Local Grains

Last Updated Feb 16, 2018 8:20 AM*
Corn Old Crop New Crop
Pro Coop, Pocahontas -.42 -.54
Lakota Ethanol - GPRE, Lakota -.36 -.45
CFE, George IA -.35 -.49
Green Plains Renewable, Superior -.32 -.45
Stateline Co-op, Halfa -.28 -.46
Don's Farm Supply, Newell -.30 -.35
Poet Bio Refining, Emmetsburg -.30 -.38
Max Yield, Fostoria -.42 -.53
Max Yield, Mallard -.41 -.51
Max Yield, Kerber -.30 -.36

Soybeans Old Crop New Crop
Pro Coop, Pocahontas -.75 -.85
Don's Farm Supply, Newell -.80 -.85
Stateline Co-op, Halfa -.79 -.80
Meadowland Co-op, Lamberton,MN -.75 -.80
CHS, Fairmont -.48 -.55
CFE, George IA -.85 -.83
First Co-op, Laurens -.79 -.80
Max Yield, Fostoria -.80 -.83
Max Yield, Mallard -.80 -.83
Ag Partners, Emmetsburg -.75 -.83

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*This information was current as of this date. We believe it to be accurate but assume no responsibility.

Commodity Headlines

Ukraine wheat crop to fall to four-year low in 2018

January 10, 2018 1:40 PM

Source:  agrimoney.com

Ukraine’s wheat production will fall to a four-year low this year, despite some recovery in sowings and a strong start for crops, UkrAgroConsult said, while seeing some easing in corn output too, but flat oilseeds production.

The influential analysis group, in its first detailed production forecasts for 2018, pegged Ukraine’s wheat harvest at 25.1m tonnes – a drop of 1.0m tonnes year on year.

The forecast came despite ideas that winter wheat sowings expanded by 105,000 hectares to 6.27m hectares, as measured by official data, defying earlier ideas that weather setbacks would see plantings of winter cereals fall short of expectations.

Indeed, the official estimate for winter wheat sowings was ahead of the 6.1 hectares that farmers had expected plant, according to agriculture ministry data.

‘Condition is encouraging’

UkrAgroConsult also highlighted the strong condition of winter grain crops – of which wheat accounts for well above 80% by area - with 85.6% of winter cereals rated in “good” or “satisfactory” condition.

“Condition is encouraging so far, being the best in four years.”

The 99.6% of seedings which had emerged was, “owing to favourable weather conditions… the highest percentage in a few years”, the Kiev-based group said.

‘Potential risk factor’

However, UkrAgroConsult also said that “some concerns” do remain over prospects, with winter crops showing “slow” growth rather than remaining in dormancy - so leaving them vulnerable to winterkill from a cold snap.

This when 14.5% of wheat, equivalent to 911,000 hectares, was rated in “weak, spare condition” which may “become a risk factor in case of a sharp weather deterioration”.

The 25.1m-tonne wheat harvest estimate included a yield estimate of 4.11 tonnes per hectare, the three-year average level, although below the 4.21 tonnes per hectare achieved last year.

The output estimate also included a forecast of 170,000-200,000 hectares for spring wheat plantings.

Sunflowers vs soybeans

The group also forecast a small drop in Ukraine corn output this year, of 200,000 tonnes to 25.0m tonnes, reflecting ideas of a small drop in area, to 4.30m hectares.

By contrast, sunflower area will show an increase of some 3% to 6.55m hectares, supporting a harvest of 14.02m tonnes this year.

Extra area will come in part at the expense of soybeans, for which sowings will shrink by 3% to 1.70m hectares.

Rapeseed outlook

The – mainly winter seeded – rapeseed harvest, much of which is exported to the European Union for use in making biodiesel, was pegged at 2.11m tonnes, not far off the 2017 result, and remaining well above the depressed level of 2016.

Rapeseed is a tricky crop to grow in Ukraine, thanks to its greater susceptibility to winterkill than wheat.

Indeed, UkrAgroConsult allowed for losses of 200,000 hectares of winter rapeseed, out of the 1.01m hectares seeded.

Ukraine’s overall oilseeds output this year was pegged at 19.60m tonnes. little changed year on year.

