Global Ag News for Feb 21.23
Brazil farmers hoard soybeans creating storage glut, large coop says
Brazilian grain growers are hoarding soybeans as domestic prices drop, according to the board chairman of Brazil’s biggest farmer cooperative Coamo, based in the south of the country.
In an interview on Friday, Jose Aroldo Gallassini said this year’s forward soybean sales are estimated at 5% of total projected output of 6 million tonnes by Coamo, compared with the 25% to 30% range last year at this time.
Gallassini said Coamo receives and stores grains from its member farmers even if the terms of the sale have not been set. This provoked a shortage of storage space, forcing the cooperative to rent additional warehouses and increasing use of so-called “silo bags.”
Last season, Coamo’s farmers harvested 3.8 million tonnes of soybeans, smaller than this year’s estimated crop because drought ruined part of the production.
Soybean prices started 2022 at 162 reais ($31.43) per 60-kilogram bag and quickly reached a record 200 reais at the harvest period, the executive said.
But prices have since fallen to levels close to last year’s 162 real level, Gallassini added, encouraging farmers to wait.
In 2022, Coamo received 7.470 million tonnes of grains like soybeans and corn at its 114 units, located in the states of Parana, Santa Catarina and Mato Grosso do Sul. This represented 2.8% of Brazilian overall production.
With more than 30,000 associate farmers, Coamo’s exported 2.1 million tonnes of grains last year, the executive said.
FUTURES & WEATHER
Wheat prices overnight are up 4 1/2 in SRW, up 6 1/2 in HRW, up 4 1/2 in HRS; Corn is up 3 1/2; Soybeans up 16 1/4; Soymeal up $0.78; Soyoil down 0.37.
For the week so far wheat prices are up 4 1/2 in SRW, up 6 1/2 in HRW, up 4 1/2 in HRS; Corn is up 3 1/2; Soybeans up 16 1/4; Soymeal up $0.78; Soyoil down 0.37.
For the month to date wheat prices are up 10 1/4 in SRW, up 30 1/2 in HRW, up 12 1/2 in HRS; Corn is up 3 1/2; Soybeans up 8 1/4; Soymeal up $14.20; Soyoil down 1.11.
Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 2.8% in SRW, up 2.9% in HRW, down 0.5% in HRS; Corn is up 0.4%; Soybeans up 1.6%; Soymeal up 4.4%; Soyoil down 4.2%.
Chinese Ag futures (MAY 23) Soybeans down 12 yuan; Soymeal up 21; Soyoil up 16; Palm oil up 22; Corn up 2 — Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were down 26 ringgit (-0.62%) at 4141.
There were no changes in registrations. Registration total: 2,587 SRW Wheat contracts; 0 Oats; 0 Corn; 302 Soybeans; 467 Soyoil; 0 Soymeal; 192 HRW Wheat.
Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of February 17 were: SRW Wheat down 3,212 contracts, HRW Wheat down 4,201, Corn down 12,613, Soybeans down 8,648, Soymeal down 3,274, Soyoil down 2,797.
Brazil Grains & Oilseeds Forecast: Scattered showers continue for much of Brazil’s growing regions for the next week outside of Rio Grande do Sul, where showers will be more limited. The rains will continue to cause delays for soybean harvest and safrinha corn planting, putting the corn at risk when the dry season begins in two months. Producers are having trouble making up ground, but the pace is still rather rapid given the rainy conditions. Corn already in the ground will benefit from the available moisture.
Argentina Grains & Oilseeds Forecast: Dry conditions and reports of frost over the weekend may have caused some damage to immature corn and soybeans. Any showers will be limited for the rest of February, keeping stresses high for both crops. Another burst of heat could come next week.
Northern Plains Forecast: A major winter storm will bring widespread heavy snowfall to the region through Wednesday night in a couple of waves. Strong winds will cause blowing snow and potential blizzard conditions over South Dakota especially. Very cold air will move in with the snow, increasing stress and feed requirements for livestock. The cold will moderate over the weekend, but may continue to be below normal through next week as well.
