AgriCharts Market Commentary

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Corn futures are trading 1 3/4 to 2 cents lower this morning. They ended Monday session down 2 to 3 cents. Pressure came from widespread rains across the WCB. Preliminary open interest shows some net new selling, up 19, 212 contracts for the day. Monday morning’s USDA Export Inspections report indicated that 1.097 MMT of corn was shipped in the week that ended on August 16. That was down 13.13% from the week prior but 52.27% larger than the same week in 2017. Total YTD exports are now lagging last year by just 0.28% with just over 2 weeks left in the 17/18 MY. The afternoon’s Crop Progress report put the corn crop at 85% dough stage (72% avg) and 44% dented (26% avg) as of August 19. Condition ratings were down 5 points on the Brugler500 index, with gd/ex ratings 2% lower to 78%. This is a typical decline for mid-August. The DTN Digital crop tour put US national average yield at 174.99 bpa. The Pro Farmer tour started on Monday, with results expected Thursday.


Soybean futures are currently fractionally mixed after seeing fractional to 1 1/4 cent gains in most contracts on Monday. Those gains were limited by rains rolling across the Midwest. Preliminary open interest dropped 4,565 contracts, a little light short covering. Nearby soy meal was down $1.90/ton, with soy oil up 31 points. Export Inspections of soybeans in the week of 8/16 totaled 639,001 MT. That was 4.5% lower than the same time of last year, but 9.9% larger than the previous week. Accumulated YTD exports are now 3.2% lower than the same time last year, as we head into the last 2 weeks of the MY. The Monday afternoon Crop Progress report indicated that 91% of the US soybean crop was setting pods vs. the average of 83%. Crop ratings were down 1% to 65% gd/ex, while the Brugler500 Index lost 2 points to 367.


Wheat futures are 2 to 3 cents lower this morning in MPLS spring wheat, and down 7+ cents in the CHI and KC contracts. They ended Monday with most nearby contracts 13 to 18 1/4 cents in the red. USDA weekly Export Inspections were just 345,375 MT. That was 29.14% lower than last week’s report and 41.72% below the same week in 2017. Last night, NASS showed the winter wheat harvest nearly done at 97% complete, as the Northern states finish up. Spring wheat harvest is progressing, with 60% of the acres harvested vs. the normal pace of 44% for this date. The spring crop was rated at 74% gd/ex down 1% from last week, with the Brugler500 down 3 to 379.


Live cattle futures finished Monday mixed. The front months were 5 to 42.5 cents lower, with back months steady to marginally higher. Feeder cattle futures were mostly a nickel to $1.325 lower. The CME feeder cattle index was up 7 cents from the previous day at $149.66. Wholesale boxed beef values were higher on Monday afternoon, with the Ch/Se spread widening to $11.69. Choice boxes were up $2.60 at $213.98, while Select boxes were up $1.37 at $202.29. USDA FI weekly cattle slaughter was estimated at 118,000 head on Monday. That is up steady with the previous week and 1,000 head above the same week in 2017.

Lean Hogs

Lean hog futures posted 50 cent to $2.125 losses in most contracts on Monday. The CME Lean Hog Index was down $1.27 on August 16, to $52.94. The USDA pork carcass cutout value was up 41 cents from the day prior to $67.18. The rib and belly primal cuts were the only ones reported lower. The national base hog carcass value was down 37 cents in the Monday PM report, with the weighted average @ $40.21. USDA estimated hog slaughter at 456,000 head on Monday. That is 11,000 head below last week and up 31,000 head from this week last year.


Cotton futures are mostly 121 to 129 points higher today, with thinly traded October still showing -2. They were 109 to 135 points higher on Monday. A weaker US Dollar index was supportive, down 349 points. The DXY is weaker again this morning. NASS reported after the close that 86% of the US cotton crop was setting bolls, matching the average, and 17% of the crop had bolls opening (12% avg). The cotton crop conditions were improved 2% to 42% good/ex, with the Brugler500 Index back up 5 points to 305. The Cotlook A index was up 100 points from the previous day at 91.75 cents/lb on August 17. The weekly AWP was updated to 75.45 cents/lb through next Thursday, down 422 points from the previous week.

Market Commentary provided by:

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