Corn Harvest Is in Trouble as US Heat Fuels More Damage
Comment of the Day

August 24 2023

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Corn Harvest Is in Trouble as US Heat Fuels More Damage

This article from Bloomberg may be of interest. Here is a section:

“Things are changing right in front of our eyes,” said Thayne Larson, who has grown alfalfa, hay, corn in Kansas for 50 years. “It’s so disappointing when you have what you thought could be a healthy crop, and then the conditions just become extremely, extremely challenging.”

Crops Go ‘Backwards’ 
With food security already under threat from Europe to Asia, the world has been counting on a big corn harvest to help keep food inflation at bay. A disappointing US harvest could have ripple effects on markets across the globe.

Much will come down to Iowa, the No. 1 US corn grower and where sixth-generation farmer Ben Riensche is for the first-time ever watching his crop go “backwards” because of the heat. 

His corn stalks went from bright and green to slightly gray. Instead of sitting tight against the plant, the corn ears are flopping down, the husk has turned brown and the bottom of the stalk — where the plants connects to the roots that go deep underground — looks like it’s been burned. It means that the plant is dead.

Eoin Treacy's view

It’s been a particularly warm summer on the border of the great plains here in Dallas. I know people complain about the heat, but it is nothing compared to a summer in Melbourne, Australia. Selling cable phone and TV service door to door around Vicotria 24 years ago inured me to the heat but there is no doubt it has been very dry and hot in Texas.
Corn prices have dropped sharply over the last several months and are now testing the upper side of the base formation. The futures curve is still in contango which suggests no supply shortage and the trend suggest no urgency to buy. A clear upward dynamic will be required to confirm a meaningful has been found.
Cotton has put in a well-defined base formation and is firming in the region of the 200-day MA. The futures curve is also in backwardation. That suggests the impact of the drought is being more heavily felt in the cotton crop than in corn.
Soybeans is currently rallying from the region of the 1000-day MA as it puts in a higher reaction low. It’s still trading in contango.   

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