Farmers stepped up calls to local dealers on Monday checking on prices as Chicago corn futures neared $4 a bushel in a high-volume rally ahead.
Grain Movement 8/3: Farmers halt sales with corn under $4
The higher market was attributed to forecasts for hot, dry weather in the Midwest through next week and to positioning ahead of Wednesday's crop report, which is widely expected to show a smaller forecast for this year's harvest.
"We are seeing a little bit of selling today on this rally, mainly old-crop corn," said an Illinois dealer.
New-crop sales of both corn and soybeans remained slow as prices apparently were not yet high enough to lock in sales.
"They are interested in selling (old-crop), but they are not pulling the trigger," said an Iowa dealer, who confirmed phone calls had increased on Monday.
Farmers want $4 cash prices and corn priced against the September was still shy of that mark. Chicago September futures closed at $3.90-1/4 per bushel, its highest close in about three weeks.
Cash bids for old-crop soybeans were above $10 a bushel at a number of places, but few sales were reported as farmers were largely sold out of those supplies. Soybean processors had the best bids, which in some cases were to 70 to 80 cents over the CBOT November.
The corn that is being sold is going to Southeast ethanol and poultry markets or to local processors. Corn harvest was under way in the Southeast, but some dealers said poultry producers needed more corn than what that harvest was providing.
River shippers said very little corn or soybeans were going by barge to Gulf export points.
Showers during the weekend and on Monday in Iowa and Illinois helped the corn and soybeans, but more rain will be needed to prevent stress, dealers there said.
In central Iowa, reports of "sudden death" in soybeans circulated, but it was not clear how widespread the condition was. It was blamed on too much moisture early in the season. Also, corn there was tall and dark green but there was some concern the plants were putting more energy into the stalk and leaves than into grain production.
Late on Monday, USDA kept the national average corn condition rating unchanged at 70% good to excellent and soybeans at 63%. In top producer Iowa, corn stayed at 83% good to excellent, Illinois remained at 56% and Indiana stayed at 47%.
"Another week of minimal rain showers and hot temperatures has dried the remaining wet spots and led farmers to run irrigation systems to keep crops from drying out," the Indiana report said. "Previously flooded areas have completely dissipated. Crops are beginning to show small to moderate stress levels in sandy and coarse soils."
USDA's weekly export inspections came out early on Monday, corn and soybean shipments were down from a week ago, while wheat's were a little higher. The shipments for three crops were within trade forecasts.