Pro Farmer's First Thing Today: Freezing Temps, States Reopen 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 Friday May 8. From Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today, these are some of the stories we are watching this morning:

Soybeans are trading high range and up 6 to 7 cents in most contracts, with corn up a penny. Winter wheat futures are mixed to 2 cents lower, while spring wheat is fractionally to a penny higher. The U.S. dollar index is down slightly, while crude oil futures are notching modest gains.

Most of North Dakota, northern and central Minnesota and central and eastern South Dakota are recording temperatures well below freezing early this morning. An extreme low of 19 degrees Fahrenheit was reported east of Dickinson, North Dakota, reports World Weather Inc. But it’s early enough in the season that damage to the corn and soybean crops should be limited, with just a bit of replanting needed. More freezes are expected for areas of the Corn Belt through Tuesday,

U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He held a conference call late Thursday to discuss economic and trade issues and the Phase 1 agreement between the two countries. On the Phase 1 deal, “Both sides agreed that good progress is being made on creating the governmental infrastructures necessary to make the agreement a success,”

The first U.S. crude shipment since December 2019 is set to arrive in China in mid-May, setting the stage for a gradual pickup in the volume of U.S. crude exports to the Asian country in June and July. Meanwhile, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said U.S. gasoline prices are already starting to rise as some companies have switched to summer blends regardless of EPA’s waiver allowing companies to push-back the switch.

In Alaska, Georgia, Oklahoma and South Carolina — all states that have removed some restrictions — there has been little increase in the number of small businesses that are open or the amount of time people spend at work, according to an analysis by economists. Consumer spending has risen, but not by much more than in states that remain shut down.

Thursday’s cattle kill of 86,000 head was up 6,000 head from last week but still down 27.1% from year-ago levels. More plants are reopening thanks in part to Trump’s executive order and efforts to ensure worker safety at meat plants. Hog production jumped an estimated 37,000-head higher on Thursday from the week prior, a move in the right direction though processing is still down 32% from year-ago levels.