U.S. economy grows at fastest pace in more than two years

December 21, 2017 1:00 PM

Source:  Reuters.com

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in more than two years in the third quarter, powered by robust business spending, and is poised for what could be a modest lift next year from sweeping tax cuts passed by Congress this week.

While other data on Thursday showed a jump in the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week, the underlying trend in jobless claims remained consistent with a tightening labor market.

The strong economy and tight jobs market has led many analysts to question the need for the $1.5 trillion tax cut package.

“We’ve never seen a Congress in history serve up tax cuts on a platter to businesses and individuals unless the economy was in recession,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York. “Better buckle up ... it could be a wild ride in 2018.”

Gross domestic product expanded at a 3.2 percent annualized rate last quarter, the Commerce Department said in its third GDP estimate for the period. Although that was slightly down from the 3.3 percent reported last month, it was the quickest pace since the first quarter of 2015 and was a pickup from the second quarter’s 3.1 percent growth rate.

It also was the first time since 2014 that the economy enjoyed growth of 3 percent or more for two straight quarters. Retail sales, labor market and housing data as well as other reports have suggested the economy maintained its solid momentum in the fourth quarter.

Republicans in Congress this week approved the largest overhaul of the tax code in 30 years, handing President Donald Trump a major legislative victory. Trump is expected to sign the legislation soon.

The Trump administration has portrayed the tax bill as key to boosting economic growth and creating jobs.

Economists are forecasting a modest economic boost from the tax changes, which include slashing the corporate income tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent. Many of them believe the lower tax regime will lead to share buybacks and debt repayment rather than a boost in business investment.

With income tax cuts for individuals skewed toward higher-income households, economists also forecast only a marginal lift to consumer spending.

“The contribution of the tax cuts to aggregate economic growth will be modest, in the range of one-tenth to two-tenths of a percent,” said Anne Van Praagh, managing director of global credit strategy and research at Moody’s Investors Service in New York.

“We do not believe that the corporate tax cuts will meaningfully increase business investment spending.”

The fiscal stimulus is expected to come when the economy is at full employment, which raises the risk of it overheating.

Economists, as a result, see a faster pace of interest rate increases from the Federal Reserve than currently anticipated. The U.S. central bank raised interest rates last week for a third time this year and has forecast three rate hikes for 2018.

U.S. stocks were trading higher as investors continued to cheer the tax cuts. Prices for shorter-dated U.S. Treasuries fell, while the dollar .DXY was little changed against a basket of currencies.


The growth in the third quarter, however, likely overstated the economy’s health. An alternate measure of growth, gross domestic income, rose at a 2.0 percent rate in the period. GDI was previously reported to have increased at a 2.5 percent rate.

The average of GDP and GDI, also referred to as gross domestic output and considered a better measure of economic activity, increased at a 2.6 percent rate in the third quarter instead of the previously reported 2.9 percent.

The pace of growth in business investment in equipment was raised to 10.8 percent, the fastest in three years, from the previously reported 10.4 percent. There were also upward revisions to government spending and residential construction.

Growth in consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy, was trimmed by one-tenth of a percentage point to a 2.2 percent rate in the third quarter. Investment in inventories was lowered slightly.

In a separate report, the Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 245,000 for the week ended Dec. 16.

Last week marked the 146th straight week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, which is associated with a strong labor market. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller.

The labor market is near full employment, with the jobless rate at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent. Last week, the four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose only 1,250 to 236,000.

The claims data covered the survey period for December’s nonfarm payrolls. The four-week average of claims fell 4,000 between the November and December survey weeks, suggesting another month of strong job growth.

The economy added 228,000 jobs in November. It needs to create 75,000 to 100,000 jobs per month to keep up with growth in the working-age population.

“The data continue to signal more than enough strength in employment growth to keep the unemployment rate trending down,” said Jim O‘Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York.

U.S. soy processors build new capacity at fastest rate in 20 years

December 11, 2017 9:22 AM

Source:  Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. agricultural cooperatives are building new soybean crushing plants at the fastest rate in two decades as farmers in the world’s top producer prepare to sow another record area with soy.

