Global Ag News for Aug 23.23


Palm Oil May Rise Above 4,000 Ringgit/Ton Toward End of 3Q: Sime

Palm oil may climb above 4,000 ringgit/ton toward the end of 3Q as demand picks up while production growth remains below expectations, according to Sime Darby Plantation Bhd., the world’s top planter by acreage.

  • Output growth has slowed compared with initial expectations, Mohd Haris Mohd Arshad, managing director of the company’s downstream unit Sime Darby Oils said after the group’s 2Q earnings
  • Overall, prices will likely trade around current levels
  • Weather remains a “big issue” which could lead to disappointing production numbers, and support prices
  • Demand has been robust as buyers take advantage of lower prices to replenish inventories
  • Food consumption remains resilient; “biggest wildcard” is demand from the non-food sector, including oleochemicals and biodiesel
    • Worries about deflation in China has also dampened demand in the non-food sector
  • Sime Darby Plantation still expects an uptick in output in the peak production season during Sept.-Nov., and as labor shortages ease, said Managing Director Mohamad Helmy Othman Basha
  • The company now has a full complement of plantation workers in its Peninsular Malaysian estates
    • There are still some worker shortages in Sabah and Sarawak, which the planter aims to recover before the peak crop months of Sept.-Oct.
  • Sime sees its overall fresh fruit bunch production improving between 5%-8% compared to a year earlier


Wheat prices overnight are down 1 in SRW, down 2 1/4 in HRW, down 1 1/2 in HRS; Corn is up 3/4; Soybeans down 9 1/2; Soymeal down $1.10; Soyoil down 0.25.

For the week so far wheat prices are down 12 1/2 in SRW, down 15 1/4 in HRW, down 27 1/2 in HRS; Corn is down 12 3/4; Soybeans down 16 3/4; Soymeal up $4.90; Soyoil down 2.54.

For the month to date wheat prices are down 65 1/4 in SRW, down 84 in HRW, down 79 1/4 in HRS; Corn is down 32 3/4; Soybeans up 4 3/4; Soymeal down $2.00; Soyoil up 1.56.

Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 24.2% in SRW, down 16.9% in HRW, down 17.8% in HRS; Corn is down 31.1%; Soybeans down 12.0%; Soymeal down 15.3%; Soyoil up 1.7%.

Chinese Ag futures (NOV 23) Soybeans down 30 yuan; Soymeal down 43; Soyoil down 18; Palm oil down 54; Corn up 16 — Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were down 40 ringgit (-1.03%) at 3826.

There were no changes in registrations. Registration total: 1,398 SRW Wheat contracts; 448 Oats; 0 Corn; 0 Soybeans; 117 Soyoil; 0 Soymeal; 147 HRW Wheat.

Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of August 22 were: SRW Wheat up 407 contracts, HRW Wheat up 1,370, Corn down 1,373, Soybeans up 1,650, Soymeal down 4,832, Soyoil down 3,471.

Northern Plains: A stalled front will waffle around the Northern Plains for most of the week, leading to areas of showers and wavering temperatures. The front will get pushed southward on Friday and clear out the region. Heat will return behind it early next week, however, making for mixed conditions for filling corn and soybeans. Potential showers could delay the wheat harvest.

Central/Southern Plains: Hot and dry conditions continue for much of this week in the Central and Southern Plains, causing stress for filling corn and soybeans. The heat will quickly sap any built-up soil moisture. A front will sag south through the region late this week and weekend, bringing briefly milder temperatures and potential rainfall that would prove beneficial if it occurs. Another round of heat may build back in next week.

Midwest: Hot and dry conditions are largely in place across the Midwest through Thursday, though a stalled front across the north and east could bring some isolated showers to some areas. The front will get pushed southward Friday and Saturday, offering a brief relief from the heat. Above-normal temperatures are likely to build back in next week for a time. Heat will be most intense in the southwest and sap any available soil moisture quickly. The front’s movement southward could offer some showers in the region, which would be helpful for filling corn and soybeans.

