Welch on Wheat: Exports Just Below USDA’s Weekly Pace

Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson

Market Situation

Crop Progress. Winter wheat planted for the week of September 24th is 24 percent, reported in today’s Crop Progress from USDA. That is just behind the five-year average of 28%. The Weekly Ag Report from the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange for September 21 notes improvement in crop conditions in Buenos Aires and La Pampa as spring begins.

These areas had been hit by flooding over the winter months impacting an estimated 33% of the nation’s 5.350 million hectares of wheat. Adequate to ideal growing conditions are said to exist for about 45% of the wheat crop with yield expectations above average.

Weather. With fall wheat seeding underway, the portion of the Southern High Plains in some degree of drought increased from 6.66% to 12.69% last week. Most of that increase was in the Abnormally Dry category and only a half percent increase in Moderate Drought, which is mostly centered in Kansas.

The drought severity and coverage index (DSCI) for the Southern Plains has been on the rise the last several weeks but is still well below an average reading for late September.

The precipitation forecast this week shows good rainfall coverage for west Texas, Oklahoma, and much of Kansas.

The La Nina Watch continues in this week’s Oceanic Nino Index update from the Climate Prediction Center. The latest weekly temperature deviation reading was -0.4°C from normal and the average of forecast models shows La Nina development this fall lasting into late spring. La Nina conditions increase the likelihood of a warmer and drier than normal fall and winter in the Southern High Plains.

Grain Use. All wheat export sales commitments for the week of September 14 were 11 million bushels. This is just below the 14 million bushel pace needed to reach the marketing year target of 975 million bushels.

Wheat shipments have resumed out of the gulf with 4.067 million bushels being inspected for export the week of September 14. Inspections had been running about average up to the impact of Hurricane Harvey and have lagged since.

Grain News on AgFax


Commitment of Traders. Money managers again were little changed in their market positions for wheat last week and continued recent trends in corn and soybeans. Speculators are still net short Chicago wheat and net long Kansas City wheat, but reduced both those bets slightly.

The trend of an increasingly bearish position in corn continued while the positions held in soybeans reflect a growing bullish sentiment. Prices were lower for corn, higher for beans, little changed for wheat.

Marketing Strategies

2018 Wheat Marketing Plan. I am 20% priced on the 2018 crop and expect to add to that total when we get a better handle on acres and yield prospects.

Upcoming Reports/Events. 
September 29 – Grain Stocks Small Grains Summary
October 12 – Crop Production and WASDE
January 7-13 – TEPAP
January 16 – Master Marketer Leveling Workshop, Waco
January 17-18 – Master Marketer Session I, Waco
January 30-30 – Master Marketer Session II, Waco
February 13-14 – Master Marketer Session III, Waco
February 27-28 – Master Marketer Session IV, Waco


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