Sunset over a grain field

Last Friday night our time, the USDA released their July stocks and acreage report. It was the first look at the row crop sown area compared to the ‘expected’ sown area survey done in March. It contained quite the bombshell by increasing corn by 2 mil-lion acres and soybeans dropping by an incredible 4 million acres.

The market response was rapid.  Corn dropped 30c/bushel with wheat following suit.  Soybeans, however, rallied a whopping 74c/bushels and possibly would have seen more follow-through buying if it hadn’t been interrupted by the 4th of July public holiday.  It is hard to understand the size of this ‘miss’ by the USDA.  It has to be assumed that the good early seeding start incentivised the US farmer to go gangbusters on corn which has a slightly longer growing season at the expense of beans.


Much emphasis is placed on these row crops meeting ‘trend line’ yields.  The ‘trend line’ is a linear representation of yield over time allowing for improvements in agronomy and variety performance.  It is also used as a measure to determine if supply would meet demand expectations.   The trend line for corn, using the previous acreage estimate, was around 181 bushels/acre which was seen as a stretch given the poor June weather.  However, the increase in acres has seen the trend line yield reduced to 176 bushels/acre, far more in line with current conditions. 


Tonight, the USDA will release its yield and demand estimates.  Theoretically, it should not be a big market mover, but surprises don’t seem all that uncommon anymore.


The Black Sea grain corridor is back in the headlines.  Russia trotting out the same old line that the corridor is simply not workable, and they won’t be participating.  This time, however, there seems to be some more credibility to the threat.  The Black Sea route is effectively dead to Ukrainian exports as the Russian inspectors have failed to show up for work.  This has essentially prevented bulk vessels from loading or being discharged from the deep seaports.  Ukraine is still exporting grain via barges along the Danube and inland via rail, so the fact the grain initiative (corridor) may cease, should not be a major market mover.


Since the report and the initial fireworks, the market has gone back to trading the weather. Each day, the forecast is poured over and the market responds by climbing on reduced rains or falls on an improved outlook. It makes for a very volatile environment.

Next week

Keep an eye on Canada. While the weather patterns have turned decidedly wetter in the US, the Canadian Prairies have turned dry. Large swathes of Saskatchewan and Alberta are abnormally dry, and crops are starting to struggle. This may be more of an issue for canola prices but could dial up the heat on wheat if things don’t improve.

Have any questions or comments?

We love to hear from you!

Click on graph to expand

Click on graph to expand

Data sources: Reuters, USDA, Next Level Grain Marketing, Mecardo

Make decisions with confidence- ask about our board packs, bespoke forecasting and risk management services

Have any questions or comments?

We love to hear from you!
Grains & Oilseeds

Jack tours Russia

To start the week, the wheat market got a very nice little push courtesy of Russian frosts, a bullish USDA report and technical short covering.

Read More »

Want market insights delivered straight to your inbox?

Sign up to the mailing list to get regular updates to new analysis and market outlooks

Independent analysis and outlook for wool, livestock and grain markets delivered to you as it’s published

Commodity conversations podcast cover image, a illustration of a sheep standing on a cow's back with grain either side
Listen to the podcast

Join the Mecardo team for the Commodity Conversations podcast, where we provide short weekly market recaps and longer conversations with guests to discuss the drivers and trends in livestock, grain and fibre markets.

Photo of a farmer surrounded by Merino sheep in dusty yards
Research: Analysis of the Australian sheep flock

In this report for LiveCorp and MLA, we analysed the historical trends in the demographics of the Australian sheep flock, examining domestic factors that influence farm-level enterprise decision making. 

Image of harvested grain pouring into a chaser bin

We don’t just bring you the most up to date market insights. Find out more about Mecardo’s services including risk management advisory, modelling, benchmarking, research & consultancy.