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By Tori Uhland

March 21, 2023

As Heraclitus once said, “The only constant in life is change.” We see this every day in a changing marketplace, weather forecast, geopolitical environment, crop conditions, supply and demand. Aside from that, there have been a few big changes in my life lately as well. March 21st marks my last day at Tempel Grain as I have accepted a new job in Overland Park, Kansas.

I’m excited for this new chapter, but it is definitely bittersweet to turn the page. I’m very thankful for everything I have learned in this role and the opportunities and connections I have been presented with. I feel very fortunate to have had such wonderful people – both near and far – to work with, talk to, and learn from over the last few years.

I’m not entirely sure what my new adventure will bring in terms of this column. I hope to continue writing, though I will most likely be taking the next few weeks off as I get settled into a new city and job. Things may look a little differently in the future – that is still to be determined. In either case, I appreciate everyone that has been reading what I have to say.

Now, back to regularly scheduled programming:

The grain markets started the week lower on several pieces of information. The Ukraine export deal got extended for at least 60 days, Argentina had good rains, and uncertainty in the financial sector. The International Criminal Court also accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of illegally deporting children from Ukraine, a war crime, and there has been an arrest warrant issued for him. Chinese President Xi Jinping is also visiting Russia for three days of “strategic coordination.”

Corn

Last week, May corn rallied to its 20 day moving average, but settled with only modest gains on Friday. The May contract was up 17 cents for the week. The December new crop contract was also stronger. The USDA announced a total of over 83 million bushels of corn sold to China last week. The sales cut down the lag versus last year by a third.

Rains in Argentina, and more in the forecast, are putting pressure on the market, but they may not be as beneficial as you’d think. Argentina’s harvest usually starts around the beginning of April, so the crop is most likely out of a development period and the rains in the forecast could be detrimental to the crop during harvest. Argentina’s crop conditions were lowered by the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange again. Their crop could contribute to a net decline of 15 million metric tons in world carryout Year-on-Year.

Wheat

May wheat contracts finished the week higher across all three classes, with Kansas City up 37 cents, Chicago was up 31 cents and Minneapolis was up 36 cents.

Indonesia approved imports of a drought-tolerant GMO wheat variety from Argentina. Indonesia is currently Argentina’s second largest wheat customer, after Brazil.

The Ukraine deal was extended for 60 days, although Ukraine wanted an automatic 260 day Risk premium added to our markets, which adds to our uncompetitiveness in the world export market. Russia’s wheat is still an $85 per metric ton discount to U.S. hard red winter wheat.

Soybeans

On Friday, May soybeans traded to their lowest price since December, but did manage a small bounce toward the end of the trading day. The May contract was down over thirty cents for the week. The soy complex is being pressured by expectations of a massive soybean crop in Brazil.

Brazil’s biodiesel mandate will be raised to 12 percent in April from the current 10 percent blend rate. It is estimated that 65 percent of last year’s biodiesel was made from soybean oil. The expansions will all but remove Brazil from the soy oil export market and make soy oil a domestically consumed product, so other markets will need to compensate for the lost supply.

The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange also cut the soybean crop in Argentina for the second time this month and commented that they may lower it again.

Livestock

The Cattle on Feed report showed 95.5 percent On Feed versus estimates of 95.5 percent, Placements at 92.8 percent versus estimates of 94 percent, and marketings at 95.1 percent versus estimates of 95.6 percent.

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