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Global Ag News for Dec 27.23


US reopens Mexico rail crossings after closure sought to stem migration

The United States on Friday reopened two rail crossings between Texas and Mexico vital for exports, five days after their closure in response to increased migrant traffic, and new U.S. data showed migrant numbers at the southern U.S. border remained high last month.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said operations resumed on Friday afternoon at the international railway crossing bridges in Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas. The closures had dismayed railroads, the agriculture industry and some lawmakers concerned by the loss of exports.

The White House said the United States will operate the crossings 24 hours a day for the next few days, and railroads, U.S. grain industry trade groups and Mexico’s farm lobby welcomed the reopening.

Growers, representing U.S. corn, milk, rice and soybean producers, among others, this week estimated that almost 1 million bushels of grain exports were lost every day of the closure.

At the start of the week, the Biden administration closed two rail trade routes between the U.S. and Mexico, a move intended to free up customs personnel to assist border agents.

U.S. data released on Friday showed the number of migrants encountered by CBP agents along the clogged southern border in November remained high, keeping pressure on President Joe Biden to reduce the flow significantly ahead of his reelection bid next year.

CBP migrant encounters for November totaled 242,418, roughly level with October but down from September’s near record high of 270,000. U.S. border agents apprehended about 10,800 migrants at the southwest border on Monday, according to an internal report reviewed by Reuters, and several current and former officials said this was near or at a single-day record high.

Praising the reopening, Ian Jefferies, CEO of the Association of American Railroads, said the rail crossing closures did not help stem the flow of migrants.

“These ill-advised closures were a blunt-force tool that did nothing to bolster law enforcement capacity,” he said.

The U.S. thanked Mexico on Friday for its efforts. “We are grateful for Mexico’s cooperation to reduce migration pressure in these sectors and combat the smugglers placing migrants in harm’s way,” a White House spokesperson said.

Mexico’s foreign ministry said the government “insisted on the need to reopen border crossings as soon as possible to guarantee dynamic trade flows and enhance the economic relationship” between the U.S. and Mexico.

Mexico’s main farm lobby CNA expressed relief over the reopenings, saying “the lack of supplies in Mexico, caused by the closures, was affecting food production, raising costs and putting food security at risk in the country.”



Wheat prices overnight are down 7 3/4 in SRW, down 6 1/4 in HRW, down 4 1/2 in HRS; Corn is down 1 1/4; Soybeans down 2 3/4; Soymeal down $1.20; Soyoil down 0.01.

For the week so far wheat prices are up 12 1/4 in SRW, up 13 1/2 in HRW, up 10 1/2 in HRS; Corn is up 6; Soybeans up 10; Soymeal up $3.60; Soyoil down 0.52.

For the month to date wheat prices are up 30 1/2 in SRW, down 6 3/4 in HRW, down 4 3/4 in HRS; Corn is down 3 1/2; Soybeans down 46; Soymeal down $19.00; Soyoil down 3.62.

Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 20.6% in SRW, down 28.3% in HRW, down 22.8% in HRS; Corn is down 29.4%; Soybeans down 13.8%; Soymeal down 16.0%; Soyoil down 25.0%.

Chinese Ag futures (MAY 24) Soybeans up 41 yuan; Soymeal down 1; Soyoil up 58; Palm oil up 78; Corn down 14 — Malaysian Palm is up 3.  Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were up 3 ringgit (+0.08%) at 3766.

There were no changes in registrations. Registration total: 1,356 SRW Wheat contracts; 159 Oats; 6 Corn; 469 Soybeans; 147 Soyoil; 0 Soymeal; 301 HRW Wheat.

Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of December 26 were: SRW Wheat up 3,491 contracts, HRW Wheat down 469, Corn up 1,129, Soybeans down 15,208, Soymeal down 6,196, Soyoil up 5,076.

