Morning Commentary

Dec corn up 1 ½ at $3.645

Nov beans up 3 ¾ at $8.5375

The DOW is up

USD is stronger

Crude oil up $.80 at $72.37

Good morning,

Corn traders are wondering if the recent move higher can continue to find momentum. Bulls argue weather hiccups here in parts of the U.S. are continuing to complicate the harvest and greater “variability” could eventually pressure the USDA’s current yield estimate. I am keeping a closer eye on the harvest in parts of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin, as some have been reporting disappointing harvest numbers in a few select areas. Bulls also continue to see extremely strong demand as a significant tailwind. Weekly ethanol output slipped a bit but still remains north of 1.0 million barrels per day. Ethanol stockpiles are still up +9% compared to last year and margins are negative at most locations in the U.S.

Soybean bulls continue to talk about Argentine crushers buying U.S. soybeans and the fact Brazilian buyers might soon be in the market as well. Bulls are also pointing to a very large sale of 650,000 tons of U.S. soybeans to Mexico for 2018/19 delivery. Technically, we still remain in a longer-term downtrend, but bulls are pointing to the fact we have been able to climb back to $8.50 level and the worst may now be behind us.  The market is simply breathing a bit and working its way back up towards the top of the range.

Researchers from Cambridge University have developed the first robotic lettuce leaf peeling system, which not only demonstrates advances in automation but addresses increasing food and labor demands. After harvesting, lettuces must have their outer layers removed. This is a time-consuming, menial task currently performed by farm workers, whose manpower is better used elsewhere. The repetitive nature of the job makes it well suited to automation, but lettuces are delicate — getting a robot to identify and gently peel away the outer layers without smashing it to bits has been challenging. But the team at Cambridge think they’ve cracked it. The system first uses computer vision to locate and determine the positioning of the lettuce, and then identify the lettuce stem. If it can’t find the stem, a padded robot arm will gently roll the produce around until it’s located. Then, a 3D printed circular nozzle, in conjunction with a suction system, gently grabs the outer leaf and removes it using a tearing action, without causing any damage to the lettuce.


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