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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

FC Morning Market Commentary for December 31, 2013

Good morning!

The big January S&D and production report is only 7 trading sessions away and traders seem to still be prepping for a bearish report.  Both corn and soybeans were weaker last night, with soybeans once again leading the charge down on improved South American weather. It is raining today across central and northern Argentina – which is making the sell button a little too easy to press today.

Other than that it looks to be a quiet end to 2013.  There has been some light farmer selling as year-end tax guys weigh in on their situations.  The Chicago Board of trade will close today at its normal time of 1:15pmand not reopen until 8:30am on Thursday

Opening Calls
Corn steady to down 2 cents
Soybean down 4 to 6 cents

Have a great day!
Dustin Weiner

Friday, December 27, 2013

FC Morning Market Commentary for December 27, 2013

Good morning!

Our markets are called higher this morning thanks to an almost shockingly strong export sales report.  Corn export sales were big – well above the highest estimate and soybean sales were also decent, at the top end of the range of guesses.  Huge soybean oil sales in there as well.  This could temporarily stop the negative export chatter (corn rejections, soybean cancellations, etc.) as it appears business was good last week.  The next two weekly export sales reports could appear disappointing with the holidays taking some people out of the trade.

There isn’t much else to go on today.  Later this morning the weekly ethanol production report will be out and is expected to show production slightly lower than it was last week.  Weather in Argentina looks to be improving next week with temps cooling off (into the upper 80’s and 90s) and some chances for moisture. The 11-15 day forecast for them however looks below normal for precip and above normal for temps, so we will need to watch that.

Opening Calls
Corn 1 to 3 cents higher
Soybeans 6 to 10 cents higher

Have a great day!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

FC Visits Hawkeye Community College

Last week Holly Knobbe, FC's Talent Manager, visited Hawkeye Community College, located just outside Waterloo, Iowa. While there Ms. Knobbe discussed the numerous career opportunities with Farmers Cooperative Company with the College's agriculture students. 

Shown here are Agriculture students of the Hawkeye Community College along with their instructor, Dave Grunklee. 

FC Morning Market Commentary for December 26, 2013

Good morning!

There was not an overnight trade session last night, so when the markets open at 8:30am this morning it will be the first time they have traded since noon on Tuesday.  Opening calls vary, but most of them are looking for a steady/weaker tone to start the day and they blame good weather in South America.  No surprises there.

It was reported this morning that China has turned away around 2,000 MT of U.S. dried distillers grains and that more rejections are expected in the coming weeks.  Traders had been nervous this would happen after hearing not long ago that they would start testing it.  China is the world’s largest buyer of U.S. DDGs, accounting for about 40% of all DDG exports last year.  This situation is a little tricky – when the corn was rejected they were mostly able to switch the cargoes to other destinations but with DDG’s, they are not widely used in the rest of Asia in their animal feed which makes it difficult to figure out where these rejected cargoes will go.  In a positive note, this should support soybean meal and keep domestic soybean crush margins firm. 

Also just for fun, I ran the math:  2,000 MT = 4,409,200 lbs = around 80 truckloads.  Doesn’t sound like much when you say it that way…

Opening Calls
Corn steady to down 1c
Soybeans mixed

Have a great day!
Dustin Weiner

Monday, December 23, 2013

FC Morning Market Commentary for December 23, 2013

It is a quiet start to the holiday shortened week.  Remember, the grain markets close at noon tomorrow
 and don’t open up again until 8:30am on Thursday.  The markets were a little higher last night and it’s all weather – specifically the weather in Argentina.  Still looks hot and dry down there in the short term, with chances of rain in the extended models. To put their weather in perspective, they are coming up on the corn pollination window right now and it’s 100 degrees outside... Nothing that can’t be fixed with a little rain, but still concerning.

Transportation issues here in the U.S. have some traders nervous about our ability to keep the export pace up in soybeans which could keep a lid on bean prices.  Barge freight costs have risen thanks to low water levels and cold weather.  Also the railroads have struggled this crop year to find available engines, cars and crews to run grain.  This has driven the cost of rail freight to astronomical levels.  Why have they struggled?  Well there are a number of reasons, but a big one is that in 2009 there were 10,000 rail carloads of crude oil transported in the US, today that number is up to 400,000 carloads! Most of that (as you may know) is thanks to the Bakken wells in North Dakota.