Delta: Hot and dry conditions continue in the Delta all week long. A front sagging south will move into the region this weekend, which will reduce the heat and potentially bring some showers as well. Any rainfall would be helpful for filling soybeans and cotton.

The player sheet for Aug. 22 had funds: net buyers of 1,500 contracts of SRW wheat, sellers of 3,000 corn, buyers of 1,500 soybeans, sellers of 2,000 soymeal, and  sellers of 4,000 soyoil.


  • CORN SALES: The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed private sales of 224,000 metric tons of U.S. corn for delivery to Mexico. Of the total, 112,000 metric tons is for delivery during the 2024/2025 marketing year; and 112,000 metric tons is for delivery during the 2025/2026 marketing year. Each marketing year begins on Sept 1 of the period in question.
  • CORN PURCHASE: Taiwan’s MFIG purchasing group bought about 65,000 metric tons of animal feed corn to expected to be sourced from Brazil in an international tender on Wednesday
  • WHEAT TENDER: The Taiwan Flour Millers’ Association issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 104,000 metric tons of grade 1 milling wheat to be sourced from the United States
  • FOOD WHEAT TENDER: Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) is seeking to buy a total of 91,462 metric tons of food-quality wheat from the United States and Canada in a regular tender that will close on Aug. 24.
  • WHEAT PURCHASE: Egypt’s state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), has bought 60,000 metric tons of Romanian wheat in an international purchasing tender, it said on Tuesday.
  • VEGOILS TENDER: Egypt’s state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), on Tuesday said it was seeking vegetable oils in an international purchasing tender for arrival Oct. 6-20 and/or Oct. 21 to Nov.5.
  • CORN TENDER: Leading South Korean feedmaker Nonghyup Feed Inc. (NOFI) has issued an international tender to purchase up to 138,000 metric tons of animal feed corn to be sourced from optional origins
  • WHEAT TENDER: Leading South Korean feedmaker Nonghyup Feed Inc. (NOFI) has issued an international tender to purchase up to 130,000 metric tons of animal feed wheat
  • NO PURCHASE IN CORN, SOYMEAL TENDERS: Iranian state-owned animal feed importer SLAL is believed to have made no purchases in tenders which closed on Aug. 15 for 180,000 metric tons of animal feed corn and 120,000 tons of soymeal
  • NEW CORN, SOYMEAL TENDERS: Iranian state-owned animal feed importer SLAL has issued an international tender to purchase up to 180,000 tonnes of animal feed corn and 120,000 tons of soymeal.


  • VEGETABLE OILS TENDER: Egypt’s GASC is seeking refined sunflower oil in one-liner bottles in an international tender. It is seeking at least 5,000 metric tons of oils, free of customs, on behalf of the Holding Company for Food Industries, for delivery during October and/or November and/or December. Deadline for submitting offers was Aug. 17.
  • RICE TENDER: South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 130,200 metric tons of rice all to be sourced from China
  • WHEAT TENDER: A Syrian state grains agency issued an international tender to purchase and import 200,000 metric tons of soft milling wheat
  • FEED BARLEY TENDER: Jordan’s state grains buyer issued a new international tender to purchase up to 120,000 metric tons of animal feed barley.
  • FEED WHEAT AND BARLEY TENDER: Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (GAFF) said it will seek 60,000 metric tons of feed wheat and 20,000 tons of feed barley to be loaded by Nov. 30 and arrive in Japan by Jan. 25 via a simultaneous buy and sell (SIBS) auction that will be held on Aug. 23. 

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CROP TOUR: Indiana Corn Yields Seen Below USDA’s Record Outlook

Corn yields in Indiana are estimated at 180.89 bu/acre based on 195 fields sampled, according to Pro Farmer Crop Tour data Tuesday.

