U.S. Corn - 2.437 billion bushel carryout, down 50 million bushels from November.
This month’s 2017/18 U.S. corn outlook is for increased corn used to
produce ethanol and reduced ending stocks. Corn used to produce ethanol is raised 50
million bushels to 5.525 billion, based on increased sorghum export commitments, and the
most recent data from the Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production report, which
estimated a lower-than-expected amount of sorghum used to produce ethanol during
October. With no other use changes, ending stocks are down 50 million bushels from last
month. The projected season-average farm price is unchanged this month at a midpoint of
$3.20 per bushel but the range is narrowed 5 cents on each end to $2.85 to $3.55 per
2017/18 Corn Stocks to Use at 16.82%.
World Corn ending stocks at 204.08 MMT up slightly from November.
For sorghum, recent large purchases by China have increased sorghum prices relative to corn, sharply reducing the estimated amount of sorghum used to produce ethanol. With expectations of increased U.S. sorghum exports to China, projected food, seed, and industrial use for sorghum is reduced by 50 million bushels, with an offsetting 50 million bushel increase in exports.
Foreign corn production is forecast higher with increases for China, the EU, Laos, and Guatemala more than offsetting a reduction for Russia. China’s corn production is raised based on the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics. EU corn production is higher, mostly reflecting an increase for Romania that more than offsets declines for several countries. Corn exports are lowered for Russia but raised for the EU. Foreign corn ending stocks are raised from last month, largely reflecting increases for China, the EU, and Brazil that more than offset declines for Egypt and Mexico. Global corn stocks, at 204.1 million tons, are up slightly from last month.
U.S. Soybean - 17/18 ending stocks at 445 million bushels, up 20 million from November.
Total U.S. oilseed production for 2017/18 is projected at 132.2 million tons, up
slightly due to a small increase in cottonseed. Soybean exports are reduced 25 million
bushels to 2,225 million on stronger-than-expected competition from Argentina and Brazil
during the first quarter of the marketing year. Seed use is raised in line with projected
plantings in the recently released tables to be included in the upcoming Long Term
Agricultural Projections to 2027 report https://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/projections.htm.
Soybean ending stocks for 2017/18 are projected at 445 million bushels, up 20 million from
last month and still the highest since 2006/07.
Following the December 5, 2017 affirmative determination by the U.S. International Trade
Commission regarding countervailing duties on biodiesel imports from Argentina and
Indonesia, soybean oil used for domestic production of methyl ester is raised 500 million
pounds to 7.5 billion. Reduced soybean oil exports and non-ester domestic use are
offsetting, leaving projected ending stocks unchanged at 1.62 billion pounds.
The U.S. season-average soybean price range for 2017/18 is narrowed to $8.60 to $10.00
per bushel. The soybean meal and soybean oil price ranges are unchanged at $295 to $335
per short ton and 32.5 to 36.5 cents per pound, respectively.
2017/18 Soybean Stocks to Use at 10.3%
World Soybeans endings stocks increase to 98.3 MMT.
Global oilseed exports for 2017/18 are raised 0.5 million tons to 176.3 million with higher
soybean exports for Argentina and Brazil and higher rapeseed exports for Canada. Partly
offsetting are lower soybean exports for the United States and Canada, and lower
sunflowerseed exports for Argentina. Global soybean stocks are up 0.4 million tons to 98.3
million, with lower stocks in South America offset by higher stocks in the United States,
Canada, and the EU.
It all starts with Perfect Competition
The producers of corn and soybeans operate in a perfectly competitive marketplace. Each competitive firm in this environment is a "price taker" that can exert no influence over output prices. The characteristics that make up a perfect competitive marketplace are:
To learn more about perfect competition, I would suggest the book Principles of Agricultural Economics by Andrew Barkley and Paul W. Barkley.
Evaluate your success on how well you followed your plan, not just on results. You can control the decisions you make, you can't control the market.
The Heat Map Marketing Strategy
A Grain Marketing Plan
Over the last 25 years, I have gained a great deal of experience in the agricultural commodity industry. I have witnessed market conditions in numerous areas of agriculture, from beef and pork processing, feeding livestock, to personally trading livestock and grain futures. This knowledge has taught me that the markets are driven by human behavior and events, both of which are unpredictable and create uncertainty in agriculture.
