USDA To Release Slew Of Grain Reports, Cattle Markets Wait

Friday is the day the USDA releases a mountain of grain reports all at one time because of a delay caused by the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Those reports will include Crop Production which shows the 2018 final numbers for the year and the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

"It might be a huge volume of information for the market to digest," says Chip Nellinger of Blue Reef AgriMarketing. "It's my opinion, that it's better to have the information than still being in limbo and not getting any news flow."

Even USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson expects the grain markets to move because of the reports.

"It will probably be more of an impactful February release than we normally would have," Johansson said. "With that being said, I think the market is eager to get the information."

He says the industry is looking to recalibrate their own internal estimates using USDA global supply and demand information.

While grain growers hope to discover the true size of last year's crops, final yield totals and winter wheat seedings, livestock producers will have to wait a little longer. Both the Cattle on Feed and Cattle Inventory reports won't be released until the end of the month.

"I suspect we'll see some volatility with all of the info coming out," says Craig VanDyke with Top Third Ag Marketing. "Cattle market volatility has been record low for the past 3 to 4 months so to get that spark out here wouldn't be difficult to do in a market that's been rather quiet."

Analysts say waiting may not be a bad thing as slaughter numbers and carcass weights are in question following several mega-storms that blanketed the country. Waiting may provide more data about the storm's impact longer term.

"In weather market years carcass weights drop about three percent more from the fall highs and the spring lows," says Kevin Good with CattleFax. "Three percent is a bigger drop on a 500 thousand head weekly slaughter."

He says it works out to roughly 15,000 head in a week and that's a big number.

USDA says it picked February 8 for the grains because both January and February WASDE reports require a lock-up at USDA.

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