  • That’s below the US Department of Agriculture’s Aug. 11 forecast for a record 195 bu/acre
  • It’s above last year’s crop tour average of 177.85 bu/acre but below the three-year average of 183.72
  • Indiana soybeans are seen averaging 1,309.96 pods in a 3-by-3-foot square, based on 192 samples; that’s above year-ago figure of 1,165.97 and the three-year average of 1,228.94 pods, according to tour data
  • NOTE: The crop tour, which runs through Thursday, doesn’t project soy yields

CROP TOUR: Nebraska Corn Yields and Soy Pods Up From 2022

Corn yields in Nebraska avg 167.2 bu/acre, according to 385 samples taken Tuesday by participants on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour.

  • Compares with 2022 tour avg of 158.5 bu/acre; three-year avg of 172 bu
  • Soybean pod count in 3-by-3-foot square avg 1160 pods, according to 374 samples
    • That’s up from 1063.7 pods last year; down from 1196 three-year avg
    • NOTE: The crop tour doesn’t project soybean yields
  • Crop scouts are focusing in total production and demand for the US crops
  • “Demand is not strong so we are lowering prices to find more buyers. To get our carryover lower, the crop must be smaller and this heat can take that caking off,” said Chip Flory, the leader of the western leg of the tour

ETHANOL: US Weekly Production Survey Before EIA Report

Output and stockpile projections for the week ending Aug. 18 are based on seven analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

  • Production seen lower than last week at 1.054m b/d
  • Stockpile avg est. 23.431m bbl vs 23.435m a week ag

Russia Attacks Ukraine’s Danube Facilities Again and Wheat Gains

Russian drones struck Ukrainian grain infrastructure near the Danube River, the latest in a raft of attacks on the waterway that’s vital for getting Ukraine’s exports out to markets now its Black Sea ports are shut.

A storage and cargo complex near the Danube was damaged by a Russian drone overnight in the Odesa region, the city council said. Nine drones were shot down, it said. That follows a drone attack last week at a key port on the Danube, which damaged a silo.

River channels have become increasingly important to shipping the nation’s crops following the collapse of the Black Sea pact last month. More than 60% of Ukraine’s crop exports are now flowing via the Danube, with rail and trucks accounting for most of the rest, according to a UkrAgroConsult report.

Wheat futures in Chicago rose 0.6%, heading for a second daily gain. Still, large crops in other major shippers — including Russia itself — have pressured the market this year, with prices down about 20% since the end of December.

Chinese Soybean Appetite Seen Fading, Meat Producer Says

  • Economy is slowing in world’s largest soybean importer
  • Chinese eating habits also are contributing to shift in demand

Chinese soybean demand growth is expected to wane in the next few years amid slower population growth and a change in the nation’s consuming habits, according to meat producer Wellhope Foods Co.

Soybean purchases by the world’s largest importer should stabilize at roughly 100 million metric tons at least for the next five years, Vice President Sun Lige said in an interview during a US Soybean Export Council conference in New York. That’s 1 million metric tons more than the US Department of Agriculture’s projection for the 2023-24 season.

Chinese imports of soybean, a key ingredient to animal feed, soared roughly fivefold since the early 2000s as rapid economic growth created an expanding middle class that can afford more protein in their diets. But China’s $18 trillion economy is now slowing, with JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays Plc and Morgan Stanley downgrading their projections for economic growth this year to below the government’s 5% target.

What’s more, consumers are gradually shifting their meat consumption from pork to alternative proteins such as fish and chicken, which require less feed to grow, according to Lige.

“White meat is typically seen as cheaper, healthier and easier to cook,” Lige said. The shift is driven by consumer preferences rather than government policy, he added. (edited)

Ukraine says it has exported 3.83 mln T grain so far in 2023/24

Ukraine’s grain exports have reached 3.83 million metric tons so far in the 2023/24 July-June season, Agriculture Ministry data showed on Wednesday.

The ministry gave no comparative figures for the same period a year earlier, but said shipments stood at 3.3 million tons as of Aug. 25, 2022.

Exports have been affected since Russia quit a deal last month allowing safe exports of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea, but the ministry’s data did not give a breakdown on exports since the U.N.-brokered agreement collapsed.

The ministry said Ukraine had exported 1.56 million tons of grain in August.

