Wittal: Soybean acres surprise in USDA estimates

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.

March 31 — Financial markets showed some rebound today and they were able to hold onto those gains into the close.

The Dow Jones closed up 87 points today. The U.S. dollar finished up slightly; the Canadian dollar is up 0.26 cents to close at US79.37 cents.

Crude oil finished up $1.25, closing at US$49.66 per barrel.

Corn finished up 18 cents a bushel, beans are up 47-52 cents a bushel and wheat is down seven to up 21 cents per bushel.

Canola is up $5-$7 per tonne and barley finished down $2, closing at $142 per tonne.

The big surprise was the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s estimated acres for beans for 2009. The estimate came in at 76 million acres, which was about three million less than the trade was estimating, so this was very supportive for beans and that helped to drag canola up today as well.

USDA’s estimated corn and wheat acres were very close to trade estimates.

USDA says the total seeded acres will be down from last year by 7.8 million acres, and that has trade analysts scratching their heads wondering what’s going to happen to those acres. If and when those 7.8 million acres show back up in the USDA reports in months ahead, they could have a real impact on markets, depending on what gets planted on those acres, if anything.

A report from Argentina says that its soybean crop is in the 37 million- to 39 million-tonne range, which is below the USDA estimate of 43 million tonnes. So that also added support to bean futures.

If you have a brokerage account set up with MF Global Canada, please be aware that it is consolidating its trading operations, closing its western Canadian offices and moving all client accounts to its Toronto office. It announced these closures last Friday and the move has a number of clients upset with MF Global, as they don’t feel they will get the same service and expert advice they did from their local broker.

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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