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Review of Agricultural Commodity Prices - May 2021

Review of Agriculture Commodity Prices – May 2021


The price of corn increased 1.73% in May and is up 124% since May 31, 2020 as measured by the US National Corn Index in the United States.

The biggest issues in the corn market were production related and trade related.

In terms of production, China announced that their corn output is forecasts to rise 4.3% from the previous year to 272 million tonnes.  Corn acreage is expected to increase 3.3% from the previous year to 42.63 million hectares (105.3 million acres).[1]

France, however, announced that there would be a 10% drop in corn planting.  The farm ministry stated that 1.44 million hectares of corn would be planted in 2021, down from 1.61 million hectares in 2020.[2]

Although South America did receive rain, it offered little relief to the Safrina Corn crop. The rain received may be enough to keep the crop from being a disaster, but it will not help the crop enough to increase yield.  The Brazilian Corn Crop is estimated to be 68.5 million tons for the safrinha crop, 24.5 million tons for the full season crop and 1.8 million tons for the 3rd crop.[3]  Although the lowest estimate for Brazilian corn is at 85 million tons, it could come in lower.

In terms of trade, Ukraine grain exports are down 23.6% so far in this marketing year.  This year from July 2020 to June 2021 39.24 million tonnes have been exported including 19.36 million tonnes of corn.

Outlook:  With the corn crop in Brazil facing challenges, the outlook for corn is strong.


The price of soybeans increased 0.53% in May and is up 125% since May 31, 2020 as measured by the National Soybean Index in the United States.

The biggest issues in the soybean complex is production and trade.

In production, India’s soybean planting could rise by over 10% in 2021.[4]  There has been a switch from cotton and other crops to soybeans as prices for the crop encourage more production.
In terms of trade, US imports of Brazilian soybeans reached its highest level since 2014 as supply of US soybeans is very tight.[5] 

Russia is considering reducing export tax on soybeans on July 1st to 20% but not less then $100 per tonne.  This tax would be in place until September 2022.[6]

The weather has been dry in Argentina and this is impacting the shallowness of the Parana River which carries 80% of Argentine grain products.[7]  As a result, ships can not leave fully loaded ports are not at full efficiency. 

Outlook: Corn continues to have to stronger outlook.


The price of wheat decreased 7.82% in May and is up 33.21% since May 31, 2020 as measured by the Winter Soft Red Wheat in the United States.

The largest issues are in production.

India is expected to produce a record 108.75 million tonnes of wheat this year, slightly lower than the previous estimate of 109.24 million tonnes.[8] 

Also expected to produce record wheat yields is Australia, where nearly perfect growing conditions could lead to a large crop.[9] 

Also in the United States, the Kansas Wheat Tour indicated that that state could report a record high yield.  Crop scouts estimated the yield to be 58.1 bushes per acre above the 5 year average of 43.1 bushels per acre.[10]

Outlook: out of the three commodities, wheat looks the weakest.
[1] Reuters Inside Commodities – May 10, 2021
[2] Reuters Inside Commodities – May 12, 2021
[4] Reuters Inside Commodities – May 19, 2021
[5] Reuters Inside Commodities – May 17, 2021
[6] Reuters Inside Commodities – April 29, 2021
[7] Reuters Inside Commodities – May 7, 2021
[8] Reuters Inside Commodities – May 26, 2021
[9] Reuters Inside Commodities – May 25, 2021
[10] Reuters Inside Commodities – May 21, 2021