The total volume of grain exports this season included 1.8 million tons of corn, 1.6 million tons of wheat and 0.44 million tons of barley.

Exports for the entire 2022/23 season were almost 49 million tons, exceeding the previous season’s 48.4 million tons.

Argentina 2024 Crop-Export Revenues Can Recover by 56%: Bourse

Argentina’s net crop exports can grow by 56% y/y to $29.2b, the Rosario Board of Trade says in report.

  • This year’s net exports are estimated at just $18.7b after a brutal drought
  • Net calculation is total exports of soy, corn, wheat, sunflowers and barley, minus imports of soybeans for processors
  • NOTE: Soy and corn that would make up the bulk of 2024 export revenues haven’t even been planted yet

Russia Wheat Crop Estimate Raised to 92m Tons on Yields: SovEcon

Russia’s 2023 wheat crop estimate is now seen at 92.1m tons, up from a prior forecast for 87.1m tons, research firm SovEcon says in an emailed report.

  • There have been near-record wheat and barley yields in the Central region, and Volga crops are also better than initially expected
    • Recent weather has also improved conditions for spring wheat, which accounts for about a third of total wheat production
  • Barley crop estimate raised to 20.9m tons, from 18.6m tons
  • Corn raised to 14.8m tons, from 14.6m tons
  • NOTE: Forecast based on territory Russia controlled at start of 2022, SovEcon says

Progress Made for Grain Corridor; Erdogan to Meet Putin: NTV

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to visit Russia to discuss resumption of grain corridor deal with Vladimir Putin, Turkish broadcaster NTV cites presidential sources it didn’t name.

  • Serious progress has been made on the resumption of the grain corridor and Erdogan’s visit will be the most critical step for the continuation, NTV cites sources
  • Alternative routes and plans excluding Russia won’t be “healthy,” sources say
  • NOTE: Turkish authorities were not immediately available for comment

EU Soft-Wheat Exports Fall 21% in Season Through Aug. 20

The European Union’s soft-wheat exports in the season that began July 1 reached 4.06m tons as of Aug. 20, compared with 5.12m tons in a similar period a year earlier, the European Commission said on its website.

  • Leading destinations include Morocco (834k tons), Algeria (457k tons) and South Korea (359k tons)
  • Barley exports are at 1.2m tons, down 27% y/y
  • Corn imports are at 2.12m tons, down 35% y/y

New technology to boost US crops in coming seasons; labor shortage a challenge, farmers say

U.S. farmers see the flow of new technologies coming to farms boosting production in coming years, but worry about labor availability, according to comments by participants at a soybean conference on Tuesday.

Farmers said technological developments, including new soy and corn seeds and equipment to sample soil, will drive higher agricultural yields in coming seasons as they allow for a better understanding of what is needed to boost output.

“We have the coolest toys these days,” said Lance Rezac, a Kansas farmer, during a panel at the Soy Connext conference organized by the United States Soybean Export Council (USSEC).

Rezac said extensive sampling of the fields provides farmers with a lot of data to be analyzed, giving more precise indications of how much fertilizer and other inputs each plot needs.

Improvements to the machines are also increasing efficiency, the farmers said.

Rezac said he avoided seed losses by as much as 10% with new precision planting equipment.

“With some of the improvements in the genetics side that we’ve seen, there is no doubt yields are going up,” said Jeff Jorgenson, a farmer from Iowa.

Seed producers have been developing new hybrids in an effort to address a changing climate, generally warmer and dryer.

Farmers were mostly upbeat on market prospects despite difficulties with the weather this year.

A growing global demand for protein and increasing use of biofuels will keep prices at good levels, they said.

“It is a fun time to be involved with soybeans,” said farmer Janna Fritz from Michigan.

She cautioned that more people will be needed as farmers retire and the transition among generations has not been enough to fill the labor void.

Reggie Strickland, who in addition to corn and soy also cultivates vegetables in North Carolina, said the labor shortage for that kind of production, which requires hand harvesting, is even worse.


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