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Soybeans up, corn mixed, watching harvest activity

Soybeans were higher on commercial and technical buying. Soybeans were watching U.S. harvest activity ahead of a potential freeze in some northern growing areas later this week, along with South American planting weather. As of Sunday, 81% of U.S. soybeans are dropping leaves, compared to the five-year average of 79%, with 22% harvested, compared to 25% on average, and 55% of the crop is in good to excellent condition, unchanged on the week. During July, the U.S. soybean crush was 181 million bushels, up 7 million from June and 15 million from July 2021. Unknown destinations bought 110,000 tons of new crop U.S. soybeans. Export inspections last week were up from the previous week, but below a year ago, with Germany and China topping the list. In Brazil, soybean planting is gaining steam with recent rainfall boosting some early production projections, while in Argentina, dry conditions are an issue in many key growing areas, with soybean planting yet to see any appreciable progress. The USDA’s next set of supply, demand, and production numbers is out October 12th. Soybean meal and oil were up on commercial demand, with oil seeing additional support from the higher move in crude oil.

Corn was mixed on bull spreading. Corn was expecting the USDA to report generally good week-to-week harvest progress in most of the Midwest. The USDA says 96% of U.S. corn has dented, compared to 97% normally in early October, 75% is mature, matching the usual pace, and 20% is harvested, compared to the typical rate of 22%. 52% of U.S. corn is called good to excellent, steady with a week ago. Nearby supplies are tight, but export demand is slow due to competition from Ukraine and South America, while ethanol demand is softer, with monthly production numbers out after Monday’s close. The USDA says corn for ethanol use during July 2022 was 445.723 million bushels, up slightly from June, but down 1% from July 2021, with the upcoming August and September numbers expected to better reflect the slowdowns in production due to demand uncertainties and seasonal maintenance. DDGS production for July was 1,934,355 tons, 2% lower than last year. Export inspections were up on the week, down on the year, mainly to China and Mexico. For Brazil, about a third of the first corn crop is planted, while for Argentina, corn planting is slower than average with the delay attributed to dry conditions, which could lead to a shift to soybean acres. The European Commission has the bloc’s 2022 corn crop at 55.5 million tons, compared to the last guess of 59.3 million due to drought, with imports now seen at 21 million tons. Ukraine’s Ag Ministry says September corn exports were 2.08 million tons, up from August.

The wheat complex was mixed. Wheat continues to wait for new developments in the Black Sea, watching Russian troop movement and efforts by Ukraine to retake territory. Reports do have Ukraine retaking some of the land recently, questionably, annexed by Russia. Still, as long as this conflict continues, it will continue to disrupt the entirety of daily like in Ukraine, including, and in some cases especially, agriculture. Most forecasts have drought conditions intensifying in the southern and southwestern U.S. Plains, which will be a bigger deal when winter wheat emerges from dormancy in spring. For winter wheat, 40% of winter wheat is planted, compared to 44% on average, and 15% has emerged, compared to the five-year average of 17%. Export inspections were above last week and last year, primarily to the Philippines and China. The European Commission is projecting 2022 European Union soft wheat production at 127 million tons, up 1 million on the month, with exports of 36 million tons. Ukraine’s Ag Ministry says September wheat exports were 1.75 million tons, compared to 900,000 in August.

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