Opening Calls
Corn steady to down 1c
Soybeans steady to up 2c

Have a great day!
Dustin Weiner

Thursday, December 19, 2013

FC Afternoon Market Commentary for December 19, 2013

The corn market found  a little support this morning with export sales data above the average trade estimate. Last week US corn sales were reported at 32.6 mln bu bringing the yearly total to 1.084 bln bushels or 75% of the USDA export forecast. This morning the USDA announced 2 new corn sales, one to an unknown destination of 127 kmt and one to Korea of 130 kmt. Funds have been buyers of corn the past couple of days, taking profits before they close the books on the year which has helped drive corn prices higher.

Weather in Argentina looks better with weather models improving the chances for rain over the next 10 days while the hot spell that is currently setting in isn’t expected to last quite as long as initially indicated. Export sales data was rather disappointing for the soybean complex coming in at 15.3 mln bushels after sales to unknown destinations were cancelled. The market is stuck between concerns of Chinese cancellations and South American weather that is changing by the day.

Outside markets were mixed with crude higher while the dollar and equities also traded higher. Yesterday the Fed announced they will begin to reduce their bond buying program. The dollar has rallied on this news driving the DOW to all-time highs. Some of yesterday’s sell off was partially attributed to fund money moving from commodities to equities.

Kyle Lehman

FC Morning Market Commentary for December 19, 2013

December 19, 2013

The weekly export sales report was out this morning and sales were solid for corn, but soybean sales were a little disappointing, coming out below the estimates.  Yesterday was not a good day for the soybean chart, with beans making new highs for the move only to close (sharply) lower at the end of the day.  Soybeans have been in a 30-cent range this month, it will be interesting to see if that range holds – or if we fall out the bottom.

Other than that – quiet.  The U.S. and China will hold their latest round of trade talks this week, you can expect the recent U.S. corn rejections by China to be on the agenda.

Opening Calls
Corn steady to 2c higher
Soybeans 5 to 8 cents lower

Have a great day!
Dustin Weiner

Friday, December 13, 2013

Morning Grain Market Commentary for 12/13/2013

Morning Comments 12/13/2013

Friday, December 13, 2013, 8:26 am
Submitted by: Kyle Lehman

The markets continue to slide lower on carryover weakness from yesterday’s trade. Soybeans are leading the way lower (down 10c) on fears of reduced demand from China due to new cases of bird flu. With demand slowing and margins being squeezed the trade expects some cancellations from China in the next 4-6 weeks. Corn futures remain under pressure after a group of 10 bipartisan senators proposed a bill to completely eliminate the corn ethanol mandate. Ethanol margins remain at 2 year highs and production should remain at capacity even with all the news of RFS reductions/eliminations. The world seems to be swimming in wheat confirmed by last week’s USDA S&D. Wheat prices have fallen 7% in December which is weighing on the corn market.
The US weather looks to warm up early next week before another cold wave moves through. Although most of Iowa will still remain below freezing temps upper 20’s will be a small relief to the single digit highs we have seen lately. South American weather is expected to be hot and dry over the next 10 days which should allow late plantings to finish up. The 11-15 day forecast follows up with some chances of decent rain.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 12/10/2013

AM Comments 12/10/13

Tuesday, December 10, 2013, 8:09 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!
The USDA will release their December S&D report at 11am today – the market looks like it will stay relatively quiet up until then.  The trade is expecting demand increases for both corn and soybeans, lower the projected carryouts of each.  Typically this report doesn’t have much fireworks to it as they tend to wait until January when the final U.S. production numbers are released.
Weather in South America still looks good, the forecast almost couldn’t be any better in the short term.  Brazil’s government is now forecasting a record soybean production, 90.3MMT, which is 2.3MMT higher than the estimate the USDA gave us in November.  If this crop holds in there, it will likely be a pretty heavy anchor on bean prices come Feb/March forward, if not sooner. 
Opening Calls
Corn down 1 to 3 cents
Soybeans mixed, up 1c to down 1c

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A.M. Grain Market Commentary for 12-4-2013

AM Comments 12/04/13

Wednesday, December 4, 2013, 8:34 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!
It was a quiet overnight session and is expected to be a pretty quiet day session as well.  There is a lack of fresh news in the marketplace to discuss. Stats Canada did come out with their production numbers this morning showing that Canadian farmers produced a record 37.53 million tons of wheat in 2013, up 38% from last year and also above market guesses.  Canola production was also above guesses which is putting pressure on the soybean market.
Other than that – quiet.  Weather in South America still looks good and winter is coming here in the U.S. with the two week forecast showing below normal temps and normal to above normal precip. 
Corn is down 1 to 3 cents
Soybeans are down 3 to 5 cents

