Week ending Mar. 16th

Compared to last week, cash bids for wheat were mostly lower, corn was mostly higher, while sorghum and soybeans were higher. USDA estimated 2018 corn plantings at 88.0 million acres, down from 90.2 million a year ago and less than was expected. While the planting estimate captured traders’ attention, prices tended to ignore the 8.888 billion bushels of record corn stocks that USDA said the U.S. had on hand as of March 1. USDA said last week’s export sales and shipments of corn totaled 53.3 million and 54.2 million bushels, respectively, a neutral-to-bearish combination that has total corn shipments down 25 percent in 2017-18 from a year ago. USDA estimated 2018 soybean plantings at a lower-than-expected 89.0 million acres. Not only is the new estimate not the new record high that many expected, if true, it will also be the first time soybean acres outnumbered corn since 1983. As with corn, USDA’s 2.107 billion bushels of U.S. soybean stocks on hand as of March 1 was a new record high and more than expected.

USDA said early Thursday that last week’s export sales and shipments of soybeans totaled 11.7 million and 28.8 million bushels, respectively, another bearish combination that showed no current season sales for China. USDA estimated 47.3 million acres of all wheat plantings, up from 46.0 million last year, but still near the lowest level in 100 years. Winter wheat acres also remained at a century-low 32.7 mil- lion acres while the esti- mate for spring wheat was bumped up, from 11.0 million acres in 2017 to 12.6 million acres in 2018. USDA said last week’s export sales and ship- ments of wheat totaled 13.0 million and 12.1 mil- lion bushels respectively, another bearish week that has total wheat shipments down nine percent from a year ago. Wheat was from 47 3/4 cents lower to 1/4 cent higher. Corn was from 2 1/2 cents lower to 19 cents higher. Sorghum was 14 to 21 cents higher. Soybeans were 14 to 17 cents higher.

Source: USDA-MO Dept of Ag Market News Service, St Joseph, Mo.