USDA Releases Prospective Plantings Report, Quarterly Grain Stocks Report

The USDA released their annual Prospective Plantings report and their quarterly Grain Stocks report today (Thursday, March 31). The Prospective Plantings report uses the results of producer surveys from late February through early March to set the tone for the acreage allocation of various crops in each state (and the nation). The stocks report summarizes the level of grain inventories in terminal elevators and on farm grain bins.

The plantings report revealed that U.S. producers intend to plant 93.601 million acres of corn this summer, up 6 percent from last year’s 87.999 million acres and more than 3 million acres higher than estimates released in February’s USDA Outlook forum and 2.6 million acres higher than even the highest trade estimate. Mississippi producers plan to plant 800,000 acres of corn this summer, up 57% from last year when 510,000 acres of corn were planted.

U.S. producers are planning on planting 82.236 million acres of soybeans this summer, down slightly less than 1 percent from a year ago when 82.65 million acres of soybeans were planted nationally. This came in just slightly lower than the estimates released at the Outlook forum just over a month ago. And about 800,000 acres lower than the average trade estimate.

Cotton acreage is expected to be 11 percent higher than a year ago nationally with 9.562 million acres of cotton expected to be planted in the U.S. Mississippi producers are planning to plant 40 percent more acres this year at 450,000 acres compared to 320,000 acres a year ago. Both of these estimates fall in line with the National Cotton Council’s results released back in January.

Mississippi producer are expected to plant 9 percent fewer peanut acres with 40,000 acres expected to be planted this summer compared to 44,000 acres a year ago. Rice acreage is expected to be sharply higher with 17 percent more acres expected to be planted nationally while Mississippi producers are planning on planting 47 percent more rice this year with 220,000 acres planned. Sweet potato acreage in Mississippi is expected to be down slightly at 25,000 acres compared to 27,000 acres a year ago.

So far, the report has been very bearish for corn while many of the other crops are seeing a minimal response to the report.

Supplies of corn and soybeans were in-line with expectations. All corn stocks were up 1% from a year ago at 7.81 billion bushels while corn held on-farms was down 1% versus last March. All soybean stocks were up 15% from a year ago at 1.53 billion bushels while on-farm soybeans stocks are up 19%. All wheat stocks are also up 20% from a year ago at 1.37 billion bushels. The USDA also released its Quarterly Rice Stocks report today. Total rice stocks are down 4% from a year ago at 108 million cwt. Mississippi has 4.613 million cwt of rice in storage, down 24% from a year ago.

Crop Market Update: March 29, 2016

Corn is higher this week as we await Thursday’s release of the Prospective Plantings report by the USDA. Greenville cash corn is currently trading $0.03 higher than a week ago and $0.33 lower than a year ago at $3.82/bu on Friday. May futures contracts are also $0.03 higher on the week at $3.70/bu. The USDA released Mississippi’s first crop progress report of the year Monday afternoon. Mississippi producers have 5% of the state’s corn crop in the ground, slightly ahead of last year’s pace but well behind the 5-year average of 29%.

Soybean markets are also trading higher this week, with Greenville soybeans trading $0.16 higher at $9.18/bu on Friday. A year ago, Greenville soybeans were trading for $10.14/bu. Nearby May soybean futures are trading $0.13 higher than a week ago.

May wheat futures are unchanged from a week ago while Greenville wheat prices are down $0.05 at $4.48/bu on Friday. A year ago, Greenville cash wheat was selling for $5.29/bu. Mississippi’s wheat crop looks good so far this year with only 11% rated poor or very poor and 47% rated good or excellent

Cotton prices finished the week higher with South Delta cash prices trading $0.56/cwt higher than a week ago at $57.72/cwt and $4.19/cwt lower than a year ago. Cotton futures are also higher with May Cotton futures closing at $57.72, up $0.56/cwt from last week.

For more detail on crop futures and Mississippi local cash prices click here.

Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending March 25, 2016

Cash Cattle:

Cash traded fed cattle finished the week lower. The five-area fed steer price for the week of March 17-24 averaged $136.01 for live sales, and $217.70 for dressed; respectively, down $2.61 and $6.67. Total volume sold was up 2,000 head from a week ago and up 16,000 head from last year.

Feeder steer cattle and calves were mostly lower across the U.S. this week. Oklahoma City feeder cattle were $3.00 lower for lightweights and $4.00 lower for heavier cattle. In Mississippi auctions, lighter weight feeders weighing 450-500 pounds were down $6.50 from a week ago, averaging $193.50, while heavy steers were averaging $151.00, up $11.00 from last week.

[ … For Livestock Prices and Production data and trends CLICK HERE … ]

Futures:

Live cattle futures and feeder futures were lower this week. April live cattle were down $3.50 on the week and $26.75 lower than a year ago at $135.85, while August live cattle were down $2.05 from last week and down $29.15 from a year ago. Feeder cattle were also lower this week with April futures down $5.38 from last Friday and down $63.10 from a year ago at $155.83 while August futures are down $3.63 on the week. Nearby corn futures are up $0.03 from a week ago at $3.69 while September futures are up $0.02.

Beef:                                                                                           

Wholesale boxed beef prices are down compared to a week ago. Choice boxes averaged $226.62, down $5.15 from a week ago and $22.30 lower than a year ago. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $217.80, down $3.81 from last week. The choice-select spread narrowed from $10.16 a week ago to $8.82 this week.

Note: all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel, unless stated otherwise.

Crop Market Update: March 22, 2016

Corn is higher this week as we anticipate the USDA’s release of the Prospective Plantings report on March 31. Greenville cash corn is currently trading $0.04 higher than a week ago and $0.16 lower than a year ago at $3.79/bu on Friday. May futures contracts are also $0.04 higher on the week at $3.67/bu.

Soybean markets are also trading higher this week, with Greenville soybeans trading $0.06 higher at $9.02/bu on Friday. A year ago, Greenville soybeans were trading for $9.90/bu. Nearby May soybean futures are trading $0.09 higher than a week ago.

May wheat futures are down $0.14 from a week ago while Greenville wheat prices are also down $0.09 at $4.53/bu on Friday. A year ago, Greenville cash wheat was selling for $4.99/bu.

Cotton prices finished the week higher with South Delta cash prices trading $0.33/cwt higher than a week ago at $57.l6/cwt and $4.57/cwt lower than a year ago. Cotton futures are also higher with May Cotton futures closing at $57.16, up $0.33/cwt from last week.

For more detail on crop futures and Mississippi local cash prices click here.

Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending March 18, 2016

Cash Cattle:

Cash traded fed cattle finished the week higher. The five-area fed steer price ended the week averaging $138.62 for live sales, and $224.37 for dressed; respectively, up $2.62 and $6.28. Total volume sold was up 9,000 head from a week ago and up 27,000 head from last year.

Feeder steer cattle and calves were mostly hihger across the U.S. this week. Oklahoma City feeder cattle were $8.00 higher for lightweights and $3.00 higher for heavier cattle. In Mississippi auctions, lighter weight feeders weighing 450-500 pounds were up $7.50 from a week ago, averaging $200.00, while heavy steers were averaging $140.00, down $2.50 from last week.

[ … For Livestock Prices and Production data and trends CLICK HERE … ]

Futures:

Live cattle futures and feeder futures were mostly lower this week. April live cattle were down $0.43 on the week and $19.08 lower than a year ago at $139.35, while August live cattle were down $0.28 from last week and down $25.30 from a year ago. Feeder cattle were also mostly lower this week with April futures down $1.60 from last Friday and down $55.20 from a year ago at $161.20 while August futures are down $2.83 on the week. Nearby corn futures are up $0.02 from a week ago at $3.66 while September futures are up $0.03.

