Chicago Grains End Lower, But Off Session Lows

20/10/14 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower, but towards the middle of the day's trading range. The USDA reported that the 2014 US soybean harvest was 53% done, up from 40% a week ago, but perhaps not as much progress has been made this week as the trade expected. The 5-year average for this time is 66% done. Crop condition ratings were unchanged from last week at 73% good to excellent. The forecast for the week ahead is largely friendly for decent progress to be made. Weekly export inspections were very strong at almost 2 MMT. Year to date inspections are now 123% of what they were a year ago. Growers in Brazil are still waiting for rain, particularly in the leading soybean producing state of Mato Grosso. AgRural said that plantings in Brazil are only 10% done, versus 19% a year ago and 20% for the 5-year average. That's the slowest pace in 6 years, they said. It is also only an advancement of 3 points on a week ago. It is also thought that some of what has been sown will fail and need to be replanted. Rains are finally on the way though. "Strong showers and heavy rainfall are predicted this week in Mato Grosso, Brazil’s largest soybean state. The rainy season in the tropics was slow to develop this month, but is predicted to kick into high gear as 1.5-2.5 inches of rain is projected in the next 5 days October 20-25," said Martell Crop Projections. Nov 14 Soybeans closed at $9.44 1/4, down 7 1/2 cents; Jan 15 Soybeans closed at $9.52 1/4, down 7 1/2 cents; Dec 14 Soybean Meal closed at $329.40, down $1.10; Dec 14 Soybean Oil closed at 31.70, down 32 points.

Corn: The corn market ended with small gains, and at the upper end of the daily trading range. US farmers appear to be concentrating on the soybean harvest, rather than that of corn. The USDA reported the 2014 US corn harvest at 31% complete, up only 7 points on a week ago and well behind the 5-year average of 53% done at this time. Crop conditions were left unchanged at 74% good to excellent. Maturity was up six points on last week at 93%, in line with the 5-year average of 94% at this time. The forecast for the week ahead is friendly. "Harvesting of corn and soybeans is expected to make excellent gains in the week ahead. While some rain is predicted it would occur in some of the driest areas of the Midwest, the Upper Midwest, while drying dominates elsewhere, allowing the harvest to advance," said Martell Crop Projections. "Many areas continue to report big yields, while there are a few areas reporting disappointment compared to expectations," said Benson Quinn Commodities. Weekly export inspections were a bit disappointing at 717,605 MT, down versus last week and this time a year ago. Dollar weakness today may have added a bit of support to the grains sector. Dec 14 Corn closed at $3.48 1/4, up 1/4 cent; Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.61 3/4, up 1/2 cent.

Wheat: The wheat market closed lower across the three exchanges. Weekly export inspections were ho hum at 481,878 MT. Cumulative wheat inspections are now only about two thirds of what they were a year ago. The USDA reported US winter wheat plantings at 76% complete, one point behind the 5-year average. Emergence is at 56%, six points ahead of the 5-year average, and up 13 points on a week ago. The Russian Ag Ministry reported the 2014 grain harvest there at 93.5% complete at 105.7 MMT. That includes 93.6% of the wheat area, producing a crop of 60.7 MMT in bunker weight so far. Plantings for the 2015 harvest are approaching 98% done on 16.1 million hectares. "Key winter wheat areas in southern Russia and Ukraine have received beneficial soaking rainfall in the past month, improving field moisture for winter wheat planting. The subsoil remains very dry, however. Summer drought was intense in South Russia's top winter wheat districts, depleting field moisture for wheat planting this fall. Pockets of Krasnodar and Stavropol received only 20% of normal summer rainfall. It would require 60-75 mm of rainfall to fully replenish soil moisture," said Martell Crop Projections. Egypt tendered for wheat for Nov 21-30 shipment late in the day. Dec 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.13 1/2, down 2 1/2 cents; Dec 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $6.01, down 3/4 cent; Dec 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.66 3/4, down 3 3/4 cents.