GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

TOP STORIES:

Wheat Slide Led By Weak Export Sales

Wheat for March delivery fell 1.4% to $6.75 3/4 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade Thursday, in reaction to low export sales, precipitation in South America, and overall choppiness in commodities trading. Soybeans for March delivery fell 1.3% to $14.07 1/2 a bushel. Corn for March delivery rose 1.3% to $5.49 3/4 a bushel.

Grain futures slipped Thursday, after the USDA reported grain export sales that were lower than trader forecasts -- with soybean sales of only 238,700 metric tons across both the 2020/21 and 2021/22 marketing years. Corn sales totaled 599,200 tons and wheat sales tallied 182,500 tons. China was absent from large buying for the week ending Feb 18, due to the Lunar New Year holiday.

U.S. Farmers are Planting More Row Crops Than Ever -- Update

U.S. farmers are expected to plant a record amount of acres this year to take advantage of high agricultural prices after years of tough market conditions.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that farmers will plant 182 million acres of corn and soybeans in 2021. That is an all-time high and up roughly eight million acres from last year -- driven by a jump in soybean acreage, which is expected to rise nearly seven million acres from last year.

STORIES OF INTEREST:

Barges Get Back to Work After Winter Interruption -- Market Talk

1225 ET - Barges operating in the US are slowly returning back to their normal workload after bitterly cold temperature in the Midwest last week put the brakes on the normal supply flow, the USDA says. "Last week, ice storms and other severe weather temporarily halted barge operations on the Mississippi River around St. Louis, as well as on the Ohio River, Illinois River, and Lower Mississippi River areas," says the agency in its weekly Grains Transportation Report on Thursday. "As of February 25, most grain barges have resumed operations, except for those on the Illinois River. Minor delays persist, but no major disruptions are expected." For the week ending Feb. 20, barge shipments slipped by 28% from the previous week, the USDA says. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

Hundreds of Thousands of Chickens Euthanized After Winter Storms -- Market Talk

11:24 ET - Sanderson Farms says the company was forced to euthanize 545,000 chicks that couldn't be placed onto its farms after the severe cold, snow and ice that hit Texas and other parts of the US South this month. CEO Joe Sanderson says the chicken company also lost about 455,000 chickens due to power losses, water and feed shortages and buildings that collapsed under the weight of the snow. As a result, Sanderson will have more than 1M fewer chickens to process and market at some of its plants over the next 10 weeks, though this represents less than 1% of the company's anticipated quarterly production, Sanderson says. Shares rise 1.3% to $154.09. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

THE MARKETS:

Livestock Futures Mixed on Weak Exports -- Market Talk

1511 ET - Livestock futures closed mixed -- with live cattle futures finishing 0.5% lower at $1.21675 per pound and lean hogs futures up 0.4% to 89.75 cents per pound. For both, particularly cattle, weak export sales reported by the USDA were a source of pressure. Beef sales totaled only 8,500 metric tons for the week ending February 18, with South Korea being the leading buyer at 3,800 tons. That's down 63% from the previous week. Meanwhile, pork exports totaled only 25,600 tons, down 23% from the previous week. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)


  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  02-25-21 1729ET
  Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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