Have You Heard?

16/05/14 -- About my new "Market Info" page yet? It's shit hot, even if I say so myself, especially when viewed on a beast of a monitor (like my huge thing) that's over 1900 pixels wide.

If you look at it on one of those, all the info appears at a glance, side-by-side, so you don't have to tire your index finger out with all that scrolling you poor little lamb.

If not, it's set up to automatically load a "long" version, which still looks pretty good anyway, even on an iPad/tablet.

I may even have to push the boat out and create a smartphone version at some point, if I can be arsed.

It's met with what you might call "widespread critical acclaim" - which means I've had 3 emails about it already. Thanks, Colin, Phil and Lawrence. "It is without doubt the best grain-related website/webpage on the whole of the world-wide web, bar none" - MrsN#3.

Just click the market info link at the top of the page to check it out for yourself, or click here if even that's too much for you. You're one bone idle get you are.

Makes you think though doesn't it? How can a little one man band tosspot like me create just one webpage that's so beautiful and functional, whilst your company's entire website almost certainly looks like a complete bag of shite doesn't it?

If you'd like to rectify that and have a revamp, or even stick with the muppets that you are using now and at least get some decent content on there, rather than that interesting snippet of news regarding that open day that you had in 2009, then get in touch.

Info at nogger dot co dot uk

Chicago Market Lower Across The Board

15/05/14 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower in what looked like "buy the rumour, sell the fact" trade. The monthly April NOPA crush came in right on expectations of 132.5 million bushels at 135.67 million. That was sharply lower than the 153.84 million crushed in March, but significantly higher that the 120.113 million processed in April 2013. It is also well above the April ten year average crush of 128.8 million bushels. The USDA announced 120,000 MT of US beans sold to China for 2014/15 shipment. Weekly export sales of 73,600 MT of old crop and 324,700 MT of new crop beat trade estimates of zero to 50,000 MT on old crop and sales of around 150,000 to 250,000 MT on new crop. Informa Economics raised its forecast for US soybean plantings in 2014 to a record 82.073 million acres, from its March estimate of 81.204 million and versus the USDA's March figure of 81.5 million. This reiterates the view that, weather permitting, there really is a deluge of soybeans coming along in 2014/15. Various analysts have noted that US soybean yields are typically above normal in an El Nino year, if that is what we are going to get this summer. APK Inform said that Ukraine will produce a record 3.2 MMT of soybeans this year, with growers there lured by high prices. That's up 19% on last year, and compares with production of only 1 MMT as recently as 2009. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange estimated the Argentine 2013/14 soybean crop at a record 55.5 MMT (up 14.4% on last year), matching the forecast from the Rosario Exchange from earlier in the week, and beating the existing USDA estimate by 1.5 MMT. They said that harvesting is 66.9% complete. For all the talk of delayed US plantings of the past few weeks, things have now caught up with "normal" and could surpass the 5-year average rate come Monday night's next progress report from the USDA. Similar comments also apply to corn after a decent week this week, and further warming expected over the next few days. Fund selling was estimated at a net 4,000 soybean contracts on the day. Jul 14 Soybeans closed at $14.70 1/4, down 16 1/2 cents; Aug 14 Soybeans closed at $14.01 3/4, down 14 1/4 cents; Jul 14 Soybean Meal closed at $481.40, down $5.10; Jul 14 Soybean Oil closed at 41.04, down 34 points.

