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Erin Brown / Grand Vale Creative

Harvest starts back up with an improved forecast

Wheat

The wheat market started the week positive but backed off on technical selling. Planting pace slowed a bit in the past week but is listed at 65 percent complete compared to 67 percent complete for the five-year average. Emergence is 44 percent compared to 41 percent for the five-year average.

Eight-to-14-day forecasts have increased chances of rainfall for Oklahoma and Kansas. The market has largely traded sideways to lower as rains have been viewed as replenishing soil moisture. Current soil moisture indexes show adequate moisture through the eastern two-thirds of these states. Texas was receiving rainfall. Planting has been an issue, but we should expect an increased planting pace over the next eight days.

Vietnam announced that is will have the ability to recall wheat shipments into that country if quality standards are not met. Vietnam has complained about wheat with higher levels of Canada thistle. This policy goes into effect Nov. 1.

Black Sea Region prices for wheat export increased $2 to $3 per metric ton last week. Egypt purchased 180,000 metric tons of Russian wheat last week for an average price of $235.55 per metric ton, which was more than $8 per metric ton above their purchase price from a Sept. 18 tender. So world prices have been increasing, which should provide a baseline of support for U.S. wheat markets.

An article from UkrAgroConsult stated that Egypt is studying the possibility of hedging against rising world grain prices, according to their supply minister. Egypt currently has more than four months of strategic wheat stocks on hand and spends on average of $1.5 billion annually on wheat imports.

There is a general thought in the trade that U.S. wheat exports will pick up during the second half of the year due to quality concerns with Russia's crop and the lower Australian crop due to drought. The currency exchanges have a lot to do with this premise. The Russian ruble seems to have put in a major low on Sept. 10, and the U.S. dollar is having a tough time getting above $95.80. A number of analysts think a longer term high in the U.S. dollar may have been put in during Aug. 15 trade at $96.45. Both of these factors would support ideas of increased U.S. exports. The Canadian dollar has been fairly erratic lately, but with passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement it seems to be more supported to the upside.

Corn

The corn market opened the week firm, closing at $3.7825 in follow-through buying from the friendly Oct. 11 crop report. The market went into defensive mode trying to hold the $3.7225 100-day moving average but failed on improved weather forecasts, poor ethanol production numbers and disappointing export sales.

Six-to-10-day and eight-to-14-day forecasts are mostly dry and cooler than normal for much of the Corn Belt, which should accelerate harvest pressure.

Weekly crop progress has 39 percent of the corn crop harvested, versus 35 percent for the five-year average. Condition ratings remained unchanged. The European Union increased their corn production estimate by 1 million metric tons to 59.4 million metric tons due to higher yields in southeastern Europe.

Weekly export inspections totaled 39.2 million bushels, which was below the range of expectations. Weekly export sales ending Oct. 11 were 15.1 million bushels, which was well below trade expectations putting pressure on the market in Oct. 18 trade.

Ethanol production for the week ending Oct. 12 declined 2.79 percent to 1.011 million barrels per day. This is the lowest production since late April. Despite the decline in production, ethanol stocks increased to 1.013 billion gallons from 1.009 billion gallons the week prior. This is the second highest weekly stocks on record and are 12.3 percent higher than last year's stocks for mid-October. Ethanol futures declined 4.7 cents per gallon this week to the $1.26 per gallon area. Ethanol margins are under pressure the last six weeks, and it is more likely that production will be slow in the coming weeks, unlike the increase we saw in the fall of 2017.

Soybeans

After some nice 24-cent gains on Monday, soybean futures were under pressure the rest of the week as combines finally get back in the field and dry weather is in the forecast. As of Oct. 14, soybean harvest was 15 percent behind the five-year average and 9 percent behind last year's pace, but is even further behind in the northern Midwest. Soybeans harvested were at 38 percent harvested for the whole U.S. versus 47 percent last year and 53 percent for the five-week average.

Soybeans also got an early week boost from another favorable crush report. The National Oilbean Processors Association's September soybean crush was higher than expected and soybean oil stocks slightly lower than expected. NOPA reported its members crushed 160.8 million bushels of soybeans in September, above average market expectations of 157.4 million bushels, slightly up from August NOPA crush of 158.9 million bushels. This is up 17.9 percent from last year's September NOPA crush of 136.4 million bushels.

Traders are in wait-and-see mode until they see what kind of yields are out there. Many farmers were able to switch back to soybean harvest this week after waiting (impatiently) to start the 2018 soybean harvest. A lot of crop should come out this next week before the forecast shows a better chance of rain for the weekend of Oct. 26-28.

News with China has been nonexistent lately, and there probably won't be much news until after the U.S. midterm elections.

Weekly inspections for 2018-19 total 174 million bushels, down 35 percent from a year ago and below USDA's estimate for a 3 percent decrease. USDA reported 10.8 million bushels of weekly soybean export sales for 2018-19 and 100,000 bushels for 2019-20. There are 766 million bushels of total commitments in 2018-19, down 21 percent from a year ago.

There have not been many issues for Brazil's planting season so far this year. As of Oct. 15, Brazil's No. 2 soybean state Parana was 47 percent planted, about 10 percent ahead of average and just fractionally slower than last year. They are putting the crop into good moisture.

Soybeans climbed 45 cents from the USDA report day's low of $8.47 that was on Oct. 11. November futures had also gained back 80 cents from the contract lows set Sept. 18. It was a bearish report, but we saw a positive reaction since then until late week profit-taking came into the market. Soybeans dipped back below the 100-day moving average after climbing above it on Oct. 15 for the first time since June 6.

Canola

For the week ending Oct. 18, November canola futures were down $4.10 to $490.60 Canadian per metric ton. The Canadian dollar was down .0035 at .7654. This brings the U.S. price to $17.04 per hundredweight.

• Velva, N.D., $15.79 per hundredweight, November at $15.79.

• Enderlin, N.D., $17.70 per hundredweight, November at $17.70 (Nexera Canola).

• Hallock, Minn., $16.30 per hundredweight, November at $16.40.

• Fargo, N.D., $16.75 per hundredweight, October at $16.60.

Barley

Cash feed barley bids in Minneapolis were at $2.60, while malting barley received no quote. Berthold, N.D., bid is $2.50, and CHS Southwest New Salem, N.D., is at $2.50.

Durum

Cash bids for milling quality durum are $4.50 in Berthold and at $4.50 in Dickinson, N.D.

Sunflower

Cash sunflower bids in Fargo are at $17.35, October bids at $17.35.

For the week ending Oct. 18, soybean oil is down 36 cents at $29.03 on the December contract.

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