Local Grains

Last Updated Dec 12, 2017 8:16 AM*
Corn Old Crop New Crop
Location
Pro Coop, Pocahontas -.52 -.55
Lakota Ethanol - GPRE, Lakota -.43 -.50
CFE, George IA -.51 -.51
Green Plains Renewable, Superior -.42 -.45
Stateline Co-op, Halfa -.34 -.46
Don's Farm Supply, Newell -.34 -.35
Poet Bio Refining, Emmetsburg -.36 -.38
Max Yield, Fostoria -.54 -.55
Max Yield, Mallard -.54 -.55
Max Yield, Kerber -.35 -.45

Soybeans Old Crop New Crop
Location
Pro Coop, Pocahontas -.80 -.80
Don's Farm Supply, Newell -.78 -.85
Stateline Co-op, Halfa -.78 -.88
Meadowland Co-op, Lamberton,MN -.80 -.80
CHS, Fairmont -.40 -.55
CFE, George IA -.80 -.90
First Co-op, Laurens -.80 -.80
Max Yield, Fostoria -.82 -.86
Max Yield, Mallard -.82 -.86
Ag Partners, Emmetsburg -.82 -.82

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

Commodity Headlines

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.”






Farm Bureau Survey Reveals Lowest Thanksgiving Dinner Cost in Five Years

November 20, 2017 11:23 AM

Source:  FarmBureau.Org

American Farm Bureau Federation’s 32nd annual price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.12, a 75-cent decrease from last year’s average of $49.87.

The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at a total of $22.38 this year. That’s roughly $1.40 per pound, a decrease of 2 cents per pound, or a total of 36 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2016.

“For the second consecutive year, the overall cost of Thanksgiving dinner has declined,” AFBF Director of Market Intelligence Dr. John Newton said. “The cost of the dinner is the lowest since 2013 and second-lowest since 2011. Even as America’s family farmers and ranchers continue to face economic challenges, they remain committed to providing a safe, abundant and affordable food supply for consumers at Thanksgiving and throughout the year.” 

The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.

Consumers continue to see lower retail turkey prices due to continued large inventory in cold storage, which is up almost double digits from last year, Newton explained.

Foods showing the largest decreases this year in addition to turkey, were a gallon of milk, $2.99; a dozen rolls, $2.26; two nine-inch pie shells, $2.45; a 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes, $3.52; a 1-pound bag of green peas, $1.53; and a group of miscellaneous items including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour), $2.72.



“Milk production has increased, resulting in continued low retail prices,” Newton said. “In addition, grocers often use milk as a loss leader to entice consumers to shop at their stores.”

Items that increased modestly in price were: a half-pint of whipping cream, $2.08; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.81; a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.21; a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries, $2.43; and a 1-pound veggie tray, $.74.

“Whole whipping cream is up about 4 percent in price, due to increased consumer demand for full-fat dairy products,” Newton said.

The stable average price reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks with the government’s Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home. But while the most recent CPI report for food at home shows a 0.5 percent increase over the past year (available online at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm), the Farm Bureau survey shows a 1.5 percent decline.

After adjusting for inflation, the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner is $20.54, the lowest level since 2013.

A total of 141 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 39 states for this year’s survey. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey.

Shoppers with an eye for bargains in all areas of the country should be able to purchase individual menu items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages. Another option for busy families without a lot of time to cook is ready-to-eat Thanksgiving meals for up to 10 people, with all the trimmings, which are available at many supermarkets and take-out restaurants for around $50 to $75.

The AFBF Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986. While Farm Bureau does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

Australia cautions of downgrade ahead to drought-hit grain crops

October 23, 2017 3:06 PM

Source:  agrimoney.com

Australian officials cautioned of a downgrade ahead to their estimate for the country's winter grains harvest – but by a limited amount, flagging the boost to crops from recent rains.

Abares, the official Australian commodities bureau, in an unusual step said it was poised in its next quarterly crop report, in December, to downgrade its forecast for the country's winter crop harvest from the current figure of 36.31m tonnes

The bureau flagged conditions that had been "generally unfavourable for crop development in the eastern states in September, with well-below-average rainfall, above-average day time temperatures and significant frost events in many regions".

The centre west New South Wales, "many" winter crops - a category which includes barley, canola and wheat- had "failed and will not be harvested".

'Outlook is favourable'

However, rains this month had gone some way to repairing yield prospects in southern New South Wales, Abares said, saying that "the rainfall this week will provide a timely boost for many crops".

"The likely benefit will be greatest for crops furthest from harvest and therefore be greatest for crops in the south [of the state] and diminish the further north crops are situated."

Forecasts for moisture also persuaded Abares against cutting its forecast for the harvest in South Australia, where "crops on Eyre Peninsula and Yorke Peninsula… were between six and eight weeks behind normal development at the end of winter".

While and crop development here had been "adversely affected by the adverse seasonal conditions in September… the seasonal conditions outlook for these regions in October is favourable with higher-than-average rainfall and lower-than-average daytime temperatures likely".

'Around average'

The bureau said that while it would be in December cutting its estimate for winter crop production in New South Wales, it did "not envisage a significant change" in its figure for South Australian output.