Corn: The corn market crashed to losses of around 8-11 cents on the day. Weekly export sales came in at 343,000 MT of old crop, and new crop sales of only 47,300 MT. That disappointed a little compared to trade estimates for sales of 200-400,000 MT of old crop and 150-300,000 MT of new crop. Separately the USDA announced the sale of 104,000 MT of US corn to Mexico for 2013/14 shipment. South Korea's NOFI bought 130,000 MT of optional origin corn for November shipment. South Korea's MFG bought 188,000 MT of optional origin corn for Oct-Nov shipment. China's CNGOIC estimated the 2014 corn crop there at a record 222.1 MMT, up 2% on last year and well ahead of consumption of 196.2 MMT. Imports are seen falling from 5.5 MMT this season to 3.5 MMT in 2014/15. CNGOIC said that China will sell corn from state reserves next week. Strategie Grains yesterday estimated the EU-28 2014 corn crop at 65.9 MMT versus a previous estimate of 65.1 MMT and compared to 64.4 MMT in 2013/14. Informa estimated the US 2014 corn area at 91.581 million acres, down from its previous outlook of 93.029 million, but still close to the USDA's March estimate of 91.7 million. Last year's acreage was a 75-year high of 95.4 million. US corn yields could be a bit lower than trendline yields in an El Nino year, due to lack of heat units, according to some analysts. That could also mean a lower abandonment rate however. The EU continues to import more corn. This week's weekly import licence total was 448 TMT, up from 301 TMT a week ago. It was also above the volume of wheat going out the other way for  a second week. Corn imports so far this season now stand at 12.7 MMT versus 9.85 MMT this time last year, meaning that total imports for the current marketing year should now easily beat the USDA's current forecast of 13 MMT. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange estimated the Argentine 2013/14 corn crop at 24 MMT, unchanged from their previous forecast, and marginally higher than the Rosario Grains Exchange's 23.9 MMT from earlier in the week. Fund selling was estimated at around 10,000 contracts on the day. Jul 14 Corn closed at $4.84 1/4, down 11 1/4 cents; Sep 14 Corn closed at $4.81, down 9 3/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market extended recent declines, with Chicago wheat actually faring the best of the three exchanges with losses of "only" around 12-13 cents. Weekly export sales of only 54,900 MT for delivery during the 2013/14 marketing year were down 83 percent from the previous week. New crop sales of 197,100 MT were far from spectacular either. That was a bit below modest trade estimates which had been for sales of around 100-300,000 MT of old crop and 150-300,000 MT of new crop. That could enhance the view that US prices had gone up too far, too soon, and a downside correction was needed. Shipments this week of 635,300 MT take total US exports this season to 28.4 MMT compared to a USDA target for the marketing year of 31.5 MMT. The wheat marketing year finishes at the end of the month, so hitting that target currently looks unlikely. There's currently 3.2 MMT of unfulfilled sales for 2013/14 on the books, but unshipped sales are simply stocks. South Korea's MFG bought 106,000 MT of feed wheat optional origin for October shipment. Japan bought 97,780 MT of wheat from the US and Australia for July shipment. China's CNGOIC estimated wheat production there this year at 122.6 MMT, and said that imports in 2014/15 would fall to 3 MMT versus 7 MMT in the current season. The Chinese government only sold 77,616 MT of wheat at auction, against an offering of 672,871 MT. This poor subscription rate has been a feature of their recent wheat auctions, in fact that's a higher percentage than they'd sold in the previous few of weeks. The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange estimated Argentina’s 2014/15 wheat area at 4.3 million hectares versus a previous estimate of 4.1 million and up almost 19% on the 2013/14 area of 3.62 million. Strategie Grains forecast the EU-28 soft wheat crop at 137.4 MMT versus a previous estimate of 137.2 MMT and compared to the 2013/14 crop of 135.1 MMT. They see durum wheat output at 7.5 MMT, giving the EU an all wheat crop of 144.9 MMT this year - almost identical to the USDA's 144.88 MMT estimate. The French analysts have all wheat output in 2013 at 143 MMT. Jul 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $6.78 1/4, down 12 cents; Jul 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $7.78 3/4, down 27 1/2 cents; Jul 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $7.55, down 23 1/4 cents.

EU Grains Fall As Harvest Draws Near And Crop Estimates Rise

15/05/14 -- EU wheat markets finished the day mostly lower, after a relatively feeble attempt to rally in afternoon trade proved to be short-lived. Generally very good crop conditions across Europe continue to weigh on the market. The forward nature of the crops also means that we will probably be looking at an early harvest this year, they could be cutting barley in France and Germany in just 4-5 weeks time.

The day ended with May 14 London wheat closing down GBP0.65/tonne at GBP152.75/tonne, with new crop Nov 14 London wheat GBP0.75/tonne weaker at GBP149.25/tonne and Nov 14 Paris wheat EUR2.00/tonne lower at EUR199.00/tonne. Jun 14 Paris corn was down EUR2.50/tonne at EUR178.00/tonne, whilst Aug 14 Paris rapeseed fell EUR2.00/tonne to EUR359.25/tonne.

Strategie Grains raised their forecast for this year's EU soft wheat crop by 200 TMT to 137.4 MMT, a 2% rise on a year ago. They increased their EU corn production estimate by 700 TMT from last month to 65.9 MMT, which also represents a 2% rise on output in 2013. Their barley production forecast was left unchanged at 55.9 MMT, a 6% decline on last year.

They said that recent rain in western and central Europe was beneficial both for winter and spring crops, although parts of Spain and northeast France remain dry. Excess wetness in Italy and Greece could give rise to quality issues for soft and durum wheat, they said.

On the export front they increased again their forecast for EU-28 soft wheat to a record 28.1 MMT this season, up by 1.3 MMT from their previous estimate.

Concerns earlier in the year that dryness would cut German crop production this year have been allayed by recent rains. Output is now seen very similar to 12 months ago.

The German Farm Co-op DRV estimated the 2014 grain crop there at 47.6 MMT, up 300 TMT from their previous estimate almost identical to last year's 47.7 MMT. Cereal and OSR crops are a good two weeks ahead of schedule, they said.

