July 08, 2014 | Grain Hedge Insights | Cody Bills | Views: 383
July 07, 2014 | Agriculture’s Other Side | Melissa Erdman | Views: 841

Tunnel Vision Glasses

Expand your horizons to include a world market view

Tunnel Vision Glasses

We all have our own set of eyes and ways of perceiving everything. We tend to get caught up in our own world and think that what's in front of us is all there is ... but this is completely untrue. This spring taught me that very valuable lesson. 

Mother Nature showed us her forces this year in Michigan. We came out of a hard, cold winter that we thought would never end to an unforeseeable spring. First, spring felt like winter for awhile and then we fell into a wet spell. The producers around my area started to become upset and scared about planting season. Even I was afraid for not only my father, but also for every customer I have.

As I visited farms and talked with producers, they just couldn’t see the end in sight. Beets were coming into “late” planting days, as was every other crop. A USDA report was due to come out soon and every producer in our area already knew what the outcome would be — or so we thought. The first report came out as expected, showing that almost nothing was in the ground and we were starting to get behind. But by the time the second report came out, the USDA stated that planting was in full swing and looked positive. I thought "how can this be?" I looked around and hardly anybody had even broken ground yet! What is the USDA talking about? They are nuts! Nor were our markets going through the roof like we thought they would, either. We had no crops in, yet the government was telling us things were fine and the markets stayed steady.

I truly struggled with this report, so I called a few colleagues outside of Michigan and asked about planting in their area. I told them how wet and cold our soil still was, as they proceeded to tell me that nearly all their crops were in. I was baffled! This whole scenario opened up my eyes. It forced me to take off my tunnel vision glasses and look at the big picture. I saw that we are only one part of an entire industry. Even the biggest producers in my area are but a small portion of this agricultural landscape. We need to keep in mind that just because we are struggling with weather, the whole United States may not be. For a producer to sit on last year’s crop because they just “know” that prices are going to go up with the lack of crop due to the Michigan weather is plain ignorant. We cannot simply go off of what we see in our backyards, but instead open our minds and broaden our horizons.

It's human nature to get stuck in our own world and the routine of our daily lives, but we have no reason not to take off our tunnel vision glasses. With today’s global markets, we have no choice but to keep up with the news and happenings all around us. Remember that in order for our agricultural market to continue to grow, we must open up new avenues globally. There will always be a local market, but we can't domestically use all that we grow. Thanks to research and technology, U.S. producers get more production out of our land today than we ever have in history, and this trend will have to continue because, unfortunately, there isn't any way to make more land.

As the world's population continues to grow, we even in the thumb of Michigan have to take a part in helping to feed that population. Not only is this the right thing to do, but it also opens up our local markets to the world. I have never met a cash crop farmer that doesn’t absolutely love to watch the markets on the board of trade go up! This can't happen without keeping the global perspective in mind. Our local markets alone will not get our producers the prices they would like. In my opinion, anyone who is not willing to open their minds to new ideas will be left in the dust. The agricultural world is on a speed train that is flying fast, throw off your tunnel vision glasses and jump aboard for the ride!

July 07, 2014 | Grain Hedge Insights | Cody Bills | Views: 613

Active International Tenders

Multiple international tenders were announced on Monday morning

Alert: Grain markets open at 8:30 central time this morning


Rain over 4th of July holiday was mixed, with majority of the grain belt receiving small amounts of precipitation. Michigan, Missouri and Nebraska saw the heaviest rain with some areas receiving 1 to 3 inches. The 6 to 10 day outlook projects a drying pattern developing over the central and northern grain belt, while Indiana and Ohio will continue to see precipitation. Crop progress and conditions will be updated this afternoon by the USDA and few changes are expected following a week of good growing conditions. Last week the USDA projected 75% of corn and 72% of soybeans rated good to excellent.

There were three notable tenders on the international market this morning with Jordan issuing a tender to buy 100,000 metric tons of optional origin hard milling wheat, Turkey issuing a tender to purchase up to 235,000 metric tons of milling wheat as well as 200,000 metric tons of feed barley and the United Arab Emirates issuing a tender to purchase 100,000 metric tons of corn along with 30,000 metric tons of feed barley and 15,000 tons of soymeal.

There has been some talk over the weekend that U.S crushing facilities have been looking for South American soybeans for August and September delivery. Last week we did observe basis at river terminals and crushing facilities outperformed the rest of the market significantly, increasing 6 cents from June 25 to July 2. 

