Tucker Talk: February 19, 2016

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Early Morning Sunrise in Hemingford

The state-run company of ChemChina purchased Syngenta a couple weeks ago.  ChemChina believes that this purchase will help advance the acceptance of GMOs with the populace of China. This is also a major step for China in moving towards improving their national corn yield by 25-30% through the applications of GMOs and the complimentary technologies.

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a popular choice this year with depressed prices across all commodities.  In October of 2015 there were 23.55 million acres signed up for the program with a cap of 25 million acres.  The deadline for the current sign-up period is February 26, 2016  That cap drops to 24 million acres next year and will remain there until 2018.

Recent warm temperatures across the mid-west U.S. have eliminated snow cover and caused wheat to emerge from dormancy in many ares.  Pictures out of Oklahoma and Texas show winter wheat 2-3 inches tall.  Concerns are arising over the increased risk of winter wheat freezing over the next 2 months.

Ergot was of significant importance in the 2015 wheat harvest at Farmer’s Coop locations with some wheat being rejected.  The acceptable level of tolerance for the presence of ergot bodies is 0.05% or about 10 bodies in a coffee can.  0.05% is an extremely low tolerance level and is the international standard.  There has been some confusion with Egypt over the last couple weeks.  Egypt rejected a load 2 weeks ago and it was thought that the issues were  worked out but then they rejected more loads this week.  Egyptian agricultural authorities announced that 0.05% would be accepted but offers to sell wheat to Egypt are scarce due to the confusion.  You would probably be leery too if you had a ship full of wheat rejected on delivery.  You can read more on ergot at the links below.

Why All the Fuss Over Ergot?

Ergot in Wheat: A Brief Summary

Climatologists met yesterday to forecast spring and summer weather conditions in 2016.  They concluded that given the current trend in the El Nino/La Nina pattern, there is an increased likelihood of above normal temperatures throughout the entire central region of the U.S. and an increased likelihood of below normal precipitation throughout the Great Lakes region. They predict that the current El Nino trend, which has moved from strong to neutral since January, will last through March.  If it moves quickly into a La Nina pattern we could see drought conditions across the mid-west.

Interesting News: Pope Francis, the internationally recognized head of the Catholic Church and Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox church met last week.  This is the first meeting of the two leaders since the split of the catholic church in 1054 when each leader was excommunicated by the other.  This meeting has no doubt been spurred by the threat of ISIS against Christians all over the world.  The Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church are planning on joining forces to combat the Muslim threat against Christendom.  Once again the Christian and Muslim worlds are in conflict but instead of the Christians invading the Muslim world (400 years of crusades) the Muslims look to be invading the Christian world (terrorism?).

Tucker Talk: February 5, 2016

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Hemingford Sunrise

Markets are down yesterday and today after a week of short covering by the managed money crowd.  The commodities markets saw slight rallies over the past couple weeks as buying interest increased.  However, there is no fundamental news to help continue the rally so with a poor export sales report Thursday, managed money began selling contracts again.  In the export sales report 66.2 thousand metric tons of wheat were sold last week compared to the 397.6 this week last year.  US wheat is still $0.70/bu overpriced to the rest of the world.  USDA will probably lower export numbers in the February Supply and Demand report on Tuesday February 9.

Egypt rejected a load of wheat from France due to some Ergot concerns.  Egypt was maintaining zero tolerance for ergot even though the GASC (General Authority for Supply Commodities) has a 0.05% tolerance level. Egypt modified their tolerance levels when they stopped receiving offers for wheat and is expected to be back in the market today.

The CME has responded to concerns involving high volatility in the cattle futures.  CEO Terry Duffy met with state cattle associations and made a general presentation at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in San Diego, CA last week to address the main issues and changes that could be made.  Reducing the intra-day volatility of the cattle futures will hopefully result in a better risk management tool for cattle dealers. Cattle currently consists of approximately 1% of CME trading.

Read more here.