They forecast Germany’s 2014 all wheat crop at 24.9 MMT versus a previous estimate of 24.7 MMT and again virtually unchanged on 25.0 MMT twelve months ago. They see the German barley crop at 10.4 MMT, unchanged from previously and versus 10.3 MMT last year. Corn production will rise to 5.1 MMT versus 4.4 MMT in 2013. Rapeseed output was seen at 5.6 MMT versus a previous estimate of 5.5 MMT and 5.8 MMT in 2013.

China's CNGOIC forecast a 2014 wheat crop of 122.6 MMT, a small 0.7% rise on last year. Imports in 2014/15 will fall to 3 MMT versus 7 MMT this season, they estimate. In addition they pegged the Chinese corn crop at 222.1 MMT this year, a 2% increase versus 2013, with imports falling from 5.5 MMT this season to 3.5 MMT in 2014/15.

The Chinese government only sold 77,616 MT, or 11.5%, of the 672,871 MT of wheat that they put up for auction this week. Sales have been heavily under-subscribed in recent weeks. It's not clear if that is due to price, or the quality/age of the wheat on offer, or both.

The UK market looks like it may still have some downside in the run-up to harvest time, especially given that we are expected to return to the position of being a net exporter of wheat - and given that the current strength in the pound will not aid those export aims at all.

"UK feed wheat futures will have to follow Paris corn in order to remain competitive. Looking back to the 2011 crop, when the UK last had a feed wheat surplus that had to be competitive on export markets, the LIFFE Nov 11 wheat contract was consistently around GBOP10-15/tonne cheaper than the MATIF Nov 11 corn contract," noted the HGCA. Tonight that differential is currently the equivalent of only around GBP1.25/tonne.

Chicago Wheat Falls For Sixth Session In A Row, Dragging Down Corn, Beans Hold Steady

14/05/14 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed mostly a little higher, save for expiring front month May 14 which went off the board 6 cents lower. This was due to a late turnaround in prices, which had been sharply lower for much of the session. Yesterday's news that the first Chinese government soybean auction of the spring had been far better received that many had expected was supportive. They sold 92% of the 300 TMT of beans on offer. A report on Reuters said that China's leading soybean importer will not default on soybean purchase contracts despite facing large losses, in order to protect its relationship with its suppliers. The Rosario Grains Exchange estimated Argentina’s 2013/14 bean crop at a record 55.7 MMT, up from a previous estimate of 54.9 MMT, and far higher than the USDA's 54 MMT forecast. They said that 68% of the bean crop is harvested versus 80% for the three year average. Goldman Sachs said that they expect bean prices to fall to $10.50/bu in the next 6 months. A "slowdown in Chinese imports on high domestic stocks and the expected record-large US soybean acreage this summer, point to a sharp recovery in US soybean inventories in 2014-15…and lower soybean prices," they were quoted as saying on Agrimoney.com. There's a NOPA crush report out tomorrow, with trade expectations averaging around 132.5 million bushels, although the range of estimates is wide at 124.7-141 million, versus 153.84 million in March and 120.113 million in April 2013. Also out tomorrow is the usual weekly export sales report, with trade expectations for beans of zero to 50,000 MT on old crop and sales of around 150,000 to 250,000 MT on new crop. Informa are also expected to release their revised US planting estimates tomorrow, with the 2014 soybean area forecast at 81.204 million acres last month versus the USDA March estimate of 81.5 million. May 14 Soybeans closed at $14.96 1/4, down 6 cents; Jul 14 Soybeans closed at $14.86 3/4, up 3 cents; May 14 Soybean Meal closed at $497.90, up $0.20; May 14 Soybean Oil closed at 41.19, up 19 points.

