Chicago: Soy Up, Corn Mixed, Wheat Down

17/05/13 -- Soycomplex: Strong demand continues with the USDA today reporting the sale of 120,000 MT of new crop soybeans for delivery to China, along with 18,000 MT of old crop and 120,000 MT of new crop soybeans to "unknown" destinations. Old crop US bean availability remains very tight. May 13 beans went off the board at a premium of more than a dollar to July 13 this week. That doesn't seem to make a lot of sense, and since the May expired July has been clawing back some of that lost ground and putting in a bit of a premium of it's own over new crop. Nov 13 has been tagging along for the ride. Informa Economics today forecasting a US soybean planted area of 78.286 million acres, up more than a million on the USDA's estimate of 77.1 million, although slightly lower than last month's forecast of 78.457 million. Informa estimates soybean yield at an average 43.9 bu/acre, a little lower than the USDA's 44.5 bpa. Soybean production is therefore forecast at 3.388 billion bushels versus the USDA’s May estimate of 3.390 billion. The trade is now gearing up for Monday night's crop progress report. The theory being that rapid corn planting has taken place this week, reducing a wholesale switch into soybean sowing in place of unsown of corn. Soybean planting in Monday's report is only expected to be around 10-15% done as farmers concentrate all their efforts on getting the corn in. Only 6% of the 2013 US soybean crop was in the ground as of last Sunday night, the slowest pace since 1984. In other news the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange forecast the soybean crop there at 48.5 MMT, unchanged from their previous estimate. Harvesting is around 90% complete, they added. Jul 13 Soybeans closed at USD14.48 1/2, up 21 cents; Nov 13 Soybeans closed at USD12.28 1/4, up 10 3/4 cents; Jul 13 Soybean Meal closed at USD425.10, up USD10.20; Jul 13 Soybean Oil closed at 49.52, unchanged. For the week Jul 13 beans were up just shy of 20 cents, with meal up USD18.30 and oil up 29 points.

Corn: Old crop corn closed higher, new crop was lower. Informa reduced their 2013 US corn planting estimate from 97.753 million acres last month to 96.827 million and around half a million lower than the USDA's forecast of 97.3 million. Yields were pegged at 160.9 bu/acre versus the USDA's 158 bpa. The big debate now is how much corn has been planted in the US this week. Estimates vary quite widely. Towards the low end we have planting advancing from 28% done last week to maybe 50% complete as of Sunday night. Others go 60%, some even say 70%. The record for planting the largest proportion ever of the US corn crop in just one week, I am reliably informed, was set in 1992. In what was the equivalent of last week, 43% of the crop was planted in one week, equal to 34 million acres, says Dale Durchholz of Agrivisor. "As the hourglass runs out on corn planting dates for profitable yields, Midwest producers are 'mudding' in seeds. Ag Web is hearing reports that 60-80% of corn may now be planted in Iowa and Illinois, despite exceptional wet field conditions," say Martell Crop Projections. After May 15, it is harder for growers to wait to plant corn University of Illinois agronomist Emerson Nafziger asserts. "In fairness, you get to a certain point and it’s what have you got to lose?" Farmers are getting desperate as the ideal sowing period was 2 weeks ago, they add. In other news the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange estimated the Argentine corn crop at 24.8 MMT, unchanged from a week ago. They say that the harvest there is approaching the halfway point at 46% done. Argentine corn offers are said to be USD30-35/tonne cheaper on an FOB basis for July shipment than they are out of the US. Jul 13 Corn closed at USD6.52 3/4, up 11 1/4 cents; Sep 13 Corn closed at USD5.56, up 2 1/4 cents. For the week Jul 13 was up 16 1/2 cents.

Wheat: Wheat was lower on all three exchanges, although less so in Minneapolis which has been the recurring theme all week. Spring wheat planting delays on the northern US Plains and Canadian Prairies being the reason for that. The USDA will report on planting progress for US wheat on Monday night. Last week saw spring plantings at only 43% done versus the 5-year average of 63%. North Dakota was a notable laggard at only 26% planted versus 92% this time last year and 53% normally. The top spring wheat state experienced the coldest April on record this year, according to Martell Crop Projections. "This explains the delayed snowmelt and cold soil temperatures that set back spring planting," they say. Further south in the winter wheat states "hard red winter wheat experienced freezing temperatures in several cold outbreaks in April and May. How much wheat may have been damaged is still unknown. Kansas wheat has stabilised, but yield potential is still severely reduced by drought and freeze effects with 28% good-excellent, 31% fair and 41% poor-very poor. Poor Kansas wheat ranks among the 15% of worst years on record (out of 28 growing seasons)," they add. Informa reduced their US spring wheat acres by 300 thousand to 12.4 million acres. Although up from last year, that's lower than the March USDA planting intentions report. Elsewhere the market is watching to see if the forecast rains for Ukraine and the Russian winter wheat areas in the south turn up. There's also rain in the forecast for Australia. "Rains across South Australia on Monday, and across southern Queensland and New South Wales Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, will finally begin to replenish moisture which will benefit winter wheat germination and early growth," say MDA CropCast. Meanwhile Turkey was said to have offered wheat at around a USD30/tonne discount to French wheat in it's tender. Jul 13 CBOT Wheat closed at USD6.83 1/4, down 4 1/2 cents; Jul 13 KCBT Wheat closed at USD7.37 1/4, down 6 1/4 cents; Jul 13 MGEX Wheat closed at USD8.03 3/4, down 1/4 cent. For the week that puts Jul 13 CBOT wheat down 26 1/2 cents, with KCBT wheat down 21 3/4 cents and MGEX down a more modest 5 cents.