Wittal: Frost seen causing customer jitters

Aug. 27 –– It looks like “same story, different day.” Financial markets were in a mixed mood again today as they looked for news to respond to and there really wasn’t any.

The U.S. dollar is down just over half a cent today. The Canadian dollar is up 1.18 cents at US92.23 cents.

The Dow Jones September quote is up 37 points at 9,563.

Crude oil is up $1.06 at US$72.49 per barrel.

Corn closed up two to three cents a bushel today; beans closed mixed with the nearby month up 23.6 cents a bushel and forward months even to down 0.05 cents a bushel today.

Wheat futures closed down one to five cents a bushel on the various U.S. exchanges. Minneapolis September wheat futures closed down 4.4 cents a bushel today.

Canola closed up $5-$7 per tonne today. October Western Barley dropped $1 per tonne, closing at $119. November futures are down 20 cents at $149.80 per tonne.

Wheat interest

Weekly U.S. export sales reports for beans and wheat were above targets and exceeded industry expectations this week.

There seems to be a renewed interest in wheat, with new sales being reported daily. Some in the trade believe customers are starting to get nervous about the late crop and possible quality issues, and may be buying old-crop stocks now before a frost hits and prices possibly go up for higher-quality wheat.

Corn numbers were below weekly target estimates but the markets really didn’t seem to take notice. Weekend weather is forecast to be cool, which has some concerned about frost as they are quickly approaching those first frost dates that have been predicted around the moon change in early September.

It looks like aggressive canola basis levels may be here a while longer as grain companies try to secure supplies for early fall shipments in September and October.

With the late crop and producers scared to commit any more stocks on a sales contract at this time, grain companies are offering premiums to get grain to fill cars for sales they have made.

It’s going to be a cat and mouse game. First we have to get past the frost concerns.

If it does freeze, what will that do to quantity, quality and, no doubt, price?

If it doesn’t freeze, what will happen to the attractive basis levels and futures values?

Will producers hold or will they sell? 

How big will the U.S. and South American bean crops be, and will they run into harvest problems?

Where will the Canadian dollar be at, and how will that affect export values? 

Lots of questions with no answers, yet. They will all be answered in time. How or when you react to them will be the key to your per-acre returns this year. 

That’s all for today. — Brian

— Brian Wittal has spent over 27 years in the grain industry, including as an elevator manager and producer services representative for Alberta Wheat Pool, a regional sales manager for AgPro Grain and farm business representative for the Canadian Wheat Board, where he helped design some of the new pricing programs. He also operates his own company providing marketing and risk management advice for Prairie grain producers. Brian’s daily commentaries focus on how domestic and world market conditions affect you directly as grain producers.

Brian welcomes feedback and information on market conditions in your area, such as current offering prices, basis levels, trucking premiums and special crops contracts. Contact Brian today.

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Brian Wittal

Brian Wittal has 30 years of grain industry experience and currently offers market planning and marketing advice to farmers through his company Pro Com Marketing Ltd.

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