Wittal: Slow U.S. seeding supports wheat

Our online grain markets columnist Brian Wittal 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.

May 5 — Financial and energy markets are down slightly today, as there was no new news to drive markets either way. Grains ended up mixed as well, with wheat taking the lead and showing gains for the day.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s crop progress report on Monday showed overall spring wheat seeding down at 23 per cent complete, compared to the five-year average of 59 per cent. This helped to push wheat up today, and with calls for rain in the forecast and further seeding delay possible, markets are poised to move higher.

Beans were off slightly but canola found some support from crushers who were buying today as farmer deliveries are drying up with seeding being the farmers’ focus now.

Current cash canola basis levels for May-July delivery are holding steady, also due to the fact that farmers are seeding now and not delivering.

The Dow Jones closed down 16 points today, while the U.S. dollar finished up four-10ths of a cent. The Canadian dollar was up 0.09 cents today to close at US85.05 cents.

Crude oil finished down 63 cents, closing at US $53.84 per barrel for the day.

Corn finished unchanged to down two cents per bushel today, while beans finished down two to 10 cents and wheat finished up one to 10 cents per bushel today. Canola is up $1 to $3 per tonne for the day and barley is down 80 cents per tonne, closing at $140.20.

The current wet weather in the U.S. that’s delaying corn planting is starting to have a negative effect on fertilizer prices. If producers can’t seed corn and go to beans, they will need far less fertilizer, which is prompting retailers to drop prices. It’s not very often you see that happen during spring seeding!

U.S. President Barack Obama issued a memorandum today that requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), USDA and the Department of Energy (DOE) to better co-ordinate efforts to expand the production and use of biofuels beyond corn-based ethanol. So it looks like the U.S. biofuel industry will remain alive for the future. What feedstock will be used in the future is hard to say.

It’s overcast and raining around Calgary this afternoon so it looks like seeding is done for the day.

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.

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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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