Global Ag News for May 4.23


A Warm Atlantic Is Creating a Forecasting Puzzle: Weather Watch

The world’s oceans are hot and getting hotter right now. This has a wide variety of consequences, but in the Atlantic it has created something of a puzzle for forecasters.

“The Atlantic is really warm right now,” said Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the Colorado State University’s seasonal hurricane forecast. Normally, this kind of heat in May “typically correlates with a very busy season.”

There is, however, a caveat and that is how warm the rest of the world’s oceans are and one in particular – the Pacific.

While the Atlantic is getting hot, so is the Pacific and in particular the area right along the equator. What this means is El Niño could emerge later this year across the Pacific and actually influence how much wind shear shows up in the western Atlantic.

In extreme examples, shear has been known to tear the top off hurricanes and tropical storms. A “sheared storm,’’ as meteorologists call them, is a weakened one and perhaps a dying one.

With the hurricane season only weeks away, this means the meteorologists are facing a bit of a forecasting puzzle. On one hand the warm water suggests a lot of storms could form this year and on the other a Pacific El Niño could end up squashing many of them.

Given the competing outcomes, the best policy seems to be prepare for the worst and hope for the best.


Star Wars day. Wheat prices overnight are down 2 3/4 in SRW, down 7 1/4 in HRW, down 1 1/4 in HRS; Corn is down 3; Soybeans down 4 1/2; Soymeal down $2.80; Soyoil down 0.14.

For the week so far wheat prices are up 6 in SRW, up 7 3/4 in HRW, up 2 1/4 in HRS; Corn is up 2; Soybeans down 2 1/2; Soymeal down $9.50; Soyoil up 0.97.

For the month to date wheat prices are up 3 1/4 in SRW, up 1 1/2 in HRW, down 1 1/2 in HRS; Corn is up 1/2; Soybeans down 6 1/4; Soymeal down $10.30; Soyoil up 0.83.

Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 20.9% in SRW, down 6.8% in HRW, down 16.0% in HRS; Corn is down 4.4%; Soybeans down 4.7%; Soymeal down 11.0%; Soyoil down 17.9%.

Chinese Ag futures (MAY 23) Soybeans down 31 yuan; Soymeal up 8; Soyoil up 224; Palm oil up 22; Corn down 128 — Malaysian Palm is up 4. Malaysian markets are closed for Holiday.

There were changes in registrations (29 Soymeal). Registration total: 2,389 SRW Wheat contracts; 52 Oats; 11 Corn; 0 Soybeans; 848 Soyoil; 30 Soymeal; 45 HRW Wheat.

Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of May 3 were: SRW Wheat down 169 contracts, HRW Wheat up 1,993, Corn up 3,098, Soybeans down 71, Soymeal up 2,665, Soyoil up 2,644.

Northern Plains: Temperatures continue to be near or above normal in the Northern Plains for the next couple of weeks, favoring planting. Scattered showers will likely move in on Friday and continue in waves through next week, offering some increase in soil moisture for some of the dry areas.

Central/Southern Plains: Temperatures are on the rise in the Central and Southern Plains this week. After some favorable rains last week, periods of showers will continue through next week as well, though less organized in nature. Still, the additional rains will be beneficial to wheat and early corn and soybeans.

Midwest: Temperatures are gradually rising in the Midwest over the next few days with improving conditions for planting. Another system moves through this weekend into next week with showers being possible. Showers continue next week as well, but likely very disorganized.

Delta: Wet conditions in the Delta are mostly favorable for developing crops, though somewhat difficult for planting. Scattered showers will move through later this week and again over the weekend with another couple of systems moving through. Disorganized showers may continue at times next week as well.

Argentina Grains & Oilseeds: It remains drier in much of Argentina with a stalled front to the north. Soils are still fairly dry for winter wheat planting and establishment and more rain is needed. However, it should remain drier, which is more beneficial for corn and soybean harvest.

The player sheet for 5/3 had funds: net buyers of 11,000 contracts of SRW wheat, buyers of 5,500 corn, buyers of 1,000 soybeans, sellers of 1,500 soymeal, and  buyers of 2,000 soyoil.


  • BARLEY PURCHASE: Jordan’s state grain buyer purchased about 60,000 tonnes of animal feed barley to be sourced from optional origins in an international tender which closed on Wednesday.
  • WHEAT PURCHASE UPDATE: Egypt’s state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), bought 655,000 tonnes of wheat in an international tender on Tuesday with cheap Russian wheat dominating the business.


  • RICE TENDER: South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 43,500 tonnes of rice.
  • WHEAT TENDER: The Taiwan Flour Millers’ Association issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 51,925 tonnes of grade 1 milling wheat to be sourced from the United States.
  • BARLEY TENDER: Jordan’s state grains buyer has issued a new international tender to purchase up to 120,000 tonnes of animal feed barley
  • SOYMEAL TENDER: Algerian state agency ONAB has issued an international tender to purchase up to 70,000 tonnes of soymeal

North America at Night


GRAIN EXPORT SURVEY: Corn, Soy, Wheat Sales Before USDA Report

Estimate ranges are based on a Bloomberg survey of six analysts; the USDA is scheduled to release its export sales report on Thursday for week ending April 27.

  • Corn est. range -300k – 900k tons, with avg of 175k
  • Soybean est. range 100k – 500k tons, with avg of 332k

DOE: US Ethanol Stocks Fall 3.9% to 23.363M Bbl

According to the US Department of Energy’s weekly petroleum report.

