Global Ag News for Feb 29.24


Texas Wildfire Conditions Seen Worsening After Brief Respite

  • Blaze has now grown into the second-largest in state history
  • Residents in Panhandle ordered to evacuate or take shelter

Dry, windy weather that’s been fanning the worst Texas wildfire in almost two decades will return later this week after a brief respite of rain and snow.

Fires raging across the Texas Panhandle have scorched homes and ranches, menaced an oil refinery and shut schools and highways in the state’s largest conflagration since the East Amarillo Complex in 2006, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.

“The bad news is the amount of precipitation they get is not that much” early Thursday, said Paul Pastelok, head of long-range forecasting at AccuWeather Inc. “Winds pick back up again in the afternoon and its starts to get bad again. It only gets worse on the weekend.”

The region is vulnerable because winter storms have skipped that part of Texas, which already had been struggling with years of drought, Pastelok said. This means the landscape is dry and brush is primed to burn.

“It just doesn’t look good,” Pastelok said. The fire threat is likely to continue through next week.

The Phillips 66’s oil refinery in the town of Borger has thus far been spared and continues to operate, according to a source familiar with operations who asked not to identified discussing non-public information. Mandatory evacuation orders and highway closures are widespread across the region and schools in many municipalities were closed.


Wheat prices overnight are up 1 1/4 in SRW, up 1 1/2 in HRW, up 1 1/2 in HRS; Corn is unchanged; Soybeans down 8 1/4; Soymeal down $3.20; Soyoil unchanged.

For the week so far wheat prices are up 7 in SRW, up 17 in HRW, up 10 3/4 in HRS; Corn is up 15; Soybeans down 4 3/4; Soymeal down $3.70; Soyoil up 0.59.

For the month to date wheat prices are down 29 1/4 in SRW, down 37 3/4 in HRW, down 40 1/2 in HRS; Corn is down 30; Soybeans down 95 3/4; Soymeal down $39.80; Soyoil down 1.35.

Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 8.6% in SRW, down 7.7% in HRW, down 9.1% in HRS; Corn is down 12.1%; Soybeans down 13.0%; Soymeal down 14.6%; Soyoil down 6.4%.

Chinese Ag futures (MAY 24) Soybeans down 17 yuan; Soymeal down 7; Soyoil up 12; Palm oil up 46; Corn down 2 — Malaysian Palm is up 62. Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were up 62 ringgit (+1.59%) at 3969.

There were changes in registrations (700 Soybeans, 271 Soyoil). Registration total: 573 SRW Wheat contracts; 0 Oats; 6 Corn; 919 Soybeans; 396 Soyoil; 1 Soymeal; 56 HRW Wheat.

Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of February 28 were: SRW Wheat down 2,603 contracts, HRW Wheat up 1,379, Corn down 26,879, Soybeans down 7,627, Soymeal down 5,471, Soyoil down 348.

Brazil: Wet season showers in central Brazil will be isolated for the rest of this week, but they will fill back in this weekend. Southern areas are seeing waves of showers through Thursday as a front waffles around the region. Showers are forecast to be more sporadic and shifting next week, but fairly widespread, which should help with the long-season crops in the south and the safrinha corn in the central.

Argentina: Scattered showers continue to fall across the north with a front waffling around Wednesday. Some heavy rain has fallen there recently. Smaller disturbances are bringing limited showers to southern Argentina, but a wave of widespread showers will move through with a front this weekend. Another system may move through later next week as well. Showers are not perfect, but as long as they keep coming with enough frequency, crop conditions should remain stable with overall good ratings. Some spots may be missed, however, and see conditions fall.

Europe: A large low has moved into the Mediterranean and continue showers there for the next couple of days. More systems will move through western Europe into the Mediterranean later this week and next week, which would be beneficial for Spain and Italy, but be too wet in France and the UK. Temperatures continue to be much warmer than normal across the eastern half of the continent, promoting early awakening from dormancy and growth.

Black Sea: Conditions over the winter have been mostly favorable with frequent enough precipitation events to leave most areas with good soil moisture as wheat begins to awaken from dormancy early due to warmer temperatures. Drier conditions are expected into early next week. A system may develop in the middle of next week with scattered showers. Some colder air may follow that system, which will be watched for anything significant. Snow cover is not in place over much of the region, leaving it vulnerable to any shots of cold air.

Australia: Mostly dry conditions are expected for this week, but showers should pop up in variable fashion across much of the country  starting Friday. Western areas may see some passes from storm systems this weekend that would be beneficial for building soil moisture. Soil moisture is low in many areas well ahead of the harvest and subsequent wheat planting and will need much more rain to fall over the next couple of months.