July 03, 2014 | Grain Hedge Insights | Cody Bills | Views: 431

Soybean Basis Jumps as Futures Slide

Corn and Soybean Basis Diverge in the Wake of June 30th Planted Acreage Report and Quarterly Grain Stocks


This week we have seen a divergence in corn and soybean basis. Corn basis for spot delivery has decreased 2 cents on average for the week ending 7/2/14 while soybean basis increased 2 cents on average throughout the U.S. during the same time period. The largest basis changes occurred for premium soybean facilities such as crushing plants and for terminals along the river. The roll from the July contract into the August or September contracts have played a big role in the basis landscape this week.

Soybean basis along the river improved an average of 6 cents this week to help entice grain out of farmer bins after soybeans futures for the August contract sold off 47 cents in the last seven days. Cash movement has been slow as farmers remain uneager to sell into the weakness following the bearish June 30th planted acreage report and quarterly grain stocks report.  Soybean crush plants also bumped their basis by 6 cents on average throughout the country.


Shipping delays continue to be problem along the river. This week the river continues to have delays as a result of high waters. Continued rains in that region have caused a number of lock closures and are likely to stop barge movement between Bellevue, IA and Clarksville, MO. The closures began on June 27th at New Boston, IL and should affect Clarksville, MO by July 7th. It is unknown how long these delays will last.


Corn basis at ethanol plants declined 1 ¼ cents this week in line with the country average as basis along the river took the biggest hit, dropping -4 ½ cents. 

July 03, 2014 | Views on the News | Steven Kilger | Views: 603

Stormy Weather Ravages Midwest

Corporate announcements make up a bulk of last week’s top news

Stormy Weather Ravages Midwest

The top news stories for the week of June 23 are …

  1. Tornadoes Damage Grain Co-op in Pilger, NE
  2. General Mills Looking for New Cost-reduction Initiatives
  3. Cargill Introduces New Neonatal Pig Feeding Program
  4. AFIA Requests Animal Food Exemption in FSMA Reportable Food Registry
  5. CHS Inc. Files $2 Billion Shelf Registration Statement


Tornadoes Damage Grain Co-op in Pilger, NE

Summer's storms have been frequeent and powerful in the Corn Belt over the past few weeks. Few places felt the impact as much as Pilger, NE, where two tornadoes touched down side by side, killing two and sending at least 19 more to the hospital. Around 75% of this small farming town was damaged or destroyed, including the local grain co-op. The storm produced four tornadoes altogether, but strong adjacent tornadoes are a rare meteorological event. The town's people are thankful that more were not hurt, and though it will take time, they plan to rebuild what was lost.

General Mills Looking for New Cost-reduction Initiatives

General Mills yearly fiscal results came in lower than last year, crushing analyst expectations. With the release, General Mills announced that it would be making cut backs in order to become more efficient and increase earnings, but the details of the plan were not made clear.

Cargill Introduces New Neonatal Pig Feeding Program

Cargill’s new feeding program is said to increase the likelihood that piglets will survive by as much as 6%. They do this by focusing on the special needs of piglets in the first 28 days of life, where the mortality rate can be up to 18%. The program maximizes the piglets’ feed and nutritional intake and has shown effectiveness in weight gain and overall livability in testing. With the cost of pork rising and PEDv still running rampant, producers need every advantage to keep piglets alive.

AFIA Requests Animal Food Exemption in FSMA Reportable Food Registry

The American Feed Industry Association asked for the feed industry’s exemption from the Food Safety  Modernization Act, and based on comments by the Food and Drug Administration, may have gotten it. They argued that the original intent of the law was designated for human food products and was never intended to be applied to animal feed or pet food.

CHS Inc. Files $2 Billion Shelf Registration Statement

By filing a $2 billion shelf registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission, CHS, Inc. has given itself fiscal leeway for upcoming business opportunities. This statement will allow the company to sell up to 2 billion of its Class B cumulative redeemable preferred stock over the next three years. Though statement has been filed with the SEC, it has not yet become effective.

Well, those are the top five. I want to remind you to email me if you have any story ideas, comments on what news you want to hear about, or just to say hey. Subscribe to Industry Watch, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook for all the latest news in the industry.

July 03, 2014 | Grain Hedge Insights | Cody Bills | Views: 444

Markets Stabilize in Light Volume

Export sales came out within analyst expectations today for corn and soybeans. However, wheat provided a bit of a surprise.

ALERT: Grain Markets close at noon central today, markets re-open at 8:30 AM on 7/7/2014


Corn and soybeans have finally found bottom after 2 days of follow-through selling. Overnight corn futures are up ½ cent, soybeans up 3, and Chicago wheat up 3.


