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Markets: Soybeans, wheat outpace 2018 averages through November

Markets: Soybeans, wheat outpace 2018 averages through November


Corn closed the week 5 ¾ cents lower. Private exporters did not announce any private sales. 

In the weekly crop progress report, U.S. corn harvest advanced to 66% complete versus 68% expected, 52% last week, 83% last year and 85% average. North Dakota is only 15% done versus 76% normally with South Dakota 39% done versus 82% on average. Other states well behind their normal pace include Wisconsin at 30%, Michigan at 33%, Iowa at 64% and Minnesota at 63%. 

U.S. corn exports last week of 22.1 million bushels (mb) were up solidly from the previous week's 11.2 mb and were the third best of the 2019-20 marketing year. However, this week's exports were still considerably below the roughly 36.6 mb per week estimated corn will need to average through the end of next August if the USDA's 1.85 billion bushel (bb) export projection is to be met. Cumulative exports of 170 mb are currently down 61% from last year's 438 million and are the second-lowest of the last 45 years for early November, only minimally beating out 2012-13 which saw an annual export total of just 730 mb.

Strategy and outlook: Stocks look to remain large with the poor demand pace. Commercial buying has lifted the index to a bullish position. The buy signal is likely premature as it is not a timing indicator. 



Soybeans closed the week 12 ¼ cents lower. Private exporters announced sales of 106,000 metric tons (mts) of soybeans to an unknown destination and 129,000 mts of soybeans to China for 2019-20. 

In the weekly crop progress report, U.S. soybean harvest is now 85% complete versus 87% expected, 75% last week, 87% last year and 92% average. Missouri is the laggard with only 72% harvested, followed by Wisconsin at 71%, Michigan 74% and North Dakota 74%. 

U.S. soybean exports of 48.9 mb were down slightly from the previous two weeks' 54.5 million and 58.0 mb while being in line with last year's same-week exports of 49.9 mb. Exports over the first 10 weeks of the 2019-20 marketing year averaged 41.5 mb per week, above the average "needed" pace from this point forward of roughly 31.5 mb per week in order for the USDA's 1.775 bb export projection to be met. Cumulative exports of 400 mb are currently up 9% from last year's 367 million.

Strategy and outlook: The COT report remains bearish for the soybean complex with aggressive commercial selling offsetting the strong fund buying. 



For the week, Chicago wheat closed 7 cents lower; Kansas City wheat closed 4 cents lower and Minneapolis wheat 14 ¾ cents lower. Egypt bought 465,000 mts of Russian and Ukrainian wheat. 

In the weekly crop progress and conditions report, U.S. winter wheat conditions surprisingly declined 3% to 54% good or excellent versus 57% expected and 57% last week. This is equal to the 54% last year. 

U.S. winter wheat planting 92% complete versus 93% expected (89-96% range), 89% last week, 88% last year, 92% average.

U.S. wheat exports last week of 19.4 mb rebounded nicely from the previous week's near marketing year low of 10.8 mb. There were also above the average "needed" export pace of roughly 16.5 mb per week in order to reach the USDA's 950 million bushel export program. Through 23 weeks of 2019-20, wheat exports have averaged 17.9 mb per week. Cumulative exports of 421 mb are up 23% from last year's 342 mb at this time.

Strategy and outlook: The huge world supplies of wheat mandates producers to sell out inventory and use options to manage risks on sharp rally attempts.



Last week, live cattle closed 25 cents lower while feeder cattle closed $2.07 lower. Fed cattle trade occurred in the North at mostly $115 to $116 live and $182 dressed - steady to $1 higher than the week prior. Trade in the South was $115 - steady to mostly $1 higher. 

The Fed Cattle Exchange (FCE) Auction had two sales. The first sale on Wednesday had a total of 1,393 head listed for sale in seven lots. Four lots from Nebraska went unsold after asking $116-$117 while one lot from Kansas went unsold at $117. One lot from Kansas was PO'd at $115.50 and one lot from Texas was PO'd at $115.  The FCE had another sale on Friday with 1,264 head listed for sale. The sellers asked $115 but no sales were made. 

The USDA steer carcass weights were down three pounds compared to the prior week at 903, making them four pounds above last year. 

Net beef sales of 25,300 metric tons (MT) reported for 2019 were up noticeably from the previous week and up 92% from the prior four-week average.

Strategy and outlook: Markets are embarking on a counter seasonal rally. Seasonals turn lower into Christmas timeframe. The weekly reversal for feeder cattle is bearish.



Lean hogs closed the week 82 cents lower. 

Iowa/Minnesota weekly hog weights came in at 287.9 pounds versus 286.7 pounds the week prior and 284 pounds last year. 

Net pork sales of 19,900 MT reported for 2019 were down up 19% from the previous week, but down 78% from the prior four-week average. 

Strategy and outlook: Producers should have moved all risk to the cash markets. 

Brian Hoops is president and senior market analyst of Midwest Market Solutions Inc. The home office is in Springfield, Mo., with branch offices in Thief River Falls, Minn.; Verona, N.D.; Yankton, S.D.; Storm Lake, Iowa; and Springfield, Neb.

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