Northern Plains: A strong cold front pushed through the region Tuesday, producing a band of heavy snow in North Dakota and light snow elsewhere. A massive drop in temperatures will keep the region cold on Wednesday, but will quickly rebound to be above normal again on Thursday. Another strong system will move through over the weekend with potential for more snow and strong winds as well as another drop in temperatures. The forecast for next week is quieter and cooler, but we could see another storm system late in the week.

Central/Southern Plains: A strong cold front pushed through the region on Tuesday with limited showers but a sharp drop in temperatures. Though cold on Wednesday, temperatures will rebound across the north on Thursday and the south on Friday, with the region pushing high temperature records in some places again this weekend. A small system will move across the south with some showers on Thursday with another strong storm possible Sunday and Monday. This system may or may not have much precipitation with it, but should produce strong winds and another drop in temperatures. Strong winds have caused expanded wildfires in the region and that could be replicated over the weekend.

Midwest: A strong cold front moved through the region on Tuesday with widespread showers and thunderstorms, including some severe weather. Strong winds continue Wednesday with a quick burst of cold air. That will only last about 36 hours before temperatures start rebounding in the west on Thursday, and the east on Friday, pushing record highs again over the weekend. Another storm system is forecast to move through the region Sunday and Monday with similar effects to the storm this week. Widespread showers, some snow, strong winds, and severe weather will all be possible.

Delta: A cold front will move through with some isolated showers on Wednesday and more showers will follow behind it on Thursday night into Friday. Another system will move through with more showers early next week, which could be heavier. Soil moisture continues to be much improved ahead of spring planting.

The player sheet for Feb. 28 had funds: net sellers of 5,000 contracts of SRW wheat, buyers of 4,000 corn, sellers of 2,000 soybeans, buyers of 3,500 soymeal, and sellers of 1,500 soyoil.


  • FEED WHEAT SALE: An importer group in Thailand is believed to have purchased about 60,000 metric tons of animal feed wheat expected to be sourced from the European Union
  • FEED BARLEY SALE: Jordan’s state grain buyer has purchased about 60,000 metric tons of animal feed barley expected to be sourced from Russia in an international tender on Wednesday seeking up to 120,000 tons.
  • MILLING WHEAT TENDER: Jordan’s state grain buyer has issued an international tender to buy up to 120,000 metric tons of milling wheat sourced from optional origins.


  • RICE TENDER: South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 88,800 metric tons of rice to be sourced from the United States and China
  • FEED GRAIN TENDERS: Iranian state-owned animal feed importer SLAL issued international tenders to purchase up to 120,000 tonnes of animal feed corn, 120,000 tons of feed barley and 120,000 tons of soymeal
  • WHEAT TENDER: Bangladesh’s state grains buyer issued an international tender to purchase 50,000 metric tons of milling wheat
  • RICE TENDER: Indonesian state purchasing agency BULOG has issued an international tender to buy some 300,000 metric tons of rice
  • CORN, SOYMEAL TENDERS: Algerian state agency ONAB has issued international tenders to purchase up to 80,000 metric tons of animal feed corn and 35,000 tons of soymeal.
  • CORN TENDER: Taiwan’s MFIG purchasing group has issued an international tender to buy up to 65,000 metric tons of animal feed corn which can be sourced from the United States, Brazil, Argentina or South Africa.
  • WHEAT TENDER: Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) is looking to buy a total of 78,974 metric tons of food-quality wheat from the U.S. and Canada in a regular tender that will close on Friday.


interconnected globe




GRAIN EXPORT SURVEY: Corn, Soy, Wheat Sales Before USDA Report

Estimate ranges are based on a Bloomberg survey of five analysts; the USDA is scheduled to release its export sales report on Thursday for week ending Feb. 22.

  • Corn est. range 600k – 1,300k tons, with avg of 935k
  • Soybean est. range 100k – 600k tons, with avg of 334k

DOE: US Ethanol Stocks Rise 2.0% to 26.022M Bbl

According to the US Department of Energy’s weekly petroleum report.

  • Analysts were expecting 25.641 mln bbl
  • Plant production at 1.078m b/d, compared to survey avg of 1.072m


CROP SURVEY: US Soybean Crush and Corn for Ethanol

The following is from a Bloomberg survey of seven anlaysts.

  • Soybean crush seen at 196.3m bu in Jan., a 2.7% rise from a year ago
  • Crude and once-refined soybean-oil reserves at end of January seen at 1.994b lbs, down from 2.356b
  • Corn used in ethanol production seen up 1.1% y/y to 445.9
  • The USDA is scheduled to release its January Fats and Oils report along with the Grain Crushings report on March 1 at 3pm


Brazil 2024 Soy Output, Exports Est. Cut Due to Dryness: Abiove

Brazil soybean production in 2024 is seen now at 153.8m tons, down 1.5% from previous estimate in the beginning of February, industry group Abiove said by email.