Brazil: Showers will be a bit more isolated across central Brazil through the end of the week before becoming more widespread by this weekend and into the new year, helping to turn around conditions for pod-setting soybeans. Southern areas saw some periods of heavier precipitation late this past weekend and into Christmas Day. The next chance for widespread rainfall in southern areas will be late this week into this coming weekend. With generally drier conditions across these southern areas over the past few weeks, the heavier rain will not be as negative of a factor for developing corn and soybeans.

Argentina: Showers have been frequent lately, keeping soils moist and in some cases, a bit too wet. Widespread showers occurred across northern areas this past weekend. This week will be a bit drier, but periodic showers will continue moving through. Overall conditions are very favorable for developing corn and soybeans, though the areas that are too wet is slowing the remaining planting pace a bit.

Australia: Dryness across the west is concerning for cotton and sorghum, but not so much in the southeast. Southeastern areas saw fairly widespread precipitation this past weekend. Dry conditions are expected across much of the west this week before showers may return to southwestern areas this weekend. Northeastern areas will continue to see steady chances for rain through New Year’s Day which is favorable for developing crops.

Northern Plains: Above-normal temperatures continue to be forecast through the end of the year. A strong low pressure system moved into the area this weekend and continues to bring areas of rain, freezing rain, and snow. Blizzard conditions are ongoing parts of central and western South Dakota. Drier conditions will return later this week and into this weekend.

Central/Southern Plains: A strong system from the eastern Rockies advanced into the region this past weekend providing widespread rain to the Southern Plains while blizzard conditions are still ongoing across parts of Nebraska. Snow showers and blizzard conditions will taper off through the middle of this week with drier conditions returning by the end of this week and into this weekend.

Midwest: Well above-normal temperatures lent to mild conditions this weekend and Christmas Day. Temperatures will cool off slightly this week but will still be above normal. Rain extended across much of the region late this past weekend and into Christmas Day with freezing rain in western areas. Showers will linger in eastern areas through Thursday before mostly dry conditions return to the area this weekend.

Delta: Widespread rainfall on Sunday and Monday from a strong system in the Plains helped increase soil moisture for much of the region and water levels on the Mississippi River are also forecast to increase later this week with the recent rainfall. Some rain and snow showers will linger across Missouri through the middle of this week but high pressure later this week and this weekend will lead to drier conditions.

The player sheet for Dec. 26 had funds: net buyers of 10,000 contracts of SRW wheat, buyers of 4,000 corn, buyers of 6,000 soybeans, buyers of 2,000 soymeal, and  sellers of 2,500 soyoil.


  • WHEAT TENDER: Bangladesh’s state grains buyer issued an international tender to purchase 50,000 metric tons of milling wheat
  • RICE TENDER: Egypt’s state grains buyer the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) set a tender to import natural white wholly milled short-grain Indian rice, it said in a statement. GASC, on behalf of Egypt’s Holding Company for Food Industries, sought arrival of the rice from Feb. 1-19 and/or Feb. 20-March 10. The deadline for offers was Dec. 21 and they should be accompanied by three samples, of two kilograms each, GASC said.
  • WHEAT TENDER: Jordan’s state grain buyer has issued an international tender to buy up to 120,000 metric tons of milling wheat which can be sourced from optional origins
  • WHEAT TENDER: A government agency in Pakistan issued an international tender to purchase and import 110,000 metric tons of wheat.
  • VEGOILS TENDER: Egypt’s state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), said it was seeking vegetable oils in an international purchasing tender for arrival Feb. 14-29 and/or March 1-15. GASC said traders should submit bids for payment at sight as well as 270-day letters of credit, and it would choose between them. The deadline for offers is Dec. 27.


US Inspected 1.082m Tons of Corn for Export, 1.07m of Soybeans

In week ending Dec. 21, according to the USDA’s weekly inspections report.

  • Wheat: 429k tons vs 285k the previous wk, 366k a yr ago
  • Soybeans: 1,070k tons vs 1,425k the previous wk, 1,787k a yr ago
  • Corn: 1,082k tons vs 960k the previous wk, 922k a yr ago

US Corn, Soybean, Wheat Inspections by Country: Dec. 21

Following is a summary of USDA inspections for week ending Dec. 21 of corn, soybeans and wheat for export, from the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, known as GIPSA.

