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Global Ag News for May 16.24


NOPA April US soy crush drops to 166.034 million bushels, 7-month low

The U.S. soybean crush plunged in April to a seven-month low, missing all trade estimates, while soyoil stocks unexpectedly declined for the first time in six months, according to National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) data released on Wednesday.

NOPA members, which account for around 95% of soybeans crushed in the United States, processed 166.034 million bushels of soybeans last month, down 15.5% from the record 196.406 million bushels in March and down 4.2% from 173.232 million bushels in April 2023.

The crush was well below the average trade estimate of 183.072 million bushels in a Reuters survey of 10 analysts. Estimates ranged from 173.980 million to 191.000 million bushels, with a median of 184.100 million bushels.

U.S. soy processors have expanded capacity over recent years to capitalize on rising vegetable oil demand from renewable fuels makers.

But a downturn in demand, as biofuel producers turned to cheaper alternatives like imported used cooking oil, has eroded crush margins, analysts said.

Several processing plants also scheduled seasonal downtime last month for maintenance and repairs following a brisk crush pace since last autumn’s harvest, they said.

April’s soy processing rate fell from a year ago across the eastern Midwest and the Southwest, but increased in the western Midwest and northern Plains, where some new plants have opened, NOPA data showed.

Soyoil stocks among NOPA members as of April 30 fell to 1.755 billion lbs, down 5.2% from the 1.851 billion lbs on hand at the end of March and the first end-of-month supply decline since October. Analysts, on average, had expected stocks to rise to 1.882 billion lbs, according to estimates from seven analysts. Soyoil stocks estimates ranged from 1.800 billion to 1.975 billion lbs, with a median of 1.885 billion lbs.


Wheat prices overnight are up 8 1/4 in SRW, up 9 1/2 in HRW, up 6 in HRS; Corn is up 1/4; Soybeans down 3; Soymeal down $2.20; Soyoil down 0.02.

For the week so far wheat prices are up 10 1/2 in SRW, up 11 1/4 in HRW, up 13 in HRS; Corn is down 7; Soybeans down 8 1/2; Soymeal down $2.40; Soyoil down 0.91.

For the month to date wheat prices are up 70 3/4 in SRW, up 49 1/4 in HRW, up 28 3/4 in HRS; Corn is up 16; Soybeans up 47 1/2; Soymeal up $17.60; Soyoil up 0.52.

Year-To-Date nearby futures are up 7.3% in SRW, up 6.6% in HRW, up 1.3% in HRS; Corn is down 1.8%; Soybeans down 6.4%; Soymeal down 4.3%; Soyoil down 9.0%.

Chinese Ag futures (JUL 24) Soybeans up 4 yuan; Soymeal up 13; Soyoil up 98; Palm oil up 68; Corn up 10 — Malaysian Palm is down 45. Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were down 45 ringgit (-1.17%) at 3816.

Markets finished last week with wheat prices up 36 1/2 in SRW, up 32 3/4 in HRW, up 29 1/4 in HRS; Corn is up 6 1/4; Soybeans up 2; Soymeal down $3.40; Soyoil up 0.89.

There were changes in registrations (-4 Soymeal). Registration total: 1,479 SRW Wheat contracts; 39 Oats; 887 Corn; 469 Soybeans; 2,589 Soyoil; 85 Soymeal; 0 HRW Wheat.

Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of May 15 were: SRW Wheat up 729 contracts, HRW Wheat up 210, Corn up 4,184, Soybeans up 1,278, Soymeal down 3,740, Soyoil up 4,112.


Northern Plains: Several systems will move through over the next week. Some areas of heavy rain are forecast, but others will see little or none. Planting windows should be open for most areas, but others may find some difficulty, especially those that saw heavy rain last week. Temperatures will waffle around as well, but trend cooler than normal starting this weekend.

Central/Southern Plains: Several systems will move through the region through next week. Chances for rain are better away from the southwest, but there is potential for at least some there. The scattered and sporadic nature to the showers with these systems should lead to further planting windows being open, though some areas getting hit multiple times may find some difficulty.