With that said, I believe that the users and producers of commodities give good insight into their fundamental view of the current market conditions. Therefore, I developed my model based on their activity in the market. The Heat Maps are a mechanical indicator that visual displays the hedging activity by the users and producers of a commodity and its price. This visual analysis provides strong indication of supply and demand, price equilibrium, and potential market behavior in a way that is unique and easy to decipher.
My model is not a guarantee and will not always be 100% accurate. However, I do believe that it provides a process and a plan, that over time, will allow the producer of commodities to achieve above average prices.
Chris Benson is the founder of The Ag Fix and Director of Applied Agriculture and Food Studies at Morningside College in Sioux City, Ia. Chris has 25 years of experience in the red meat production, livestock, grain and futures markets.
Would you expect anything but conditional formatting from The Ag Fix. Is there a better way to look at 40 years of monthly grain prices? The seasonal storing and selling zones become visually recognizable in this format. The U.S. corn and soybean price maps provide an immediate visual summary of the high (green) and low (red) prices for each marketing year. As a producer, you can easily identify the months that historically generate the highest cash prices.
Having an awareness of the high and low pricing zones can help you make better decisions at times when the news and "noise" in the market might suggest otherwise. The U.S. corn and soybean price history used with The Ag Fix Heat Maps can be excellent tools in your risk management plan. Learn more about The Heat Maps...here
© 2017 The Ag Fix, LLC. All rights reserved.
U.S. Corn - 2.487 billion bushel carryout, up 147 million bushels from October.
This month’s 2017/18 U.S. corn outlook is for larger production, increased feed and residual use and exports, and greater ending stocks. Corn production is forecast at 14.578 billion bushels, up 298 million from last month on a record-high yield. Feed and residual use is raised 75 million bushels based on a larger crop. Exports are raised 75 million bushels, reflecting expectations of improved U.S. competitiveness, reduced exports for Ukraine, and increased demand from Mexico based on sharply lower sorghum production prospects. With supply rising faster than use, corn ending stocks are up 147 million bushels from last month. The projected range for the season-average corn price received by producers is unchanged with a midpoint of $3.20 per bushel.
2017/18 Corn Stocks to Use at 17.17%.
World Corn ending stocks increase 2.9 MMT to 203.9 MMT.
Foreign corn production is forecast lower mostly reflecting reductions for Ukraine, Russia, and Vietnam that are only partially offset by an increase for the European Union. The projected corn yields for Russia and Ukraine are reduced based on reported harvest results to date. Sorghum production in Mexico is lowered based on area indications from the government and lower forecast yields as a result of the prevalence of the sugarcane aphid. Corn exports are lowered for Ukraine but raised for the United States. Imports are raised for Mexico and Canada, but lowered for South Korea. China’s barley imports are raised reflecting expectations of continued demand for imported feedstuffs. Foreign corn ending stocks are down from last month, mostly reflecting declines for China, Vietnam, Canada, and WASDE-571-2 Ukraine that more than offset increases for the EU and Argentina. Global corn stocks, at 203.9 million tons, are up 2.9 million from last month.
U.S. Soybean - 17/18 ending stocks at 425 million bushels, down 5 million from October.
Soybean production is forecast at 4,425 million bushels, down 5 million due to a fractionally lower yield. With use unchanged, soybean ending stocks are projected at 425 million bushels. Prices for soybeans and soybean meal are raised this month. The U.S. season-average soybean price is projected at $9.30 per bushel, up 10 cents at the midpoint. The soybean meal price is projected at $295 to $335 per short ton, up 5 dollars on both ends of the range. The soybean oil price projection is unchanged at 32.5 to 36.5 cents per pound.
2017/18 Soybean Stocks to Use at 9.8%
World Soybeans endings stocks increase to 97.9 MMT.