  • Analysts were expecting 24.423 mln bbl
  • Plant production at 0.976m b/d, compared to survey avg of 0.963m

Ukraine’s Next Wheat Crop Seen at Lowest Since 2012-13: Agritel

Ukraine’s wheat harvest in the 2023-24 season is seen at 16.34m tons, according to Agritel, the agriculture analytics arm of Argus Media.

  • That’s up from a November forecast of 15.04m tons, but would still be the smallest crop in 11 seasons
  • The raised outlook is largely due to higher-than-expected winter-wheat acreage
  • Yield estimate is maintained at 3.8 tons/hectare, below the five-year average

Continued unfavorable weather conditions and harvest delays cut Argentina corn production – Refinitiv Commodities Research


2022/23 Argentina corn production is decreased by 1% to 34.6 [32.9–36.5] million tons, amid early harvest delays and continued warm and dry conditions hindering late season crop development. Our current estimate puts planted area at 7.65 million hectares, above 7.1 million hectares reported by Bolsa de Cereales in Buenos Aires, but below the Bolsa de Comercio in Rosario’s 7.9 million hectares. In April’s WASDE (11 April), USDA placed Argentina corn production at 37 million tons, down from its previous estimate of 40 million tons. Bolsa de Cereales in Buenos Aires and Bolsa de Comercio in Rosario currently forecast production at 36 and 32 million tons, respectively. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, as of 27 April, corn harvest was 24% complete nationally, well behind last year’s 35%. Bolsa de Cereales in Buenos Aires also reported a progress of 17.5%, far behind schedule. Continued dry weather through next week may help farmers facilitate the remaining harvest operations, but will be detrimental to late season yield potential, which is already at a historic low.

U.S. corn production slightly up despite recent cold conditions and volatile weather – Refinitiv Commodities Research

2023/24 U.S. corn production is fractionally raised to 377 [359–396] million tons, given a decent summer weather outlook and no early season delays, despite recent volatile weather and poor soil moisture conditions throughout the Plains. Our current estimate puts planted area at 91.3 million acres, up 3% from last season, which is 0.7 million acres below the USDA’s March estimate of 92 million acres in its Prospective Plantings report (31 March). A recently released Reuters Poll of Analysts (27 March) placed U.S. corn crop area at 90.9 [87.7–92.1] million acres. The next USDA survey-based estimate of acreage will be released in the 30 June Acreage report.

The colder than normal conditions seen across much of the central and eastern U.S. during the second half of April continued into the first week of May. Temperatures dipped up to 8°C below average in a broad area generally to the north and west of southern Iowa, down through northern Missouri. Prior to early this week, core producing regions such as the “I” states (i.e. Illinois, Iowa and Indiana) as well as the Dakotas, Nebraska and Kansas (except for the southwest) received below-average precipitation and cooler than normal temperatures, offering mixed sowing conditions. USDA’s latest Crop Progress report (01 May) put total national-level corn planting pace at 26%, ahead of last year’s 13% and in line with the five-year average of 26%. Emergence has reached 6%, also largely in line with last year’s 3% and the 5% five-year average. Most crop areas of the Northern/Central Plains and Upper Midwest are likely to see rather warmer and wetter conditions (compared to recent weeks) starting next week, warranting attention.

The latest ENSO outlook by Refinitiv Weather Research (11 April) suggests that key forecast indicators consistently point towards increased heat risks in North America, warranting close attention. Well above average temperatures are expected across the Corn Belt during June–August, which could exacerbate the ongoing drought conditions in its southwestern crop regions. Kansas and Nebraska, in particular, are suffering from a historic drought, and any additional dryness caused by excessive heat could be devastating for yield. The rest of the Corn Belt, on the other hand, remains relatively healthy in terms of soil moisture, maintaining a positive outlook. Precipitation outlooks are also far from dismal, with near to above normal rainfall expectations across the central and eastern Corn Belt, providing a relief.

All at Once, US Fertilizer Buyers Scramble for Supply

A spike in spring fieldwork and near-term demand caused fertilizer supplies to tighten at New Orleans and inland, contributing to higher prices for urea, phosphates and potash. China’s expected potash-supply contract looks like it will be later, and lower priced, as domestic inventory rises during the spring season.

Demand Keeps Inland Fertilizer Strong

Prices for major fertilizer products in the US heartland continued to strengthen as farmers were in the fields applying urea, ammonium sulfate, phosphates and potash. While products in position were garnering a premium, New Orleans prices for urea and phosphates were beginning to wane, though potash and ammonium sulfate remained firm for now at the hub. Fertilizer prices in the Western US and Canada were lower, as were ammonium sulfate, phosphates and potash in Brazil.

Brazil Fertilizer Prices Flat-to-Lower Amid Limited Interest

Brazil nitrogen prices were mixed as US demand tightened supply and pushed prices higher in North America, though slow offseason orders are pressuring suppliers to discount domestic trades before demand improves in 3Q. Phosphates and potash kept softening amid competition and strong inventories.

Brazil Urea Stable, Other Fertilizers Weak

Most urea offers in Brazil remained at last week’s $340-$350 a metric ton (mt) cost-and-freight. Bids were down to $330/mt for sanctioned tons, but with no new trades reported. Ammonium sulfate prices in Brazil were down slightly, to $170-$185/mt vs. last week’s $185-$190 as China’s May Day holidays put a pause in the market. MAP prices continued to soften in Brazil, dropping to $555-$580/mt vs. last week’s $560-$600. Buyers were reportedly bidding below this range at $540-$550, but with no trades reported. Potash prices were also slightly lower in Brazil, falling to $370-$400/mt vs. last week’s $380-$400 amid ongoing negative market sentiment.


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