Export sales were released this morning showing that old crop corn and soybean sales met expectations while wheat sales came in better than expected. Despite meeting analyst expectations this week the 290,000 MT of 13/14 corn sales and 40,600 MT of 13/14 soybean sales wasn’t enough to move either grain any further ahead of pace to meet USDA forecasts. According to our models, corn slipped to 137 million bushels ahead of pace, down 7 million bushels from last week’s projections. Our soybean models also slid 6 million bushels to 102 million bushels ahead of pace to meet USDA expectations. New crop sales for both corn and soybeans were adequate with both grains recording sales within expectations. Wheat sales of 567,500 MT beat analyst expectations with a significant amount of sales going to Brazil. Strong wheat sales may provide some support to the market which has experienced hard directional selling since the beginning of May. The USDA issued an announcement after the export report was released that a one day reportable sale of 176,000 MT of corn was sold to Egypt for new crop delivery. 


Port workers in Argentina have begun an indefinite strike at the key grain terminal of Rosario. Argentina is the world’s number 1 exporter of soymeal livestock feed and third biggest supplier of corn.  U.S. soymeal prices are currently leading the soy complex higher, helped out by the Argentinian news. South American port strikes are typically short lived and will not provide lasting support to the soy complex.  


Yesterday, we saw some international tenders announced from a corn processing association out of Korea for 55,000 metric tons of food grade corn and a Taiwan sugar corporation looking to buy 20,000 metric tons of U.S. corn and 15,000 tons of soybeans to be sourced from either the United States or South America. 

July 02, 2014 | Grain Hedge Insights | Cody Bills | Views: 584

Another Strong Week For Ethanol Production

Today we discuss US ethanol production and what this is doing to the US cash market for old crop corn. Exports are also discussed as Chinese and Ukraine talk both dominated trade circles today.

July 02, 2014 | Grain Hedge Insights | Cody Bills | Views: 341

Grains Steady in the Overnight

U.S. grain markets are trying to find bottom today

Alert: Grain Markets close at noon central time on July 3, 2014. 


U.S. grain markets are trying to find bottom today, two days after the June USDA report sent markets sharply lower. Coming into the morning trade break, we have corn down 2 cents, soybeans off a penny, and Chicago wheat down a cent. Old-crop soybeans are again taking ground on the new crop, with August up 4 cents.


Corn traders will be watching today’s ethanol crush report, out at 9:30 central time. Helped out by surging crude oil prices, ethanol production reached record levels in mid-June and has been a supportive story for the old crop corn market. Overnight tenders were issued from both the South Koreans and the Taiwanese for U.S. origin corn. Considering a corn crop now rated 75% good to excellent, any strength moving toward pollination will need to be helped out by export sales and domestic usage numbers.


Yesterday Egypt's state grain buyer bought 240,000 tons of Romanian and Russian wheat on an international tender, providing little support for U.S wheat. U.S wheat was offered on the high side of the price range at $259/metric ton while Romanian and Russian wheat was offered nearly $7 cheaper. Of the reported offers, the French wheat was the most expensive, at $262.37/metric ton.


August soybeans found some technical support after it touched briefly on its 200-day moving average at 1304. August, which is now the front month for soybeans sold off 48 ¼  cents on Monday following the report as stocks showed 27 million more bushels on hand June 1 than analysts were expecting.

July 01, 2014 | Grain Hedge Insights | Cody Bills | Views: 440

Corn Shows Strength Toward Close

Fundamentals remain very negative for soybeans but corn remains a different story.

Today Cody and Logan discuss the new crop corn market and where it might be headed following the June 30th USDA report.

June 30, 2014 | Grain Hedge Insights | Cody Bills | Views: 463

Huge Soybean Acres Surprise the Market

Reported soybean acres surprised the market by over 2 million acres

U.S. Soybean acres at 84.839 million acres (82.154 Million Acres Expected)

U.S. Corn acres at 91.641 million acres (91.725 Million Acres Expected)

U.S. Wheat acres at 56.474 million acres (55.818 Million Acres Expected)


June 1 Soybean stocks 27 million bushels above expectations (405 Million Bushels)

June 1 Corn stocks 132 million bushels above expectations (3,854 Million Bushels)

June 1 Wheat stocks 8 million bushels below expectations (590 Million Bushels)


U.S. Soybean acres came out 2.5 million acres higher than trade estimates, pushing new crop prices sharply lower.  Northern states saw the largest acreage additions year over year, with 1.35 million soybean acres added in North Dakota alone. Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin saw a combined 1.42 million soybean acres added as well. Old crop stocks, which has been the backbone of the soybean markets relative strength, did little to support prices as the number came in 27 million bushels above expectations. Overall these are very negative numbers for new crop soybeans, especially considering the large world ending stocks projected for 2014/15.

Corn acres came out in line with trade expectations. The June 1st stock number is bearish as the 3.854 million bushels reported was 132 million bushels above trade expectations.

Wheat had an overall neutral report with quarterly stocks tighter than expected by only 8 million bushels and a slightly larger acreage figure. At the moment wheat is following the corn market lower.


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