Central/Southern Plains Forecast: A long-duration winter storm will move through over the next few days, with heavy snow from Colorado through Nebraska and potential for severe thunderstorms in the southeast. The southwest will remain dry with strong winds, which may increase stress for winter wheat, drawing more moisture out of the soil. A brief shot of very cold air will follow for a couple of days before moderating by the weekend. A storm system Sunday into early next week will move on a more favorable track for widespread precipitation through the region, but amounts are still being determined in the drought areas.
Midwest Forecast: A long-duration winter storm will bring widespread impacts this week including heavy snow, significant freezing rain, thunderstorms, and strong winds. If the winds coincide with the snow, it could mean blowing snow and blizzard conditions. A brief shot of colder air will move through, mostly in the northwest. Another strong storm is forecast for early next week with more widespread precipitation.
The player sheet for Feb. 17 had funds: net buyers of 500 contracts of SRW wheat, buyers of 1,000 corn, buyers of 500 soybeans, sellers of 500 soymeal, and sellers of 1,500 soyoil.
- CORN SALE: Private exporters reported the sale of 120,800 tonnes of corn to unknown destinations for delivery in the 2022/23 marketing year, the U.S. Agriculture Department said.
- CORN, SOYMEAL PURCHASES: South Korean animal feed maker Nonghyup Feed Inc. (NOFI) bought an estimated 68,000 tonnes of animal feed corn to be sourced from optional origins in an international tender for up to 138,000 tonnes.
- WHEAT, BARLEY PURCHASE: Tunisia’s state grains agency is thought to have purchased around 100,000 tonnes of soft wheat and around 75,000 tonnes of barley in an international tender.
- RICE TENDER: South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 79,439 tonnes of rice
- RICE TENDER: Egypt’s state grains buyer, GASC, is seeking at least 25,000 tonnes, plus or minus 10% at the buyer’s preference, of white rice in a tender-practice on the account of the Holding Company for Food Industries. Offers should be submitted on Feb. 14.
- BARLEY TENDER: Jordan’s state grains buyer has issued a new international tender to purchase up to 120,000 tonnes of animal feed barley.
CROP SURVEY: US 2023-24 Corn Area Seen Rising to 90.9M Acres
US farmers seen planting 2.3m acres more of corn this year vs last year, according to a Bloomberg survey of as many as 24 analysts.
- Soybean planting seen rising by 1.1m acres from last year’s crop to 88.6m acres
- Wheat planting seen up by 2.8m acres to 48.5m acres
- Cotton seen down by 2.4m acres to 11.4m acres
- Analysts see US ending stocks increasing for all four commodities
Argentine exchange warns of 40% slump in early corn exports
Argentina’s corn exports should fall some 40% year-on-year between March and June, the Rosario Grains exchange (BCR) said on Friday, as fewer hectares were planted early this season due to the impacts of a historic drought.
The BCR forecast just 8.7 millions tonnes of corn exports in those four months, after just 19% of an estimated 7.3 million hectares (18.04 million acres) were sown in the early weeks of the campaign, as many farmers awaited rains which in many regions did not materialize.
Last week, the BCR for the second time cut its corn production estimate to 42.5 million tonnes, due to what it has declared the worst drought in 60 years. At the start of cycle in September, it had forecast a 55 million-tonne harvest.
“This year there will be less corn overall,” the exchange said, “but also a change in the seasonal pattern of grain availability, with only a very small portion available for consumption and export in March to April.”
Early corn yields are higher than those planted late, and are usually shipped abroad during this period. Late corn is usually exported between July and September.
The BCR forecast total corn exports for the current season at 27.5 million tonnes.
Argentina’s government imposes limits on corn exports to guarantee domestic supply. As campaigns progress, the volume of grain allowed to be shipped abroad is adjusted. The current allowance for 2022/23 is 20 million tonnes.