The foreign oilseed supply and demand forecasts for 2017/18 include higher production, exports, and stocks compared to last month. Foreign production is forecast at 446.7 million tons, up 2.0 million with higher soybean, peanut, cottonseed, and rapeseed partly offset by lower sunflowerseed. Soybean production for Brazil is increased 1 million tons to 108 million on higher reported area for Parana and Rio Grande do Sul. Peanut production is increased for India on higher yields for the state of Gujarat. Sunflowerseed production is lower for Ukraine, Argentina, and South Africa. Major foreign soybean trade changes for 2017/18 include higher exports for Brazil and Paraguay, with increased soybean imports for China. Foreign soybean ending stocks for 2017/18 are up from last month, mostly reflecting increases for China, Argentina, and Brazil.
By definition, seasonal index is a forecasting tool used to determine demand for various commodities or goods in a given marketplace over the course of a typical year (or shorter time period). Such an index is based on data from previous years that highlights seasonal differences in consumption.
So, what is the definition of forecasting? Forecasting is a planning tool that helps management in its attempts to cope with the uncertainty of the future, relying mainly on data from the past and present and analysis of trends.
Now that we understand the seasonal index and forecasting, we can begin the steps of developing a seasonal forecast for a specific commodity. Let's start with historical data. We will look at a set of past-periods data and use this as a basis for forecasting future data or trends. For this example, we developed the seasonal index to forecast the future price of cash corn.
At The Ag Fix we use 10 years of prior-periods data to construct our seasonal index. Why would we choose 10 years? With the increased demand for corn created through the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), the seasonal tendency for corn demand has shifted over the past 10 years. The RFS program was authorized under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and expanded under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
In the chart below (Chart 1), you can see we calculated the 2017/18 marketing year seasonal index for cash corn in NW Iowa. The seasonal average monthly low price for cash corn is historically made during the September/October harvest period. We use the October low to then project a seasonal cash price in the future. On the same chart, we include the current average cash prices received by farmers in NW Iowa.
As you can see in the chart above (chart 1), we can visually compare the seasonal forecast price in relationship to the actual current cash price. Therefore, we have the past-period prices built into our seasonal index forecast, and the present price in the actual NW Iowa cash. We can now analyze the current trend of the market. If the market is not trending in relationship to the seasonal forecast, we then need to monitor the fundamental conditions and determine if we expect these factors to continue or change soon. Let's recall - forecasting is a planning tool helping us cope with the uncertainty of the future.
In the chart below (chart 2) you can examine the 2016/17 marketing year actual prices received in relationship to the seasonal forecast I posted last year in December. The seasonal chart can be helpful when looking at the forward curve and spring bids.
© 2016 The Ag Fix, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Let's run this scenario on 500 acres of corn production in Northwest Iowa. We will assume 200 bushels-per-acre yield. That would give us 100,000 bushels of production, which would amount to $238,000 in revenue volatility during the 2010/11 marketing year. That crop year, we experienced a marketing year high price of $6.88 per bushel and a low of $4.08. This same operation would have experienced $27,000 of revenue volatility in 2016/17, of which we had a marketing year high of $3.49 per bushel and a low of $3.22.
In chart 2 and 3 below I've identified the last 10 years annual revenue and price volatility on 100,000 bushels of corn production. Recall, this value is from the price range for the year, derived from average monthly prices.
As a producer of a commodity product in which you have no pricing leverage, it is crucial to understand the importance of pricing opportunities and the impact they have on the revenue of your operation. The average high/low price range per bushel over the 10 years was $1.28 per bushel. This amounts to $128,000 of annual revenue opportunity for the average 500-acre corn operation. Do you have a risk management plan in place to manage capitalize on volatility.
Risk Management: (in business) the forecasting and evaluation of financial risks together with the identification of procedures to avoid or minimize their impact.
I highly recommend reading the book "Managing Commodity Price Risk" by George A. Zsidisin and Janet L. Hartley. It is a short, easy read to follow
Check out The Heat Map Marketing Strategy and Get Started with a Risk-Free Trail.
© 2017 The Ag Fix, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
U.S. Corn Highlights - 2.340 billion bushel carryout, up slightly from September.
This month’s 2017/18 U.S. corn outlook is for larger production, increased feed and residual use, and nearly unchanged ending stocks. Corn production is forecast at 14.280 billion bushels, up 96 million from last month. Corn supplies are higher, as a larger crop more than offsets a reduction in beginning stocks based on the Grain Stocks report. Projected feed and residual use is increased 25 million bushels. With supply and use changes essentially offsetting, corn ending stocks are up 5 million bushels from last month. The projected range for the season-average corn price received by producers is unchanged at $2.80 to $3.60 per bushel.
