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U.S. Corn, Soybean Harvest 23% Complete, While Black Sea Exports in Focus

Reuters writer Julie Ingwersen reported yesterday that, “The U.S. corn and soy harvests were 23% complete by Sunday, government data showed on Monday, slightly behind analysts’ expectations that both crops would be 25% harvested.

2023 Crop Progress and Conditions. Charts and Maps. USDA- National Agricultural Statistics Service (October 2, 2023).

Soybean condition ratings improved very slightly, further easing concerns over tight supplies after the U.S. Agriculture Department on Friday reported higher-than-expected stockpiles of the oilseed.

2023 Crop Progress and Conditions. Charts and Maps. USDA- National Agricultural Statistics Service (October 2, 2023).

Corn conditions remained the same as a week ago at 53% of the crop in good or excellent condition. Soybean conditions improved to 52% from 50%.”

Ingwersen added that, “Meanwhile, farmers have begun seeding the U.S. winter wheat crop that will be harvested in 2024.

“The USDA reported winter wheat plantings as 40% complete, in line with analysts’ expectations.”

Elsewhere, Dow Jones writer Kirk Maltais reported yesterday that, “This afternoon’s Crop Progress report from the USDA tempered the bounceback of grain futures for much of the day, as weather appears supportive for farmers to get into their fields and harvest.”

Yesterday’s article noted that, “Brazilian farmers are planting soybeans for the 2023/24 season at the most rapid pace in the country’s history, analysts at agricultural consultancy AgRural said in a research note. As of Sept. 28, planting had finished on 5.2% of the area forecast to be sown with the oilseeds, AgRural says. That is up from 1.9% a week earlier, and up from 3.8% on the same date a year earlier. Irregular rains are holding up planting work in the state of Mato Grosso, while farmers in Parana continued to advance, the consultancy said.”

Turning to news regarding grain exports, in a separate Dow Jones article yesterday, Kirk Maltais indicated that, “U.S. export inspections of wheat are down for the week ended Sept. 28, with total inspections for the new marketing year falling further behind the pace of the previous year.”

Total wheat inspections for the 2023/24 marketing year are well behind last year’s pace, totaling 6.06 million tons, which is down 29% from 8.52 million tons at this time last year. Corn and soybean inspections are slightly higher for the new marketing year, which started in September for those grains, than this time last year,” the article said.

Reuters News reported today that, “Ukrainian grain exports fell to 6.68 million metric tons so far in the 2023/24 July-June season from 8.99 million tons in the same period of 2022/23, government data showed, with only 7,000 tons exported on Oct. 1.

“That said, three more cargo ships left Ukrainian seaports on Sunday and five new vessels came in for loading, raising hopes via the Black Sea will become easier and cheaper.”

Reuters writer Pavel Polityuk reported today that, “Ukrainian grain exports fell 10% to 2.1 million metric tons in September versus August due to difficulties in export logistics and Russian shelling on key export facilities, the UCAB agricultural business association said on Tuesday.”

And more broadly, Bloomberg writers Aine Quinn and Daryna Krasnolutska reported yesterday that, “Ten ships have completed journeys to major Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea without incident in the past few weeks, defying Russia’s threats to target vessels in the area.

“Ukraine Defies Russia by Trying to Revive Black Sea Trade,” by Aine Quinn and Daryna Krasnolutska. Bloomberg News (October 2, 2023).

“The ships’ passage signals that Ukraine’s daring bet to set up its own trade route after the collapse of a safe-corridor agreed with Russia has paid off. So far the success is mostly symbolic, with ship traffic still requiring cautious maneuvers close to the coast of Bulgaria and Romania as vessels head to Ukraine.”

“Ukraine Defies Russia by Trying to Revive Black Sea Trade,” by Aine Quinn and Daryna Krasnolutska. Bloomberg News (October 2, 2023).

Quinn and Krasnolutska pointed out that, “The cost of insuring ships sailing in such a risky area is also an issue. In a sign that the new strategy is gaining momentum, insurance broker Miller said it was offering ‘full war risks insurance coverage’ for Ukraine Black Sea grain ships.”

Also yesterday, Reuters writer Yuliia Dysa reported that, “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday discussed possible alternative ‘corridors’ for exporting grain from Ukraine, Zelenskiy’s office said.”

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good is the Farm Policy News editor for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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