1. Wheat futures fall in overnight trading
As investors keep a watchful eye on the nearly two-month-long war in Ukraine, US wheat futures fall in Asian trading after a three-day rally. Corn pulled back from a five-week high.
The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) reversed early gains to drop 0.9% to $11.02 a bushel by 6:15 GMT.
While the crisis in Europe has hampered Black Sea exports from Russia and Ukraine, a potentially record-large 2022/23 wheat in India offers big buyers an alternative source. Egypt is considering adding wheat from India to 16 other national import origins accepted by its state grains buyer.
Overall, global supply is expected to remain tight, amid warnings from Vladmir Putin that peace talks have stalled.
CBOT soybeans were flat at $16.70¼ a bushel.
CBOT corn lost 0.7% to $7.70¾ a bushel after a rally on Tuesday, driven by the Biden administration’s proposal to raise demand for biofuels including corn-based ethanol and concerns about a slow start to US planting.
2. Tractor, combine sales down for the first time in 8 months
According to recent data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), ag tractor and combine sales declined for the first time since July 2021.
Total farm tractor sales in the US fell 21.1% in March compared with a year ago. Sales for self-propelled combines also deipped 10.2%, with 343 machines sold. One area that saw growth was the 100+ hp. 2WD segment, which was up 7%.
The sub-40 hp. segment saw the biggest losses, down 25.5%. Mid-range tractors between 40 and 100 hp. fell 14.1%.
4WD tractors remained nearly flat for the second straight month, dropping 2%, with four fewer units sold in March.
Year-to-date, total farm tractor sales were down 7.9%, while combines were down 19.2%.
Canada saw a drop across all segments, with a 5.1% decline in total farm tractor sales. Down 43.3%, the 4WD machines saw the biggest loss. Sales for 2WD machines were down in every segment by 3.7% overall.
The number of combines sold was also down, falling 36.8% (60 units sold).
Year-to-date farm tractor unit sales are down 0.7%, while combine sales are down 36.2%.
Curt Blades, AEM’s senior vice president, industry sectors & product leadership, says the sales report was not a surprise. “Inventory levels are down more than 10% in both the US and Canada, and this is the result of supply chain difficulties catching up with this segment of the manufacturing industry.”
3. Severe weather as well as some flash flooding possible Wednesday from the Lower Mississippi Valley north to the Midwest
Yesterday’s major winter storm will continue today over parts of North Dakota where an additional 6 to 12 inches of snow may fall by Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Heavy snow combined with strong/gusty winds will likely result in blizzard conditions. Significant impacts to livestock are also possible. On the backside of this system, temperatures are expected to continue to drop significantly, with high temperatures likely to stay 20˚F. to 30˚F. below average over the Northern Rockies/Plains through Thursday. Ahead of the winter storm, temperatures will likely to be 15˚F. to 25˚F. Warmer than normal today through Thursday, which is well above normal.
Expect flash flooding and severe thunderstorms in the warmer areas of this powerful winter storm today. Forecasters expect thunderstorms and heavy rain to follow a strong cold front that is likely to sweep across the Mississippi Valley today. A slight risk of flash flooding is in effect from southern Louisiana to southern Michigan, where the heaviest rainfall is likely to occur.
Severe thunderstorms capable of producing multiple tornadoes, strong damaging winds, and large to very large hail could anywhere from the Lower Mississippi Valley to the Upper Midwest today. The Storm Prediction Center issued a moderate risk (level 4/5) of severe thunderstorms over parts of the Lower/Middle Mississippi and Tennessee Valley. Major cities like Memphis and Little Rock are under this moderate risk, notes the NWS.
Very dry, windy conditions coupled with an existing drought, will mean the threat for fires over portions of the Southern Plains today, says the NWS. The cycling of an upper-level low will continue to drive moisture into the Pacific Northwest through Thursday. Heavy snow for the southern Cascades and northern Sierra, as well as heavy rain for portions of coastal northern California, will persist during this period, notes the NWS.