Free Commentary

By: Dan Hueber –

The pews have almost been filled, which seems a bit strange as it is not very often that parishioners arrive at church a few minutes early let along a few days, and crowds have not been an issue for some time anyway. For years they have heard sermon after sermon about excessive abundance and to make matters worse, during the past several months, threats of war. It is no wonder people have shunned our community of faithful and caroused with what are perceived to be more exciting or “modern” congregations, what, with all their fancy gadgets and technology and a message that promises excitement, if not quick and easy riches. A few of our remaining members have grumbled warnings about “let’s see how satisfied you will feel when you need to eat your smartphone” but this primarily fell on deaf ears as everyone knows that technology has assured us those concerns have been relegated to the dust bin, or maybe dust bowl.  Still, this year there have been signs popping up here and there around the globe that appear to challenge those promises or premises of (food) security and may be to be shaking the faith in some of these new religions. Little by little, we have seen attendance growing in our old congregation and with one of the high priests scheduled to deliver a message from “gov” tomorrow which could confirm all of this, the interest appears to be growing even more.  People are still milling around the room, evidently trying to find a comfortable position from which to hear the sermon, and as is always the case when there are visitors, inevitably someone has taken the pew where Mrs. Jones and her family ALWAYS sit, but it is good to see the interest.

Maybe the message will turn out to be a letdown or just a confirmation of things we already know but it does seem hopeful that others are finally beginning to pay attention once again, and recognize that some of their priorities may have become askew. As it is written in the book of USDA 6:11, Mankind cannot live on technology alone.  While I am not suggesting that the message tomorrow will propel us into a new chapter and we may be left in wandering in the wilderness for a bit longer, but I suspect it could confirm that we are very close to reaching the of the promised land.  Ironically though, it should be a land with less milk and honey.

Of course, that was a very long way to say we have a USDA report tomorrow and once again, here are the trade estimates. Corn production is expected to come in at 14.41 billion bushels from an average yield of 176.25 bpa.  This compares with the official July figures of 14.23 and 174.  2017/18 carryout is expected to fall in at 2.018 billion versus 2.027 last month and the 2018/19 carryout, 1.636 compared with the July estimate of 1.552 billion.  For beans the average estimate for production stands at 4.416 billion bushels with a yield of 49.7 bpa.  The July estimate was 4.30 billion and 48.5.  Current crop year ending stocks are expected to come in at 462 million versus 465 in July and 18/19 stocks at 643 million compared with 580 million previously.  Total wheat production is projected to fall in at 1.853 billion compared with 1.881 last month and ending stocks are expected to 964 million versus the least estimate of 985 million.  Last but certainly not least, we have estimates for world ending stocks.  2018/19 corn is estimated to fall in around 152 MMT, which would be just a smidge above July but still 20% below the current crop year.  Beans are projected to come in at 99.4 MMT, which would be up from 98.27 last month and 96.02 last year. Finally, in wheat, ending stocks are expected to tally 255.46 MMT.  Last month this was pegged at 260.88 and last year came in at 273.5 MMT.

While I have probably used up enough space story-telling this morning, but it is Thursday which means weekly export sales.  For the week ending August 2nd we sold 317,100 MT or 11.65 million bushels of wheat.  Certainly not an exciting number as it was 17% below last week but was 5% above the 4-week average.  Top purchasers were Japan with 76.5k MT, Indonesia at 70k and the Philippines with 59k.  Corn sales were a mite better as for old crop we sold 554,500 MT or 21.83 million bushels. This was 90% higher than last week and 33% above the 4-week average.  Mexico was the top purchaser with 151.1k MT, followed by South Korea at 138.2 and then Japan with 93k. For the 2018/19 crop year we sold 657,700 MT or 25.9 million bushels.  The top sales were to unknown totaling 299.1k MT.  Quite solid bean sales as well as for old crop, we sold 421,800 MT or 15.5 million bushels.  The Netherlands were on top with 165.3k MT, followed by Egypt at 111.5k and then Spain with 96.8k.  For the 2018/19 crop year we have sales of 532,500 MT or 19.57 million bushels.