Corn: The corn market closed with losses of around 6-8 cents. Spillover weakness from wheat may have been an influence. So too may have been the Rosario Grain Exchange raising their forecast for the 2013/14 Argentine corn crop from 23 MMT to 23.9 MMT. They also said however that late season rains means that currently only 30% of the corn crop is harvested versus 60% a year ago. The Energy Dept put weekly US ethanol production at 922,000 barrels/day, up from last week’s 894,000 bpd, but still below the level needed to hit USDA targets. Goldman Sachs said that they expect corn prices to hit $4/bu in the next six months. A report on Dow Jones suggested that international traders will shy away from committing to long-term grain export contracts with Ukraine until the political uncertainty there looks closer to being resolved. A Reuters survey pegged Ukraine's 2014 corn crop at an average guess of 25 MMT versus last year's record 30.9 MMT. Ukraine's Ministry said that the country has exported a record 30.4 MMT of grains so far this season, of which corn accounts for 19.1 MMT. The French Farm Ministry estimated corn plantings there in 2014 at just shy of 1.8 million ha, a near 5% drop on last year, but more than 3% above the 5-year average. Parana, Brazil’s largest corn state, is expecting a favourable winter corn harvest, say Martell Crop Projections. "Rainfall has been abundant in western Parana, where winter corn is heavily cultivated. Cool temperatures have further enhanced yield potential. Neighbouring winter corn states Mato Grosso do Sul and Goias have also benefited from wet, cool growing conditions, verified by remote sensing. Crop vegetation health mid May is significantly above-average," they added. Trade estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales report for corn are around 200-400,000 MT of old crop and 150-300,000 MT of new crop. Informa are due to issue their latest thoughts on US corn plantings tomorrow. Last month's estimate was 93.029 million acres versus the USDA's March estimate of 91.7 million. May 14 Corn closed at $4.94 3/4, down 8 1/2 cents; Jul 14 Corn closed at $4.95 1/2, down 7 1/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market fell for a sixth day in a row. The US market continues to give the impression that the premiums built in for the problems with winter wheat on the Plains, and Ukraine tensions, have been overdone. There were 100 deliveries against the expiring Chicago May 14 contract, bringing the net total to 1,432 lots. That doesn't suggest a shortage of wheat. It also indicates a lack of cash demand at current levels. Fund money's relatively newly found enthusiasm to own wheat when the cash market doesn't seem to want it is being tested. The futures market has essentially got ahead of itself. Funds were estimated as being net sellers of around 5,000 CBOT wheat contracts on the day. Some parts of Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma picked up some decent rain overnight, although drought there still persists. There's some talk however that losses in these states will at least partially be compensated for by yield gains elsewhere, like in Colorado and Nebraska. Strong warming is in the forecast for the upper Midwest, the PNW and even finally Canada. That should enable good progress to be made with spring wheat planting, and also be of benefit to winter sown crops. The Canadian Wheat Board said that Western Canada's crop planting was only 6% complete as of Monday, versus 10% done a year ago and 25% on average. As last year proved though, late plantings don't necessarily mean poor yields. Saskatchewan crop planting is 10% complete, which is close to the average. Also, as we've seen with US corn planting this past week, things can quickly catch up once weather turns conducive thanks to modern technology. Meanwhile the wheat crop in Europe is generally looking good, it is also well advanced after a mild winter. French soft wheat, barley and corn 2013/14 ending stocks are all forecast higher than 12 months ago. Goldman Sachs said that it expects wheat prices to fall 18% in the next 6 months. Trade estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales report are around 100-300,000 MT of old crop and 150-300,000 MT of new crop. Informa are due to revise their estimate of a US all wheat area of 56.648 million acres versus a USDA March estimate of 55.8 million tomorrow. May 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $6.81, down 19 cents; May 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $8.07 1/2, down 16 3/4 cents; May 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $7.81, down 9 cents.

EU Grains Take A Pasting, Led By Old Crop London Wheat

14/05/14 -- EU grains took a bit of a pasting today, with old crop London wheat coming off particularly badly, as corn continues to flood into the UK. The outlook for a bumper (and early) European harvest is also grabbing traders attention.

May 14 London wheat ended down GBP3.60/tonne at GBP153.40/tonne, and new crop Nov 14 London wheat closed GBP2.50/tonne lower at GBP150.00/tonne. Nov 14 Paris wheat closed EUR2.5/tonne easier at EUR201.00/tonne, Jun 14 Paris corn fell EUR2.75/tonne to EUR180.50/tonne and Aug 14 Paris rapeseed was down EUR1.50/tonne to EUR361.25/tonne.

And so, for all the talk of tightness in the old crop, the Jul/Nov spread on London wheat continues to erode to next to nothing - much as it did 12 months ago - standing at just GBP2.70/tonne tonight.

We thought that 2012/13 was a big year for UK corn imports. UK customs data showed that we imported a whopping 309 TMT of corn in March, taking the season to date (Jul/Mar) total to 1.92 MMT, fully 50% up on year ago levels. Wheat imports are also on the up, with those in March coming in 54% higher than in February at 126 TMT.

In contrast, UK wheat exports were a miserly 25 TMT in March, taking the 2013/14 campaign total to just 353 TMT. That's only around 60% of the total shipped out during the same period in 2012/13 - and that was hardly a vintage year in the export scrapbook.

Agrimoney said that this was the 22nd month in a row that UK wheat imports had outstripped exports as "shipments continued to feel the hangover from 2012, the second wettest year on record for the country."

UK crop production prospects continue to look excellent on the current mix of sunshine and showers. A bout of a warmer few days ahead with plenty of sunshine, will bring crop development along nicely.

