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By Staff | May 6, 2016

Trade continues to debate this year’s planted acreage prediction, mainly on corn. When it was first released, several analysts claimed the USDA. projection for 93.6 million corn acres was too high.

Now, many of these same individuals claim corn acres may be even higher given weather conditions and the current planting pace.

Analysts believe the delays to corn planting in the Delta will combine with elevated soybean futures to give us higher plantings of that crop.

Analysts believe the combination of these two factors will increase soybean plantings in that region by 370,000 acres. While this seems minimal, it would add 17 million bushels of soybean stocks to the U.S. supply.

Acres are a major factor in determining crop sizes, but they are just one factor. Weather during key stages of the growing season can have just as much of an impact, as can the use of higher quality inputs. The fact that acres do not tend to switch as much as publicized is also a limiting factor for this news.

More attention is started to be paid to the development of the La Nina weather system. There are some analysts who believe this event could lower corn yield by 10 bushels per acre from trend. A yield this low could easily drop new crop ending stocks below 1 billion bushels, and possibly as low as 800 million bushels.

While this is a possibility, we need to remember that there are years when a La Nina was in place and it had no impact on corn yield at all, and in a few years, corn yield was above trend.

Most of the talk surrounding this year’s fast planting pace has focused on what it could mean for acreage, but there is another impact it could have. This is how early we may see this year’s harvest.

It is well thought we will see harvest take place during what is considered the old crop marketing year. This will distort our old crop ending stocks, which is becoming more of a common development.

We have seen an increase in export interest on U.S. corn recently, but some analysts are still concerned with the over-all slow buying pace we have seen. Corn buyers have more choices to pick from for needs, and the business the United States has picked up recently may be short lived.

This is especially the case if futures continue to rally and we become over-priced in the global market. There are also indications China may resume corn exports in the near future, and buyers want to see the price and quality of these offerings before extending coverage.

Global soybean demand continues to run well ahead of last year. World soybean usage from the start of the marketing year through the end of February is running 32 percent ahead of a year ago. This is 22 percent greater than the USDA is predicting.

While this seems very positive for the market, much of the elevated demand has been satisfied with product from sources other than the United States.

The United States continues to see its share of the global soybean market slip decline. According to the latest supply and demand numbers the United States will export 46 million metric tons of soybeans this marketing year.

This compares to Brazil’s projected soybean exports of 59.5 million metric tons. The fact that Brazil is supplying more of the world’s soybeans is not surprising, but the speed at which buyers have shifted to them is.

The United States is now more of a source that buyers use to fill gaps when they cannot get delivery from others, mainly South America. This has started to give us erratic sales numbers from week to week.

Some economists believe the soybean balance sheets currently being used are misleading. While the world market does in fact have an abundance of soybeans at the present time, the stocks to use may be tighter than numbers indicate.

If we look at the rate that soybean consumption has increased in recent years, it would not take much of a production issue to be back in a rationing situation. For the U.S. market alone some scenarios show this happening with a soybean yield just 2 bushels under trend.

The International Grains Council has revised their world grain and soybean production numbers. World soybean production was reduced 5 million metric tons and is now forecast to total 318 million metric tons this year, 2 million metric tons under last year’s record crop.

World grain production is forecast to total 2 billion metric tons, nearly equal to last year.

Global grain consumption will equal production this year, keeping reserves steady.

Karl Setzer is a commodity trading advisor/market analyst based in the West Bend office of MaxYield Cooperative. He can be reached at (800) 383-0003.

The opinions and views in this commentary are solely those of Karl Setzer. Data used for this commentary obtained from various sources believed to be accurate. This commentary is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended for developing specific commodity trading strategies. Any and all risk involved with commodity trading should be determined before establishing a futures position.

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