The growth worldwide in the number of consumers with income to spend on pork and chicken has led to a rapid rise in demand for food to raise animals. Crushing plants produce high-protein soymeal feed for livestock and soyoil for food and fuel.

U.S. processors are expected to open plants with capacity to process at least 120 million bushels of soybeans in 2019, up around 5 percent from existing capacity of an estimated 1.9 billion bushels.

The last time outright capacity grew that much was in 1997-98, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture and soy industry data.

Strong demand for feed has boosted crushing margins, the measure of profitability for the plants. Margins stand at more than a $1 per bushel, the strongest for 18 months, according to the CME Group.

The margins have encouraged processors to build more plants.

“Margins on soybean processing were very good, some of the best we’ve had in many years. And when the industry has good margins, you expand production,” said Mark Sandeen, vice president of product marketing at farmer cooperative Ag Processing Inc (AGP).

Growth in feed demand means crushing capacity worldwide will need to expand further.

Global soy production would have to increase by 20 percent over the next decade to keep up with feed consumption, said Tom Hammer, president of industry group National Oilseed Processing Association.

U.S. soy plantings totaled a record 90.2 million acres this year and the USDA in a preliminary forecast set plantings next year at 91.0 million acres. And while industry capacity could reach 2 billion bushels in under two years, the USDA said crushings likely will not reach that level until 2020-21.

AGP broke ground earlier this year on a new soy plant in Aberdeen, South Dakota, that will have annual capacity to process 40 million bushels.

Another cooperative, North Dakota Soybean Processors, planned to build a similarly sized facility for an estimated $287 million near the town of Spiritwood.

The plants will increase demand for local soybeans, potentially pushing up prices that farmers nearby will receive for their crops, and reducing transport costs.

Ryan Wagner, who grows soybeans about 50 miles away from the new soy plant in South Dakota, said the processor could add 10 to 15 cents to the local soybean price - an amount that might mean the difference between making or losing money.

Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures on Friday were $9.89-3/4 per bushel, down 2-1/4 cents.

“That basis will be nice but in the long run I think the greater economic impact will be the attraction of more opportunities for raising livestock because of the new supply of soybean meal,” Wagner said.

“We are already starting to see interest in our area for more pork and poultry production since the announcement.”

Family-owned Zeeland Farm Services plans to build the second plant in the state of Michigan with capacity of 40 million bushels, to open in 2019. The company built Michigan’s first soybean processor in 1996 in Zeeland.

The company will supply soybean meal to hog, turkey, dairy and aquaculture farms in Michigan and export both soymeal and soyoil, said Cliff Meeuwsen, president of Zeeland.

Due to a lack of processing plants in Michigan, much of the soybeans there are shipped to Ohio where merchant giants Archer Daniels Midland Co, Bunge Ltd and Cargill Inc [CARG.UL] have plants.

Soymeal then gets shipped back to Michigan to feed animals, raising costs.

“We hope to cut those costs out, thereby raising the price of soybeans to producers and cutting the cost of feed and protein to livestock producers,” Zeeland’s Meeuwsen said.

Earlier this year Perdue Farms opened a processor with capacity for 17.5 million bushels in Pennsylvania, that state’s first large-scale soy crushing plant.

Many of the new facilities are in places outside the central U.S. Midwest soy belt, taking advantage of increased supplies from farmers in those areas that have switched to soybeans from less profitable crops such as wheat.

Grain handlers will increase their profits by building the plants, as the margins are bigger for crushing than they are for simply buying and shipping soybeans, said Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soybean Transportation Coalition.

“The old adage is it’s better to export meat than (soy) meal and better to export meal than soybeans. You are always trying to export that higher-value product,” Steenhoek said.

Nafta Talks Get Bogged Down

November 20, 2017 1:22 PM

Source:  bloomberg.com

Canada and Mexico are holding firm in their resistance to addressing America’s most contentious proposed changes to Nafta in the latest talks, with the parties making some slow progress on areas of greater consensus.