Beef:                                                                                           

Wholesale boxed beef prices are up compared to a week ago. Choice boxes averaged $231.77, up $8.81 from a week ago and $14.27 lower than a year ago. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $221.61, up $7.43 from last week. The choice-select spread widened from $8.78 a week ago to $10.16 this week.

March Cattle on Feed

The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA, NASS) released their monthly Cattle on Feed report Friday afternoon (March 18, 2016). The report revealed that 10.777 million head of cattle were in U.S. feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or larger on March 1, 2016, up 0.77% from a year ago. Placements into feedlots during the month of January totaled 1.71 million head while marketings during the same month totaled 1.591 million head, up 10.25% and 4.95% from a year ago, respectively. All numbers were close to analysts’ expectations.

Note: all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel, unless stated otherwise.

March Cattle on Feed Report Recap

The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA, NASS) released their monthly Cattle on Feed report Friday afternoon (March 18, 2016). The report revealed that 10.777 million head of cattle were in U.S. feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or larger on March 1, 2016. Placements into feedlots during the month of February totaled 1.71 million head while marketings during the same month totaled 1.591 million head.

[ … For detailed numbers and charts CLICK HERE … ]

Placements totaled 1.71 million head, an increase of 10.25% from February 2015 and a 6.5% increase from the five-year average from 2011 to 2015. Market analyst expected placements to be up 9.0%, so the reported value came in relatively close to expectations. This month’s numbers continue the trend of increasing heavy placements, with cattle larger than 800 pounds seeing a 12.5% year-over-year increase, although placements were also higher for all other weight classes.

Cattle marketed in February totaled 1.591 million head, up 4.95% versus last year and down 3.15% compared to the average from 2011 to 2015. Pre-report expectations called for marketings to be 4.6% higher than the same period last year, so they close to where analysts anticipated they would be.

The total number of cattle in feedlots with 1,000 head or larger capacity totaled 10.77 million head, up 0.77% versus March 1, 2015 and 2.64% lower than the five-year average.  Market analysts expected a 0.4% year-over-year increase in cattle inventories, so the reported value came in slightly higher than expected but still very close to analysts’ expectations.

Crop Market Update: March 15, 2016

Corn is higher this week following the USDA’s monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. Greenville cash corn is currently trading $0.05 higher than a week ago and $0.26 lower than a year ago at $3.75/bu on Friday. May futures contracts are also $0.04 higher on the week at $3.63/bu.

Soybean markets are trading higher this week, with Greenville soybeans trading $0.10 higher at $8.96/bu on Friday. A year ago, Greenville soybeans were trading for $10.11/bu. Nearby May soybean futures are trading $0.10 higher than a week ago.

May wheat futures are up $0.16 from a week ago while Greenville wheat prices are also up $0.36 at $4.62/bu on Friday. A year ago, Greenville cash wheat was selling for $5.17/bu.

Cotton prices finished the week lower with South Delta cash prices trading $0.28/cwt lower than a week ago and $3.64/cwt lower than a year ago. Cotton futures are also lower with May Cotton futures closing at $56.83, down $0.28/cwt from last week.

For more detail on crop futures and Mississippi local cash prices click here.

Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending March 11, 2016

Cash Cattle:

Cash traded fed cattle finished the week steady to higher. The five-area fed steer price ended the week averaging $136.00 for live sales, and $218.09 for dressed; respectively, unchanged and up $6.09. Total volume sold was up 3,000 head from a week ago and up 12,000 head from last year.

Feeder steer cattle and calves were mostly lower across the U.S. this week. Oklahoma City feeder cattle were $3.00 to $4.00 lower for lightweights and $1.00 lower for heavier cattle. In Mississippi auctions, lighter weight feeders weighing 450-500 pounds were down $2.50 from a week ago, averaging $192.50, while heavy steers were averaging $142.50, down $2.50 from last week.

