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Articles from 2020 In August


RipeningSoybeanField oticki/ThinkstockPhotos

USDA crop progress: Corn quality continues to fall

Corn and soybean quality has been on the ropes for the past several weeks, and USDA’s latest crop progress report, covering the week through August 30, saw another round of declines for both crops, with corn falling another two points, while soybeans dropped three points.

Corn quality moved from 64% rated in good-to-excellent condition down to 62% this past week. Analysts were expecting a three-point drop, however. Another 24% is rated fair (unchanged from a week ago), with the remaining 14% rated poor or very poor (up two points from last week). Iowa’s embattled crop had the second-to-worst poor-to-very-poor ratings, with 25% of the state’s crop now in that category. Only drought-stressed Colorado (44% rated poor or very poor) is in worse condition.

Physiologically, the crop is maturing a bit faster than it has in recent years, with nearly all (94%) in dough stage, versus the prior five-year average of 89%. More than half of the crop (63%) is now dented, versus the prior five-year average of 56%. And USDA considers 12% now fully mature, versus the prior five-year average of 10%.

Analysts were expecting USDA to dock soybean quality three points this past week, and that’s exactly what the agency did, moving it from 69% rated in good-to-excellent condition down to 66%. Another 24% is rated fair (up a point from last week), with the remaining 10% rated poor or very poor (up two points from last week). Iowa has the highest percentage of its crop rated poor or very poor, with 18% tumbling down to that bottom tier.

By the end of August, 95% of the crop is now dropping leaves, which is slightly above the prior five-year average of 93%. And 8% is now dropping leaves, which is running parallel to the prior five-year average and well ahead of 2019’s dismal pace of 3%.

The U.S. wheat harvest is moving right along. For spring wheat, 69% of this year’s harvest is now complete, up from 49% a week ago. That’s still moderately behind the prior five-year average of 77%, however. And the 2020 winter wheat harvest is considered all but complete, with USDA no longer reporting those statistics.

Click here for updates on additional crops, including sorghum, cotton, barley, pasture and range conditions, and more.

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COTTON SPIN: No such thing as 'prices should'

The USDA’s August cotton supply and demand estimates painted a bearish picture. The world number reflects a global excess supply of cotton. While world beginning stocks were 360,000 bales fewer compared to July, the August estimate of world production was 1.28 million bales higher, month over month. The latter resulted from higher production estimates in India (+1.2 million bales), the U.S. (+580,000 bales), and Australia (+200,000 bales). The world trade categories were reduced between 220,000 and 260,000 bales, while world consumption was 1.24 million fewer, all compared to July. 

Higher production and reduced consumption resulted in 2.14 million more bales of new crop ending stocks on the world balance sheet, which is fundamentally bearish in terms of the monthly adjustment and in the resulting level of 104.91 million bales. These kinds of global numbers have the power to outweigh the effect of the U.S. situation, which itself isn’t market supporting.

USDA’s revisions to U.S. cotton started with carry-in adjustments. Some trimming of 19/20 exports resulted in 100,000 more bales of 20/21 carry-in, raising it to 7.2 million bales. This is perhaps the most fixed and bearish aspect of the new crop balance sheet. U.S. abandonment was predictably raised to 24% (that is the fourth highest in eleven years). However, abandoning a lot of dryland on the Southern Plains helped contribute to an increase in the national average yield per harvested acre (i.e., from 820 to 938 pounds per acre).  

Those offsetting effects combined to increase U.S. new crop production from 17.5 million to 18.03 million bales. This is surprisingly high to most observers, but there it is for now. Some are questioning the production adjustment because it was mostly based on a farm manager survey of abandonment and yield, implemented via phone, mail, and internet. 

Next benchmark

I have no reason to question the validity of the August survey. The next real benchmark estimate is in September when USDA will have boots on the ground sampling yield and abandonment across Texas, as well as Arkansas, Georgia, and Mississippi. This new information may revise U.S. production lower, or it may not.

On the demand side, U.S. mill use was lowered 100,000 bales while the estimate of exports was unchanged, month over month. The demand picture is historically weak, and unfortunately that may outlast the uncertain supply picture. 

The bottom line of all this was a month-over-month increase in new crop ending stocks from 6.8 million to 7.6 million bales. The resulting stocks-to-use ratio likewise shifted higher above the burdensome 40% threshold level, which is fundamentally bearish according to history and economic theory.

Again, some will question whether the ending stocks will really be that high. The implication is that prices should, and possibly will, be higher. But there is really no such thing as “prices should.” Prices are. I think the cotton futures market currently reflects the influence of potentially higher abandonment in the Southern Plains. I think USDA could cut a million bales off their current production and ending stocks, and the outlook would still be fundamentally bearish. I think the mid-60s is the post-pandemic market high for the Dec’20 contract.

For additional thoughts on these and other cotton marketing topics, please visit my weekly on-line newsletter at http://agrilife.org/cottonmarketing/.

USTR Ambassador Doud World Pork Expo

U.S. ag seeing 'fruits of labor' from recent trade deals

Many continue to question whether China can meet its commitment to purchase at least $36.5 billion in agricultural products by the end of the year. U.S. chief agricultural negotiator Gregg Doud said it’s important, from his perspective, to provide some time and breath to accomplish” this.

While speaking at a virtual conference hosted by the U.S. Soybean Export Council, Doud said it often takes years to see results from trade negotiations. Several actions are finally moving ahead, with China making purchases as well as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) going into force.

“We’ve gone many years in agriculture without anything on the horizon. It’s still going to take some time for all of this to kick in, but I think we’re already starting to see some fruits of our labor,” Doud said.

