During the year there are weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual grain reports. If you trade the grain markets, it is important to know when these reports occur and the potential impact they may have on the markets.
Weekly Export Sales: Every week on Thursdays at 8:30 AM ET, the USDA releases the export sales from the previous week. Traders keep track of the exports for Corn, Soybeans and Wheat in order to determine the pace of export demand for the marketing year. If exports are unexpectedly accelerating, that could lead the USDA to increase export demand in the next monthly WASDE report, which would imply lower ending stocks and higher prices. If exports are unexpectedly decelerated, the opposite can happen.
USDA Weekly Export Sales may be found here: http://apps.fas.usda.gov/export-sales/esrd1.html
Weekly Crop Progress Reports: From the beginning of April until the end of November, the NASS releases crop progress reports at 4PM ET every Monday. Starting in April, traders focus on planting progress for Corn and Soybeans as well as winter wheat crop conditions. After the crop is planted, the reports shift to crop conditions during the growing season. By the end of November, most, if not all, crops have been harvested and the NASS stops Crop Progress reports, which do not resume again until the following April.
USDA NASS Crop Progress reports and schedule may be found here: http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1048
Monthly WASDE Reports: The USDA World Agricultural Supply & Demand Estimate (WASDE) reports are monthly reports that give estimates, updates and outlooks on production and usage for US and World commodities. Many commodity markets are covered, but the major markets are Corn, Soybeans and Wheat. While the WASDE can be 40+ pages, there are usually only a few that most traders focus on. Those include:
- USDA Wheat Supply and Use
- USDA Feed Grain & Corn Supply and Use
- USDA Soybeans & Products Supply and Use
- World Wheat Supply and Use
- World Corn Supply and Use
- World Soybean Supply and Use
Traders reviewing these reports want to know what the USDA estimates the final ending stocks for US Corn, Wheat and Soybean. They also look at the Brazil and Argentina production as well as projections for world ending stocks for Corn, Wheat and Soybeans.
USDA WASDE reports and schedule may be found here: http://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/wasde/
Quarterly Grain Stocks: The NASS issues Grain Stock reports four times a year. The first quarterly Grain Stocks report is at the end of March, then the end of June followed by the end of September. The final report is not just quarterly, but also the annual Grain Stocks report. It is usually released the second week in January instead of the end of December.
Grain Stocks reports have the ability to surprise the market and cause substantial price moves. If stocks are lower than expected, the market knows that the USDA will need to account for that in the next WASDE and most likely the ending stocks will be lower, implying higher prices. If stocks are higher than expected, the opposite may happen. Grain stocks are only released once a quarter, so the variation of what the market is expecting and what the USDA reports expect can potentially be wider than what one would see in a weekly export or monthly WASDE report.
Grain Stocks reports may be found here: http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1079
Annual USDA Ag Forum Convention: The Ag Forum is typically held around the third week of February. The Ag Forum is a convention, not a report, but at the end of the conference, the USDA releases their expectations for new crop acres and yields. This is the very first time the market sees USDA expectations for new crop corn and soybean production. This is the starting point many analysts use for their new crop supply and demand tables (yours truly included).
Ag Forum web site: http://www.usda.gov/oce/forum/
Annual Prospective Plantings: Also known as the Planting Intentions report, the Prospective Plantings report is an acreage survey conducted by the NASS that asks US farmers what crops they plan on planting and on how many acres. The results of the Planting Intentions are typically the first major report for new crop corn and soybeans. Traders are able to take the acreage and estimate trend line yields, to start determining the total production for new crop corn and soybeans.
March Prospective Plantings reports may be found here: http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1136
Annual Acreage Report: Each year at the end of June the USDA publishes their Acreage report for the current planting year. Corn, Wheat and Soybeans usually take up about two-thirds of all US planted acres. More than expected acres for a crop are bearish for prices. Less than expected acres for a crop is considered bullish.
Annual Acreage Reports may be found here: http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1000
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