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$4 or $8 Corn? $10 or $20 Beans? It All Depends On Weather And Export Demand

Jon Scheve

June 7, 2021

New Crop Futures Prices

Dry weather concerns in the Dakotas and possible ridging in the western corn belt has pushed some risk premium into the markets. December corn closed at $5.91, up 91 cents in 6 trading days. That leaves the market 50 cents below the highs from a month ago. November beans also rebounded $1.10 in the last 6 days and is only 30 cents from its high a month ago.

Old Crop Basis Prices

Corn and bean basis has dropped significantly among end users throughout the entire Midwest.

Corn began decreasing when southern plains end users started cancelling some corn purchases to replace with wheat in feed rations. This pushed corn sales back up the marketing chain and into ethanol plants looking for coverage through June and July.

Bean basis fell because most processors covered their needs through July and pulled back bids once old crop futures rallied above $16. With Brazilian beans over a $1/bushel less than US beans globally, there were likely some switches in origins on exports. As they say, the cure to high prices is high prices.

Inverse from Old Crop to New Crop

With 90 cent inverses from the July contracts to new crop contracts for corn and beans, there is no incentive for commercial hedgers to carry product any longer. Therefore, many dumped their remaining positions over the last 2 weeks.

Old Crop Demand

Demand remains uncertain from late July through early September. It’s also unclear how many bushels remain in on-farm storage because it seems unlikely much is left. End users throughout the US are claiming they have plenty of coverage on. However, the massive market inverse suggests that’s unlikely. Inverses usually indicate it’s better to buy later than it is today. The basis market and spreads may have more surprises in a month for both crops.

Have We Seen the High’s Yet?

This week one analyst said the market highs were in and farmers should sell everything because a huge price drop is coming. The next day another analyst said the current market dynamics and weather is like 2012 and higher prices were probable. That is not very helpful because if either of those are correct it could mean corn prices go to $4 or $8 and beans could be $10 or $20. Going forward, weather and export demand, both extremely uncertain at this point, will have huge market impacts. This likely leads to market “fireworks” well after July 4th.



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