By Kirk Maltais
-- Corn for December delivery rose 0.4% to $3.70 1/2 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade on Wednesday.
-- Soybeans for November delivery rose 0.5% to $8.73 a bushel.
-- Wheat for December delivery rose 0.3% to $4.68 a bushel.
Ethanol Output Falls: Ethanol production dropped this week by 22,000 barrels to 1 million barrels per day, the Energy Information Administration said. Meanwhile, ethanol inventories also fell by 516,000 barrels to 23.4 million barrels.
Traders are more concerned about the decrease in production this week, said Terry Reilly of Futures International, calling the data bearish for U.S. corn futures.
From the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour:
USDA Staff Threatened: Officials from the Agriculture Department left the Pro Farmer Crop tour after receiving a threat against one of its 15 staff members participating in the annual trip. Hubert Hamer, an administrator with the USDA's statistical department, said Wednesday that someone threatened an agency employee on the Pro Farmer Crop Tour. One of those employees, Lance Honig, the chief for the USDA's National Agriculture Statistics Service, had been scheduled to speak at a Pro Farmer event in Iowa City, Iowa, on Wednesday night.
Young Beans: Crop scouts on the ground at the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour said that it is tough to make any predictions about what the 2019-20 soybean crop will look like since the bean crop is at least one month behind.
"For soybeans, it's really hard to say what will happen," said Luis Viera, a trader with Kapitalo Investimentos and a crop scout on the tour.
Indiana soybean-pod figures are down nearly 30% compared with this time last year, according to Pro Farmer. Noting that Indiana is now the second state to show a steep decline in soybean pods this week, Pro Farmer editor Brian Grete said soybean acres are roughly 30-45 days behind normal. Without very supportive weather, soybean harvests will almost certainly be negatively affected, he said.
The tour rolled from Illinois into Iowa on Wednesday.
Hoosiers Edge Buckeyes: Corn yields averaged 161.46 bushels per acre among 188 samples in Indiana, according to Pro Farmer. That's marginally better than the roughly 154 bushels per acre reported in Ohio on Monday. Nebraska yields averaged 172.55 bushels per acre, Pro Farmer said.
Hopeful on Trade: Many farmers said they think President Trump's negotiations with officials of the world's second-biggest economy will yield a better deal for producers of corn, soybeans and pork despite the short-term pain as China cuts back on purchases of those and other farm goods from the U.S.
"I think what he's trying to do with trade is justified," said Brian Grete, an editor with Pro Farmer, the trade publication that organizes the crop tour.
-- Pro Farmer's Midwest Crop Tour runs through Thursday.
-- The USDA is scheduled to release its latest weekly export sales numbers at 8:30 a.m. EDT Thursday.
Write to Kirk Maltais at firstname.lastname@example.org