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Grain Insights, 04.07.18

The FBN Team provides a macro-focused daily view of the world’s grain markets. Kevin McNew received a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Economics from North Carolina State University. He spent 10 years as a Professor of Economics with the University of Maryland and Montana State University focusing on commodity markets and is widely regarded for his ability to boil-down complex economic situations into easy-to-understand concepts for applied life.

Crop Conditions Slip

Condition Ratings Slip

Some extended heat last week took a modest toll on crop ratings. Corn came in at 76% good-to-excellent, 1% lower than last week. The corn crop was also pegged at 17% reaching pollination, up from last week’s reading of 12% and ahead of the 9% 5-year avg pace. Soybeans also dipped but by 2%, hitting 71% on the week. IA saw the biggest erosion of key states as both corn and bean ratings slipped 3%, but overall the crops are still exceptionally favorable at 78% and 76%, respectively for corn and beans.

Soy Crush Continues to Be Record Strong

USDA’s monthly soy crush estimate for May came in at 172 MB, well above the same month last year which was 158 MB. Record high processing margins are keeping plants running at full capacity and should keep crushings solid for the rest of the marketing year. FBN projects final 2017 soy crush to come in at 2,030 MB, up from USDA’s current forecast of 2,015 MB.

Crop Problems Mount in Russia

Moscow-based agriculture consultancy IKAR lowered its corn forecast to 12.3 MMT from 12.8 MMT citing unfavourable weather conditions in southern regions. Russia corn growing regions will see limited rains over the next 10 days, stressing 2/3 of belt as temperatures trend slightly above normal.

This comes after Russia’s State Weather Forecaster said they expect the wheat crop there to be down 10 to 15% from last year, underscoring the widespread problems the major ag producer is facing this growing season.

Risk of an El Nino Increases

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said on Tuesday that the odds of an El Nino weather phase are now at 50% by the end of the year. Dry weather in Australia's spring, which runs from September to November, could curb wheat output there at a time when rains have already been sparse.

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