Midwest: The region will be in the crosshairs of several storm systems through next week that will bring scattered showers and thunderstorms. While each system may not bring a ton of rainfall on its own, when added together we should see pockets of heavy rain that would keep planting slower than normal in some areas. For those with seed in the ground, the consistent rains should be favorable, however.

Delta: Recent heavy rain has kept soils moist for newly-planted crops, but made it more difficult for those that haven’t. However, the region has seen good planting progress in the face of the wetter conditions so far this spring. A couple of disturbances will still go through the region through Saturday, but models are starting to back off on precipitation chances in the region for next week.

Canadian Prairies: The storm track is busy through the region through next week, though the path from the northwest will mean more isolated to scattered showers and less widespread heavy rain. Still, it may be enough to produce delays should some areas get hit multiple times, or where showers linger. Temperatures will trend below normal starting Friday and likely continue through next week.

Brazil: A front fizzled out on Tuesday. But another front reloads over Rio Grande do Sul with heavy rain on Thursday and Friday, exacerbating the flooding there. The front will shift north again into southern safrinha growing areas for the weekend where it may bring some relieving rain. Central Brazil continues to be hot and dry though, and crop conditions continue to fall there.

Argentina: Cold and mostly dry conditions over the country continue through next week, though far northern areas will catch some rain at times. Overall, the potential for harvest progress continues to increase, though the colder conditions have been producing frosts, which isn’t welcome for late-developing crops or newly-planted winter wheat.

The player sheet for 5/15 had funds: net sellers of 3,500 contracts of SRW wheat, sellers of 4,000 corn, sellers of 1,500 soybeans, sellers of 1,500 soymeal, and buyers of 1,000 soyoil.


  • SOYBEAN PURCHASES: The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed private sales of 405,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans to unknown destinations, including 120,000 tons for shipment in the 2023/24 marketing year and 60,000 tons for shipment in 2024/25.
  • FEED WHEAT SALE: An importer group in Thailand is believed to have purchased about 60,000 metric tons of animal feed wheat sourced from optional origins this week
  • WHEAT PURCHASE: Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) bought a total of 121,516 metric tons of food-quality wheat from the United States, Canada and Australia in a regular tender that closed on Thursday.
  • FEED WHEAT, BARLEY SALE: Japan will import 23,048 metric tonnes of feed-quality wheat, and 380 tonnes of barley for livestock use, via a simultaneous buy and sell (SBS) auction that closed late on Wednesday, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) said.
  • MILLING WHEAT TENDER: Jordan’s state grain buyer has issued an international tender to buy up to 120,000 metric tons of milling wheat which can be sourced from optional origins.


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GRAIN EXPORT SURVEY: Corn, Soy, Wheat Sales Before USDA Report

Estimate ranges are based on a Bloomberg survey of six analysts; the USDA is scheduled to release its export sales report on Thursday for week ending May 9.

  • Corn est. range 700k – 1,200k tons, with avg of 903k
  • Soybean est. range 300k – 800k tons, with avg of 495k


DOE: US Ethanol Stocks Rise 1.2% to 24.489M Bbl

According to the US Department of Energy’s weekly petroleum report.

  • Analysts were expecting 24.136 mln bbl
  • Plant production at 1m b/d, compared to survey avg of 0.984m


CROP TOUR: Dry Conditions Limit Rebound in Kansas Wheat Yields

Wheat yield potential was higher than a year ago in the south-central part of Kansas, the top US grower, but dry field conditions were limiting gains, according to scouts Wednesday on the second day of the Wheat Quality Council’s annual crop tour.

  • Hard red winter wheat yields were estimated at 29.7 bu/acre after seven stops on one route of the tour traveling through Lane, Hodgeman, Ford, Edwards and Stafford counties
    • That’s up from the route’s findings a year ago of 26.3 bu/acre
  • Still, many fields were dry and wheat-plant growth was stunted; that’s after the typically drought-prone Kansas got an influx of rains late last year after planting, before conditions turned more arid in recent months
  • NOTE: The crop tour will release full findings for the second day of the three-day tour later Wednesday, with findings from the full state of Kansas due Thursday


CROP TOUR: Kansas Wheat Yields Stay Above USDA’s Estimate

Hard red winter wheat yields are estimated at an average 42.4 bu/acre, according to data collected from 216 fields Wednesday on the second day of the Wheat Quality Council’s annual crop tour.