  • Soybeans for China-bound shipments made up 347k tons of the 1.07m total inspected
  • Mexico was the top destination for corn inspections, South Korea led in wheat

Brazil’s Mato Grosso harvests soy early, second cotton planting advances

Grain growers in Brazil’s main agricultural state began reaping their soybeans from the 2023/24 cycle, a season marked by hot and dry weather that accelerated the crop cycle and hurt yields, farmers said.

Through last Friday, soybean farmers in the state had harvested around 1% of the planted area in Mato Grosso, or 121,000 hectares, according to farmer-backed research firm Imea. The data suggests the earliest known start of the soy harvest in Mato Grosso.

“For the first time we started reaping soybeans in December,” said Jose Soares, who plants in the Lucas do Rio Verde area.

Due to water stress, he said his region’s soy yields are the lowest in 40 years.

The effect of the El Niño climate pattern, which caused a drought in the Center-West and excess rain in the south of Brazil, forced Mato Grosso farmers to anticipate harvesting or forego the crop.

Others invested in early planting of second-cotton, which is sowed after the soy in the same areas and represents about 85% of production in the state.

“Many soybean areas, mainly from second-cotton producers, were abandoned,” Soares said. “It was not worth the harvesting costs, due to the very low expected yields.”

Decio Tocantins, director of a local cotton lobby, mentioned farmers facing a “paradox” as the second cotton cycle came early while the first cotton cycle was late.

He also said soy planted in September suffered more, adding no one predicted an El Niño as vigorous as this year’s one.

“There is no such history in the Cerrado, and farming began there in the 1980s.”

While some growers are already reaping their beans in Mato Grosso, others have yet to finish sowing.

“We were planting when it stopped raining,” said farmer Endrigo Dalcin. “I’m going to spend another three or four days replanting the soybeans.”

In his view, the situation is worse in the current season than in the 2015/16 cycle, when a drought disrupted planting before rains eventually returned in December, which was not the case in 2023.

Dalcin mentioned reports of soy growers getting seven to 30 bags per hectare in Mato Grosso. The predicted average for the state is 57.87 bags/hectare, 7% below last season, according to Imea.

“It’s going to be a year of big losses here in our region,” Dalcin said.

WHEAT/CEPEA: Prices decrease in 2023, but move up at the end of the year

In early 2023, the domestic wheat supply was high because of the record production in 2022 (10.55 million tons, according to Conab). The Brazilian production counterbalanced the decrease in the wheat availability from Argentina, an important supplier for Brazil. Production also increased in the international market.

Therefore, wheat prices were in a downward trend up to October. The low interest on closing deals and expectations of a good crop in the second semester of 2023 reinforced price drops.

Prices have started to increase in mid-October, when the harvest advanced, confirming lower numbers for both quality and quantity in this crop in Paraná and in Rio Grande do Sul – the two most important producers in Brazil. The production decrease and the firm demand from wheat mills kept prices moving up in the last two months of 2023.

Conab estimates the production in Brazil at 8.14 million tons in the 2023/24 season, downing 22.8% in relation to the previous. This scenario is a result of lower productivity (2.35 tons/hectare, 31.3% down compared to 2022). The area, in turn, increased 12.3% in relation to the crop before, to 3.46 million hectares.

Data from Cepea indicate that average wheat prices in the wholesale market dropped 28.2% in Rio Grande do Sul, 23.1% in Santa Catarina, 26.5% in Paraná and 24.3% in São Paulo from 2022 to 2023. Prices paid to producers moved down 29.5% in the same comparison.

According to data from Secex, wheat exports totaled 2.09 million tons in the first semester and only 9.5 thousand tons in the second (until November), totaling 2.1 million tons in the partial of the year. Imports amounted 3.78 million tons (up to November), below that in 2022 (5.72 million tons).

