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Update for December 7th, 2022

Brazilian Crop, Stolen Grain and Winter Systems Headed Towards Midwest

According to Monday’s data from AgRural, soybean planting in Brazil is running slightly behind normal with 91% of the crop planted vs 94% a year ago. Planting/growing conditions across the vast nation vary considerably. In the west central area farmers are concerned about the high temps and spotty rainfall, especially producers that planted early. AgRural says that December rainfall amounts will be key to the final yields in this region. Those same hot and dry conditions also have farmers worried in southern Brazil, especially the Rio Grande do Sul state where a lack of rainfall delayed soybean planting. In Northeastern Brazil a new agricultural frontier is developing, Matobipa has seen the opposite conditions as too much rain has delayed the planting progress in this region. Despite less-than-ideal conditions private forecasters and government agencies are all anticipating a record soy crop this season with estimates now above 153 MMT. In the south-central region of Brazil, the planting of the first season corn crop is running on schedule. A lack of regular rainfall has become an issue in some areas, especially in Rio Grande do Sul which was hit very hard last year with drought and nearly 1/3 of this region’s first season corn was ruined. Brazil’s 1st season corn crop is the smaller of the two crops with about 25% of total production grown during the first cycle. (Reuters)

U.S. corn exports remain weak. This past week 21 million bushels of corn were inspected for export, a 33% deficit from this same week in 2021. Total shipments for the current marketing year are also running 33% lower than a year ago. Right now, the USDA projects U.S. corn exports will fall off last year’s total by only 13%, some think the agency may reduce their export forecast in Friday’s WASDE but it easily could be another month or two before they make any adjustments because we typically see an uptick in corn exports during the 1st and 2nd quarters of the year, but it needs a buyer first. We are now anticipating that due to the high price of U.S. corn Asian feed buyers will opt for the less expensive option, feed wheat. Australia’s enormous bumper wheat crop has entered the global market and is a considerably cheaper option than U.S. corn which has been pricing out price-sensitive buyers from Asian markets for some time now. Soybean exports generally are the highest during the 4th quarter following harvest and are then followed up with an increase in corn exports during the first half of the year. Overall export sales are very low. Current accumulated export sales are around 48% lower than the pace a year ago.

Shipping vessels linked to Russia’s largest grain trader; RIF Trading House LLC are believed to have carried hundreds of tons of grain stolen from the Russia-occupied eastern region of Ukraine. Journalists from The Wall Street Journal have investigated the high-level system of feeder vessels and floating cranes that are used in the smuggling process. Grain that originated from the Crimean port of Sevastopol is loaded onto smaller vessels that then meet with larger cargo ships waiting at sea. This process of moving grain can disguise the true origin of the ship’s cargo which many buyers may refuse if the true provenance of the ship’s cargo is revealed. In an effort to further conceal the cargo’s origin they sometimes will mix the contents with their own Russian grain.

Night clouds are expected to develop tonight and thicken tomorrow as a system rides ahead of a surface low starting in SW Kansas. Confidence regarding the form of precipitation is low for areas near and north of Highway 30 due to conflicting thermodynamics profiles in the guidance. This makes accuracy much more difficult when trying to draw a rain snow line and determine potential amounts.

The GFS model is predicting warmer temps to the north of Hwy 30 which means mainly rain or mixed precipitation. To the far north (Hwy 20 and north) precipitation is expected to fall mainly in the form of heavy wet snow. Regions south of Hwy 30 will likely only see cold rainfall.

Snow totals from both the GFS and EURO are shown below. These are likely to be adjusted significantly tomorrow.

GFS followed by EURO

In addition to the system that will move through Thursday evening into early Friday another round of light snow or rain is possible later Saturday afternoon or evening. Sunday looks dry with temps warming a few degrees as the wind switches to the southeast.

Outlooks for next week show the likelihood of a major storm system tracking across the Plains and Upper Midwest Tuesday. The system will bring a wide variety of weather to the central Midwest including the chance for the development of a full-fledged blizzard.

The last map shows the potential for Arctic air to enter the Midwest just before Christmas. There is a lot of red at the high latitudes stretching from Alaska through Canada and into Greenland. This blocking high pressure in the polar regions will displace the cold air further southward into the U.S. A typical set up for extremely cold air to reach into the northern U.S.

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