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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

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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

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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

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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…

Market Mitigation Signup | an interview with Gary Schnitkey

Sign up for the trade and tariff compensation package from the United State Department of Agriculture is open. Todd Gleason has more on how and when farmers and landlords should fill out the paperwork.

Marketing Corn & Soybeans this Fall

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The dramatic fall in the price of corn and soybeans earlier in the year has put farmers in a unique marketing position. They must decide how much of the drop is due to the expected bumper crop size of the harvest and how much comes from the Trump Administration trade policies. University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Todd Hubbs says determining when those disputes might be settled is key to making good marketing decisions.

Great Corn Grind, but Ethanol Stocks are Building

Dan O’Brien from Kansas State University discusses the state of ethanol production and stocks. While grind has been tremendous, stocks are building, and plant profitability looks to be near breakeven.

2018 Cash Rents were up $5/acre in Illinois

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University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Gary Schnitkey discusses the surprise $5 an acre cash rent increase seen in the state wide 2018 survey numbers and how farm economics look going into the 2019 growing season.

by USDA NASS
see the 2018 USDA Land Values Survey

Agricultural Land Values Highlights

The United States farm real estate value, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, averaged $3,140 per acre for 2018, up $60 per acre (1.9 percent) from 2017 values.


Regional changes in the average value of farm real estate ranged from an 8.3 percent increase in the Southern Plains region to 1.4 percent decrease in the Northern Plains region. The highest farm real estate values were in the Corn Belt region at $6,430 per acre. The Mountain region had the lowest farm real estate value at $1,140 per acre.


The United States cropland value averaged $4,130 per acre, an increase of $40 per acre from the previous year. In the Southern Plains region, the average cropland …

AirScout Precision Agriculture Startup

A startup on the south end of the University of Illinois campus is using thermal imaging to help precision agriculture become prescription agriculture. Todd Gleason has more on how AirScout is helping farmers take advantage of their precision-guided equipment.

The Trump Administration, Ethanol, & the RFS

During a U.S. Senate hearing, Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler answered questions about ethanol, biofuels, the RFS, and small refinery waivers. He appears to be holding the same line Scott Pruitt took during his time at the helm of the agency with some notable differences.