Corn closed the week 12 cents lower.  Private exporters announced sale of 217,040 metric tons (mts) of corn to an unknown destination for 2019-20. 

In the weekly crop progress report, U.S. corn conditions were 58% good or excellent versus 58% expected and 58% last week.  U.S. corn harvest moved to 52% complete versus 54% expected, 41% last week, 74% last year and 75% average. North Dakota is only 10% harvested with South Dakota 27% done, Iowa 43%, Minnesota 44%, Wisconsin 21% and Michigan 25% complete. 

U.S. corn exports were dismal again at 10.8 million bushels (mb), down from the previous week's 15.4 mb and massively below last year's same-week exports of 50.6 mb. They were the second-lowest of the first nine weeks of the 2019-20 marketing year. Cumulative exports of just 148 mb are down 62% from last year, leaving corn exports needing to average more than 37 mb per week through the end of August based on the USDA's 1.900 billion bushel (bb) export projection versus last year's 34.0 mb per week from this point forward. 

In the November supply and demand report, the USDA gave traders the last glimpse of yield forecasts until January. The USDA lowered 2019-20 yield to 167.0 bushels per acre (bpa) from 168.4 bpa in October, left harvested acres unchanged and lowered production to 13.661 bb from 13.779 bb last month. This was right in line with pre report estimates and partially offset decreases in demand of 100 mb as the USDA lowered feed usage by 25 mb, ethanol usage by 25 mb and exports were reduced by 50 mb. This left ending stocks at 1.91 bb, down 19 mb from last month and plenty large enough to meet expected demand. 

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 there are little other supporting indicators. 


Soybeans closed the week 6 ½ cents lower. Private exporters announced sales of 270,000 mts of soybeans to an unknown destination and 136,000 mts of soybeans to China for 2019-20. Exporters also announced sales of 133,000 mts of meal to the Philippines. 

In the weekly crop progress report, U.S. soybean harvest is now 75% complete versus 75% expected, 62% last week, 81% last year and 87% average. North Dakota is the slowest harvest state at only 56% done, Wisconsin is 62% complete, Michigan is 57% complete while Missouri is 54% done.  

U.S. soybean exports, for the week were solid again at 54.4 mb, slightly below last week's 58 mb but up from last year's same-week exports of 45.8 mb. Cumulative export inspections of 351 mb are up 11% from last year's 317 million, with exports needing to run almost identical to last year at 31.9 mb per week (31.6 last year) over the remained of the marketing year in order to reach the USDA's current 1.775 bb export projection. 

The USDA left the 2019-20 harvested acres at 75.6 million and yield at 46.9 bpa, both unchanged from their October report. This left production at 3.550 bb. 

They made minimal changes to the balance sheet with only a 15 mb reduction in crush for 2019-20, which raised ending stocks by a like amount to 475 mb for 2019-20. 

Exports were left unchanged at 1.775 bb, likely due to the uncertainty surrounding a trade agreement with China. This figure represents the minimal amount of soybeans purchased by China with a trade agreement to significantly increase U.S. exports and lower U.S. ending stocks. 

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 5 cents lower; Kansas City wheat closed 4 ¼ cents lower and Minneapolis wheat 5 ½ cents lower. Egypt bought 55,000 mts of Russian wheat and 120,000 mts of French wheat. 

U.S. winter wheat conditions improved 1% to 57% good or excellent versus 56% expected, 56% last week and 51% last year. U.S. winter wheat planting moved to 89% complete versus 91% expected, 85% last week, 83% last year and 88% average. Missouri is the laggard at only 55% planted. 

U.S. wheat exports last week were poor at 10.8 mb and down from the previous week's 20.5 mb and slightly below last year's same-week exports of 12.5 mb. This was the second lowest of the first 22 weeks of the 2019-20 marketing year. Cumulative exports of 402 mb are still up 22% from last year, but declining, with shipments needing to average roughly 17.6 mb per week versus last year's 19.4 mb per week in order to reach the USDA's 950 mb export projection. 

The USDA made minimal changes to the U.S. wheat balance sheets. Spring wheat production was lowered to 37 mb which lowered overall U.S. wheat production to 1.92 bb from 1.962 bb last month. Domestic use was lowered 12 mb, which resulted in a 29 mb reduction to ending stocks, which are now forecast at 1.014 bb. Stocks to use remain at a very high 50%. 

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 37 cents lower while feeder cattle closed 37 cents higher. Fed cattle trade in the North was mostly $114 to $116 live and $181 to $182 dressed - steady to $2 higher than the week prior. Trade in the South was mostly $114, with some late trade at $115 - $2 to $3 higher. Feeder cattle traded steady to $4 higher. 

The Fed Cattle Exchange Auction had a total of 547 head listed for sale in six lots. Three lots from Nebraska went unsold after asking $117 while one lot from Kansas went unsold at $117. One lot from Kansas was PO'd at $113 and one lot from Texas was PO'd at $114.  

The USDA steer carcass weights were six pounds heavier compared to the prior week at 906, making them 11 pounds above last year's 895 pounds. 

Net beef sales of 10,100 metric tons (MT) reported for 2019 were down 36% from the previous week, but up noticeably from the prior four-week average. 

Strategy and outlook: Markets are embarking on a counter-seasonal rally. 


Lean hogs closed the week 25 cents lower. 

Iowa/Minnesota weekly hog weights came in at 286.7 pounds versus 286.4 pounds the week prior and 283.5 pounds last year. 

Net pork sales of 16,600 MT reported for 2019 were down 45% from the previous week and 82% 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.