Grain prices were mixed over the past week. Harvest pressure was countered by better news on the China/US trade front.

 

US corn is 30% harvested. A year ago, and the average for Oct. 20 is 48%. Some think the recent snowstorm in the Northern Plains (and Canadian prairies) may reduce their corn crop by 200-300 million bushels.

 

Soybean harvest is 46% done. Usually, 64% is off by now, but US farmers aren’t far behind last year’s 51% in the bin. Up to 40 million bushels of soybeans may also have been lost in those storms.

 

The ebb and flow in the trade talks continue. The most recent development is that China will allow its importers to purchase 10 min mt of soybeans from the US without tariffs.

 

That is a substantial quantity, but the timeframe wasn’t specified. Perhaps that’s why prices gave back early gains.  It may well depend on how well the South American (SAM) crop is developing.

 

Planting progress is picking up there, as moisture levels in many areas have increased. Soybean acres are likely to increase from last year also at the expense of corn, as freight remains a big expense for Brazil farmers.

With US harvest nearing half done, traders will increasingly focus on South America growing conditions. USDA’s soybean carry out estimates have come down sharply, making SAM output more critical.

 

Technically, November soybean futures traded to their best level in 4 months. The $9.40 to 9.45 level resistance still hasn’t been broken, however. Futures are up $0.94 since Sept. 9, a very nice gift for farmers at harvest time.

 

The weekly and monthly continuation charts look even more bullish, trading at their highest since June 2018. This may cause the speculators to get out of their short positions and be price supportive. However, taking some risk off the table here may still make “cents”?

 

The US dollar index was weaker again, helping the Canadian dollar and other currencies. Gold and crude oil also benefitted. Trump keeps tweeting he would like a lower US dollar and interest rates to help spur their economy.

 

Canada returned Justin Trudeau to a second term, although only a minority this time. Rural Canada is primarily blue, while the large cities went mainly red. Rural issues weren’t even discussed during the campaign.

 

Obviously urban people have different priorities and expectations compared to their rural counterparts, at least politically. Unfortunately, the latter group are seriously outnumbered.

 

 

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Corn lost ground over the past week, while soybeans and wheat were a bit firmer. These changes can be tied directly to the monthly USDA demand/supply report that was released on Oct 10.

 

The US corn yield estimate was raised.2 bushels/acre compared to the Sept. report, to 168.4. Traders had expected a lower yield. They also lowered projected 2019/20 usage by 90 million bushels.

 

The net result is a projected carry out (CO) of 1.929 billion bushels, compared to 2.114 billion for the crop year just ended. That is still nearly a 9% drop, bushels traders had expected a much lower CO of 1.784 billion., so the report was considered negative.

 

The soybean yield was lowered 1 bushel/acre to 46.9, which is well below last year’s 50.6. Adding in the drop in old crop stocks reported on September 30, the CO was lowered 180 million bushels to 460 million.  In USDA’s June report, they reported the CO would be 1.045 billion.

 

This continues the pattern where USDA seriously overestimates the soybean carryout all year. You would think if you error in one direction consistently, you would adjust for those miscalculations, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

US wheat ending stocks remain stubbornly stuck at over 1 billion bushels Unfortunately, that’s a big number. The US is becoming a smaller and smaller factor in world wheat fundamentals, as its acres are in a long-term downtrend.

 

The 15-month US/China trade war continues. Last Friday, it was reported phase 1 of 3 would be signed shortly. It supposedly included large purchases of US ag products by China. Now they’re saying that may not be the case…again.

 

Illinois passed new dicamba laws for spraying on soybeans, as they had over 900 injury cases this past summer. Dicamba now can’t be sprayed past June 20. In 2019, that date was July 15. They also can’t spray it if the temperature is over 85 degrees Fahrenheit. 

 

Livestock prices rose sharply in the past week, especially hogs. However, that is just recovering some of their recent losses. Asian importing of meat products will be with us for the foreseeable future, which will be supportive.

 

The US dollar index was weaker, which was likely the main reason our dollar gained this week, causing a small drop in Ontario basis values. Basis values in US terms are higher than normal, as elevators bid up for the smaller North American crops to fill their storage space.