"We expect the December forecast for winter crop production in Australia in 2017-18 will still be around the 10-year average to 2015-16," said Abares, implying an output downgrade of only some 2%, or about 700,000 tonnes.

That is less than than the reduction that many commentators have factored in for wheat alone from the September Abares estimate of 21.61m tonnes.

Broker Benson Quinn Commodities said that "trade seems to be 17m-22m tonnes on Aussie production".

'Turned the season'

Separately, Rabobank too noted the role of recent rains in reviving crop prospects in some areas, saying the precipitation "could still bring some tonnes for some.

"Variability continues to be the theme of this year's winter harvest prospects," the bank said, noting that while canola crops "are being grazed out in central New South Wales due to frost and ongoing dryness, late-September rains have turned the season for many across the central Western Australia wheat belt."

The bank added that "well-supplied south eastern Australian ports mean prospects for Western Australia grain being called on to supply northern New South Wales and Queensland are limited".

Cancer agency left in the dark over glyphosate evidence

October 19, 2017 10:42 AM

Source:  Reuters

LONDON – When Aaron Blair sat down to chair a week-long meeting of 17 specialists at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France in March 2015, there was something he wasn’t telling them.

The epidemiologist from the U.S. National Cancer Institute had seen important unpublished scientific data relating directly to a key question the IARC specialists were about to consider: Whether research shows that the weedkiller glyphosate, a key ingredient in Monsanto’s best-selling RoundUp brand, causes cancer.

Previously unreported court documents reviewed by Reuters from an ongoing U.S. legal case against Monsanto show that Blair knew the unpublished research found no evidence of a link between glyphosate and cancer. In a sworn deposition given in March this year in connection with the case, Blair also said the data would have altered IARC’s analysis. He said it would have made it less likely that glyphosate would meet the agency’s criteria for being classed as “probably carcinogenic.”

But IARC, a semi-autonomous part of the World Health Organization, never got to consider the data. The agency’s rules on assessing substances for carcinogenicity say it can consider only published research – and this new data, which came from a large American study on which Blair was a senior researcher, had not been published.

The lack of publication has sparked debate and contention. A leading U.S. epidemiologist and a leading UK statistician – both independent of Monsanto – told Reuters the data was strong and relevant and they could see no reason why it had not surfaced.

Monsanto told Reuters that the fresh data on glyphosate could and should have been published in time to be considered by IARC, and that the failure to publish it undermined IARC’s classification of glyphosate. The legal case against Monsanto, taking place in California, involves 184 individual plaintiffs who cite the IARC assessment and claim exposure to RoundUp gave them cancer. They allege Monsanto failed to warn consumers of the risks. Monsanto denies the allegations.

The company also goes beyond saying the fresh data should have been published. It told Reuters the data was deliberately concealed by Blair, but provided no specific evidence of it being hidden.

Blair told Reuters the data, which was available two years before IARC assessed glyphosate, was not published in time because there was too much to fit into one scientific paper. Asked whether he deliberately did not publish it to avoid it being considered by IARC, he said that was “absolutely incorrect.” He said a decision not to publish the glyphosate data had been taken "several months" before IARC chose to conduct a review of the chemical.

The National Cancer Institute also cited “space constraints” as the reasons why the new data on glyphosate was not published.

The absence of the data from IARC’s assessment was important. IARC ended its meeting in 2015 by concluding that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” It based its finding on “limited evidence” of carcinogenicity in humans and “sufficient evidence” in experimental animals. It said, among other things, that there was a “positive association” between glyphosate and blood cancers called non-Hodgkin lymphoma. IARC told Reuters that, despite the existence of fresh data about glyphosate, it was sticking with its findings.

The agency’s assessment is at odds with other international regulators who have said the weedkiller is not a carcinogenic risk to humans. It led to a delay in Europe on a decision on whether to re-license or ban EU-wide sales of pesticides containing glyphosate. That decision is still pending. In the meantime, some countries have tightened restrictions on the weedkiller’s use in private gardens and public spaces and on crops before harvest.

In the United States, a California judge took the IARC assessment into account in a separate legal case in March when ruling that the state can require RoundUp to carry a warning label that it may cause cancer. Monsanto is now facing further litigation from hundreds of plaintiffs across the United States who say glyphosate gave them or their loved ones non-Hodgkin lymphoma, citing the IARC assessment as part of their claims.

Yet if the IARC panel experts had been in a position to take into account Blair’s fresh data, IARC’s analysis of the evidence on glyphosate would have been different, Blair acknowledged in the court documents reviewed by Reuters.

The unpublished research came from the Agricultural Health Study, a large and significant study, led by scientists at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, of agricultural workers and their families in the United States. Asked by Monsanto lawyers in March whether the unpublished data showed "no evidence of an association” between exposure to glyphosate and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Blair replied: "Correct."

Asked in the same deposition whether IARC's review of glyphosate would have been different if the missing data had been included, Blair again said: "Correct.”  Lawyers had put to him that the addition of the missing data would have “driven the meta-relative risk downward,” and Blair agreed.

Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s vice president of strategy, told Reuters the IARC glyphosate review “ignored multiple years of additional data from the largest and most comprehensive study on farmer exposure to pesticides and cancer.”