Brazil farmers harvest 25% of soybean-planted area
Brazilian farmers have harvested 25% of the soybean area planted for 2022/23 through last Thursday, agribusiness consultancy AgRural said on Monday, as work in the fields advances quickly in top grain producing state Mato Grosso.
Harvesting was up eight percentage points from the previous week, said AgRural, while at the same time last year 33% of the Brazilian soy fields had been reaped.
The consultancy last week cut its forecast for Brazil’s soybean output this season to 150.9 million tonnes from 152.9 million tonnes, citing a severe drought in the country’s southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul.
Even so, that would represent a record high for soybean production in the South American agricultural powerhouse.
In its latest weekly update on Monday, AgRural highlighted rapid progress in Mato Grosso but said constant rains in the states of Parana and Mato Grosso do Sul, where harvesting was “very sluggish”, may lead to quality issues.
AgRural also said Brazil’s second corn planting, which represents about 75% of the country’s overall corn output in a given year and is cultivated in the same areas as soybeans, was below year-ago levels.
According to the consultancy, 40% of the expected second corn area had been planted in the center-south region as of Thursday, up from 24% a week earlier but below the 53% of a year ago.
Weekly figures were boosted by Mato Grosso and the neighbouring state of Goias, AgRural said in a statement, while in “western Parana, where the delay is very significant, there is concern about the planting window, which is set to close on Feb. 28”.
India Jan. Oilmeals Exports Rise to 472,438 Tons
India’s oilmeals exports rose to 472,438 tons in January from 433,430 tons in December, according to the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India.
- Rapeseed meal exports rose to 238,476 tons from 194,748 tons in December
- Soymeal exports fell to 110,139 tons from 121,138 tons in December
- Rice-bran extract exports rose to 78,956 tons from 65,658 tons in December
- Castorseed meal exports fell to 38,847 tons from 47,727 tons in December
Edible Oil Reserves in India Jump to Record 3.49M Tons: Group
Stockpiles on Feb. 1 in the country compared with 3.05m tons a month earlier, according to the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India.
- Total reserves on Feb. 1 include 452,000 tons of crude palm oil, 191,000 tons of RBD palm olein, 189,000 tons of soybean oil and 229,000 tons of sunflower oil at various ports in the country
Ukraine’s Black Sea Crop Exports Fell 33% in Week to Feb. 19
The volume of crops departing Ukrainian ports under the Black Sea Grain Initiative totaled about 760,189 tons in the week to Feb. 19, according to data posted by the Joint Coordination Centre.
- That compares with about 1.14m tons the prior week
- TOTAL TONNAGE: About 22m tons of crops have been shipped since the initiative was agreed on in late July
Ukraine Grain Exports Drop 29% Y/y in Season Through Feb. 20
Ukraine’s grain exports during the season that began July 1 totaled 30.3m tons as of Feb. 20, versus 42.5m tons a year earlier, the country’s agriculture ministry says on its website.
- 10.8m tons of wheat, down 39% y/y
- 1.9m tons of barley, down 64% y/y
- 17.4m tons of corn, down 7% y/y
CORN/CEPEA: Producers are focused on crop activities; prices are firm
Rains in many corn producing regions this year have delayed the summer crop and sowing activities of the second season. Therefore, players are focused on activities at crops.
Sellers who are operating have been prioritizing the delivery of previously contracted batches. Purchasers indicate to have stocks and many of them say they prefer to postpone trades due to the carnaval period, which can affect the delivery. As a result, trades are moving at a slow pace in the national spot market and prices are stable.
In Campinas (SP), base for the ESALQ/BM&FBovespa Index, prices increased only 0.3% in the last seven days, closing at BRL 86.24 per 60-kilo bag on February 16. On the average of the regions surveyed by Cepea, prices were stable in the over-the-counter market (paid to farmers) but upped 0.6% in the wholesale market (deals between processors).
