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3 Big Things Today, January 17, 2023

Wheat Futures Lower Overnight; Grain Continues to Flow From Ukraine

1. Wheat Futures Drop in Overnight Trading

Wheat futures plunged in overnight trading amid calls for much-needed precipitation in parts of the southern Plains this week.

Soybeans and corn also were lower.

Rain is expected in parts of the southern Plains including southwestern Kansas and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles where hard-red winter wheat is overwintering, according to forecasts from the National Weather Service.

Mixed precipitation is possible in much of northern Kansas and into southern Nebraska.

The southern Plains have been extremely dry this growing season. Little or no rain has fallen in the past 30 days in a stretch of land composed of the eastern third of New Mexico, the western three-fourths of Texas, all of Oklahoma, and southern Kansas, according to the NWS's precipitation page.

About 84% of Kansas, the biggest producer of winter wheat in the U.S., was suffering from drought conditions as of last week, unchanged from the previous week, but up from 58% a year earlier, data from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows.

Some 89% of Oklahoma is seeing drought conditions, up from 88% a year earlier but down from 100% three months ago, the monitor said.

The lack of recent moisture means this week's weather event will be important for crops in the area. The NWS puts the odds of precipitation in the area at 20% today and 40% tomorrow.

Another round of rain and snow is possible on Friday, the agency said.

Wheat futures for March delivery dropped 11¼ cents to $7.32 ½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures lost 11½ cents to $8.32 ¼ a bushel.

Soybean futures fell 9¾ cents to $15.18 a bushel overnight. Soymeal was down $5.90 to $470.40 a short ton, while soy oil was up 0.13¢ to 63.19¢ a pound.

Corn futures for March delivery fell 4¼ cents to $6.70 ¾ a bushel.

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2. Ukraine Grain Exports Continue, Volumes Down Last Week

Vessels carrying grain and other agricultural products continue to move out of Ukraine, though it seems shipments last week were at their lowest since the Black Sea Grain Initiative — the agreement allowing ships to move mostly unfettered out of the war-torn country — began in August.

Three ships sailed from the port city of Odesa today carrying 52,000 metric tons of wheat and 67,000 tons of corn, according to the United Nations. The ships carrying wheat were bound for Turkey and the vessel carrying corn was headed for China.

Five ships left the Ukrainian ports of Yuzhny, Pivdennyi, and Chornomorsk yesterday, the UN said.

From Jan. 9 through Jan. 15, however, volumes of agricultural products shipped out of Ukraine fell 20% to 490,825 metric tons, the lowest since mid-August, according to analysis of United Nations data by S&P Global Insights.

Cargo sizes also were down, falling 32% for the week to an average of 25,833 metric tons, S&P Global said in its report.

Since the beginning of August, when the agreement between Russian and Ukraine was brokered by the UN and Turkey, more than 17 million metric tons of corn, soybeans, wheat, and other farm products have been shipped from the Black Sea ports, United Nations data show.


3. Winter Storms Expected From Colorado to Great Lakes

Weather maps are lit up again this morning with winter weather stretching from Colorado into the northern Plains east to the Great Lakes, according to maps from the National Weather Service.

A winter storm warning has been issued for the western half of Nebraska and much of northeastern Colorado. In central Nebraska, up to 10 inches of snow is forecast along with winds gusting up to 30 mph, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

"Travel could be very difficult," the agency said. "Patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility."

Winter weather advisories are in effect until noon today in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin as mixed precipitation is falling in some areas, the NWS said.

Another inch of snow is expected on top of what's already fallen, which may be accompanied by a light glaze of ice, the agency said. Road conditions are forecast to be slippery.

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