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Is the USDA going to have to Raise Yield Projections?

TRADING COMMODITY FUTURES AND OPTIONS INVOLVES SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF LOSS AND IS NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL INVESTORS. YOU SHOULD CAREFULLY CONSIDER WHETHER TRADING IS SUITABLE FOR YOU IN LIGHT OF YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES, KNOWLEDGE AND FINANCIAL RESOURCES.

Over the last few days we have been getting a lot of feedback on harvest results. The overwhelming majority of storys sing a similar tune – Better then expected corn yields and much better then expected soybean yields. If this really is the case on a national scale is the USDA going to have to increase yield projections? That is when or if the USDA is back in business…

Earlier today I was speaking with a producer in North East Indiana and he was telling me about how his harvest was going. They had been combining soybeans for 4 days so at this point they felt their yield estimates were fairly accurate. Going into harvest they were expecting soybean yields in the low 40s, as it turns out they were actually averaging well over 60 bushels an acre! That is 20 bushels or about 30% better then expected. And this is not a unique story. We have been hearing much more of the same from all over the map. Plants seem to look small but have a lot of pods. About the only complaints I have heard were about bean size and have been few and far between. Maybe soybeans fared better then we expected through the warm and dry August.

So does this mean that the USDA was wrong to lower yield estimates on the August USDA WASDE report? Maybe, maybe not. It still might be too early to tell. The real question will be answered late harvest. It is the later planted acres that may be the key. Late planting due to the cold wet spring meant that some fields were planted later in key areas such as Iowa, Western and Northern Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and parts of the Dakotas. The later planted fields may have sustained much more damage during the hot and dry period in August.

Also, the USDA did not lower yield estimates by nearly as much as some people were thinking they should at the time. Maybe they got something right, maybe they got lucky. But I think that if there is an October USDA report they should hold tight on yield estimates until the harvest is complete.

Either way it certainly seems that yields are going to be much better then what the market was pricing in during the hot and dry spell in August. At this point I really do not think a 39 bushel national average yield for soybeans that we heard so much about during the sharp rally in August is possible. If anything the USDA may have to raise yield numbers for soybeans but I think it is too early to tell for sure. Corn yields have been better so far, but I do wonder if things get worse as the harvest moves North.

December Corn Daily chart:

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November Soybeans Daily chart:

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December Wheat Daily chart:

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All this means that speculators should be looking for opportunities and producers need to look to lock up some prices. Give me a call for some ideas. In particular, producers looking to hedge all or a portion of their production may be rather interested in some of the options / options-futures strategies that I am currently using.

In my mind there has to be a balance. Neither technical nor fundamental analysis alone is enough to be consistent. Please give me a call for a trade recommendation, and we can put together a trade strategy tailored to your needs. Be safe!

Ted Seifried (312) 277-0113 or tseifried@zaner.com

[tags Charts, Corn, Soy Bean

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