Today’s Grain Market Update

by Jennifer Stanton

DTN reports:

July corn was down 4 3/4 cents and July soybeans were down 15 1/4 cents, continuing to droop, while the top two U.S. soybean competitors make progress with their 2024 harvests. July Chicago wheat was up 3/4 cent, managing a slight gain after USDA reported China cancelled previous wheat purchases.


July KC wheat closed up 6 1/4 cents at $$5.75 1/4 and July Chicago wheat was up 3/4 cent at $5.53, slightly overcoming bearish news of cancelled sales in Thursday morning’s export sales report. USDA reported 3.4 mb of old-crop net sales cancellations for wheat last week after China backed out on a previous purchase of 4.5 mb, mostly soft red winter wheat. On the new-crop side, 8.2 mb of wheat were sold for export with Mexico named the top buyer. Shipments totaled 17.9 mb, putting total shipments down 2% in 2023-24 from a year ago. Even with Thursday’s cancelled sales, U.S. wheat sales are still in good shape to meet USDA’s export goal of 710 mb, as long as shipments continue at roughly 17 mb per week. It looks like Thursday’s bearish news of the cancelled sales may have been traded in Wednesday’s 12 1/2-cent loss. USDA shows China still holding 11.1 mb of unshipped wheat sales.

The western Plains haven’t seen much rain lately south of Nebraska, but Oklahoma and Texas have a chance for moderate amounts this weekend and the entire central Plains, including spring wheat areas, have better chances for rain in the 6- to 14-day period, along with above-normal temperatures that will be good for spring wheat planting conditions.

Late Wednesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued its Drought Monitor for North America as of March 31. Most of the Western Canadian Prairies and western Ontario showed moderate to severe levels of drought with extreme drought spotted at the extreme northern and southern ends of Alberta. The U.S. Northern Plains showed limited areas of moderate drought but were generally in better shape than north of the border. July Minneapolis wheat closed up 3 3/4 cents at $6.43 Thursday.

Outside the U.S., western Europe remains too wet, while eastern Ukraine and southwestern Russia remain dry. Eastern Europe is expecting beneficial rain this weekend. The International Grains Council lowered its estimate of world wheat production in 2024-25 from 799 mmt to 798 mmt or 29.3 bb. World ending stocks were lowered from 262 mmt to 259 mmt or 9.52 bb. Thursday’s contract of May milling wheat in France ended up 2.50 euros at 205.75 euros, the highest close in April. With July wheat contracts under consistent bearish pressure, the trends remain down for all three U.S. wheats. DTN’s National HRW index closed at $5.24 Wednesday, near the lowest price in three years. DTN’s National HRS Index closed at $6.10.


December corn ended down 4 3/4 cents at $4.60 Thursday, near its lowest prices in a month as Argentina’s corn harvest picks up and Brazil’s safrinha corn crop heads toward drier weather. In Argentina, the corn crop was last estimated at 15% harvested and the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange is expected to have another update later Thursday. The forecast in Argentina is favorably dry for another two days before rains return later this weekend. In central Brazil, the forecast is looking drier for the rest of April, but traders are showing no concern yet about the possibility of a shrinking crop as the dry season continues. July corn on Brazil’s Bovespa exchange sagged 5 cents Thursday afternoon to its lowest price in 2024, so far.

Here in the U.S., rain is falling from eastern Nebraska to Iowa and Wisconsin on Thursday. Broader rain coverage across the central U.S. is expected in the 6- to 14-day period, along with above-average temperatures, a favorable setting for the upcoming planting season.

On the demand side, USDA said 19.7 million bushels (mb) of old-crop corn and 2.6 mb of new-crop corn were sold for export last week with Colombia named the top buyer of old-crop corn. Shipments totaled 60.9 mb, putting total shipments up 33% in 2023-24 from a year ago and above USDA’s estimated pace. Even so, corn still needs more sales to get to USDA’s 2.100-billion-bushel (bb) target by the end of August. In the latter half of April, December corn remains in a sideways trend with bearish pressure near the February high of $4.81 keeping prices down while traders wait to learn more about Brazil’s safrinha crop. DTN’s National Corn Index was priced at $4.13 Wednesday evening, 17 cents below the May futures.