EXPORTS – Corn shipments continue to move at a good pace this month. Secex data indicate that 1.26 million tons were exported in the first eight working days of February, which is already 65% higher than that verified in the whole month of February last year.
In Paranaguá (PR), corn prices dropped 1.6% from February 9-16 due to the low demand in the spot market and to the devaluation of dollar quotes against Real (-0.9%), at BRL 5.22 on Feb. 16.
In spite of the good perspective for the 2022/23 production, the high volume of rainfall concerns agents, especially regarding the delay of sowing activities.
Conab data released on February 13 indicated that, from the nine states that produce the second crop, only Goiás and Tocantins have planting activities at similar or higher levels compared to the season before. Maranhão and Mato Grosso, on the other hand, are the most delayed in sowing activities. In the national average, the planting is 15 percentage points delayed in relation to the previous crop, at 20.4% of the total area.
The summer crop harvesting is also delayed because of rains. Conab says that only 11% of the crops had been harvested until Feb. 11, against 17.5% last season. In Paraná, Seab/Deral indicates that 7% of the area had been harvested, below the 26% registered the year before. In Rio Grande do Sul, according to Emater/RS, the total reached 46% of the area, 5 percentage points less than in 2022.
SOYBEAN/CEPEA: Export premium returns to negative levels in Brazil
Export premiums for soybean have dropped in Brazil this week, returning to negative levels – a scenario that had not been observed since June/21, considering the first contract. The decrease is linked to the low international demand and to expectations of a good crop in Brazil. Besides premiums, the dollar devaluation against Real has also pressed down values in the regional market.
In the national spot market, the ESALQ/BM&FBovespa Paranaguá (PR) Index and the CEPEA/ESALQ Paraná Index decreased 0.4% between Feb. 9 and 16, to BRL 173.23/bag and BRL 166.11/bag on Feb. 16. On the average of the regions surveyed by Cepea, soybean prices dropped 0.6% in the over-the-counter market (paid to farmers) and in the wholesale market (deals between processors). Dollar quotes decreased 0.9% in the same comparison, at BRL 5.22 on Feb. 16.
The downward trend, however, was limited by the low availability of the soybean in the domestic market. The volume that remains from the 2021/22 is low, and the 2022/23 supply has been hitting the market at a slow pace, due to frequent rains that are interrupting activities at crops. This scenario limited liquidity in the national spot market.
According to Conab, Brazil has harvested only 15.4% of the 152.88 million tons forecast for the 2022/23 season, below the 25% verified in the same period last year.
BY-PRODUCTS – The gap between prices from purchasers and sellers has been even higher over the last days. Many purchasers had been waiting for lower values of soybean meal and soybean oil, based on the possible record crop in Brazil; however, the harvesting delay has interrupted the downward trend for by-products’ prices.
Besides the delay, consumers’ inventories have been shrinking, and some of these players are already operating in the spot market, aiming to trade new batches. The international demand for Brazilian by-products is also firm, increasing the competition between domestic and international purchasers.
On the average of the regions surveyed by Cepea in Brazil, meal quotations rose 1.8% in the last seven days, while oil prices increased 1.5%.
France Faces Unprecedented Drought, Prolonging Hydropower Pain
France is undergoing an unprecedented winter drought that could cause headaches for farmers and the country’s main hydropower producers, Electricite de France SA and Engie SA.
It hasn’t rained in the nation since Jan. 21, a 27-day streak that’s a record for winter, weather forecaster Meteo France said Friday. While some regions may see showers next week, France will likely end the month with a 50% rainfall deficit.
“Beyond the lack of rain, the snow covers in the Pyrenees and in the Alps are also clearly below seasonal average,” it added. “Rainfall in the next three months will therefore be key.”
France’s hydropower output plunged by a fifth last year to its lowest level since 1976 as the country experienced its hottest and second-driest year on record. The drought, which hit several parts of Europe, contributed to the continent’s energy crisis, as Russia reduced gas deliveries and EDF struggled with nuclear reactor repairs. The scorching weather also reduced crops, curtailed nuclear-power output and contributed to wildfires.