Friday, November 8, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary 11/8/2013

AM Comments 11/08/13

Friday, November 8, 2013, 7:46 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!
Nothing much to say this morning as the market prepares for the 11am release of the November crop reports from the USDA.  As you know, we haven’t seen data from the USDA since September, so this report will be very important in determining flat price and spreads for both corn and soybeans from here forward.  The trade estimates are at the bottom of these comments, reflecting what the market is currently trading.
So.  Expect a quiet trade up until 11am.  Updated weather forecasts look cooler and drier for next week, the next chance of decent precip doesn’t show up until next weekend and even that is sketchy at best.  This should allow harvest to get wrapped up most everywhere.
Opening Calls
Corn mixed, down 1c to up 1c
Soybeans steady to down 3c

Friday, November 1, 2013

Prevent Combine Fires

When it comes to preventing combine fires, there are just two key points to remember: prevention and preparation.
  • Keep the machine clean. Power-wash to remove caked-on grease, oil and crop residue. During harvest, frequently blow dry chaff, leaves and other crop materials off the machine. Remove any materials that have wrapped around bearings, belts and other moving parts. Be sure to check those pockets where wires or lights are housed and chaff accumulates.
  • Eliminate heat sources. Exhaust systems surfaces, exposed electrical wiring and worn bearings, belts and chains can potentially generate enough heat to start dust and crop residue on fire. Check these areas daily and make repairs if there are problems.
  • Don’t park a hot combine in the shed or shop. After a long day of harvesting, smoldering hot spots may be present in the combine. If those spots suddenly flare up, at least you won’t lose the building!
  • Keep at least one fully-charged, 10-pound ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher with an Underwriter’s Laboratory approval in the combine cab.
  • Mount a second fire extinguisher on the outside of the machine that can be reached from ground level.
  • Recharge partially discharged extinguishers.
  • Have a cell phone.
  • Have a plan. Turn off the engine, get the fire extinguisher and your phone. Get out and get help.
  • Approach the fire with extreme caution. Small fires can flare up quickly with the addition of air (by opening doors or hatches).
  • Stay a safe distance away.
  • Know when to wait for help.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Harvest Safety Tips

Here are a few safety tips from Michigan State University Extension to consider on your farm as producers prepare and start harvesting this season. These tips are true even for experienced farmers. 
  • Read operators manual(s).
  • Install Slow-Moving Vehicle (SMV) signs.
    Harvesting in Iowa. Photo (c) Nick Halverson
  • Wear seat belts.
  • Put equipment in neutral or park, engage parking brake, and turn off engine before dismounting. Wait until all mechanisms have stopped moving before attempting to service or unclog a machine.
  • Locking hydraulic cylinders or supporting the head prior to working under it is always recommended.
  • Limit riders on equipment! Instructional seats are designed for training or diagnosing machine problems.
  • Keep all guards in place.
  • Take breaks. Get enough sleep.
  • Train all operators to safely operate the equipment.
  • Fatigue, stress, medication, alcohol and drugs cause you to not focus on tasks.
  • Have all safety equipment in proper condition and ready to use such as safety glasses, hearing protection and respiratory masks.
  • Have ROPS (rollover protective structures) fitted on tractors.
Stay safe! Together we can!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Have a Safety Plan for Harvest

As most farms get larger and producers are farming more acres, having a Safety Plan for your team is increasingly important. Plan for an injury- and incident-free harvest season. Develop a safety plan for the fall and include:
  • Team communications
  • Any training/operator refresher courses etc.
  • Maintenance schedules
  • Emergency procedures in place and reviewed by entire team
  • Expectations such as wearing personal protective equipment, checking in regularly and compliance with safety protocol procedures (such as shutting down equipment before unplugging, taking regular breaks, working with a buddy on specific tasks)

Most harvest injuries and fatalities involve machinery and equipment.
  • Be extra vigilant when re-familiarizing yourself with equipment such as swathers, mowers, combines and augers. Never become complacent with equipment.
  • Ensure implements are attached or hitched properly and in good working order
  • Review operation manuals and follow maintenance guidelines.
  • Ensure all guards and shields are in place and secure
  • Watch for changes in terrain such as holes, ruts or debris that may cause upsets or roll overs

Thursday, October 17, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/17/2013