As for wheat flour and wheat bran, prices dropped in 2023, following the downward trend observed for the grain and the low interest to purchase.

Abroad, players were focused on the effects of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and on the end of the export agreement in the Black Sea in July.

Argentina Export Income From New Crop Seen Up 42% to $35.8b Y/Y

Export revenues from major crops in 2023-24 are forecast to be worth 42% more than in the previous drought-hit season, the Rosario Board of Trade said in a report.

  • NOTE: Of the major crops, the wheat harvest is almost finished and soybeans and corn are still being planted
  • “The outlook for soy and corn is auspicious. Rains forecast under an El Nino pattern took longer than expected to arrive, but arrive they did, allowing soil moisture to recover”
  • Initial forecasts for soy and corn production are 50m metric tons and 56m, respectively
  • NOTE: 2022-23 soy production was 20m and corn was 36m, according to Rosario

Brazil 2024 Soy Meal Exports Seen At 21.7 Million Tns Versus 21.6 Million Tns In Previous Forecast – Abiove


Indonesia Nov. Palm Oil Exports Fall 1.4% M/m: Intertek

Indonesia’s palm oil exports fell 1.4% m/m in November, according to Intertek Testing Services.

  • Palm oil exports fell to 2.510m tons from 2.546m tons in Oct.
  • Crude palm oil shipments rose to 462,867 tons from 228,553 tons in Oct.
  • RBD palm olein shipments fell to 1.074m tons from 1.148m tons in Oct.
  • RBD palm oil shipments fell to 313,619 tons from 419,435 tons in Oct.
  • Palm oil sales to European Union fell to 260,671 tons from 366,917 in Oct.
  • Palm oil sales to India rose to 833,807 tons from 585,135 tons in Oct.
  • Palm oil sales to China fell to 425,596 tons from 647,019 tons in Oct.

Coceral sees stable EU and UK wheat crop next year

Grain trade association Coceral on Friday forecast that soft wheat production in the European Union and Britain next year would reach 139.4 million metric tons, little changed from 139.3 million in 2023.

In first forecasts for 2024 crops, Coceral said rain had disrupted planting in France and some other countries but production in Spain was expected to rebound sharply from this year’s drought-hit harvest.

China Cuts Soy Use in Animal Feed in Bid to Boost Food Security

  • Country depends on imports to meet over 80% of soybean needs
  • Beijing has promoted low-protein feed recipes to reduce usage

China’s demand for soybeans in livestock feed is set to decline in 2023 as the world’s biggest importer strives to lower reliance on foreign supplies and bolster grain security.

The country’s massive feed industry is expected to cut soybean use by 9.1 million tons this year, as the soymeal ratio in rations drops by 1.5 percentage points, the agriculture ministry said in a statement this week.

China has been seeking to reduce its dependence on foreign cargoes, especially from the US, by boosting local production and lowering use of soymeal. The country imports more than 80% of its domestic requirements, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture.

The nation’s soybean imports are still running at a high level even with the drop in consumption in feed as cargoes are also used to meet demand for cooking oil and to replenish reserves. Inbound shipments rose more than 10% from a year earlier to about 90 million tons in the 11 months through November and were the largest in three years, China’s customs data show.

Industrial feed producers cut consumption of soymeal by 11% from January to November, or a reduction of 4.44 million tons from a year earlier, even with a 4% increase in feed output, the agriculture ministry said. Beijing is conducting a three-year campaign to lower the use of soymeal in rations.

As part of the drive, China has been promoting low-protein feed recipes, exploring alternative protein resources such as kitchen waste, and feeding more grass instead of grain to cows and sheep.

Rice Hits Fresh 15-Year High as Food Security Fears Fuel Demand

Rice prices surged to a fresh 15-year high, fueled by strong demand and lingering supply concerns.