Soft-wheat and winter-barley are just emerging from dormancy in France, and crops are faring well so far — with more than 90% in good or very good condition, data from FranceAgriMer showed Friday. However, their water requirements will steadily increase in the coming weeks as plant development accelerates, heightening the need for spring rainfall.
Top Oil Palm Grower Hires More Drone Pilots to Boost Production
- Move comes as planter seeks to make estates more efficient
- Return of foreign workers will boost production in Malaysia
Sime Darby Plantation Bhd., the world’s biggest oil palm planter, has been hiring more drone pilots as it seeks to mechanize and automate its estates and make up for the lack of foreign workers.
The company now has close to 400 locals working in jobs such as machine specialists and drone pilots, and plans to more than double the number by the year-end, said Group Managing Director Mohamad Helmy Othman Basha. The shortage of foreign labor during the pandemic “really propelled us to find a permanent solution to attract as many locals as possible,” he told a briefing.
Foreigners are also returning now to the plantations after the end of Covid restrictions, with a further 5,000 workers from Indonesia, mostly harvesters and pruners, likely to arrive after the Eid al-Fitr festival in April. That means the labor shortage at its plantations in Malaysia should be resolved by June, which should help boost production, Mohamad Helmy said.
The palm oil industry in Malaysia is heavily reliant on overseas labor, and planters have struggled to bring in more workers even after movement curbs were relaxed. The chronic labor crunch hurt productivity on the estates and resulted in revenue losses of about 20 billion ringgit last year.
Sime Darby Plantation 4Q Profit Climbs; Sees Steady Palm Prices
More from the briefing:
- Palm oil will likely range from 3,800 ringgit to 4,200 ringgit a ton in 2023. Futures traded at 4,146 ringgit by 5:16 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur.
- Demand for the tropical oil is expected to pick up by the second quarter. Re-stocking for the Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr festivals has been completed, and inventories in key destinations such as India and Pakistan are at healthy levels.
- Chinese purchases have been lackluster even as borders reopen, as most buyers front-loaded in December when prices were low
India sets up panel to assess impact of higher temperatures on wheat crop
India has set up a panel of officials to assess the impact of rising temperatures on the wheat crop, government officials said on Monday, as the weather office warned that above normal temperatures would prevail in key producing states.
The world’s second biggest wheat producer earlier this month said it’s production was likely to rise 4.1% to a record 112.2 million tonnes.
However, a lack of winter rains has raised temperatures in some parts of India’s northern states where farmers grow wheat. Last week, the daily average temperature hit early to mid-March levels, according to weather officials.
India, also the world’s second-biggest consumer of wheat, banned exports in May 2022 after a sharp, sudden rise in temperatures clipped output, even as export demand picked up to meet the global shortfall triggered by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“The government has decided to form a committee to monitor the impact of higher temperatures, but the current crop condition looks good,” said one of the officials, who didn’t wish to be named in line with official rules.
India’s agriculture commissioner will head the committee, and officials from the country’s key wheat growing states and government scientists will also be on the panel.
Maximum temperatures in some states this week jumped to 39 degrees Celsius, which is up to 9 degrees Celsius above normal, India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in a statement on Monday.
Maximum temperatures are likely to remain 5 to 7 degrees Celsius above normal over many parts of northwest India during the next three days, it said.
“This higher day temperature might lead to adverse effects on wheat approaching the reproductive growth period, which is sensitive to temperature. High temperature during flowering and maturing periods leads to loss in yield,” the IMD said.
The country grows only one wheat crop in a year, with planting in October and November, and harvesting from March.
Europe’s Winter Crops Faring Well Though South Needs Rainfall
Winter crops in most of Europe are in fair to good condition, the EU’s Monitoring Agricultural Resources unit said in a report on Monday.