AM Comments 10/17/13

Thursday, October 17, 2013, 8:02 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!
Congress dodged a government default late last night by pushing – deciding to fund the gov’t until Jan 15th and increase the debt ceiling until Feb 7th.  So… government employees are back to work today.  In grain news, corn beans and wheat are working a bit higher this morning – traders are anticipating large export announcements from the USDA (once the data becomes available which could even be this morning).  These rumors we have been hearing about China buying US grains/oilseeds could finally be proven or disproven. 
Opening Calls
Corn 1 to 2 cents higher
Soybeans 4 to 5 cents higher

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/16/2013

AM Comments 10/16/13

Wednesday, October 16, 2013, 7:59 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!
There is very little fundamental news in the marketplace to discuss today, the moves lately have all been technical (chart-driven) in nature.  Corn has bounced higher the last few days, maybe on rumors about China in buying U.S. corn, but…  when you look at a chart of Dec corn, it does look like we’ve put in a bullish reversal.  Ever since CZ made new lows for the move Monday but closed higher – it has been steadily working upward.  There is overhead resistance at $4.50 meaning CZ will likely have a hard time trading much higher than that.  We are 6 cents away from that now.
Opening Calls
Corn steady to 1 cent higher
Soybeans 4 to 6 cents higher

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/15/2013

AM Comments 10/15/13

Tuesday, October 15, 2013, 8:09 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!
Yesterday the majority of the market was faced with a limited, thin trade with banks and other businesses closed for Columbus Day (not to mention the gov’t is still closed, today is day 15 of the shutdown).  We did not receive our normal harvest progress info yesterday afternoon but we read a Reuter’s poll this morning that shows U.S. soybean harvest at 45% complete (this same poll showed 22% completion a week ago).  They estimated corn harvest to be 31% done (it was 20% last week, according to this poll).
There were some strong rains that fell across the Western Corn Belt yesterday, putting a stop to harvest in those areas.  This same system is creeping into the Eastern Corn Belt today but it looks to be more spotty.  Cold temps are coming right behind this storm with the potential for scattered frost in the Dakotas and Minnesota tonight.  The big risk for frost comes after the second cold front hits later this week – producing widespread frost threats for the weekend.  The good news for harvest progress (potentially bearish news for prices) is that the next major rain system doesn’t look to show up until Oct 27th – 28th with only light showers showing up in between now and then.
Quickly on South American weather… they have received some much needed rains over the past 4 or 5 days in Argentina.  This should help increase their planting pace (farmers down there were waiting for rain as their soils were too dry).  Even with that though, additional moisture will be needed (and currently isn’t forecasted).  Brazil has had much better luck as they have had timely rains and near ideal planting conditions.
Opening Calls
Corn steady to up 1c
Soybeans 3 to 5 cents lower

Monday, October 14, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/14/2013

Morning Comments 10/14/2013

Monday, October 14, 2013, 9:23 am
Submitted by: Kyle Lehman

A touch higher markets to start the week led by soybeans. Soybeans are finding strength from wet weather forecasts for the western corn belt which should slow harvest progress in those areas. Rumors continue to fill the air that China was a large buyer of US soybeans last week which won’t be confirmed until the government opens back up. The Chinese government has released estimates for their 2013 crop pegging corn production at record large crop up 4.6% from last year while soybeans are down 4.25%.
Outside markets are bearish with fear the government won’t deal with the lingering debt ceiling issue in the next 3 days. This has the dollar, crude, and equities all trading lower.

Friday, October 11, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/11/2013

AM Comments 10/11/13

Friday, October 11, 2013, 7:59 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!
Lower markets, a lot of news out there reacting to an EPA proposal to lower the RFS mandate for 2014 to blend 15.21 billion gallons of renewable fuels (compared to 16.55 billion gallons in 2013) amid complaints from refiners that statutory mandates would exceed their ability to blend it into fuels without putting engines at risk. 
These numbers imply that the mandate for regular corn ethanol would drop to 13.0b gallons in 2014 from 13.8b gallons in 2013.  Not sure how bearish this really is to pure corn ethanol as this is just a mandate, not a cap.  If there is market for it corn ethanol, and there is a margin in it, we will keep producing it and blending it.  There are a lot of moving parts to this proposal and it still needs to be voted on before anything can happen and… the govt isn’t open.
FYI there are normal market hours on Monday (Columbus Day) even though the banks are closed.
Opening Calls
Corn 3 to 5 cents lower
Soybeans 4 to 6 cents lower

Thursday, October 10, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/10/2013