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Grain prices firmed marginally over the past week, adding to the gains that were made after the surprising USDA stocks report from September 30. Traders are still focused on the trade war and the weather, which will influence final yields.

 

High-level trade negotiations are going on now, but expectations for an agreement are dwindling. Some think the impeachment rhetoric will impede the process as China may take more of a wait and see approach. As if this hasn’t gone on long enough already!

 

US corn is 58% mature as of October 6. Normally it is 85% by this date. Less than 40% is mature in the Northern Plains. Frost and snow are likely there this coming weekend. This will affect the quality and quantity.

 

Generally, yield reports in the US are more below expectations in soybeans than in corn. Both will be below the past two years. This coincides with the weekly crop condition reports which showed good and excellent crop ratings well below normal all year.

 

Much of Ontario has an open window for soybean harvest this week, which will give everyone a better handle on yield. Variability, depending on rainfall, will be extreme. Most corn is still far from maturity. The corn looks vom-free, which is a blessing, but test weights could affect grades.

 

USDA will release its monthly demand/supply and carry out estimates on October 10. Another shocker shouldn’t surprise anyone. Apparently, they will also update the prevent plant acres, adding even more uncertainty.

 

The Canadian dollar remains rangebound. So far in 2019, it has been confined to a 3 cent range. Local basis levels are higher than normal, however, following the lead from the US. Central Illinois corn harvest basis is at its best level in 5 years.

Bond markets remain firm, as economic growth nearly everywhere in the world is slowing. Trump is blaming the Federal Reserve for the US slowdown, as the US interest rates are amongst the highest in the developed world.

 

This is keeping the US dollar firm. Plus, the US dollar is still considered the safe-haven currency in the world when there’s fear or uncertainty. Proof of this was in 2008. The US banking crisis caused the worldwide recession, but the US dollar still rallied sharply.

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We are pleased to announce our Bloom processing facility has been certified under the SQF Level 3 program requirements.

 

The Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program is a rigorous and credible food safety and quality program recognized by Global Foods Safety Initiative (GFSI) and by our customers world-wide. The SQF food safety and quality codes are designed to meet industry, customer, and regulatory requirements for all sectors of the food supply chain – from the farm all the way to the retail stores.

 

“The team in Bloom worked very hard to implement the program in in a very compressed timeframe” said Amir Naveed, Corporate QA & Product Development Manager “Our excellent rating is a result of their diligence and their recognition of the importance of maintaining high standards for food safety.”

 

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Grain prices firmed over the past week. Most of the gain was after USDA released its quarterly grain stocks report on Mon Sept. 30.  For corn and soybeans, these are the final carry outs (CO) for the 2018/19 crop year, which ended Sept. 1.

 

Last year’s final US corn CO was lowered to 2.114 bln bu.  In their monthly demand/supply report from Sept 12, they said it would be 2.445 bln., so suddenly the US “lost” 331 mln bu. That’s not far from the 345 mln bu that Ontario produced last year!

 

The final US soybean CO was lowered to 913 mln bu. That’s still a new record, but 92 mln bu less than they reported on Sept 12, and 68 mln bu less than traders thought. This was all because USDA lowered the size of last year’s crop by a significant 116 mln bu.

 

One thing you have to say about USDA is that they are consistently inconsistent. That makes it impossible to second guess any of their reports. The trade and the markets still, however, react to what to whatever they report.

 

Soybeans took out the Sept. high and closed at their best level since July 19. The large speculators were leaning the wrong way, which added fuel to the fire. China is buying more US soybeans, non-tariff, which is also helping.

 

As of Sept 29, 11 percent of US corn and 7 percent of US soybeans were harvested. Normally, they are 19 and 20 percent off by that date. Overall, corn yields are meeting expectations, but soybean yields are disappointing.

 

A few soybean fields in Ontario have been cut, with huge variability in yields. Most of Ontario planted late due to a wet spring. In the areas that missed the rains in July and August, yields are disappointing. Hopefully, we will again have an extended fall to allow our corn crop to mature.