2017/18 Corn Stocks to Use at 16.39%.
World Corn ending stocks down 1.5 at 200.96 MMT.
Foreign corn production is forecast higher, with the largest reductions for Russia, Ukraine, Ethiopia, and Tanzania more than offset by increases for a number of countries including Nigeria, Turkey, and Mozambique. The projected corn yields for Russia and Ukraine are reduced based on reported harvest results to date. Historical revisions are made to Nigeria’s corn, sorghum, and millet production estimates to better reflect statistics published by the government. Corn exports are raised for Mexico and Argentina, with largely offsetting reductions for Russia and Ukraine. Argentina’s 2016/17 exports are lowered for the local marketing year beginning March 2017 reflecting a slower-than-expected pace of exports to date. Projected 2017/18 food, seed and industrial use for corn in China is raised based on recent trade data indicating a higher-than-expected level of corn product exports. Foreign corn ending stocks for 2017/18 are down from last month, mostly reflecting declines for China and Mexico that are only partially offset by increases for Argentina and Turkey. Global corn stocks, at 201.0 million, are down 1.5 million from last month.
US Soybean Highlights - 17/18 ending stocks at 430 million, down 44 million from Septmeber.
Soybean production is forecast at 4,431 million bushels, nearly unchanged from last month with higher harvested area offsetting lower yields. Harvested area is projected at a record WASDE-570-3 89.5 million acres, up 0.8 million. The soybean yield is forecast at 49.5 bushels per acre, down 0.4 bushels. With lower beginning stocks, soybean supplies for 2017/18 are projected down 44 million bushels. With use projections unchanged, ending stocks are projected at 430 million bushels. If realized, ending stocks relative to use would be the highest since 2006/07.
The 2017/18 U.S. season-average soybean price is forecast at $8.35 to $10.05 per bushel, unchanged from last month. Soybean meal and soybean oil price projections are also unchanged at $290 to $330 per short ton and 32.5 to 36.5 cents per pound, respectively.
2017/18 Soybean Stocks to Use at 9.9%
World Soybean Highlights - World Stocks down slightly
Global soybean production is projected down 0.6 million tons to 347.9 million on lower forecasts for Russia and Ukraine.
U.S. Corn Highlights - 2.335 billion bushel carryout
This month’s 2017/18 U.S. corn outlook is for increased production, greater feed and residual use, higher ending stocks, and lower prices. Corn production is forecast at 14.184 billion bushels, up 32 million from last month. Corn supplies are up from last month, as a larger crop more than offsets a small decline in beginning stocks due to updated use estimates for 2016/17. Feed and residual use for 2017/18 is raised 25 million bushels with a larger crop and lower expected prices. Corn used for ethanol for 2017/18 is projected down 25 million bushels at 5.475 billion, based on observed usage during 2016/17 and expectations of lower exports. Other industrial use is lowered 50 million bushels. With supply increasing and use falling, corn ending stocks are up 62 million bushels from last month. The projected range for the season-average corn price received by producers is lowered 10 cents on both ends to a range of $2.80 to $3.60 per bushel.
2017/18 Corn Stocks to Use at 16.39%
World Corn ending stocks up 1.6 at 202.50 MMT.
US Soybean Highlights - 17/18 ending stocks at 475 million
U.S. oilseed production for 2017/18 is projected at 132.8 million tons, up 1.9 million from last month with higher soybean, peanut, and cottonseed production forecasts. Soybean production is projected at a record 4,431 million bushels, up 50 million on a higher yield forecast. Soybean supplies are raised with higher production only partly offset by lower beginning stocks. With increased supplies and lower prices, soybean exports are raised to 2,250 million bushels leaving ending stocks unchanged.
Soybean oil balance sheet changes for 2017/18 include reduced beginning stocks and supplies and higher use for biodiesel production reflecting recently imposed duties for imported biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia. Despite reduced forecasts for other domestic use and exports, ending stocks are projected lower.