The French Farm Ministry estimated wheat plantings there at a little over 5 million hectares, down 0.5% on last year, but 1.1% above the 5-year average. The barley area this year is seen at just under 1.7 million ha, a 2.8% rise versus 2013 and 1.1% above the 5-year average. Corn plantings are forecast down 4.9% to just under 1.8 million ha, although that's still 3.2% above the recent mean. OSR plantings are seen at a little over 1.5 million ha, a 6.5% rise versus last year and 1.5% above the 5-year norm.

FranceAgriMer estimated French 2013/14 soft wheat ending stocks at 3.075 MMT, a rise of 5.5% versus 12 months previously. They see corn ending stocks at 2.979 MMT, a hike of 20.6% compared to 2012/13 carryout. Barley stocks of 1.58 MMT represent a 25.8% jump on a year ago.

Ukraine said that they'd exported a record 30.4 MMT of grains so far this season, including 19.1 MMT of corn (already an all-time high), 8.6 MMT of wheat and 2.3 MMT of barley.

Winter crop conditions in Ukraine are said to largely be very good, and progress with spring plantings has been brisk, if slowed down a little by recent rains. The latter can only ultimately be good for germination.

Lower yields versus 2013 are still thought to be likely in Ukraine however due to reduced inputs. The USDA currently peg wheat yields there at 3.17 MT/ha, down 6.5%, and corn yields 15.4% lower at 5.42 MT/ha - albeit from the record levels achieved in 2013.

A Reuters poll pegged the Ukraine corn crop at an average estimate of 25 MMT, a second highest ever, but down versus last season's record 30.9 MMT. The USDA said 26 MMT on Friday. Note though that old crop corn carryover from 2013/14 is expected to be at record levels of 3.24 MMT according to the USDA, boosting total availability in 2014/15 into the 28-29 MMT region. Much of that will probably end up finding its way to Europe, where 2014/15 corn imports are expected to match the record levels of this season.

Chicago Beans Stage "Turnaround Tuesday"

13/05/14 -- Soycomplex: Beans finished higher in "Turnaround Tuesday" style, with tight and technical old crop the greatest beneficiary. Prospects for significantly lower prices going forward linger though. A Bloomberg survey placed China's 2013/14 soybean imports at 66.0 MMT versus Friday's USDA estimate of 69.0 MMT. It is reported that China sold 276,168 MT of the 300,000 MT of beans offered up at auction today, which is more than expected. A Bloomberg report last week suggested that demand would be minimal due to price, and the fact that the beans on offer were several years old. The USDA announced 116,000 MT of meal sold to Thailand for 2014/15 delivery. Dr Cordonnier apparently held pat with his forecast for 2014 US soybean yields at 44-45 bushels/acre. He has the Brazilian 2013/14 bean crop at 86.5 MMT, unchanged from his previous estimate. He increased his forecast for Argentina by 1 MMT from previously to 55 MMT. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange increased their forecast for the Argentine soybean crop to a record 55.5 MMT. Harvesting is 63.9% complete, down 15.4 points on a year ago as rain interrupts farmer activity, they said. There talk of further Brazilian soybean sales to the US. May 14 Soybeans closed at $15.02 3/4, up 19 cents; Jul 14 Soybeans closed at $14.84 1/4, up 19 cents; May 14 Soybean Meal closed at $497.60, up $8.10; May 14 Soybean Oil closed at 41.17, up 39 points. May contracts go off the board tomorrow.

