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Scooped by Briana Voorhis!

U.S. grains: Corn futures fall on big crop expectations

U.S. corn futures hit a fresh three-year low on Monday, their fourth straight day of declines, as expectations for a record crop in the United States continued to build, traders said.

Wheat also dropped, under pressure from technical selling as well as spillover weakness from corn. Soybeans were mixed, with the nearby contract dropping on heavy deliveries while deferred months firmed on short-covering and bargain buying.

Traders were squaring up positions ahead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's much anticipated monthly supply and demand report on Friday. The October report was scuttled due to the partial shutdown of the federal government.

Soybeans bucked the overall bearish tone hanging over the grains market, bouncing back after falling 2.6 per cent last week.

"We had a really good sell-off here and... we are heading into a big USDA report," said Chris Robinson, senior trader and analyst at Top Third Ag Marketing. "The biggest thing is that anybody who was short is taking profits."

Chicago Board of Trade January soybean futures, the most actively traded contract, settled up five cents at $12.56-1/2 a bushel. The November soybean contract, which is in the delivery period, was two cents lower at $12.64 a bushel (all figures US$).

Front-month soybeans bottomed out at $12.60, the lowest since Feb. 24, 2012.

Analysts said soybeans were drawing additional support from improved crushing margins, with Chinese interest underpinning gains.

CBOT December corn was one cent lower at $4.26-1/4 a bushel and CBOT December wheat was down five cents at $6.62-3/4 a bushel. The front-month CBOT wheat contract hit its lowest since Sept. 25.

Analysts are expecting the USDA report to peg the U.S. corn crop at 14.003 billion bushels, based on an average yield of 158.933 bushels per acre, according to the average of 27 estimates in a Reuters poll. In September, USDA forecast a corn crop of 13.843 billion bushels and an average yield of 155.3 bushels per acre.

Soybean production was seen at 3.221 billion bushels, up from the September estimate of 3.149 billion.

"Everyone is expecting the USDA on Friday to increase its forecast for the soybeans and the corn harvests," said Michaela Kuhl, a grains analyst with Commerzbank.

"All the estimates have come in quite high so everyone is expecting very good numbers. Unless there are any news to the contrary, it will be very difficult for corn prices to increase over the next few days."

U.S. farmers are making rapid progress harvesting corn and soybeans despite a late start due to immature crops and despite occasional rains that caused temporary slowdowns, analysts said Monday.

The corn harvest was likely 71 per cent complete as of Sunday and soybean harvest was 87 per cent complete, according to an average of 10 estimates in a Reuters poll. The early November average from 2008 to 2012 was 71 per cent for corn and 86 per cent for soybeans. USDA will provide its latest update on crop progress on Monday afternoon.

Farmers should make quick work of their remaining acres after a brief slowdown during the next few days.

"Showers will develop in the west tomorrow and then the east Wednesday, followed by nearly a week of dry weather," Commodity Weather Group said in a note to clients. "This should allow much of the soybean harvest to be completed and push the corn harvest along as well."

Briana Voorhis's insight:

It's crazy how easily weather can affect crops.  Hopefully things get better.

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Egypt cancels wheat tender, blaming high prices

Egypt cancels wheat tender, blaming high prices | ALS Animals |

Grain officials in Egypt, the world's biggest wheat importer, cancelled their first tender in a month because of the "high prices" of offers received, attributing the values to the shortage of high quality Russian supplies.

Egypt's Gasc grain authority, in an unusual move, rejected all 12 offers to its latest tender, which had been scheduled to secure wheat for shipment late next month.

Gasc ditched the tender "because the price were so high compared those on the exchange", a Gasc spokesman said, adding that the authority uses mainly prices in Chicago, but also on Paris's Matif and, to a lesser extent, other markets as benchmarks.

"We will be back soon with another tender," he added.

Above-market prices

The Chicago price of $6.90 a bushel on Thursday for the benchmark December contract equates to less than $254 a tonne.

The cheapest lot at the tender, from Bunge, was priced at $274.64 a tonne, excluding shipping, for 60,000 tonnes of Romanian wheat.

On Matif, the benchmark November contract was trading at E198.50 a tonne, equivalent to $268 a tonne, below the cheapest offer of French supplies at $276.25 a tonne, from Toepfer.

Russia shortage

The potential for merchants to have applied a premium, given Egypt's political unrest and financial headwinds, was "not the main issue" behind the level of the bids, the spokesman said.

"We have some problem with the shortage in the supplies from Russia – not quantity but quality."

A squeeze on supplies of Group 3 Russian wheat was prompting merchants to fill the void utilising Group 4 supplies, the grade the Egypt buys, the spokesman said.

Russia is typically, at this stage of the season, a keen competitor at Egyptian tenders.

However, it has been widely reported that harvest rains prompted quality downgrades in many areas, such as the black earth region.

The persistence of the rains has, in hampering autumn sowings, continued to underpin Russian wheat prices, which are also gaining support from ideas that the government is to replenish inventories sapped fulfilling domestic needs after 2012's disappointing harvest.

Russia vs France

The cheapest Russian grain was actually offered at $278.00 a tonne, by Cargill – making it more expensive than the cheapest French lot.

However, it is more competitive once the lower shipping costs to Egypt from the Black Sea than from France are factored in.

Signally, no supplies from Ukraine, where wet weather has also hurt autumn seedings, were offered at all.

Ukraiine has been the second-ranked origin, after Romania, for Gasc purchases so far in 2013-14, accounting for more than 700,000 tonnes of the 2.1m tonnes of wheat acquired.

Briana Voorhis's insight:

I didn't even know this was happening.  It is a bit surprising, actually.

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Livestock Auction Aids Ranchers West River - KELOLAND TV

Livestock Auction Aids Ranchers West River - KELOLAND TV | ALS Animals |
Livestock Auction Aids Ranchers West River KELOLAND TV "You go and you're two or three weeks away from cashing in your crop that you worked all year for and now you lose it within a couple of days," Sioux Falls Regional Livestock co-owner Brad...
Briana Voorhis's insight:

It's great that they're helping each other.

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Scientists have discovered how mosquitoes develop viral immunity

Scientists have discovered how mosquitoes develop viral immunity | ALS Animals |
(Medical Xpress)—Published online in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the team from CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory, in Geelong, have shown Vago, a protein previously identified in fruit flies, is...

Via Maria Nunzia @Varvera
Briana Voorhis's insight:

This article was very informative.  I had never really understood how mosquitos could transmit so many viruses and still remain unaffected by them.

Kennedy Williamson's curator insight, December 5, 2013 9:05 PM

As we all know, misquitoes are annoying to us as well as our animals. There has been a study on how misquitoes develop their immunity to different iral diseases like the West Nile Virus. Compared to humans misquitoes are missing a lot of parts of their immune system. they have Vago which is like interferon. Interferon is a protein released by animal cells, usually in response to the entry of a virus, that has the property of inhibiting virus replication. This lets the misquitoes have an immunity to viruses.