Bullish numbers for corn March 28

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

U.S. corn acres were a surprise at the decline.

Have a safe weekend as your families gather to celebrate Easter in numerous family traditions.

One point to remember today. Rarely are both corn and soybean acres bullish or bearish. In addition, today marks the end of the week, end of the month, and end of the quarter.

USDA today released two reports, U.S. Prospective Plantings and U.S. Grain Stocks as of March 1. Those two reports detail U.S. numbers only. 

Following the noon USDA report release, corn up 12 cents, soybeans up 2 cents, and wheat up 8 cents. Just before the report was released, corn was unchanged, soybeans down 12 cents, and wheat up 4 cents.

U.S. corn 90.0 million acres, last year 94.6 million acres. U.S. soybeans 86.5 million acres, last year 83.6 million acres. U.S. wheat 47.5 million acres, last year 49.6 million acres.

U.S. grain stocks as of March 1: Corn 8.350 billion bushels, last year 7.396 billion bushels. Soybeans 1.85 billion bushels, last year 1.687 billion bushels. Wheat 1.09 billion bushels, last year 941 million bushels.

Trader estimates for US 2024 acres: Corn 91.8 million acres, US soybeans 86.5 million acres, and U.S. wheat 47.3 million acres.

Trader estimates for US grain stocks as of March 1: Corn 8.445 billion bushels, soybeans 1.828 billion bushels, wheat 1.047 billion bushels.

The total for U.S. corn, soybean, and wheat acres — 224.0 million acres. Last year 227.8 million acres.

Not updated today are U.S. supply and demand numbers along with South America corn and soybean production. Those numbers will be out April 10 with the normal monthly Supply and Demand Report or WASDE Report.

Trade expectations: U.S. corn acres down from last year, U.S. soybean acres up from last year and U.S. wheat acres down from last year. U.S. grain stocks for both corn and soybeans will be higher than a year ago.

If corn or soybean stocks are vastly different from trader estimates it points to the January 12 WASDE report for 2023 production numbers may not be accurate and potential revisions later this summer. More time will be needed to access that probability. 

Expect the potential of violent and wide ranges with the noon report release as the algorithm and machine traders will be reading the headlines. One number could be negative, while another could be friendly which produces the wide ranges within the first 10 minutes following the report releases. In addition, expect 2024 US acres in total to be less than 2023. 

A quick synopsis will add corn, soybean, and wheat acres into one total. Traders are expecting that number to be 2million to 3 million acres below last year. A 3 million-acre decline in that total would be bullish. But, a decline of just 1 million acres would be bearish. Traders are expecting less U.S. acres due to shrinking margins in numerous commodities compared to last year.

Already, reports indicate soybean planting progress already taking place west of Ohio. Western Kentucky has seen active planting soybeans the past 10 days. Ohio producers will soon wrap up spring applications of nitrogen to winter wheat. Some have implemented the practice of applying spring nitrogen in two applications. This year, many Ohio producers will again plant soybeans before corn. Numerous university studies in the Midwest point to yield advantages in following this growing trend in recent years.

Grain prices at the CBOT into the 9:30 am restart mid-morning were extremely quiet and small. Corn in particular posting a range just under 3 cents while soybean had a range of 7 cents, and wheat had a range of 5 cents.

One thing today appears to be certain. Shortly after the noon report release, the market will quickly turn its attention to weather. Demand features will be still be a factor but at this time of year weather and planting progress becomes the dominant factor.

With tomorrow’s Good Friday holiday, grains will be closed for the Thursday night session as well as the Friday day session. Grains will resume trading with the normal Sunday 8 pm session.

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