Corn: The corn market ended 2-5 cents higher. Again the largest gains were at front end, ahead of the expiry of the May 14 contract tomorrow. The USDA announced 126,000 MT of corn sold to South Korea for 2013/14 delivery. APK Inform estimated the Russian 2014 corn crop at 11.3 MMT versus Friday's USDA suggestion of 12.5 MMT. The Russian Ministry said that corn planting is 69.4% complete on 1.8 million hectares. The Ukraine Ministry said that corn planting there is 86% complete on 4.44 million hectares. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange held steady on their 2013/14 Argentine corn production forecast at 24 MMT. They said that harvesting is 28.3% complete, 12 points down on a year ago. Safras e Mercado said that 90.4% of Brazil’s first corn crop has been harvested. Dr Cordonnier estimated 2014 US corn yields at 163-165 bu/acre, unchanged from his previous forecast and versus 158.8 bu/acre in 2013. He estimated the 2013/14 Brazilian corn crop at 73.5 MMT versus a previous estimate of 72.0 MMT. He estimated the 2013/14 Argentine corn crop at 24.0 MMT versus a previous estimate of 23.5 MMT. The French Farm Ministry estimated the 2014 corn area there at 1.67 million hectares, down 5.5% from a year ago. MARS estimated the EU-28 2014/15 corn yield at 7.08 MT/ha, up from a previous estimate of 7.03 MT/ha, up 5.9% from a year ago and up 3.5% versus the five year average. South Korea bought 120,000 MT of corn from the US, South America or South Africa for Nov-Dec shipment. Taiwan bought 60,000 MT of Brazilian corn for July-Aug shipment. May 14 Corn closed at $5.02 3/4, up 5 1/4 cents; Jul 14 Corn closed at $5.02 1/4, up 2 3/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed mixed. Japan are holding their regular weekly tender for 97,780 MT of food wheat from the US and Australia for July shipment. The results are expected Thursday. Taiwan bought 110,450 MT of US milling wheat for July–Aug shipment. MARS estimated EU-28 2014/15 soft wheat yields at 5.79 MT/ha versus a previous estimate of 5.73 MT/ha. That's down 0.6% from a year ago but up 3.8% versus the five year average. Canadian wheat areas are finally set to see better weather. "Saskatchewan is expected to warm up this week permitting fieldwork for spring wheat planting to begin in earnest. This is Canada's largest wheat province, growing approximately 48% of hard red spring wheat," said Martell Crop Projections. "Saskatchewan producers report that 30% of the province has surplus topsoil moisture, 67% adequate and 3% short in an early May report. Strong drying has developed in the past week, allowing farmers to begin fieldwork in scattered areas. Weather conditions are set to improve, trending warmer in the coming week. The jet stream is expected to build up a warm ridge of high pressure over western North America influencing the weather in Alberta and Saskatchewan. This would be ideal for warming and drying fields, and advancing wheat planting. Saskatchewan daily maximum temperatures would rise into the low-mid 60s F and 10 degrees F higher than presently. Night minimum temperatures would rise into the low 40s F and 10 degrees F warmer than presently. The warming trend would begin tomorrow persisting for the balance of the week," they said. Jul 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $7.09 1/2, down 5 cents; Jul 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $8.24, up 1/4 of a cent; Jul 14 MGE Wheat closed at $7.94 3/4, up 4 cents.

EU Wheat Lower Again, Old Crop/New Crop Spread Narrows

13/05/14 -- EU grains were mixed with May 14 London wheat closing down GBP2.00/tonne at GBP157.00/tonne, and new crop Nov 14 London wheat GBP1.00/tonne weaker at GBP152.50/tonne. New front month Nov 14 Paris wheat closed EUR0.75/tonne lower at EUR203.50/tonne, Jun 14 Paris corn was up EUR0.25/tonne at EUR183.25/tonne and Aug 14 Paris rapeseed ended the day EUR3.50/tonne higher at EUR362.75/tonne.

For May 14 London wheat this was the lowest close for a front month since the last day of February, as old crop values continue to slide lower to meet new crop. A month ago the May/Nov spread was GBP11.75/tonne, tonight it's only GBP4.50/tonne.

The current mixture of sunshine and showers is ideal for UK crop development. The EU Commission's MARS until estimated UK wheat yields at 8.19 MT/ha this year, up 11% on a year ago, and 10% above the 5-year average of 7.47 MT/ha. That would be the second highest domestic wheat yield on record, and one that potentially puts this year's crop around the 16 MMT mark, a sharp rebound of around a third from last year.

MARS forecast the UK 2014 rapeseed yield at 3.64 MT/ha, an increase of 22% on a year ago. That puts the UK crop at around 2.5 MMT this year versus 2.1 MMT in 2013.

They peg 2014 UK barley yields at 5.80 MT/ha, a small decline of less than 1% on last year's 5.85 MT/ha. That suggests a 2014 UK barley crop of around 5.7 MMT, 20% lower than last year, although that was of course a bit of an anomaly - this would still be more than we produced in 2012.

On an EU-wide basis MARS forecast the average wheat yield at 5.55 MT/ha, which is almost identical to 12 months ago, and 4% up on the 5-year average. EU rapeseed yield will average 3.12 MT/ha, which is also similar to last year and represents a 2.4% rise on the 5-year average. They see EU barley yields averaging 4.59 MT/ha, a 5.3% decline on last year but 2.4% above the 5-year average.

The Russian Ministry said that spring grains have been planted on 14 million hectares, or 43.9% of the intended area, up 1.3 million ha on this time a year ago. Included in that total is 3.1 million ha of spring wheat (23.7% of plan), 5.9 million ha of spring barley (67.4%) and 1.8 million ha of corn (69.4%).

APK Inform forecast the Russian corn crop at 11.3 MMT, a 3% decline on last year, despite plantings rising to a record high 2.6 million ha. They currently see 2014 corn yields falling from last year's record 5.01 MT/ha to 4.65 MT/ha in 2014.

RusAgroTrans said that Russia exported 2.18 MMT of grains in April, including 1.45 MMT of wheat, 246 TMT of barley and 388 TMT of corn. That's a 5.3% increase on grain exports in March. The cumulative Jul/Apr 2013/14 total is now 22.9 MMT, up 58% on a year previously, and only 1.6 MMT of the all time high volume exported in 2011/12. May exports may fall to around 1.35 MMT, with those in June totalling around 1 MMT, they forecast. That would bring the total marketing year grain exports to 25.25 MMT, an increase of more than 60% versus 2012/13.