 

South America (SAM) remains drier than normal, especially Argentina. Crop problems there would cause China, and other importers, to source more from the US. The supplies in SAM are down, as China has been buying most of their soybeans from there, until just recently.

 

The US dollar index traded at its highest level since May 2017. A strong US dollar is usually negative for commodities and perhaps helps to explain the weakness in crude oil and gold this week. The fact grains gained is another sign that maybe grains have seen their harvest low.

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Prices were mixed compared to a week ago, despite warm weather the crops need to reach maturity. China buying more soybeans also helped. When prices are depressed, early harvest lows are not uncommon.

 

US crop ratings are still amongst the worst in 10 years, and crops remain behind in development. Corn is only 29 percent mature; normally it is 57 percent now. Only 34 percent of US soybeans are dropping leaves, usually it is 59 percent by now.

Weather forecasts show no threat of frost over the next 2 weeks, except maybe in the extreme Northern Plains, and Western Canada. It is also very wet in those areas, preventing farmers from harvesting their spring wheat, barley and canola. This is also affecting quality.

 

Hard red spring wheat futures, which trade in Minneapolis, have shot up 50 cents per bushel since early September because of this. Unfortunately, this is having little affect on Chicago wheat futures, as that is soft red wheat, which has a different use.

 

China has bought another 10 cargoes of US soybeans this week, without tariffs. Was this because of necessity, or was this a goodwill gesture heading into critical trade talks scheduled for early October? Either way, demand is demand.

 

African swine fever (ASF) is still very much a problem. It has also hit South Korea, who produce 20 million hogs per year. Apparently in China, ASF is occurring in areas where they are trying to rebuild their herds. This story will be with us for longer.

 

The large speculative funds were a main contributor to the short-lived rally in May and June. They have been heavy sellers in corn for nine consecutive weeks and are short 170,000 contracts now. This is still well short of the record 320,000 contracts they were short when they started buying last May.

 

Politics in Canada is dominating the media with the election less than four weeks away. Promises by the various parties are flying almost daily. Despite all the rural ridings in Ontario and Canada, agriculture isn’t even part of the discussion.

 

Farmers today make up only about 1.7 percent of the population. This is likely why they are being ignored. However, your votes can make a difference as to which party forms the next government. If you don’t vote, you have no reason to complain about what happens politically.

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Prices were firmer over the past week. China/US trade talks, once again, appear to be progressing. China did buy US soybeans without tariffs for the first time in over a year, and traders expect they will likely buy more shortly.

The highly anticipated USDA report on Sept. 12 was mostly disappointing to bullish traders. They left corn acres at 90 million and soybeans at 76.7. Apparently, they will update acres in the Oct. 10 report.

 

USDA did lower the corn yield 1.3 bu/ac., but that was less of a reduction than was expected. The old crop corn carryout (CO) was raised 85 mln bu. on lower demand. New crop demand was also lowered, resulting in a CO of 2.190 bln bu, also above expectations.

 

The soybean yield was lowered .6 bu/ac to 47.9. Traders thought it would be 47.2. The old crop CO was lowered 65 mln bu., but at 1.005 bln., will still easily be a new record. The new crop CO was dropped by 115 mln bu to 640 mln., which is still a large number.

 

The recent weather and the forecasts will likely add bushels to the spring planted crops in North America. Temperatures are warmer than normal which will also help the crops reach maturity and keep any frost threats out of the picture.

US crop ratings were mostly unchanged, but the US corn and soybean crops both have 13 percent less in the good and excellent categories compared to a year ago. 68 percent of US corn has dented; last year it was 87. Five percent of US soybeans haven’t started podding yet.

 

The Argentine peso has dropped sharply in the past 3 months. Producers there are not selling their crops, as it’s better to hold the hard asset than to turn it into a depreciating currency. Argentina is the largest soymeal exporter in the world.

Crude oil had one of its largest daily gains ever yesterday, rising over $7.00 per barrel or 13 percent. This should support commodities in general, including grains. The attacks on Saudi oil facilities highlights the fragility that still exists in the Middle East.

