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Grain Stocks and Prospective Planting Reports Preview

Grain markets are keeping a close eye on this week’s round of spring USDA reports. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will release its Quarterly Grain Stocks and Prospective Plantings reports on Wednesday, March 31st. AgMarket.Net branch manager Jim McCormick says we’ve seen a big build up towards this annual report day.

“They are going to give us these much-anticipated acreage survey release numbers,” McCormick said. “A lot of people are trending towards 93-94 million acres of corn and somewhere around 90 down to 89 million acres of beans. That’s the first key to the new crop balance sheet. Then the wildcard is going to be the ending stocks. When you talk to producers and end users, there does not seem to be a lot of corn left over in the country right now. The government is counting those bushels as of March 1. They are going to release that number. That tends to be a game changer in these markets. We’ve seen the market move limit up and limit down just based on these quarterly grain stocks. That’s going to be the excitement. The near term is going to be a little bit of a doldrums until we wait for that number to come next week.”

McCormick adds the soybean quarterly grain stock number is easily predicted because we know what we crush and export. However, the corn number is the main wildcard.

“That (corn) is the one where you are like ‘wow’ because we know what corn we are going to turn into ethanol and we know what we export,” McCormick said. “But the reality is we don’t know what we fed. They take that corn number and kind of back track to come up with that corn number. Then you have this category called residual, which is kind of the slush fund. The fact of the matter is we’ve seen them find 200 to lose 200-300 million bushels of corn. With their carryout projected at 1.5, finding 200 million bushels of corn and losing 200 million bushels of corn could be the difference of a limit up or a limit down type of move.”

Both reports will be published at Noon Eastern Time on Wednesday, March 31st.