The Ukraine Ministry say that spring grains there have been planted on 7.219 million ha, or 87% of plan. That includes 4.436 million ha of of corn (86% of plan). They've also sown 3.92 million ha of sunflower (91%) and 1.355 million ha of soybeans (82%).

Recent good rains in Ukraine have alleviated some earlier drought concerns. Winter crops are generally said to be looking good and spring planted grains have got off to a good start.

MARS Forecast UK 2014 Wheat Yields At 8.19 MT/ha

13/05/14 -- The EU Commission's MARS unit forecast UK wheat yields this year at 8.19 MT/ha, up 11% on last year and almost 10% above the 5-year average (although that was probably depressed by a couple of dodgy years in the last five).

According to my records, that would be the second highest yield ever, beaten only by 2008.

If we use Friday's USDA planted area estimate of 1.95 million hectares, then we'd end up with a crop a gnat's chuff away from 16 MMT this year if MARS are proven to be correct.

They peg 2014 UK barley yields at 5.80 MT/ha, a small decline of less than 1% on last year's 5.85 MT/ha. They put UK OSR yields this year at 3.64 MT/ha, a mighty 22% leap over last year's disaster, and almost 7% above the 5-year average.

Doing the same calculation of USDA planted area multiplied by MARS's yield estimates then that gives us a potential UK barley crop of 5.68 MMT and a OSR harvest of 2.58 MMT this year.

All that little lot gives us a UK wheat crop 34% higher than in 2013, a barley crop that is 20% lower (although last year was of course unusually high - this is still more than we produced in 2012) and an OSR crop that is up 21% on a year ago.

Meanwhile the pound is as firm as Rolf Harris at a school nativity play. That won't help exports one little bit, but it will keep imported corn nice and cheap. No wonder I'm bearish.

Chicago Grains Start The Week Lower As Plantings Catch Up

12/05/14 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed sharply lower, with fund money said to have been a net seller of around 6,000 contracts on the day. Weekly export inspections came in at 239,955 MT, taking the marketing year total to just shy of 41.7 MMT versus the USDA's target for the season of 43.545 MMT. China are set to auction 300,000 MT of soybeans from state-owned reserves tomorrow. A Bloomberg report suggested that the auction may draw little interest due to the government's price ideas being too high relative to the cost of imported beans and the fact that the beans being sold are old. The USDA reported US soybean plantings at 20% complete as of Sunday night, up from 5% a week ago and more or less in line with the 5-year average of 21% done. Trade estimates had been for plantings of around 15-20%. Iowa is 20% complete versus 25% normally and Illinois is 26% complete versus 16% for the 5-year average. It's too early yet for crop condition ratings, although the USDA will report on soybean emergence next week. May 14 Soybeans closed at $14.83, down 18 cents; Jul 14 Soybeans closed at $14.64 3/4, down 22 1/4 cents; May 14 Soybean Meal closed at $489.50, down $8.00; May 14 Soybean Oil closed at 40.78, down 20 points.

Corn: The corn market tumbled on ideas that US farmers made good progress with spring corn planting last week. "The Midwest received scattered strong showers last week, but less than expected, allowing corn planting to make good progress. Strong warming has finally developed in the Upper Midwest, where conditions much of the spring has been cold. Warmth and strong sunshine has strongly improved conditions in the northern corn belt. Soil temperatures have finally crossed the 50 F threshold for seed germination in Minnesota, Wisconsin, northern Iowa and Michigan," said Martell Crop Projections. The USDA reported plantings at 59% complete, up 30 points in a week and now actually fractionally ahead of the 5-year average pace of 58% done. An earlier Reuters survey had come up with an average trade guess of 55% complete. Iowa is 70% done versus only 23% a week ago, and exactly in line with normal. Illinois is 78% complete versus 43% a week ago and only 53% normally. Emergence was place at 18% nationally versus 7% a week ago and 25% on average at this time. Taiwan are tendering for 60,000 MT of corn from the US, South America and/or South Africa for July/August shipment. Weekly export inspections came in at 1,199,447 MT, which was in line with trade forecasts. May 14 Corn closed at $4.97 1/4, down 7 3/4 cents; Jul 14 Corn closed at $4.99, down 8 1/2 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed sharply lower for a second successive session. The US will lose it's place as the world's largest wheat exporter to Europe in 2014/15, the USDA reported on Friday. That's despite Europe's exports next season dropping from the 2013/14 record 30 MMT to 27.5 MMT. US exports will decline even more sharply, down 21% to 26 MMT, they said. US markets may be coming to terms with the fact that despite weather-related problems of it's own, the wheat crop in many other places around the world is looking in pretty good shape. Recent price rises may effectively be pricing US wheat out of the global market. The US will export 54% of all the wheat it grew in 2013/14, the USDA estimate. In 2014/15 that proportion will drop to 48.7% based on Friday's forecasts. Weekly export inspections came in at 623,157 MT, taking the total inspected for export so far this season to 29.6 MMT of the USDA's forecast for the 2013/14 marketing year (which finishes at the end of the month) of 31.5 MMT. After the close the USDA reported US winter wheat crop conditions at 30% good/excellent, down a point on a week ago and 2 points down on this time last year. The leading winter wheat state of Kansas is only 13% good/excellent and 56% poor/very poor. The USDA said that 44% of the crop is headed versus the 5-year average of 46%. Spring wheat is 34% planted versus 53% normally. Spring wheat emergence is 12% against 27% for the 5-year average. May 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $7.04 3/4, down 9 1/4 cents; May 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $8.19, down 13 1/2 cents; May 14 MGEX wheat closed at $7.92, down 2 3/4 cents.