 

The Canadian dollar barely reacted to the oil price surge. This is a sign of underlying weakness, in my opinion. The US is expected to drop their interest rates on Sept. 17, which should also be supportive to our dollar.

 

Ontario basis levels have been rising, especially in corn and wheat. Chicago values may also be turning the corner, as markets firmed after the USDA crop report, even though it wasn’t bullish. Farmers need and deserve some better prices.

 

Always remember that listening to me can be hazardous to your wealth!

 

Frank Backx

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  Program Details Here  
     
   

 

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Hensall Co-op Members:

We are accepting nominations for Directors of the Board.

 

At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be held on Wednesday November 27, 2019, we will be holding elections for 3 Directors. Aise Van Beets (Bayfield) and Terence VanderWal (Denfield) have completed two 3-year terms and Ed Mosterd (Shakespeare) has completed three 3-year terms. All three of these candidates are eligible for re-election at the AGM.  


Nominations for new Directors must be submitted prior to October 15, 2019.  Under the bylaws of our Co-op, members cannot be nominated from the floor at the meeting.


Should you know of a candidate who you believe will represent the members of Hensall Co-op well as a Director on our Board, we encourage you to nominate him or her using one of the following options:

  • by delivering the nomination form in person to the Secretary of the Co-operative, Mr. William Wallace;
  • by registered or ordinary mail addressed to the Secretary of the Co-operative, Mr. William Wallace at P.O. Box 219, 1 Davidson Drive, Hensall Ontario N0M 1X0;
  • by facsimile transmission addressed to the Secretary of the Co-operative at (519) 262-2450
  • by email to bwallace@hdc.on.ca.

You must be a member of the Hensall Co-op to nominate a potential new Director. Again, all nominations must be submitted prior to October 15, 2019

 

Thank you for participating in your farmer-owned co-operative.  We look forward to seeing you at this year’s AGM on Wednesday November 27, 2019.

 

Sincerely,
HENSALL DISTRICT CO-OPERATIVE, INC.

 

 

Peter Dinsmore

President

 

Robert Cornelis

Governance Committee

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nomination form

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Prices were mixed over the past 2 weeks. Weather remained non-threatening. A warm, wet 2-week forecast will add bushels and help crops reach maturity. There is no risk of frost in any of the main growing areas.

 

Last Monday’s US corn crop ratings report was a bit of a surprise as 3% fell out of the good or excellent categories to only 55% now. Last year it was 68% at this time. Illinois showed the largest drop, falling 8 point to only 38%.

The US corn crop remains well behind in maturity. Only 55% is dented. Last year it was 84%, while the average for this date is 77%. A large portion of the crop needs a lot more time to finish.

 

Only 92% of US soybeans are setting pods. That means over 6 million acres are not, or about twice the total acres planted to soybeans in Ontario.  An early frost would obviously be devastating to the soybean crop also.

 

Ontario corn and soybean fields are also late, with a huge variability in crop conditions even in a small area. Overall yields are unlikely to be as strong as they have been in the past 2 to 3 years. Unfortunately, prices don’t look like they will make up for the smaller crops.

 

USDA will release their monthly demand/supply report on September 12. Most are looking for a slight reduction in yield compared to their August report. The other important component is acres. Will USDA acknowledge the acres not planted?

Brazil usually starts planting their soybeans by mid September. Conditions there are very dry for this time of year, so very little planting is occurring. However, Brazil has a very wide planting window, so markets aren’t concerned yet.

 

Wheat prices firmed when Australia predicted their wheat crop would only be 19.2 million mt. USDA has them at 21 mln, which is still well below the 25 mln mt average they have achieved over the past 5 years. This should help North American exports.

 

Livestock markets remain on the defensive. Cheap grain usually leads to cheaper meat prices, as farmers walk the grain off the farm. Cattle hit a 10-year low in the latest week. Seasonals are usually weak heading into the fall.

 

Outside markets were mixed. Recessionary fears linger, keeping a lid on interest rates. The low rates and amount of liquidity in the system is keeping stock markets firm, however, as all the savings etc. need to have a home.

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