The U.S. is frustrated with what it perceives to be the reluctance of Canada and Mexico to present counter-proposals to U.S. positions on key issues such as regional content requirements and dispute settlement, said a person close to the negotiations. American officials are especially discouraged by Canada for publicly stating that the U.S. proposals are unacceptable, without presenting alternatives at the negotiating table, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The fifth round of talks, which began in Mexico City on Nov. 15 and wrap up on Tuesday, is the first held without the top trade chiefs from the three countries. That’s allowed the respective teams to work on the challenge of updating the more mundane facets of the nearly 2,000-page North American Free Trade Agreement, which started in 1994 and is undergoing a major overhaul.

Progress was slow over the weekend. While hundreds of hours of talks are unfolding on issues ranging from car manufacturing to telecommunications, negotiators have punted decisions on the most divisive issues to future rounds. The three countries have extended the deadline for the talks to March, when they could be complicated by elections in Mexico and U.S. midterms.

Mexico and Canada are holding out hope the U.S. will bow to domestic pressure from lawmakers and industry groups to soften its demands -- and Canada is warning there won’t be a deal if it doesn’t.

Since talks left off in October, U.S. companies and business groups, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have mounted a campaign to mobilize Congress and convince the White House to back down from proposals they see as damaging to corporate interests. The Chamber on Fridaywarned that an American pullout would hit hardest some of the swing states that President Donald Trump took on his road to power.

Key Demands

The fate of the talks may hinge on that lobbying effort and whether the U.S. relaxes key demands. With Washington lawmakers focused ontax reform, that’s a question expected to linger into 2018. Two Canadian government officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said this weekend there’s no chance of any deal without the U.S. significantly altering its most contentious proposals.

That message was echoed by a prominent Canadian union leader. “As long as the U.S. has those proposals on the table, nothing is going anywhere” on less controversial issues, Jerry Dias, head of Canada’s largest private-sector union, said Sunday in Mexico City. “These negotiations are going nowhere fast.”

The fifth round of talks has produced no substantial breakthrough so far and has largely avoided the most divisive U.S. proposals ondairy,automotive content,dispute panels, governmentprocurement, and asunset clause.

Weekend Talks

Talks over the weekend focused on a wide range of subjects, and officials said they made progress in less-contentious areas. Negotiators are scheduled to spend much of their time on auto rules of origin, which govern how much of a vehicle must be produced in North America to trade without tariffs, though discussions on that have centered on mundane details such as paperwork requirements.

“It’s very important to have advances, not just on the most controversial topics, to be able to continue with a pace of advance and so that the cost of leaving for the U.S. keeps rising,” Moises Kalach, the head of trade for Mexican national business chamber CCE, said on Friday in comments aired on El Financiero Bloomberg TV.

Sensing danger, the auto industry has stepped up its lobbying to preserve Nafta. A coalition of industry associations calledDriving American Jobs traveled to Mexico City to make its case.

Auto Rules

That’s because the White House has proposed major changes to Nafta’s auto requirements, introducing a stipulation that 50 percent of parts or vehicles be U.S.-made, and increasing the minimum amount of regional content needed to 85 percent from 62.5 percent.

Tightening the rules of origin would make auto manufacturing in the region less competitive, said John Bozzella, president and chief executive officer ofGlobal Automakers, a lobbying group that represents the U.S. operations of foreign automakers and suppliers.

More than 70 House Republicans and Democrats in a recent letter threwtheir support behind the auto industry’s opposition to changes sought by the Trump administration.

Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said last week that Mexican negotiators planned to ask the U.S. for a more detailed explanation of the autos proposal and the reasons for it, but didn’t yet plan to present a counteroffer. A person familiar with discussions said Mexico views the U.S. position as completelyunworkable.

Canada will respond to the U.S. auto proposal this round by detailing why it thinks implementing the plans would harm the sector, but won’t formally propose a counteroffer, one Canadian official said.

Dias, the Canadian union leader, has regularly predicted talks to save the Nafta accord will fail, and did so again on Sunday in remarks to reporters. “The Canadian team is not going to move at all as long as the United States continues to hold some ridiculous proposals,” Dias said. “The problem you’ve got now is you can’t even get any sort of consensus on the small stuff, because as long as there’s a perception that Nafta is falling apart, nobody is in a position to really make any moves.”