EU Wheat Markets Tumble

12/05/14 -- EU wheat markets finished the day sharply lower, with May 14 London wheat closing down GBP2.45/tonne at GBP159.00/tonne, with new crop Nov 14 London wheat GBP2.65/tonne weaker at GBP153.50/tonne and expiring May 14 Paris wheat EUR5.00/tonne lower at EUR202.25/tonne. Jun 14 Paris corn was down EUR1.25/tonne at EUR183.00/tonne, whilst Aug 14 Paris rapeseed rose EUR0.25/tonne to EUR359.25/tonne.

Wheat was playing catch up with a US market that closed around 12 cents lower on Friday, and traded with similar follow through losses for much of the day today.

Friday night's USDA report essentially said that despite a drop in world wheat production in 2014 from last year's record, global supplies are ample and that ending stocks in 2014/15 will rise for a second year to 187.4 MMT. A world corn crop that will match last year's record 979 MMT will see ending stocks in 2014/15 rise for a fourth year in a row to 181.7 MMT, they forecast.

The EU will consume a record 76 MMT of corn in 2014/15, imports of which will match this season's 13 MMT, they said.

In a special report on Ukraine, the USDA said that winter crop conditions are "better than last year and better than average".

Still, wheat yields were forecast down 6.4 percent from last year and 3.6 percent below the 5-year average due to the likely reduction in the application of mineral fertilisers and the use of plant-protection chemicals, they said.

That gives Ukraine a 20 MMT wheat crop this year versus 22.3 MMT in 2013. Exports will decline by 1 MMT year on year to 8.5 MMT. Ukraine's corn crop will fall from last season's record 30.9 MMT to 26 MMT, although that's still the second highest ever, with exports dropping from a record 19 MMT this season to 16 MMT in 2014/15. Again that is the second largest level of Ukraine corn exports in history.

Ukraine seaports exported 340 TMT of grains in the past week, said APK Inform. That was down 9% from the previous week and included 180 TMT of wheat and 108 TMT of corn.

They estimated the Russian wheat crop at 52 MMT, similar to last year and the same as the USDA forecast on Friday. They said that wet weather in the autumn cut winter wheat plantings by 6.8% to 11.5 million hectares, and that spring wheat plantings will rise 5% to 13.4 million ha. The larger proportion of spring sown wheat means that average yields will fall slightly for the 2014 harvest to 2.18 MT/ha, they said.

Thankfully, we are expected to do much better than that here in the UK this year. The USDA estimated average UK wheat yields of 7.77 MT/ha on Friday. That would be the best since 2010, although the competition in recent seasons has hardly been stiff.

With UK wheat crops looking generally very good indeed, it may be worth considering that between 2000 and 2010 the average UK wheat yield was 7.85 MT/ha, and yields topped 8 MT/ha five times during that period. Achieving that sort of level again would take the UK wheat crop to around 16 MMT this year (versus the 15.15 MMT now forecast by the USDA), which would be an increase of around 34% on a year ago.

The UK rapeseed crop is also looking magnificent, and the USDA's forecast average yield of 3.44 MT/ha could also prove to be on the low side come harvest time.

It seems like it's been such a long time since we've had a bumper harvest, that we've forgotten what it's like. After the poor results of the past few years, growers have been particularly cautious about over committing themselves on forward sales for new crop this year.

The possible combination of a return to the halcyon days of the "noughties" yields and an unusually large proportion of new crop being unsold suggests lower prices might lie ahead. No matter what the size of the Ukraine crop, and this year's doesn't look like being a disaster at all, they will be their usual aggressive sellers come harvest time too.

Putin and spec money might be the bulls best hope, although hope isn't much of a marketing strategy.