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Market Trends Report – June & July 2024

US and the World

     Planters have been rolling across the Great North American corn belt over the last several weeks.  Getting off to a good start is always a good thing and it certainly is the case in the United States this year.  As of June, the 10th 95% of the American corn crop has been planted which is equal to the last five-year average but three percentage points behind last year’s 98%. Soybeans have also had a good time reaching 87% complete as of June the 10th.  It would seem our American friends had favorable planting conditions to get this big crop in the ground.  How big this crop is will certainly determine price direction throughout the rest of the year.

     On June the 12th the USDA weighed in with their latest WASDE report. In general, the USDA held with their previous numbers from May with the exception of lower corn ending stocks and lower production in South America.  USDA estimated a new crop corn at 14.86 billion bushels with the yield of 181 bushels per acre on 90 million planted acres, the same as May.  The new crop ending stocks are set at 2.102 billion bushels while old crop stocks are at 2.022 billion bushels.  Brazilian corn production was set at 122 MMT, while Argentinian corn production came in at 53 MMT. 

     On the soybean side of the ledger the USDA also came in the same as May. USDA’s estimated 4.45 billion bushels of soybeans with the national average yield at 52 bushels per acre.  Ending stocks are set to come in at 455 million bushels.  On the old crop side ending stocks are estimated to come in at 350 million bushels, up slightly from last month. Globally, the Brazilian crop is estimated to come in 153 MMTs, slightly lower than last month. The USDA continues to be estimating this Brazilian crop much higher than private trade analysts.  American winter wheat production is set to come in at 1.29 billion bushels which is up 1% from the May forecast. Harvest of SRW wheat, relevant to Ontario producers is well underway.

             On June 14th, corn, soybeans and wheat futures were lower than the last Market Trends report.   July 2024 corn futures were at $4.50 a bushel.  The July 2024 soybean futures stood at $11.79  The July 2024 Chicago wheat futures closed at $6.12 a bushel. The Minneapolis July 2024 wheat futures closed at $6.67 a bushel with the Sept 2024 contract closing at $6.66 a bushel.

     The nearby oil futures as of June 14th closed at $78.45/barrel up slightly vs the nearby futures recorded in the last Market Trends report of $78.26/barrel. The average price for US ethanol in the US was $2.23, above the $2.15 a US gallon recorded in the last Market Trends Report.

     The Canadian dollar noon rate on June 14th, 2024, was .7272 US, lower vs the .7318 US reported here in the last Market Trends report. The Bank of Canadas lending rate was lowered to 4.75%.


      In Ontario, planting conditions have been ugly depending on where you are. For instance, many areas throughout the province such as midwestern, central and the East have crops planted and looking relatively good compared to past history.  However, it has been a different story in southwestern Ontario and parts of Niagara with constant wet conditions and heavy soils have kept farmers off the land. 

      Some of this moisture was disastrous in parts of southwestern Ontario leading to widespread replanting. However, as of June 14th there is still widespread acreage in southwestern Ontario that is unplanted the first time. This has led through much lobbying from the Grain Farmers of Ontario to get agriculture planting deadlines extended. In fact, this has happened in Essex, Chatham Kent, Lambton, Elgin and Niagara region for corn planting. This area of the province usually dominates in production and these problems will severely impact new crop yields this year.  As of June, the 14th corn planting is estimated to be 90% finished while soybean planting is 80% finished. However, we likely lost corn acres to soybeans in the last few weeks.

     All of this might have obvious implications for basis levels in Ontario come this fall. As it is even though much of the Ontario corn crop is planted it is likely to be smaller in acreage significantly versus last year. What also is true is the corn is not in as good of shape as it was a year ago. However, as of now basis levels have not changed significantly from last month. However, they have not eroded as well.  As we move ahead Ontario weather will significantly impact how new crop bases will even

       Old crop corn basis levels are $0.45 to $0.92 over the July 2024 corn futures on June 14th across the province.  The new crop corn basis varied from $.85 to $1.17 over the December 2024 corn futures.  The old crop basis levels for soybeans range from $3.00 cents to $3.50 over the July 2024 futures.  New crop soybeans basis levels range from $2.77-$3.35 over the November 2024 futures.  Ontario SRW wheat prices are in the $7.51 range.   On June 14th the US replacement price for corn was $6.20/bushel.  You can access all these Ontario grain prices in the marketing section at

The Bottom Line

     It’s setting up to be a very big crop in the United States. With the USDA predicting 14.65 billion bushels of corn and 4.45 billion bushels of soybeans we are setting up for more of the same with regard to futures grain prices.  Grain prices will continue to go sideways or lower until an outside force or an unknown variable comes into the market to send it the other way. At the present time that might be some surprise in the USDA report on June 30th and of course weather problems developing in late June, July and August.

      It’s an inconvenient truth that we focus on future bullish variables on the grain market, because that’s what everybody wants to hear.  However, it is important to keep in mind that it is looking bearish ahead especially when you look at the stocks to use ratios. At the present time we’re looking at 14.2% stocks to use ratio for corn in the United States and 10.4% for soybeans. Generally speaking, it is difficult to rally the market if these stocks to use ratios remain above 10%.

     As of June, the 14th, have we missed the opportunity to price grain for 2024?  Well, retrospect is always in good supply but surely there will be more opportunities to price all three crops as we head into the year. There have been opportunities as of a month ago but surely there will be more depending on weather and if Chinese demand does come in. However, science and genetics continues to win the day.  Last year we had a very dry July and August but still had an incredibly good crop.  When the rally does come again it’s likely prudent to have those market standing orders ready.

