark's Market Talk for April 1, 2024

Apr 01, 2024

The USDA released their 2024 planting intentions report last Thursday. Every year this report contains at least 1 item that sticks out like a sore thumb. This year it was the expected corn acres. The trade was expecting a number around 91.8 million acres, compared to 94.6 planted last year. The USDA’s number was 90 million acres, a drop of 4.6 million from last year. Their bean acre number matched the trade perfect at 86.5 million acres versus 83.6 last year, an increase of 2.9 million acres. Their wheat acres of 47.5 million acres almost matched the trades number and is about 2 million less than last year. If you add up all 3 crops up, you come up short about 3.3 million acres. Cotton is doing well so you might think they swiped a lot of acres. Not really, it gained 4% more acres which accounted to about 400,000 acres. This report did not address CRP, but those numbers have stayed mostly steady. So, there may be 2 to 3 million acres not accounted for and we may not know where they went until the June 28th acre report. The stocks report showed 100 million less corn than expected and 15 million more bushels of beans. An interesting part of the stocks is the amount of grain stored on farms compared to last year. The report shows 24% more corn and beans both on farm and 2 or 3 percent less in commercial storage. We all question how they arrive at these numbers. Farmers rarely fill out the questionnaires they receive in the mail so it might be easy to say these storage numbers are a shot in the dark. It seems we have had trouble balancing our inventories for several years, and we probably won’t be any better this year. Back to the corn acres. Once this report was released corn on the board went up 20 to 22 cents and settled 15 higher for the day. You would think if the trade truly believed the 90 million acres, we would have gone higher. Granted Friday was a holiday, so the board was closed for 3 days, perhaps this played a role. Another point is with the number of shorts in the corn trade we should have seen more short covering. However big-time traders can be hard to understand. Now we will concentrate on trading our spring weather as we head into the planting season. At the end of last week corn was 3 higher while beans lost a penny. It didn’t look like a lot of action for a report week trade.