A mixed tone to start Friday ahead of a harvest weekend.

This morning’s grain trade is mixed with soybeans softer after a sharp two-day rally. End-users are awaiting harvest to advance to gauge farmers' marketing patterns. Today, NOPA releases their August Crush Report at 11am CT, analysts are forecasting a soybean crush of 168-169 mbu (near record) and end of the month soyoil stocks of 1.48 billion lbs.

There were no new Ukrainian drone or missile strikes against Russian ports or other infrastructures overnight. However, we’ve seen a growing number of attacks this week, and traders are worried about weekend military activity. According to a source from Ukraine, another vessel left the Odessa port under a Cayman Island flag and used the humanitarian corridor along the coastline near Romania and Bulgaria. Constanta Romanian port authorities said that 9.2 MMT of Ukrainian grains have been shipped through their port from Jan-Aug, more than in 2022.

Wheat prices domestically in India continue to rally to new highs for the year. The Indian government has moved to limit traders, wholesalers, and big retailers to be limited to only hold 2000 MTs. Meanwhile, the government continues to claim they have adequate stocks of wheat and have not lowered wheat duties on imports. It’s anticipated this may occur later into the winter.

Overnight spot crude oil futures traded above $91/barrel, with tightening energy supplies looking to maintain a bull market into 2024. US diesel prices have continued to rise on tightening supplies, with ethanol production margins at their best levels in years. Strong US ethanol and soy crush margins will cause domestic cash basis bids to rise as farmers will hold tight to the new crop harvest, only delivering presold quantities. Central Illinois corn bids have risen to $0.15 over, and soybean bids to $0.10 over to procure production supply from farmers. What’s interesting is harvest is just starting, and this typically occurs later.

As harvest is picking up, harvest data for soybean and corn yields continue to disappoint, with talk now developing the October report will reveal lower yields. The drought in Australia also continues to manifest, with this afternoon’s COT report eagerly awaited to gauge with the fund short is in Chicago in size.

Live and feeder cattle moved sharply higher Thursday with gains of $2.50-2.60, with all months, including October, making a new contract high. The April 2024 contract is at a historical $190.75, helping feeder cattle futures produce strong gains. August feeders for 2024 are trading near $279.00. Cattle prices continued their trend to the upside with no indication of a top after only trading sideways during the negative August/September price seasonal. Historically, live cattle rally 15-$18 from their third-quarter low into the new year. Demand being maintained domestically is the question moving forward in order to facilitate live cattle prices near $200, which is what feedlots will need at the beginning of the year.