- After warm weather at the start of the year, temperatures returned to more normal levels, without severe cold snaps
- However, parts of Spain, Italy and Turkey face distinct rainfall deficits
- There are low water levels in reservoirs and in snow packs, weighing on the amount of irrigation water that will be available in spring and summer
- Southern Spain and Portugal have had less than 20% of normal rains since Jan. 15
- NOTE: Major winter crops grown in Europe include wheat, barley and rapeseed
Drought Grips Wheat Crops in One of World’s Top Import Regions
- Yields in Algeria, Morocco seen as quarter below usual: MARS
- Harvest shortfalls stem from driest seasons since 1979
Drought gripping North Africa is curbing local wheat harvests, potentially boosting demand in one of the world’s top import regions.
Yields in Morocco and Algeria in 2023 could fall about a quarter below the five-year average, according to a Monday report from the European Union’s Monitoring Agricultural Resources Unit, which also tracks conditions in nearby regions. Tunisia’s yields are also seen falling 15%.
“Rain is urgently needed to avoid further losses,” the report said.
The region imports wheat even in times of good production, and harvest shortfalls may further boost purchases. Morocco’s crop last year also was devastated by drought, almost doubling demand in the 2022-23 season. Global wheat prices have retreated from records in the immediate wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but they remain high historically.
Rainfall since Dec. 1 in key wheat and barley regions of Algeria and Tunisia rank as the driest in MARS data, which runs to 1979. In Morocco, prospects are better than last year, but winter-crop plantings fell to a decade low, and production could be further compromised without rain in the coming weeks.
“Delay in planting due to drought conditions, and below-average biomass accumulation, leave little room for good yield expectations for cereals in Morocco,” MARS said.
Harvests typically start in April and May. Output in Egypt is more consistent from year to year due to its access to irrigated land.
US Pork Production Up 0.5% This Week, Beef Down: USDA
US federally inspected pork production rises to 544m pounds for the week ending Feb. 18 from 541m in the previous week, according to USDA estimates published on the agency’s website.
- Hog slaughter up 0.8% from a week ago to 2.505m head
- Beef production down 0.4% from a week ago, cattle slaughter falls 0.5%
- For the year, beef production is 3.7% below last year’s level at this time, and pork is 1.8% above
Brazil Supreme Court rules Bayer must return $252 mln in GMO soy royalties
Germany’s Bayer BAYGn.DE has been ordered by Brazil’s Supreme Court to return to Brazilian soybean farmers the royalties they were charged for a GMO soybean seed, the Mato Grosso farmer lobby Aprosoja-MT said in a statement on Friday.
The Feb. 13 ruling by Supreme Court Justice Nunes Marques relates to a GMO technology commercially known as Intacta RR2 Pro, created by Monsanto, which was later acquired by Germany’s Bayer.
Bayer said in a statement it will determine its next steps while noting it would comply with the ruling.
The ruling is the latest chapter of a protracted battle opposing the crop science firm and Brazilian farmers, who have launched multiple legal challenges against the firm.
In 2017, Mato Grosso farmers sued Monsanto over that same genetically modified seed, seeking to cancel its patent protections by claiming it did not bring any technological innovation.
Two years later soy producer associations in 10 Brazilian states joined that lawsuit.
Aprosoja-MT said that according to the ruling, Bayer will now have to deposit 1.3 billion reais ($252 million) in an escrow account to return royalties paid by farmers going back to 2018.
Bayer said it is analyzing the Marques ruling, which refers specifically to a lawsuit brought by farmers claiming the company was charging royalties on a patent that had expired.
“It is worth mentioning that the Intacta RR2 Pro technology is protected by intellectual property rights of a wide and diverse nature,” Bayer said. “We trust that these rights give us legal support so that the use of our protected technology is respected in the country.”
A lawyer for Aprosoja-MT said Bayer can appeal Marques’ ruling at the plenary of the Supreme Court.
Brazilian cotton producers have also sued Bayer over Bollgard II RR Flex genetically modified cotton seed. ($1 = 5.1673 reais)
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