Grain basis was flat this week with both corn and soybean basis holding steady at week ago levels.
However, the river markets continue to push basis levels higher as export demand continues to be robust, especially for this time of year. Corn basis at river terminals averaged a 2-cent advance on the week while soybean basis was up only modestly.
End users as a group were relatively flat this week with no significant change in corn or soybean plant basis on the week.
Market volatility increased in grains this week with front-month soybean futures hitting fresh highs on the bull run but finished the week unchanged. Wheat was off 18 cents while corn was up 1.5 cents.
USDA’s crop progress report showed a big jump in corn plantings this week with 30% of the US crop planted, up from 13% last week and a 16% 5-yr average. The first reading for soybeans was 3% planted, slightly better than the 2% planted rate which is normal for this time of year. Winter wheat conditions improved 2% to reach 59% in good-to-excellent condition. Most of the improvement was in HRW states from TX to SD which saw ratings jump 3 to 4% on the week.
Corn continues to find strength from yesterday’s big export sales report showing 2.6 MMT combined for old- and new-crop deliveries, the highest weekly total in 4 years. The weakness in the US dollar continues to make US grains more attractive. Argentina’s port price is running at $6 a MT higher than the US price versus in December when Argentina’s price was $7 a MT cheaper than the US.
In weather, rains will favor much of the Plains hard red winter wheat belt, with weekend showers reaching much of the central/southern Midwest and Delta. The Midwest/Delta then will see favorably dry weather for seeding in nearly all areas for most of next week, with a return of 11 to 15 day rain posing the next interruption to fieldwork. Overall, planting should remain at a favorable pace, and any concerns with excess moisture will remain localized.
In South America, Argentina was dry on Thursday, with lows in the mid-30s to low 40s. Unseasonably cold air lingers this weekend, but frost threats remain minimal for double-crop soy. Mostly dry weather now looks likely to persist through much of the next two weeks, allowing corn/soy harvest to recover. Second season corn in Brazil from Mato Grosso through southern Goias to Sao Paulo and Parana will not receive much precipitation over the next week. Brazil showers this weekend will produce 0.10 to 0.75 inch of rain from far northeastern Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais to northern Goias and parts of Tocantins.