[ … For Livestock Prices and Production data and trends CLICK HERE … ]

Futures:

Live cattle futures and feeder futures higher this week. April live cattle were up $3.35 on the week and $13.90 lower than a year ago at $139.78, while August live cattle were up $1.28 from last week and down $19.90 from a year ago. Feeder cattle were also mixed this week with April futures up $4.73 from last Friday and down $48.18 from a year ago at $162.80 while August futures are up $4.28 on the week. Nearby corn futures are up $0.06 from a week ago while September futures are up $0.04.

Beef:

Wholesale boxed beef prices are up compared to a week ago. Choice boxes averaged $222.96, up $3.74 from a week ago and $23.63 lower than a year ago. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $214.18, up $1.91 from last week. The choice-select spread widened from $6.95 a week ago to $8.78 this week.

WASDE

The United States Department of Agriculture’s World Supply and Demand Estimates were released on Wednesday morning (March 9, 2016). Beef production for 2015 was unchanged from last month’s estimate at 23.69 billion pounds. Looking ahead to 2016, beef production is expected to be up 850 million pounds from last year at 24.54 billion pounds. Per capita consumption for 2016 was unchanged at 54.3 pounds per person. On the crop balance sheet, corn ending stocks for the 2015/16 crop were unchanged from a month ago at 1.837 billion bushels.

Note: all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel, unless stated otherwise.

The Food Safety Modernization Act and the Marketing of Fresh Produce

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has important implications for the marketing of fresh produce in the United States. Under FSMA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is charged with crafting, implementing, and enforcing most of the rules that constitute FSMA. In essence, FDA is introducing more frequent food safety inspections and, for the first time, science-based prevention-oriented mandatory standards for different stakeholders in the U.S. food supply chain. These standards pertain to five key areas: food preventive controls; produce safety; import safety; intentional adulteration of food; and sanitary transportation of food.

Since FSMA was enacted in 2011, several rules have slowly yet successfully evolved from the proposal stage to the final stage, with five of the FDA’s seven proposed foundational rules being finalized and published last year. These five rules relate to the areas of food preventive controls, produce safety, and import safety. A rule of particular importance to the fresh produce industry is the produce safety rule, Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption, which was issued on November 13, 2015. 

For an overview of FSMA’s final foundational rules published so far and a discussion of their possible implications for the U.S. specialty crop industry in terms of costs and benefits, market structure, and public health concerns, click here.

Few Changes in Latest USDA Supply and Demand Report

The corn balance sheet for the 2015/16 crop remained unchanged from the February release. Ending stocks for the 2015/16 crop were estimated to be 1.837 billion bushels, unchanged from last month’s estimate. Total production was estimated to be 13.601 billion bushels while total domestic disappearance is estimated to be 11.895 billion bushels. Exports were left unchanged at 1.65 billion bushels. Global ending stocks were decreased from 208.81 million metric tons to 206.97 million metric tons with decreased global production, lower beginning stocks, and a slight increase in domestic use.

The soybean balance sheet also very few changes from the February WASDE report. Soybean harvested acres and yields were left unchanged at 81.8 million acres and 48 bu/acre, respectively. Soybean crush was reduced by 10 million bushels while exports were left unchanged from a month ago. Ending stocks were 10 million bushels higher at 460 million bushels. Global ending stocks were reduced from 80.42 million metric tons to 78.87 million metric tons with much of that decrease coming from an increase in global soybean crush, particularly in Argentina and China.

The 2015/16 wheat crop balance sheet was left unchanged. Ending stocks for wheat came in at 966 million bushels, unchanged from a month ago. Global wheat ending stocks were decreased from 238.87 million metric tons to 237.59 million metric tons. Much of the difference was a result of decreased production in Australia.

The cotton balance sheet also saw few revisions this month. Cotton production was unchanged, however yields were increased slightly but were offset by slightly lower harvested acres leaving production at 12.94 million bales. Domestic use and exports were also unchanged from last month, leaving ending stocks unchanged at 3.6 million bales. Global cotton ending stocks were reduced by 740,000 bales as a result of lower global production, mostly sourced back to India.