The 2017/18 U.S. season-average soybean price is forecast at $8.35 to $10.05 per bushel, down $0.10 at the midpoint. Soybean meal prices are also lower at $290 to $330 per short ton while soybean oil prices are projected higher at 32.5 to 36.5 cents per pound. Rising soybean oil prices relative to soybean meal reflects additional demand as increased use of domestic biodiesel feedstock partly offsets reduced biodiesel imports in 2018.
Changes for 2016/17 include higher exports, higher crush, and lower ending stocks. Exports are increased 20 million to 2,170 million bushels based on official trade data through July and indications from August export inspections. With crush raised 5 million bushels, ending stocks are projected at 345 million bushels, down 25 million from last month.
2017/18 Soybean Stocks to Use at 11.0%
World Soybean Highlights - World Stocks down slightly
The 2017/18 foreign oilseed production is projected at 445.8 million tons, nearly unchanged from last month. Reductions for soybeans and rapeseed are offset with gains for cottonseed and sunflowerseed. Lower soybean production for Uruguay and Serbia is partly offset by higher production for Bolivia. Canola production is reduced for Canada on lower reported area and cottonseed is raised for India based on the latest government planting data. Foreign sunflowerseed production is slightly higher as larger projected crops for Argentina, Turkey, and the EU more than offset lower projections for Ukraine and Bolivia. Foreign oilseed exports for 2017/18 are reduced this month mainly on lower soybean shipments for Uruguay. Soybean imports are raised for China and Thailand reflecting higher U.S. exports. Foreign oilseed stocks for 2017/18 are projected higher as a 1.5-million-ton reduction for Brazilian soybean stocks due to a lower carryin is offset by increased soybean stocks for China, Bolivia, and Argentina, and larger canola stocks in Canada. Canola stocks in Canada are adjusted with the final 2016/17 crop and stocks estimates recently issued by Statistics Canada.
With the US corn crop getting closer to harvest, it appears we'll have another US carryout that exceeds 2 billion bushels. With several private yield estimates released this past week, I updated the 2017/18 balance sheet (table 1). I used the following yield estimates to calculate an average corn yield of 167.86 bushels per acres: Informa 169.2; Allendale 166.7; FC Stone 166.9, Pro Former 167.1; USDA 169.5. Leaving demand unchanged, the 167.86 yield estimate leaves us with a 2,136-million-bushel carryout and stocks to use at 14.9%.
If we use the 14.90% stock to use in a linear regression model (table 2), we get an average US corn price of $3.41 per bushel. This is 10 cents per bushel higher than USDA's August US price forecast ($2.90-$3.70) midpoint of $3.30.
I've provided a NW Iowa weekly cash corn price chart (table 3) for the past 2 marketing years (15/16 and 16/17). The "average" NW Iowa cash corn price since September of 2015 is $3.24 per bushel and the "mode" is $3.21. Based on the current yield forecast, one would assume that we will continue to trade in this range. The shaded green area (table 3) is 1.5 standard deviations ($2.92 - $3.54).
Below, (table 4) I have provided monthly price averages for NW Iowa and the average current forward bid from four NW Iowa ethanol plants. The current September bid is 21 cents better than a year ago and the forward curve for the 2017/18 marketing year ($3.33) is 17 cents per bushel better than the actual cash average ($3.16) for the 2106/17 marketing year.
After reviewing the current yield estimates and total production, a rally outside of the past couple years trading range will be a challenge. With ample World Ending Stocks (table 5), it will take a substantial reduction in production to reduce US and World supplies. This could come from an "extreme" weather event or reduction in planted acres or both.
With the advancement in technology (equipment and seed genetics), the ability to produce trendline or above yields will be expected. Demand for corn continues to be robust, so any change that reduces production in South America, Ukraine and the US would potentially lead to higher prices in 2018, moving the market out of the current price range.
by Chris Benson
U.S. Corn Highlights - 2.273 billion bushel carryout
This month’s 2017/18 U.S. corn outlook is for lower supplies, reduced feed and residual use and exports, and a decline in ending stocks. Corn production is forecast at 14.2 billion bushels, down 102 million from the July projection. The season’s first survey-based corn yield forecast, at 169.5 bushels per acre, is 1.2 bushels lower than last month’s trend-based projection. This month’s Crop Production report indicates that South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois are forecast to have yields below a year ago. The projected yield for Indiana is unchanged relative to last year, while Nebraska and Ohio are forecast higher. Sorghum production is forecast 13 million bushels higher with the forecast yield 2.6 bushels per acre above last month’s projection.