  • That’s above USDA’s forecast for Kansas of 38 bu/acre on May 10
  • It’s also above crop tour average for second day in 2023 of 27.6 bu/acre
  • Two-day combined crop tour estimate is 45.8 bu/acre after 422 stops
  • NOTE: Tour wraps up Thursday with final yield and production estimates for top US wheat state Kansas


Brazil 2024/25 Soybean Crop Seen At 164.76 Million Tns – Cogo



IKAR Sees ‘Dramatic’ Consolidation in Russia Grain Market

Russia’s grain market has had a “dramatic market consolidation” to a “pretty limited number of players,” IKAR general director Dmitry Rylko says via video link during panel at GrainCom conference in Geneva.

  • Four biggest exporters now control 75% of the Russian export market, compared with 45% six years ago
  • No surprise if one company controls half of all volumes that come from Black Sea terminals by next season: Rylko
    • Expects more competition between traders to remain in export volumes transshipped via Kavkaz anchorage, and volumes shipped directly by coasters via the Azov sea
  • Other companies will try and grab the market share of grain trader TD Rif, especially in Kavkaz where Rif has a quarter of the volume


Cefetra Cuts Russia Wheat Estimate to 86m Tons on Bad Weather

Russia’s 2024 wheat crop is now seen at 86m tons, with 46.1m tons of exports, Harm de Wilde, agri-commodity market analyst at grain and animal feed trader Cefetra says at a panel at the GrainCom conference in Geneva on Wednesday. That’s a 7m ton trim from the company’s earlier estimates.

  • Estimate cut due to dryness in the south, as well as frost
    • Southern Russia is too dry, but so far the situation is not as bad as it was in 2012
  • The forecast includes an estimated 3m tons from Russia-controlled territories of Ukraine
  • Sees a crop of 80m tons in a worst case scenario, and exports of 43.8m tons
  • EU wheat is not competitive compared to Russian wheat, resulting in sizable EU and French wheat stocks


GrainCorp Flags Risk Western Australia Dry Spell to Hit Exports

  • Company reports 75% drop in net income, but maintains dividend
  • Less Australian shipments would add to global supply concerns

Australian wheat exports could be crimped if a dry spell in the western part of the country persists, GrainCorp Ltd. said as it reported a sharp drop in first-half profits.

A lack of rain in Western Australia could restrict grains shipments, although growing conditions on the east coast remain good, Chief Executive Officer Robert Spurway said in an interview. He cautioned that it was still early in the season, however.


US Renewable Fuel Maker Defends Used Cooking Oil From China

  • Darling Ingredients CEO says China is a legitimate supplier
  • Soybean group says wave of imports is threat to US industry

Darling Ingredients Inc., a major US producer of renewable diesel, defended imports of used cooking oil as a feedstock to produce climate-friendly fuels.

The US has been flooded with used cooking oil — or UCO — from China, eroding profits for companies that crush soybeans to make renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. The increase has stirred speculation that some imports may not be authentic and instead are mixed with fresh vegetable oils, potentially undermining US biofuel laws. A US soybean trade group is calling for increased tariffs on Chinese UCO.

Chinese imports are “a legitimate source of used cooking oil,” Darling Chief Executive Officer Randall Stuewe said, noting that there are 12.6 million restaurants in China and only 700,000 in the US.

“That doesn’t mean there aren’t some bad actors out there, but at the end of the day there are legitimate suppliers,” Stuewe said at the BMO Global Farm to Market conference in New York.

Darling, a food ingredient seller, produces renewable diesel through its Diamond Green Diesel partnership with Valero Energy Corp. Stuewe said the company hasn’t come out against UCO imports because the company operates on many fronts, including importing used cooking oil.

