Weather and planting progress take center stage in markets


A back-and-forth pattern late in the week shows the uncertainty in the commodities market, Randy Koenen of Red River Farm Network and Randy Martinson of Martinson Ag Risk Management discussed on the Agweek Market Wrap.

“It makes us realize we have some really strong resistance levels that this market isn’t able to trade through,” Martinson said.

Agweek Market Wrap: Weather and planting progress take center stage in markets

Fri May 17 14:57:00 EDT 2024

Randy Koenen of Red River Farm Network and Randy Martinson of Martinson Ag Risk Management discuss planting progress, crop conditions, high boxed beef prices and more on the Agweek Market Wrap. 

Weather and planting progress have been the main concerns for the market, he said.

Planting progress has been slow due to rain “all the way across” the country, Martinson said, and even though some places have gotten back into the fields, rain is forecasted to return to many places.

“At this point it looks like we’re probably going to see some prevent plant this year,” he said.

Export sales have been “OK” for wheat, but corn and soybeans lag behind.

“We have zero china sales on the book for 2024 and that’s a little bit scary this late in the season. Normally we have about a third on the books already.”

Koenen said export sales have been soft, and Martinson confirmed that Brazil is still shipping out a lot of soybeans. Corn sales haven’t been as bad for the U.S., but much of the supply is going to Mexico, Colombia and Japan, rather than China.

Wheat production in Russia remains a concern, Koenen and Martinson said, with frost and freezes raising concerns about smaller acreage to be harvested. But at the same time, the U.S. southern Plains winter wheat is looking better than anticipated, according to the Wheat Quality Council’s recent tour. Harvest for winter wheat is slowly beginning.

“It’s not going to be long before that crop is going to be available,” Martinson said.

Koenen said the weekly crop progress report “hasn’t looked that bad” for the northern Plains. Martinson confirmed wheat conditions are “holding its level of good to excellent” and looks better than last year.

They said planting progress of corn and soybeans likely will determine the direction of the markets.

In cattle, boxed beef cutouts have been strong, which Martinson said has helped overshadow slower slaughter pace and higher slaughter weights.

“It’s showing that the consumer is willing to buy with these higher prices,” Martinson said. “That’s a key indication of good domestic demand.”

With barbecue season around the corner and economic indicators looking positive, it’s a friendly time for livestock, they said.

Plus, Koenen said packer margins are better with higher boxed beef levels, which Martinson said will help the packers continue to move beef to consumers.

Martinson said geopolitical issues aren’t impacting commodities much at the moment, so weather and planting progress remain the main topics of concern.

(The Agweek Market Wrap is sponsored by Gateway Building Systems.)

Jenny Schlecht

Jenny Schlecht is the director of ag content for Agweek and serves as editor of Agweek, Sugarbeet Grower and BeanGrower. She lives on a farm and ranch near Medina, North Dakota, with her husband and two daughters. You can reach her at or 701-595-0425.


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