     Geopolitics will continue to impact our grain prices; something always top of mind since the Ukraine Russia war started in 2021.  In fact, a tax change in Brazil might offer incentive for more American soybeans to be bought on the global market.  Recently the President of Brazil signed an order limiting the ability of Brazil’s commodity exporters and processor’s to monetize tax credits. This will have the effect of making Brazil beans more expensive in order to compensate for this lost revenue.  It may result in an increase in the moribund US soybean export program. 

Commodity Specific Comments


     It is historically the selling time in corn with June 18th being the proverbial date where good new crop prices could be had. However, even though that is the truth, we do not make the crop in June it is made more in July when “hot and dry” can be a real thing. 

     As per usual this time of year the focus is on the USDA report coming out June 30th to see how many corn acres were lost to soybeans and the stocks numbers which are always important. Aside from the acreage switches the stocks numbers might give us clues on price direction as we head into hotter weather. If the stocks numbers are down for corn that will give impetus to end users to cover their positions. Needless to say, the USDA data dump on June 30th will be significant for futures price direction.

    The December 2024 corn contract is currently priced at 11 cents below the March 2025 contract which is a bearish indication of new crop corn demand. Seasonally, we know that corn prices tend to peak in early June and bottom out in early October. The December 2024 futures contract is at the 34th percentile of the past five-year price distribution range.


     Will the 86.5 million acres of soybeans predicted earlier for the US come to fruition? We certainly shall see in the June 30th USDA report which will have significant impact on price direction going forward. Also too, we are not in a weather market now for soybeans but keep in mind it is that time of year where the trading algorithms have it all dialed in for “hot and dry.”  That may impact soybean prices to some extent, but the main weather market for soybeans will come in August.

     China might still have an insatiable appetite for soybeans, but it’s mainly or only from Brazil.  There are geopolitical reasons for this we have discussed ad nauseam. However, it is challenging for the Brazilians to keep doing this and we may see China come in to buy American soybeans. We have almost become accustomed to them not doing that. If it happens, in any significant way it will be bullish for soybean futures prices. Needless to say, as we move ahead having puts in place in this market can help us for any unforeseen downward price movement.

     The November 2024 soybean contract is currently priced 13.5 cents below the March 2025 contract which is considered bearish for new crop beans.   Seasonally, soybean prices tend to peak in early July and bottom out in early October. The November 2024 soybean contract is currently at the 42nd percentile of the past five-year price distribution range.


      Wheat prices are down from a month ago and this is largely because wheat just comes out of the woodwork, like it always does. Earlier we had rallied particularly because of the problems in the Black Sea. Russian and Ukrainian wheat was not getting good weather, and this lowered expectations for a good crop. However, since then the Ukrainian estimates have actually gone up which is hard to believe especially in an area where war is ongoing. Russia still has their weather problems, but their wheat is rising in price and becoming uncompetitive in some markets in Egypt and North Africa.

     The Ontario wheat crop is ahead of schedule versus last years it should soon be coming off in Essex County come the first week in July.  Generally speaking, it is a week to two weeks ahead of normal.  Ontario farmers had the chance to contract this wheat for $8.50 a bushel last month before the erosion in wheat prices.  Needless to say, the Canadian dollar is still a stimulus to Ontario cash wheat prices.

The Bottom Line (cont.)

     The Canadian dollar continues to add spark to all of our Ontario cash grain prices.  The Bank of Canada actually reduced their key lending rate down to 4.75% which is bearish for the Canadian dollar.  As we have discussed previously here in this report, that eventually will change, but of course nobody knows when. In fact, there are some analysts who say it will go down even further.  Needless to say, at the 72-cent level it continues to boost Ontario cash prices even though some people would describe that as an illusion.  Others would say its simple Ontario cash grain reality.  Striking a balance for Ontario producers will continue to be a challenge.

      As with the greater North American corn belt, Ontario will certainly have to deal with the weather that we are dealt in the next 8 weeks. As it is now, it is unlikely that we’ll have as good a crop as we had last year because of the production problems in some parts of southwestern and southern Ontario.  However, that is part of the agricultural business, and it will continue. In 2024 grain processing capacity in Ontario is being expanded at the local level such as south Essex County and the processors such as the ethanol plants and ports.  At the end of the day for all involved we need to hope for a very good crop to thrive amid all the upcoming weather events this summer.

      Where will the market go next? Well, that is the proverbial question now we struggle with all the time. As it is we are set up with big crops at the moment.   In fact, the biggest ever if it comes to fruition.  However, remember that’s why we keep score. In other words, daily market intelligence is important to get a feel for the where this market is going. In Ontario, it’s also important to garner as much information you can about movement in Ontario cash grains.  That is always illusive to know, but the more you talk to merchandisers, the better.  As we move ahead, and especially as the weather gets warmer finding a balance between futures and cash markets will continue to challenge Ontario farmers.

     As we look out into Ontario fields as of July 14th it is a mixed picture. Farmers are fighting to get a crop in in southwestern Ontario and Niagara. Others are sitting pretty good in midwestern Ontario and central Ontario and the far east.  Imagine for a moment harvest time in October. The point being is we will get there and the road to getting there is never straightforward.  It is the same with our grain prices.  Have those standing market orders ready reflecting the reality on your own farm.  There will be many marketing opportunities ahead.