Thai white rice 5% broken — an Asian benchmark — climbed for a third straight week to reach $659 a ton on Wednesday, according to the Thai Rice Exporters Association. That’s the highest since October 2008 and brings the increase in prices to about 38% this year, after top shipper India restricted exports and dry weather threatened production.

Rice is vital to the diets of billions of people in Asia and Africa, and the latest run up in prices could fan inflationary pressures and hike import bills for buyers. Some nations have been ramping up purchases to build sufficient stockpiles amid fears that the impact of El Niño will further tighten supplies in the coming months.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said last week that Thailand will deliver as much as 2 million tons next year, while India has agreed to supply 1 million tons. Meanwhile, the Philippines is set to receive more than 500,000 tons of rice imported by the private sector through February.

Russia reports grain harvest of 142.6 million tonnes, second largest ever

  • Russian grain harvest second largest ever
  • Net weight 142.6 million tonnes, down 9.5% from 2023 record
  • Winter and spring wheat harvest 92.77 million tonnes
  • Patrushev: Russian agricultural exports total $45 billion

Russia’s grain harvest in 2023 will amount to 142.6 million metric tonnes in net weight, down 9.5% from the record harvest of 2022 but still its second largest, according to state statistics published on Monday.

The harvest of winter and spring wheat totalled 92.77 million tonnes in net weight, down from 104.23 million tonnes in 2022, according to data from the federal statistics service.

The total crop for 2022 amounted to 157.61 million tonnes.

“We will have the second largest grain harvest in the entire history of the country,” Russian Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev told the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper in an interview published on Monday.

“This will allow to not only to provide the domestic market with a stock, but also to send significant volumes of grain to foreign partners.”

Patrushev said Russian grain exports in 2023 had been hindered by a lack of vessels, plus problems with insurance and payments caused by Western sanction.

China is the world’s biggest wheat producer but Russia is usually the top exporter of wheat. Russian total agricultural exports totalled more than $45 billion in 2023, a record, Patrushev said.

“In the first half of the current season, we expect exports of about 35 million tonnes of grain, and in the second at least another 30 million tonnes, so that about 65 million tonnes will leave the market,” he said.

Patrushev, the son of Nikolai Patrushev, a powerful ally of President Vladimir Putin, said that Russia expected a harvest of around 1.6 million tonnes of durum wheat. Russia has imposed a ban on exporting durum wheat until the end of May.

“Next year, we set the task to further expand the acreage and increase the production of this crop to 2 million tonnes both to saturate the domestic market and to form a good export potential for this crop,” Patrushev said.

He said Russia’s soy production covered domestic consumption and that it would rise to around 7-8 million tonnes over coming years, allowing exports. The potato harvest rose to 8.6 million tonnes, the biggest in 30 years, Patrushev said.

“The gross harvest of sugar beet amounted to 52.2 million tonnes. Accordingly, we will receive about 7 million tonnes of sugar this agricultural year.”

China approves 26 seed companies for GMO corn and soybeans

China has issued licences to 26 domestic seed companies to produce, distribute and sell genetically modified corn and soybean seeds in certain provinces, paving the way for commercial planting of the GMO grains.

The companies named in a notice from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs on Monday include Beijing Dabeinong Technology and China National Seed, now owned by Syngenta Group.

Other licensed companies include those operating in the major grain-producing provinces of Hebei, Liaoning, Jilin and Inner Mongolia.

This is China’s first batch of companies to receive seed production and operation licences for GMO corn and soybeans, the GLOCON Agritech Co-Innovation Institute said in a note.

Though cautious about GMO technology, Beijing has been slowly moving to open up the market. It has approved more than a dozen genetic changes since 2019.

The world’s biggest buyer of soybeans and corn wants to reduce its reliance on imports amounting to more than 100 million metric tons a year to feed its livestock.

Commercial planting of GMO varieties will boost yields and could significantly lower future purchases from the United States and Brazil.

Three industry sources told Reuters this month that Chinese corn breeders are preparing for the planting of about 670,000 hectares of GMO corn in eight provinces next year, more than double the amount planted in 2023.

