Scoular’s grain division manager explores high corn and soybean prices and provides his outlook for the latter part of the year
As grain prices remain volatile, the U.S. feed industry continues to closely watch commodity markets and hope for good weather and news from the upcoming June 30 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop reports.
Ron Bingham, Scoular’s grain division manager, joined the Chat to discuss his outlook for corn and soybean prices and stocks through the remainder of 2021 and into 2022.
Transcription of Feed Strategy Chat with Ron Bingham, Scoular’s grain division manager
Jackie Roembke, editor, Feed Strategy: Hi, everyone. Welcome to Feed Strategy Chat. I’m your host, Jackie Roembke, editor of Feed Strategy magazine.
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Today we’re joined on Zoom by Ron Bingham, Scoular’s grain division manager, here to offer his insights on the U.S. commodity market. Hi, Ron, how are you?
Ron Bingham, Scoular’s grain division manager: Hi, Jackie. Glad to be here.
Roembke: Excellent, so glad to have you. Give me an idea of your outlook for grain prices in the second half of the year.
Bingham: Yeah. Great question. I’d be glad to give an opinion on that, but maybe before I started to give a little background on myself. I’ve got a career in what I would call “cash grain trading” or basis trading. I’m not a futures trader. But price is a key component of any trade. So I’ll be glad to share my perspective, but I kind of wanted to put that disclaimer in there.
First, prospective plantings came in in March, and we had 91 million acres of corn, we had 87.5 million acres of soybeans. Both of those were 2 million acres below estimates. And we won’t see a USDA number on acres again until their June 30 report. But I think what I believe the marketplace is anticipating is corn has has gained about 5 million additional acres. And while soybeans have priced themselves back in favorably, I think it’s a little bit too late to make much of a difference.
I’d also point a little bit to the sorghum market, we’ve seen an 18% increase in planted acres of sorghum. And we will see 7 to 7.5 million acres of milo in the marketplace this year. And that’s going to be much like the 2020 crop, the 2021 crop is going to be priced. At least today. We’re seeing it priced by China’s demand. So when you when you take that sorghum production, that 450 million bushels of sorghum, out of the marketplace that just increases volatility for corn — especially in the plains.
So from a basis perspective, we think the market could be pretty competitive.
Roembke: With these strong prices in 2021, is there any relief on the horizon in 2022? And what might that look like?
Bingham: It’s hard to cure these high prices without having new crop come off. So what we need is just a lot of corn production. But you know, today, just to point out, we do have $1.50 inverse in the corn market. So when you look at the price change from June to October, we should see relief from $1.50 a bushel in most of these markets — at least that’s what the marketplace is telling us today.
Roembke: How do you recommend the feed industry navigate these high prices?
Bingham: When you get into the new crop market, the thing I like to remind people of is your cheapest source of corn or feed is always going to be the closest, you know, and once you exhaust and deplete the local supply, then you’ve got to price in other factors in getting grain into the marketplace.
So always, always keep an eye on your local supply of grain. And definitely my advice to people would be to buyers to be participating in those markets when it’s trading.
Roembke: Has Scoular seen an increase in demand for alternative commodities?
Bingham: We have this year — and it’s going to continue. Wheat is the one I would point out. Wheat is extremely difficult to price competitively on the market. But we did, we’ve just seen a strong pull from the feed sector. And if you’ve got the flexible areas — and that might be Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma or Texas, where the feed industry has a choice to feed corn or it could feed milo or wheat — of course, we talked about the milo that’s likely going to be priced by the export market, but wheat is very competitive today in its relationship to corn. That’s not just in new crop wheat feed that will come off in June or July. Wheat feeds today. So you’re going to see around a wheat feed for May, June, July, possibly into August and September.
I think it’s helping stretch the corn crop a little bit further by the amount of wheat that could be fed. But I think I would caution everybody with new crop corn demand to just remember that, you know, with a 1.3 to 1.5 billion carryout in corn supplies are really, really tight. And even in the new crop, we’re probably starting off trading the basis, somewhere around 30 to 50 cents a bushel higher than historical values.
Roembke: Well, thank you so much for that information. And if you’d like ongoing coverage of the volatility in the commodity markets, please make sure to subscribe to our Feed Strategy eNewsletter. And you can do that at www.feedstrategy.com. Thank you again, Ron, and thanks to you for tuning in.
Bingham: Thank you, Jackie. Thanks for having me.