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By Tori Uhland

June 7, 2024

It’s hard to believe we are already almost halfway through 2024. There is still a lot of market news to digest as planting is getting wrapped up and wheat harvest is approaching, or has possibly begun for some of our friends down south. Last week, wheat struggled to find support early on despite news of a likely emergency declaration in Russia. Members of the Russian ag industry said they do not expect the emergency declaration to trigger outright export bans or limitations, but as a way to speed up financial aid to their farmers that suffered crop losses due to dry weather conditions and frost events in May. Russia is the world’s largest wheat exporter, and the crop loss will reduce the available supply compared to last year. Because of this the Russian government is likely to be less flexible on pricing as a way to keep export levels in check for the 2024-25 crop year.

Ukraine is in a similar situation to Russia, though they are leaving their crop estimates the same until July when they will reassess the damage done during the May freeze. It was also the driest May in 30 years in some regions. Export sales for new crop U.S. wheat were a solid 22.7 million bushels with 61 Metric Tons (MT) destined for China.

The soy complex remains complicated with so many pieces of information to consider. Nearby soy crush margins have been improving but were hurt late last week with a big rally in soybeans that soybean meal and oil weren’t keeping up with. There are concerns about the availability of Brazilian soybeans in the marketplace after the tax credit announcements as traders work through the information to see how that will impact the markets. Soybean meal remains tight as exports are still strong and the South American crop hasn’t caught up with the demand yet.

Corn finally had its first positive day of the month last week, bouncing from strong export sales. Over the last eight weeks, the U.S. has sold 279 million bushels versus 24 million over the same period last year. The U.S. has remained competitive in the world market so far, and the drop in the futures price has helped that. Domestic basis is still supportive with very little farmer selling across the country and many places running low on corn stocks. Ethanol margins are still favorable, and ethanol exports in April came in at a six year high.

Summer hog futures are back to where they were at the beginning of the year. It’s always interesting to see the numbers around major holidays and how the price plays into any retail promotions. Since May 13th, the value of loin primal is down 4.2%, butts have been down 2.9%, and ribs have been down 6.3%. Retailers and grocery chains aggressively promoted pork going into Memorial Day weekend, and while there haven’t been signs yet, keep an eye out for good deals on pork to celebrate our independence on July 4th.

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