But Beijing is still expected to tightly control the rollout of GMOs.

Large-scale trials of GMO soy and corn were carried out this year, which the agriculture ministry said showed “outstanding” results and that the technology was safe and essential.

Global 2024 staple food supplies to be strained by dry weather, export curbs

  • Asia’s 2024 rice harvest forecast to be hit by El Nino
  • Wheat crops in India, Australia to face moisture stress
  • Palm oil output in Indonesia, Malaysia expected to drop in 2024
  • Argentina, Brazil bright spot for agriculture supplies next year

High food prices in recent years have prompted farmers worldwide to plant more cereals and oilseeds, but consumers are set to face tighter supplies well into 2024, amid adverse El Nino weather, export restrictions and higher biofuel mandates.

Global wheat, corn and soybean prices – after several years of strong gains – are headed for losses in 2023 on easing Black Sea bottlenecks and fears of a global recession, although prices remain vulnerable to supply shocks and food inflation in the New Year, analysts and traders said.

“The supply picture for grains certainly improved in 2023 with bigger crops in some of the key places which matter. But we are not really out of the woods yet,” said Ole Houe, director of advisory services at agriculture brokerage IKON Commodities in Sydney.

“We have El Nino weather forecast until at least April-May, Brazil is almost certainly going to produce less corn, and China is surprising the market by buying larger volumes of wheat and corn form the international market.”


The El Nino weather phenomenon, which brought dryness to large parts of Asia this year, is forecast to continue in the first half of 2024, putting at risk supplies of rice, wheat, palm oil and other farm products in some of the world’s top agricultural exporters and importers.

Traders and officials expect Asian rice production in the first half of 2024 to drop as dry planting conditions and shrinking reservoirs are likely to cut yields.

World rice supplies tightened this year already after the El Nino weather phenomenon cut into production, prompting India, by far the world’s biggest exporter, to restrict shipments.

While other grains markets were losing value, rice prices rallied to their highest in 15 years in 2023, with quotations in some Asian export hubs gaining 40%-45%.

India’s next wheat crop is also being threatened by lack of moisture, which could force the world’s second-largest wheat consumer to seek imports for the first time in six years as domestic inventories at state warehouses have dropped to their lowest in seven years.


Come April, farmers in Australia, the world’s No. 2 wheat exporter, could be planting their crop in dry soils, after months of intense heat curbed yields for this year’s crop and ended a three-dream run of record harvests.

This is likely to prompt buyers, including China and Indonesia, to seek larger volumes of wheat from other exporters in North America, Europe and the Black Sea region.

“The (wheat) supply situation in the current 2023/24 crop year is likely to deteriorate compared to last season,” Commerzbank wrote in a note.

“This is because exports from important producer countries are likely to be significantly lower.”

On the bright side for grain supplies, South American corn, wheat and soybean production is expected to improve in 2024, although erratic weather in Brazil is leaving some doubt.

In Argentina, abundant rainfall over farming heartlands is likely to boost production of soybeans, corn and wheat in one of the world’s largest grain exporting nations.

According to Argentina’s Rosario grains exchange (BCR), 95% of early planted corn and 75% of soybeans are in “excellent to very good” conditions, thanks to rains since the end of October across the country’s Pampas region.

Brazil is set for near-record farm output in 2024, although the country’s soybean and corn production estimates have been reduced in recent weeks due to dry weather.

Global palm oil production is also likely to fall next year due to dry El Nino weather, supporting cooking oil prices that dropped more than 10% in 2023. The decline in output comes amid expectations of higher demand for making palm oil-based biodiesel and cooking oil.

“We see more upside price risk than down,” said CoBank, a leading lender to the U.S. agriculture sector.

“Global grain and oilseed stock inventories are tight by historic measures, the northern hemisphere will likely have a strong El Nino weather pattern during the growing season for the first time since 2015, the dollar should continue its recent decline, and global demand should return to its long-term growth trend.”


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