  • Average yield was cut again to 3.411 quilos per hectare, based on data reported by Abiove’s associates from all agricultural regions in Brazil
    • Average yield in 2023 was 3.597 quilos per hectare: Abiove
  • Soy exports in 2024 seen at 97.8m tons, 300.000 tons less than previous estimate
    • Soy crush estimate still seen at 54.5m tons
  • Soy ending stocks at 2024 expected at 3.985m tons, down 29.9% from previous forecast
  • Soy meal domestic consumption seen at 18.7m tons, up 3.3% from the beginning of February estimate, soy oil at 9.6m tons, higher 1.1%
    • Soy meal ending stocks seen 12.5% lower, at 4.186m tons, soy oil 19.9% down, at 402.000 tons

Argentina rains to bring more relief to soy and corn crops

Copious rains in the coming days will continue to provide moisture to most of Argentina’s agricultural regions, favoring soybean and corn crops planted in the 2023/24 cycle, the Buenos Aires grain exchange said on Wednesday. Argentina is one of the world’s largest exporters of soy meal and the world’s third largest supplier of corn.

In the coming days, most of South America’s southern cone will observe moderate to abundant rainfall, the exchange said in its weekly crop report, although Argentina’s agricultural southwest will like received less than 10 millimeters (0.4 inches) of rain. The rainfall will likely add to the adequate precipitation levels that have been falling in Argentina since the beginning of the month, following a heat wave that damaged crops. Both the soy and corn crops are already fully planted and harvesting is set to begin in April. The grains exchange sees the 2023/24 soybean harvest standing at 52.5 million metric tons and the corn crop at 56.5 million tons.

Russia says is not interested in Black Sea grain deal – TASS

Russia is not interested in renewing the Black Sea grain deal and has its own grain export capabilities, the TASS news agency cited Russian Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev as saying on Thursday.

The deal, which ended in the middle of last year, had allowed Ukraine to ship grain out of its Black Sea ports

Malaysia Feb. Palm Oil Exports 1.000m Tons: AmSpec

Malaysia’s palm oil exports fell to 1.000m tons in February from 1.227m tons in January, according to AmSpec Agri. Palm oil exports fell 18.48% m/m versus -9.36% in January

India to Buy as Much as 32M Tons of Wheat From Farmers: Ministry

The world’s second-biggest wheat consumer is seeking to purchase 30 million to 32 million tons of the grain from the 2023-24 crop, according to a food ministry statement on Thursday.

  • The government also plans to buy 9m-10m tons of winter-sown rice from farmers; purchases of millets may total 600,000 tons
  • NOTE: India is the world’s second-largest grower of wheat
  • NOTE: India Sees 114M Tons of Wheat Output in 2023-24: Food Secretary
  • NOTE: The government bought more than 26m tons of wheat from 2022-23 crop for its various welfare programs, against a target of 34.2m tons

Southwest Air Boosts Bet on Corn Jet Fuel With LanzaJet Deal

  • Airline and biofuels firm to team up on a US jet fuel plant
  • US corn is at a critical point as ethanol seeks new markets

Southwest Airlines Co. is partnering with biofuels company LanzaJet Inc., boosting its wager on using corn to make lower-emitting jet fuel.

LanzaJet said it is teaming up with the air carrier to build a US plant that produces lower-emitting sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF, from ethanol. Southwest is investing $30 million, said LanzaJet, which last month unveiled the world’s first commercial facility set to use ethanol to produce SAF. Southwest didn’t immediately comment.

Pressure for US airlines to slash climate-harming emissions from traditional jet fuel is rapidly increasing, including from the White House. Biofuel producers, meanwhile, are looking to expand into new markets and take advantage of government incentives for cleaner-burning fuel, while US farmers are hoping to gain from future demand for SAF, which can be made a variety of ways, including corn ethanol.

LanzaJet Chief Executive Officer Jimmy Samartzis said the goal for the plant with Southwest is to use US ethanol, currently almost all made from corn, as opposed to other types such as sugarcane-based ethanol out of Brazil and other regions.

“We are trying to send a clear signal to the market that there is a significant opportunity for US ethanol,” Samartzis said in an interview.

The companies also pledged to cooperate to advance the work of Saffire Renewables LLC, in which Dallas-based Southwest is invested. Saffire, funded in part by the US government, seeks to produce SAF from ethanol made from corn residue.

Illinois-based LanzaJet said it expects the plant with Southwest to be built over three to four years in a US location to be determined. The company didn’t disclose the estimated cost of the plant construction project. It also didn’t reveal SAF production capacity except to say it would be a “large-scale” plant.

LanzaJet overall aims to use its technology to make 1 billion gallons of US SAF annually by 2030.

