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-New farmer aid package may encourage as many acres to be planted as possible
-Mississippi River closed due to high water
-Cattle on Feed trade estimates for today's report
-New crop Russian wheat exports seen higher than this year
-Exceptionally wet forecast continues
-Grain markets closed Monday
 
With no end in sight to the regular rain events across the corn belt, markets moved higher again overnight heading into the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Markets are closed on Monday, accordingly, and will resume electronic trade Monday night.
 
 Yesterday afternoon, USDA provided some details of the new $16 billion farmer aid package, stating $14.5 billion would be made in direct payments to farmers. This time around, the payments will not be based on a farmer’s production of specific crops, but rather the total amount of acreage planted and using an individual fixed county payment rate based on the estimated damage each county has seen as a result of the trade war. While this approach may not favor planting specific crops at the expense of others, as would be the case if, for example, soybeans were to receive a $2/bushel payout and corn only 4 cents/bushel, it does encourage as much acreage to be planted as possible as payments will only be made on actual acres planted this year, with any unplanted (Prevented Planting) acres excluded from receiving payment, and limited to each farmer’s planted acres last year. Additionally, planting soybeans still receives a boost in this plan given the exceptionally wet conditions across the corn belt as farmers will be encouraged to get as many acres planted with something if they cannot get corn in the ground, with soybeans the likely “go to.” Unfortunately, the one key piece of the equation not released was the actual county payment rates so farmers do not know what to expect for specific payments, making planting decisions still very difficult. Payments are expected to be made in three rounds, first in July or August, next in November and again in early 2020, with acres planted to alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, mustard seed, dried beans, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, upland cotton, and wheat eligible.
 The Mississippi River is closed to barge traffic near St. Louis due to high water levels and strong currents, likely lasting until at least June 1.
 USDA will release the monthly Cattle on Feed report this afternoon at 2:00 PM CT. The average estimate of May 1 on feed is 102.9% of last year (102.1-103.8 range of ideas) and compares to 102.0 last month. April placements are estimated at 113.0 (108.6-118.9 range) vs 104.8 in March, while April marketings are estimated at 106.6 (105.9-107.1 range) vs 96.6 in March.
 A survey of Indonesian palm oil associations/participants estimated April Indonesian palm oil production was 4.420 MMT, up from 3.950 MMT in March and significantly larger than last April’s 3.650 MMT. End April palm oil stocks were estimated at 2.510 MMT vs 2.400 MMT in March, but well below last year’s April stocks of 3.550 MMT. April palm oil exports were seen at 2.910 MMT vs 2.930 MMT in March and 2.650 MMT last year. Indonesia does not publish official monthly palm oil data.
 SovEcon sees 2019/20 Russian wheat exports at 38.2 MMT, above the Russian Ag Ministry’s ideas yesterday of 36.0 MMT and slightly above this year’s 37.0 MMT, with total grain exports expected to be 49.4 MMT vs the Ag Ministry’s 45 MMT estimate and up from this year’s 44.0 MMT.
 French soft wheat conditions were unchanged over the last week at 79% good/excellent and are the same as this time last year. Corn planting is nearly complete at 97%, up from 88% the previous week and 94% last year, with crop conditions currently at 83% g/e vs 85% last week and 86% last year.
 USDA reported the sale of 113k tonnes of corn to Mexico for 2018/19 delivery.
Weather
No major changes. An exceptionally wet pattern looks to continue across much of the Midwest in the next 10 days. The next system has developed showers and thunderstorms in the west overnight and those showers and thunderstorms will expand into the rest of the region today and tomorrow. That activity will favor SE MN, the eastern 2/3rd of IA, southern WI, northern IL and most of MI with the heaviest rainfall totals. Amounts in these areas will be in the 1-2” range, with some 2”+ amounts also possible. The forecast for later Sunday and into much of week indicates a stalled front to produce waves of showers and thunderstorms across most of the region. Estimates on amounts with that activity from Sunday through Friday are still running in the 1-2” range, with areas of 2”+ likely in IA, southern MN and northern IL. The 11-16 day period still has good model agreement, with ideas calling for average to above average rains to continue across much of the Plains and Midwest. 

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