“The reality is that it is all legitimate and it is the lowest carbon intensity feedstock in the world,” he said.

The CEO also said he sees robust demand for sustainable aviation fuel. “Ultimately, the margins are coming back into where we thought they would and ultimately, we’re oversubscribed,” Stuewe said. He added that Diamond Green’s first SAF plant under construction in Port Arthur, Texas, is close to being completed.


Argentina wheat facing likely La Nina, but Indian Ocean offers silver lining

Argentina’s Rosario grains exchange expressed optimism about the 2024/25 wheat crop on Wednesday, citing improved soil conditions at the start of planting and expected rains in October and November due to the mix between weather phenomena known as La Nina and the Indian Ocean Dipole.

“There are factors favoring a successful wheat season,” wrote agricultural engineer Cristian Russo in a report for the exchange.

Soil maps show that current conditions are even better than at the start of the 2021/22 wheat season, which produced a record harvest, according to the exchange.

Furthermore, the impact of the mix of the two weather phenomena is expected to be softer than in the 2022/23 season, when it cut the wheat harvest in half.

The exchange predicted that La Nina is 70% likely to hit Argentina as soon as October. La Nina usually brings dry weather with lower rainfall, and contributed to the historic drought in 2022/23.

“It’s clear, La Nina is coming,” the exchange said.

The Nina will likely be “strong,” according to the Rosario exchange, but its projected impact has softened from April estimates.

The 2022/23 harvest was especially hit by La Nina due to its interaction with the Indian Ocean Dipole, which was in a negative phase from September to October – a key growing period – the exchange said.

That dipole index marks the difference in sea surface temperatures between the east and west halves of the Indian Ocean, which can impact nearby weather patterns.

However, this season, the dipole is expected to be in a neutral phase, “canceling out its interaction with La Nina,” the exchange said.

This increases the probability of “almost normal” rains from October to November, it added. The exchange has yet to give a planting area estimate for the 2024/25 wheat crop, but said earlier this month it should be “much higher” than the 6.9 million hectares planted in the 2021/22 cycle.


US generated more renewable blending credits in April, EPA says

The United States generated more renewable blending credits in April versus the month prior, data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) showed on Wednesday.

About 1.20 billion ethanol (D6) blending credits were generated in April, up from 1.19 billion in March, according to the data.

Biodiesel (D4) blending credits generated in April rose to about 780 million, from 653 million in March, the data showed.

The credits are used by oil refiners and importers to show compliance with EPA-mandated ethanol blending quotas for petroleum-based fuels. They are generated with every gallon of biofuel produced.


Argentina’s main farm regions set for dry spell, frosty temperatures

Most of Argentina’s top farmland will likely suffer a lack of rain over the next week along with lower temperatures, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said in a report released on Wednesday.

In its weekly crop weather report, the exchange forecast for scarce to no rainfall, or less than 10 millimeters (0.4 inch), over the next seven days for the country’s core agricultural areas.

Argentina is a top global grains producer and exporter, including for soybeans, corn and wheat, sales of which are a key source of U.S. dollars for central bank coffers, used to pay down debt and finance imports.

Cold weather is also expected over the same period, which could benefit corn growers battling a major insect infestation.

“A mass of polar air will arrive, producing a marked thermal decrease in most of the agricultural area, with a risk of general frost in the western mountain areas, and localized frost throughout the west, center and south,” according to the report.

Argentina’s current 2023/2024 corn crop has been hit hard by a severe outbreak of leafhopper insects, a tiny yellow bug that thrives in hotter temperatures while wreaking havoc on plantings. The expected cold snap could check the insect’s spread. Earlier this month, officials estimated losses to the country’s corn harvest so far at more than $2 billion due to the leafhopper outbreak.


India monsoon rains to arrive on May 31, weather office says

India’s monsoon rains, essential for the country’s economy, are forecast to hit the Kerala coast in the southwest on May 31, the state-run weather office said on Wednesday, a day earlier than usual.


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