Carbon dioxide emissions from aviation, an industry difficult to electrify, are expected to surge by 94% from pre-pandemic levels, exceeding 2 gigatons in 2050, according to BloombergNEF.

Much of Australia set for warm and dry autumn, weather bureau says

Australia could be heading for its third-warmest summer on record, with many places likely to experience a warmer and drier period than normal from March to May, weather authorities said on Thursday.

The weather has a huge impact on crop yields and livestock markets in Australia, a major exporter of agricultural commodities. It is now growing summer crops, such as sorghum and cotton, with planting of much larger crops of wheat, barley and canola set to begin around April and May. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said most of Australia has at least an 80% chance of experiencing above average temperatures during the southern hemisphere autumn.

“Australia is on track to have the third-warmest summer on record nationally, after 2018–19 and 2019–20,” the bureau said in a statement.

There was a 60% to 75% chance of below median rainfall across large parts of the country, including most of the states of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory. But the chances of above or below median rainfall were roughly even elsewhere, such as most of South Australia and southern and central Western Australia, it added. The vast majority of Australia’s grain is grown in Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Last year was Australia’s eighth-warmest year on record, which the weather bureau attributed to climate change. Conditions swung from widespread flooding through the hottest winter and driest three months on record to heavy rainfall as the year ended.

Brazil’s Agriculture Machinery Sales Fell 13.2% in 2023: Anfavea

Sales of agricultural machinery in Brazil fell 13.2% in 2023 compared to 2022, totaling 60,981, according to data from the National Association of Vehicle Manufacturers (Anfavea).

  • Sales of harvesters fell 18.5% last year, to 7,188 units; sales of tractors fell 12.4%, to 53,793 units
    • Expectations of a fall in Brazil Selic interest rate and the cost of financing were the main causes of the decline, said the president of Anfavea, Marcio de Lima Leite
  • Road machinery sales fell 22.1% in 2023 to 30,399 units
  • Brazilian exports of agricultural machinery decreased by 17.8%, to 8,759 units, due to the economic crisis in Argentina, Anfavea’s president said
  • Anfavea estimates an 11% decline in agricultural machinery sales in Brazil in 2024, to 54,300 units
    • Falling commodity prices and interest rates should lead producers to reduce purchases: Leite
  • Exports are expected to decline 3% in 2024, to 8,500 units
  • Entity forecasts a 5% increase in sales of road machinery, to 31,800 units, due to Brazil sanitation framework, expected investments from government’s PAC program and other factors
  • Manufacturers have a goal of increasing the use of agricultural machinery on family properties to 70% in 2030, compared to 18% in 2017

US Farmers Start Fertilizing Early as Mild Weather Warms Midwest

Ammonia prices in the US rose slightly last week as warm weather prompted the onset of pre-planting applications. An early start to spring gives farmers more time to consume inputs, supporting sales for producers such as CF, Nutrien and Mosaic. China’s declining energy prices are increasing nitrogen profitability, sending urea production rates soaring.

Prices Up for Urea, Phosphates; Ammonia Mixed

Ammonia prices were mixed in North America after the monthly Tampa contract settled at $445 a metric ton cost-and-freight for March, unchanged from February. While prices dropped in California, spring ammonia offers were higher in Western Canada. Urea continued its upward trend, firming to $370-$380 a short ton at New Orleans (NOLA) vs. last week’s $330-$366, with increases noted at terminals in the western US and Canada as well. Slight increases were also reported for ammonium sulfate and urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) at certain US terminals. NOLA phosphates remained strong, with a March 1 increase scheduled for phosphoric acid prices in the Midwest and western US.

Brazil Potash Demand Shifts to Attend to 2024-25 Soybean Crop

As focus shifts to potash and phosphates for the 2024-25 soybean crop, potash’s compelling affordability spurred demand anticipation that slightly strengthened prices in Brazil. Though China’s expected return to the export market points to a bearish sentiment for phosphates, tightening supplies may be a headwind. Urea prices shifted higher as global suppliers focus on earlier US spring-season demand.

Urea Reverts, Potash and Phosphates Follow

Urea prices in Brazil were up 5.9% to $394-$400 a metric ton (mt) cost and freight (CFR) from last week’s $370-$380. As sellers failed to move ammonium sulfate prices to $190/mt CFR, they held at $175-$180/mt CFR this week. Brazil monoammonium phosphate (MAP) rose $10/mt to $560-$570/mt CFR, with multiple sellers reportedly testing $580/mt CFR for new business, yet without success. Though market players expect an upcoming surge of Chinese phosphates exports to push MAP prices lower, scarce inventories could be a headwind. Rising inland demand pushed potash prices to $290/mt CFR and might keep pressuring, given farmers anticipate 2024-25 soybean purchases.


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