corn against blue skies

Weekly Commentary: Corn and soybean stock numbers below lowest of analyst trade guesses


Quick Glance

  • Corn and soybean stock numbers came in below the lowest of analyst trade guesses
  • Corn conditions were stagnant with soybeans increasing by 1% soybean harvest is underway with only 7% completed
  • Wet weather is expected for much of the Heartland; hindering harvest pace
  • Will China continue to import more U.S. soybeans or is this just temporary?
  • The Environmental Protection Agency granted some refineries full waivers from biofuels regulation 

USDA Quarterly Grain Stocks report

  • The USDA’s quarterly grain stocks report was released this morning with both corn and soybean stock numbers coming in below the lowest of analyst trade guesses. Corn stocks came in a little over two billion bushels, which is over 300 million below trade estimates. This is odd because the USDA just raised old crop corn ending stocks two weeks ago in the September crop report. The stocks reflected year-end supplies for U.S. corn and soybeans, which concluded on August 31. 
  • Demand remains the biggest bearish factor that the market must deal with now. We have seen better soybean demand over the past two weeks with China buying U.S. soybeans – unless we get a trade deal, this is not sustained demand. Demand for corn continues to be weak as well with world values still below U.S. values and ethanol production lower as well.

Crop Progress

  • Corn conditions were unchanged at 57% good to excellent (GTE) vs. 69% GTE last year
    • U.S. harvest is at 11% completed versus the 19% five-year average.
    • Corn denting is up to 88%, yet still behind the five-year average of 98%
    • Only 43% of corn is mature compared the 73% average.
  • Soybean conditions increased by one to 55% GTE compared to last year’s 68% GTE condition rating. 
    • 55% of surveyed soybeans are dropping leaves versus the 76% average.
    • Soybean harvesting is finally recorded with 7% harvested vs. the 20% average.


  • It was a very wet weekend across Missouri, far southern Iowa, the northern half of Illinois as well as northern Indiana as 2-3-inch totals were common with some areas in Illinois seeing as much as 6-8 inches of rain. This likely will not help with harvest as the forecast continues to call of rains over the next 10-14 days with a northern and western bias the first week of the forecast and a southern and eastern bias the second week of the forecast. Some traders are viewing the U.S. weather as supportive.

U.S.-China trade updates

  • Chinese importers reportedly purchased 10 boatloads of U.S. soybeans on Monday following deputy-level trade talks in Washington last week. Despite these purchases, the November soybean contract continues to fail to breach the $9.00 mark as the amount exported pales in comparison to a conclusive U.S.-China trade deal. Some argue that these purchases by China are only temporary and are just to get them through the fall and winter while South American crops are planted to be harvested next spring. Plans for high-level talks next month remain on track.

Biofuel waivers

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted some refineries full waivers from biofuels regulation for the 2018 compliance year, despite recommendations of 50% relief by the Department of Energy (DOE) last Tuesday, which left U.S. corn lobbyists in uproar. Under the Renewable Fuel Standard, small oil refineries can apply to obtain waivers to relieve them of biofuel blending requirements. The number of refineries benefiting from the decision was not specified.