Projected feed and residual use for 2017/18 is lowered 25 million bushels on a smaller crop. Exports are forecast down 25 million bushels, reflecting the increased competitiveness of supplies in Argentina and Brazil and the low level of new-crop outstanding sales. With supplies falling faster than use, ending stocks are reduced 52 million bushels. The projected range for the season-average corn price received by producers is unchanged at $2.90 to $3.70 per bushel.
2017/18 Corn Stocks to Use at 15.90%
World Corn ending stocks up slightly at 200.87 MMT
This month’s 2017/18 foreign coarse grain outlook is for virtually unchanged production, lower trade, and greater stocks relative to last month. EU corn and barley production are reduced. Canada corn production is down on lower projected harvested area. Corn and barley production forecasts are raised for Russia based on higher corn area and favorable growing conditions for barley. Ukraine corn production is unchanged as a reduction in projected yield is offset by increased area.
For 2016/17, corn production is increased for Brazil based on second crop corn harvest results to date. Major global corn grain trade changes for 2017/18 include corn export reductions for the EU, Serbia, and Canada. More than offsetting are increases for Ukraine and Russia. Brazil’s corn exports are raised for 2016/17 based on record-high shipments observed for the local marketing year beginning in March 2017. Corn imports for 2017/18 are raised, mostly reflecting increases for the EU and Iran. Foreign corn ending stocks are raised from last month. Historical revisions are made to corn stock estimates for Ukraine to better reflect statistics published by the government.
U.S. Soybean Highlights - production up 121 m bushel
U.S. oilseed production for 2017/18 is projected at 130.9 million tons, up 3.9 million from last month mainly due to higher soybean production. Soybean production is forecast at 4,381 million bushels, up 121 million on higher yields. Harvested area is forecast at 88.7 million acres, unchanged from July. The first survey-based soybean yield forecast of 49.4 bushels per acre is 1.4 bushels above last month but 2.7 below last year’s record. With higher production and lower beginning stocks, soybean supplies for 2017/18 are projected at 4,777 million bushels, up 2 percent from last month. U.S. soybean exports are raised 75 million bushels to 2,225 million on increased supplies and lower prices. Crush is reduced on lower global soybean meal import demand. Soybean ending stocks are projected at 475 million bushels, up 15 million from last month.
The U.S. season-average soybean price for 2017/18 is forecast at $8.45 to $10.15 per bushel, down 10 cents at the midpoint. The soybean meal price forecast of $295 to $335 per short ton is down $5.00 at the midpoint. The soybean oil price is forecast at 31 to 35 cents per pound, up 1 cent on both ends of the range. U.S. changes for 2016/17 include higher exports, lower crush, and lower ending stocks. Soybean exports are raised 50 million bushels to 2,150 million on outstanding export sales and shipments through July. With lower crush only partly offsetting higher exports, ending stocks are projected at 370 million bushels, down 40 million from last month.
World Soybean Highlights - World Stocks Climb
Global oilseed production for 2017/18 is projected at 576.7 million tons, up 2.8 million, mainly on a 2.3-million-ton increase for soybean production. The higher U.S. forecast was partly offset with a 1.5-million-ton reduction for India based on the latest government planting data indicating lower harvested area. Soybean and canola production is projected down for Canada, where hot and dry weather conditions in the Canadian Prairies lowered yield prospects for both crops, and excessive rainfall in eastern Canada led to a lower soybean harvested area estimate. Other changes include increased sunflowerseed production for Russia, increased rapeseed production for the EU, and lower peanut production for India. Global soybean exports for 2017/18 are up 1.5 million tons as higher U.S. exports are partly offset by lower Argentina shipments. Beginning stocks for 2017/18 are raised based on lower crush and exports for Argentina for 2016/17. Coupled with higher production, 2017/18 soybean ending stocks are increased 4.3 million tons to 97.8 million.