Farmers harvested 7.4 million acres of winter wheat in the past week, 19 percent of the total crop. The harvest is now 38 percent complete, according to the weekly Crop Progress report.
Traders expect the USDA to lower by 2 percent its forecast of the U.S. soybean stockpile today in its monthly WASDE report. At the moment, supplies are projected to be the largest in eight years, at 385 million bushels, the result of a record-setting harvest last fall.
The rail-car snarl of last winter may have cost corn, wheat and soybean growers in the upper Midwest $570 million, or 3 percent of their cash receipts for the crops, says a USDA report. To calculate the figure, department economists looked at the impact of higher shipping costs and lower local grain prices in Montana, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, where shipping delays were the worst due to a harsh winter, a large volume of grain awaiting transport and competition for rail service by the oil-shale industry.
U.S. farmers will grow their second-largest soybean crop ever this year, and the third-largest corn crop, according to the USDA's revised projections of spring planting. In the opening day of its Outlook Forum, the department projected corn plantings of 89 million acres and soybeans at 83.5 million acres. That's 1 million more acres of corn than was projected in December and 500,000 fewer acres of soybeans. It would put soybean plantings just below the record 83.7 million acres of 2014.
U.S. soybean farmers could reap a near-record 3.81 billion bushels of soybeans this year, adding to an ample stockpile and pulling down prices, says economist Darrel Good of U-Illnois.
Low market prices will reduce cotton planting by 6 percent worldwide and result in the smallest harvest in six years, says the International Cotton Advisory Committee.
Corn futures prices are the highest in five months and "are expected to remain firm to slightly higher" for the near term, says economist Darrel Good of U-Illinois.
Swollen by record wheat and corn harvests, the global inventory of cereal grains will be the largest in 15 years, up 8 percent this year, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
Corn growers harvested nearly one-fifth of the U.S. corn crop last week - around 2.9 billion bushels - last week but the harvest is far behind its usual rate, says the weekly Crop Progress report.
Gross revenue per acre for corn growers in northern Illinois is forecast to be the lowest in five years, says economist Gary Schnitkey of U-Illinois.