Pro Farmer's First Thing Today: Coronavirus Relief, Land Rent and More

Here are audio highlights from around the ag industry, courtesy of Pro Farmer. ( Pro Farmer )

Good Morning farm country. Davis Michaelsen here with your morning update for Wednesday May 13. From Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today, these are some of the stories we are watching this morning:

Corn futures faced light pressure overnight and the market is around a penny lower in early trade. Soybeans are fractionally to 2 cents lower. Winter wheat futures are down 2 to 4 cents and spring wheat futures are down 2 to 3 cents. The U.S. dollar index is slightly lower and crude oil futures are marginally higher.

The House is slated to vote Friday on a new $3-trillion coronavirus relief bill... Its summary is 90 pages (long, even for Congress). And its total text runs some 1,850 pages. The move is seen as positioning ahead of eventual talks with Senate Republicans who are wary of additional spending. The measure includes a shopping list of ag- and energy-related gimmes, including another $16.5 billion in direct farm payments and aid for biofuels plants and dairy producers.

A corn and soybean processing plant operated by Cargill Inc. in southeast Brazil has registered six cases of Covid-19, the company announced yesterday. Cargill reported “most” of the diagnosed employees had already returned to work after receiving medical care and permission to do so. But the company has seen no interruption to its Brazilian operations due to the outbreak.

Sales of hydrous ethanol plunged 38% during April in Brazil as lockdowns squelched demand, reports the industry group Unica. This prompted mills to shift wholeheartedly away from ethanol production and toward sugar making. The country’s center-south region produced 2.01 MMT of sugar the second half of April, which was a 93% surge from year-ago.

The average cash rent negotiated for 2020 for Iowa cropland rose $3 (1.4%) to $222 an acre, according to the annual survey conducted by Iowa State University. The rise marks only the second annual increase since the statewide average cash rent peaked in 2013 at $270 an acre.

African swine fever (ASF) has killed around 6,000 pigs in North Korea’s Kangwon Province, according to the Seoul-based online newspaper Daily NK. Authorities have been instructed to bury or burn the dead animals, though officials have struggled to stop people from consuming the deceased animals.

Slaughter numbers continue to improve, with yesterday’s kill of 89,000 head of cattle up 9,000-head from the week prior but still 33,000 head under year-ago levels. Beef prices have mounted a historic rally amid tightened supplies, with Choice rising another $6.81 on Tuesday. Lean hog futures posted solid gains yesterday, fueling hopes recent price action was just some corrective trade within a broader market rebound. The pork cutout values dived $8.84 on Tuesday, but this did spur impressive movement of 412.09 loads, even though prices are still at historically elevated price levels.