AM Comments 10/10/13

Thursday, October 10, 2013, 7:59 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!
We are now on day ten of the government shutdown and believe it or not it feels like these next rounds of meetings could get us closer to an end.  The equity markets are rallying today on that thought - the Dow futures were up 120 points last I checked.
Overnight both corn and beans opened up mixed but have since turned higher, led by soybeans.  With farmers for the most part being reluctant sellers, Nov beans have firmed against the deferred months (a bigger inverse).  The weather forecast looks a little more ‘active’ than normal for parts of the belt with rains events penciled in for this weekend, mid next week and maybe a third event coming late next week.  This could keep the front end of the market a little firmer as harvest will likely be delayed in spots.  Cooler temps are also expected starting mid next week.
Opening Calls
Corn steady to 2c higher

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/9/2013

AM Comments 10/09/13

Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 8:47 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!
It is pretty quiet out there today.  Fresh fundamental news is hard to come by and the government is still shut down.  A few gov’t reports will still leak out, such as the weekly ethanol data report (coming today).  Will there be enough money to release that same report next week if the gov’t is still shut down?  Who knows, it doesn’t sound promising.  It sounds like we won’t be getting our weekly corn/soy export sales report tomorrow morning and we already know we are getting the monthly S&D that was due out Friday. 
Overall, the market has this general ‘sideways to weaker’ tone thanks to standard harvest pressure.  Soybeans are ready across most of the Midwest and farmers who haven’t switched over from corn will probably be doing so soon.  This could keep nearby corn basis feeling firm, although the clock may be ticking on that with the record US corn production hanging over our heads.

Corn is steady to 1 cent higher
Soybeans are 5 to 8 cents lower

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/8/2013

Morning Comments 10/8/2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013, 8:14 am
Submitted by: Kyle Lehman

Once again the markets were quiet overnight with corn trading in a 2 cent range while soybeans chopped around in a 7 cent range. News has been very limited the past week and a half with the government shutdown leaving traders in the dark. The USDA will not release the October S&D on Friday and the possibility of even seeing the report in October is dwindling by the day. Although we may not see the USDA report there is still data on the average trade guess for what the report was expected to look like. Average trade guess for corn was a yield of 156.5 bpa up slightly from 155.3 bpa in September. The average production estimate is 13.8 bln bushels, unchanged from September due to a reduction in harvested acres. Most trade is expecting a slight reduction in exports widening the carryout to 1.923 bln from 1.855 bln last month.
Soybeans are finding slight support from the higher Dalian (China exchange). Average trade guess for soybeans is 41.5 bpa up .3 bpa from last month. Production up slightly to 3.156 bln bushels from 3.149 bln last month widening the carryout to 167 mln from 150 mln last month. Either way you look at the soybean market the carryout is tight.
Remember these are trade guesses for a report that has been delayed and may never be released but it’s about the only direction the market has to trade off for now.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Morning Market Comments Oct 7, 2013

Good morning!

It is quiet again this morning as the government shutdown continues.  It is doubtful that we will see our weekly crop/planting progress report this afternoon, but there may be enough money in the till to afford to release the export inspections.  It sure feels like the big October S&D report that is due to release Friday morning will be delayed, not sure how long.  If the gov’t remains closed for too much longer, there is a chance they just decide to skip this report and wait for the November S&D to release.  These markets will likely get thinner and thinner as time goes on without new information to trade off of or give direction.  This could lead to increased volatility and potential overreaction to yield reports coming from the country.

Opening Calls: 
Corn is steady/mixed
Soybeans are steady to down 3 cents

Have a great day!
Dustin Weiner

Friday, October 4, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/4/2013

AM Comments 10/04/13

Friday, October 4, 2013, 8:26 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!
Showers and thunderstorms are sliding across much of Iowa this morning – some parts of the state are reporting as much as 2” of rain with more coming later on.  This same storm FYI is also expected to give the Black Hills 2’ of snow.  Harvest in the WCB is effectively shut down for a bit.  The extended forecasts do appear warmer and drier which should get it fired back up again, it looks like there no chances of rain until late next week. 
Overnight the trade was pretty quiet.  The corn market chopped around while the soybean market took a few profits from yesterday and traded lower.  Demand for soybeans remains strong both in domestic crush (margins remain good) and in exports. Later this morning Informa will be out with their estimate of the US ’13 crop sizes which could give the market some input.  The general feeling is that yields are coming in higher than the last USDA report showed – especially in corn. 
Opening Calls
Corn steady to 2c higher
Soybeans 4 to 7 cents lower