Wittal: USDA numbers in, StatsCan coming up

Sept. 30 — Outside markets were mixed today as financials slid back on a quiet day with limited activity, while crude oil took a big jump upward.

Currencies continued to bounce hard today as the U.S. dollar closed down just over four-10ths of a cent, and the Canadian dollar closed up 1.37 cents today at US93.64 cents, primarily driven by the rally in crude oil.

Most grains started off in a negative mood today as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s numbers were released, but the strong rally in the energies helped to pull grains out of a slump and allowed them to finish with gains for the most part. Wheat finished stronger at the end of trade, most likely because of the fact that a number of short positions were being rolled forward and were being squeezed as the end-of-month trading was being finalized.

The Dow Jones December quote finished down 21 points, closing at 9,652 today.

Crude oil closed up $3.90 a barrel at US$70.61.

Corn closed up two to 3.2 cents a bushel today.

Beans closed up 10 to 12 cents a bushel today.

Wheat futures closed up seven to 15 cents a bushel. Minneapolis December wheat closed up 8.4 cents a bushel for the day.

Canola closed mixed, down 30 cents per tonne on nearby futures to up $1.90 per tonne on forward months.

October Western barley dropped $2 per tonne, closing at $105. November futures closed down $2, at $148 per tonne.

USDA came out today with updated grain production and inventory numbers for the 2008 crop. They reduced the overall corn stocks and increased the wheat and bean stocks.

Decreased export demand, due to the world economic slowdown, was cited as the main reason stocks are higher for both wheat and beans.

Statistics Canada on Friday will release an updated production report which is expected to show production increases to all grains over the August report. The real mystery is where will crop yields truly end up this year, as they have continually improved over the past three months as the growing and harvest weather co-operated and frost stayed away.

I did a fast two-day tour to Regina, via Highway 1 going out, and I came back through Kenaston and Rosetown; I can tell you I saw a lot of grain being stored in temporary bins, bags and piles on the ground throughout my trip. Back home around Strasbourg they have some of the best crops they have seen in the past 50-plus years, according to the coffee shop talk. 


Tomorrow at 9:30 CT is the start of tonnage sign-up for the Canadian Wheat Board’s GrainFlo program. It’s highly anticipated that the tonnage limitations for the durum will be gone within the first hour and that the limits for CWRS will be gone by the end of the day.

You have to have your local elevator agents enter the contract for you, as they are the ones who need to determine the grade and protein for the contract. So, if you’re wanting to get in on the program, you had better talk to your agent today. 

A lot of agents I have talked to have a first-come, first-serve list; they will start at the top and work their way down until they can’t get anymore tonnes in on the program.

That’s all for today. — Brian

— Brian Wittal has spent over 27 years in the grain industry, including as an elevator manager and producer services representative for Alberta Wheat Pool, a regional sales manager for AgPro Grain and farm business representative for the Canadian Wheat Board, where he helped design some of the new pricing programs. He also operates his own company providing marketing and risk management advice for Prairie grain producers. Brian’s daily commentaries focus on how domestic and world market conditions affect you directly as grain producers.

Brian welcomes feedback and information on market conditions in your area, such as current offering prices, basis levels, trucking premiums and special crops contracts. Contact Brian today.


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