Posts

Reviewing Prices and Market Facilitation Payments

Image
read farmdocDaily article



As the trade conflict with China continues, prices for many agricultural commodities remain relatively low. Illinois corn and soybean prices dipped to new lows in September, coinciding with the latest rounds of tariffs.



The difference between selling an entire crop at spring forward bid prices compared to the September average cash prices makes a substantial difference in income on an average central Illinois grain farm.



University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Gary Schnitkey reviews how this plays out on a 1700 acre corn and soybean farm in Illinois this year, and what the prospects look like for next year.

Trump Admin Still Has Some Biofuels Work to Do

Image
Last Tuesday President Donald Trump made a campaign trip to Council Bluffs, Iowa. There he told a very excited crowd his administration would be backing corn farmers and ethanol. The President leaned into the mic and gave corn farmers a little insider news they’ve been clamoring to hear since U.S. EPA pronounced gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol would be ok to use in all cars made since 2001, “We are a little bit early. I shouldn’t say it now, but we are going with E15 year-round.” Mr. Trump is a little early. Today E15 can be used about 9 months out of the year in much of the nation. During those other three months, the summer months, it has been prohibited. U.S. EPA will need to write some rules about how to make the year-round use happen. Those will need to be approved, and clearly the oil industry will mount court challenges. If all goes well more corn will be used to make ethanol for E15, but it won’t make a difference in the balance sheets for corn says University of Illi…

Expected E15 Announcement No Big Deal

President Trump at his Council Bluffs, Iowa rally Tuesday is expected to announce a waiver to allow year-round use of gasoline blended with 15% ethanol (E15). Todd Gleason reports it may make little difference in how much corn is used to make ethanol.

2019 Illinois Crop Budgets are Dismal

The numbers look bad for Illinois grain farmers next year. That’s the only conclusion Gary Schnitkey can draw when he puts the costs up against the incomes for corn and soybeans in 2019. Schnitkey, an ag economist at the Univesity of Illinois, says fuel and fertilizer costs are expected to go up. Prices aren’t and that’s the dismal part says Schnitkey, “Probably the one thing that has changed relative to recent years is that corn is expected to be more profitable than soybeans. Again, that is largely due to our use of $3.60 for a 2019 corn price and $8.50 for soybeans. This switches the profitability around. That’s driven by trade concerns, particularly with China and what that has done to commodity prices.”Here’s an example of the bottom line for next year’s budget. A northern Illinois farmer might expect to have $174 to split between the farmer and the landowner for corn and $143 for soybeans. This return is considerably below the cost of cash rent and roughly, says Schnitkey, near …

Turner Hall Transformation | the smart classroom

Image
Six years after more than 100 alumni, faculty, students, and friends of Illinois gathered to kick-off a 5 million dollar fundraising campaign, the University of Illinois Turner Hall transformation has been completed. 1964 ag sciences grad William Kirk and his wife, Lillian, made a $500,000 donation to seed the project.

Phase I of the Turner Hall Project transformed the crop science and soil science laboratories into 21st-century learning environments. Undergraduate courses are taught in these two labs. Donors also funded a two-story renovation of the west lobby. In total, Phase I renovated 7136 square feet. These renovated spaces allow for active learning, utilizing new technologies. The Dow AgroSciences Crop Sciences Laboratory and the Monsanto Soil Science Laboratory welcomed students for the first time in fall 2015.



Phase II construction began in 2017 and will conclude in 2018. This 38,377 square foot, three-floor renovation will fully transform classrooms on the first and second f…

New Lab Dedicated to Commodity Crop Bioprocessing

Image
The market for commodity crops processed into new products is expected to more than double in the next six years to some 490 billion dollars. The IBRL building on the Univesity of Illinois campus in Urbana-Champaign is investing in the future of these agricultural innovations.

The last week of September a new building was dedicated on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana-Champaign. The Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory is designed to bridge the gap between discovery and commercialization. IBRL’s director, Vijay Singh, says every year some 250 invention disclosures are filed at the University of Illinois. Most are never commercialized because there isn’t a proof of concept facility to scale up new ways to process ethanol or other agricultural biofuels.



The labs in IBRL, Singh says, will do just that, “This facility is also a link joining academia with business development. With plug and play utilities and flexible equipment offerings, IBRL is agile enough to serve a v…

2019 Crop Budgets Suggest Dismal Corn and Soybean Returns

Even with cost-cutting and savings measures, University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Gary Schnitkey says, for the moment, it seems unlikely farmers will have positive returns on rented farmland in 2019. Todd Gleason has more…

Small Refinery Exemptions and Ethanol Demand Destruction

farmdocDaily articleThere is widespread interest in whether small refinery exemptions (SREs) under the RFS have “destroyed” demand for ethanol in the physical market. Todd Gleason discusses the point with University of Illinois agricultural economist Scott Irwin.

Trump Trade Policy Crashes Soybean Basis

Image
China, the number one destination for all U.S. soybeans, has stopped buying because of the President’s trade policies. Normally those bushels would be exported via the PNW (the Pacific Northwest) grain export terminals. That gate has closed says NDSU’s Frayne Olson and now all those bushels are expected to try and move through the other export gate at the Port of New Orleans.

Olson says “The challenge we have in the soybean market is that the basis levels are trying to choke off the inflow of grain. Local basis is all about what’s the inflow rate versus the outflow rate. The problem is our out-flow rate is very slow. So, the local basis level is going to continue to fall until it chokes off that inflow and where that magic number depends upon where you are.”

If you look at a fall 2018 map of soybean prices across the United State you can see how grain flow is backing up into the St. Louis export terminals. The PNW can handle about 25 train loads of soybeans a day. St. Louis can manag…

Soybean Exports since the Onset of Tariffs

Image
by Todd Hubbs, University of Illinois

The evolving developments with tariffs between the U.S. and China continue to influence the outlook for soybean prices. The relationship between U.S. and competitor export prices along with the changing nature of trade flows merit monitoring during the 2018–19 marketing year.



The implementation of tariffs on Chinese goods and the subsequent retaliation led to an adjustment of trade flows in world soybean markets over the last few months. As the tariffs, went into effect, a price gap opened between Brazilian and U.S. export prices. The gap continuously widened when comparing an index of soybean prices at the port of Paranagua and New Orleans prices since early June.


This chart illustrates how the price of U.S. soybeans for export at the port of New Orleans has dropped below the price of Brazil sourced soybeans from the port of Paranagua since June of 2018.

The gap reached its broadest level late last week at approximately $1.90 per bushel differenc…

Selling Soybeans Across the Scale

Image
This fall farmers will harvest a record sized soybean crop. USDA says about 4.7 billion bushels. They’ll need a home and farmers in North Dakota are really worried. About 2/3rds of their crop is shipped by rail to the Pacific Northwest for export to China. The Trump administration trade policies have mostly closed that market says North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, “What I would tell you is not only have you disrupted the markets and we have taken a haircut, you may not be able to sell them which is something I’ve been talking about for a long time.” Heitkamp was speaking to farmers in Fargo at the Big Iron farm show this week.

The cash price of soybeans has tumbled across the whole of the Midwest and some elevators are telling farmers not to bring their beans to town. Those soybeans from the Dakota’s and Minnesota are going to try and find another way out of the country. That’s probably through St. Louis and down the Mississippi River. It’s a brutal cash price situation that back…