He said it’s important to look at China’s overall growth in agricultural imports. China imported $124 billion from the world in 2018, followed by $133 billion in 2019; it is on pace for $141 billion in 2020 -- the same amount as total U.S. agricultural exports to the world. When looking at China's Phase One commitment from the 2017 base year of $24 billion to $36.5 billion, Doud said it’s “not that hard to do.”

Doud said structural changes actually are a significant advancement not discussed often. The original agreement called for 57 structural changes, and Doud estimates that China has completed 50 of those. Outstanding issues pertain to the use of ractopamine and biotechnology.

Another issue the U.S. has struggled with for a long time is the number of facilities approved by the Chinese government. Before the Phase One agreement entered into force, only 1,500 U.S. facilities were eligible to export to China. To date, that has now increased to 3,500 eligible facilities.

Actual trade to China has been down in many categories, but the country has made some recent purchases of U.S. corn, soybeans and sorghum to offer optimism. U.S. soybean exports worldwide were down 21%. Interestingly, U.S. soybean exports to China were down 54%, but soybean exports to other locations were exactly the same as a year ago, Doud said. Recent soybean sales show that it could be a busy fall shipping soybeans to China, he added.

Pork exports to China are already at an all-time record, with as much sent in the first six months as all of last year. Doud said there has been “significant progress on the meat side of the equation” in trade with China.

The U.S. and China said they are seeing progress in the implementation of the Phase One trade agreement. During a six-month review call held Aug. 24, senior officials from both countries reaffirmed commitments to ensuring the agreement’s success.

Doud said even if China's purchase commitments are not met, the two countries will continue the dialogue and discussions. “China indicated they intend their very best to do this,” Doud said, and as recent weeks have shown, it “isn’t just rhetoric; they are making purchases. Hopefully, with this pace, they are able to sustain” the purchase levels.

According to a statement from the U.S. Trade Representative, the parties discussed “significant increases in purchases of U.S. products by China as well as future actions needed to implement the agreement.” Also addressed were the steps China has taken to ensure greater protection for intellectual property rights, remove impediments to American companies in the areas of financial services and agriculture and eliminate forced technology transfer.

USMCA update

Doud said he is watching the implementation of USMCA -- particularly the situation with dairy in Canada -- very closely. Another important focus will be the biotechnology situation with Mexico.

Two important issues included in the new North American deal were the biotechnology component to harmonize approvals and the enforcement mechanism. Doud said the new enforcement mechanism is something he believes the U.S. will really be able to utilize -- and “utilize in a fashion much more quickly than we had previously been able to use.”

He added, “We will not hesitate to use enforcement tools we have in USMCA, if necessary.”

A bipartisan group of 25 senators sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary and the USTR ambassador identifying challenges with implementing several dairy-related provisions in USMCA. Underscoring USMCA’s importance to the dairy industry, the letter asks the U.S. government to use the enforcement measures to ensure members' full compliance with the trade agreement.

After outlining the dairy provisions, the letter adds, “Given the importance of these provisions to our dairy farmers and to American dairy exports, we ask that you use USMCA’s enforcement measures, as appropriate, to hold our trading partners accountable to their trade commitments. It is imperative that Canada and Mexico deliver upon their agreed-upon commitments related to dairy products.”

Tom Vilsack, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, said, “Canada has already begun implementing USMCA in a way that thwarts its market access promises and prevents U.S. dairy from making full use of the benefits that Congress and the Administration fought so hard to secure. There are also unanswered questions concerning how Mexico will translate its commitments to safeguard common-name cheeses into action. These are unresolved concerns that affect everyday dairy farmers and workers across our industry.”

Other trade advancements

Doud also said there are several singles and doubles around in the world when it comes to agricultural trade advancements. Particularly on the dairy side, progress has been made in Asia and Southeast Asia, including Indonesia.

He said a Phase One deal with Japan brings more than 90% of U.S. agricultural products on an equivalent standing -- something that would have been realized if the U.S. had remained in the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- and specifically offers a boost for beef, pork and wheat producers.

Meanwhile, trade negotiations with the U.K. could turn the currently 16th-largest export market for U.S. producers into a top 10 market, with specific interest for beef, pork and poultry.

Doud noted that a trade agreement with Kenya offers an entry point into Africa. “For agriculture, it really is a unique situation to engage on biotechnology and really build an opportunity for agriculture that we haven’t had in the past,” he said.

money blowing from cornfield Kativ_iStock_Getty Image

How well do you know your farm’s financials?

As farmers and farm leaders, many of us originally got involved in farming because we love production – planting and growing a crop, and seeing the results of our work. Even as we move into a leader or manager role on the farm, many of us still love spending time in the field, getting our boots dirty.

It might seem obvious, but the majority of farm business leaders didn’t start farming because they love dealing with spreadsheets and financial statements. Yet, overseeing and being ultimately responsible for the farm’s financials is part of the job description of the farm’s top leader.

This can be a challenge – partly because of what the leader might be more naturally drawn to do, and partly because there might not have been many opportunities to learn and practice financial skills that apply to the farm business. But it can become a top priority for the leader – it just takes some intentional work to make it happen.

Getting stronger

Having strong financial skills as a farm leader is a major asset and advantage for your business. This means not only being able to converse with your lenders – using and understanding the terminology they use – but going beyond and being able to explain and show them exactly what actions you plan to take to strengthen your farm’s financial position and create progress over time.

You can start working to boost your financial skills as a farm business leader by thinking about where you are right now, and where you’d like to be in the future.

  1. Do I have a dashboard set up for my operation with key metrics relevant to my operation? A key piece is to get this type of financial dashboard set up. You can seek out resources like articles, business courses, and your lender or other financial advisor to help you learn the types of financial metrics to choose from. You may also want some advice to evaluate which metrics are the right ones for your operation to regularly monitor. Doing this can give you a better idea of your operation’s current financial health more frequently than waiting until the end of the year.
  2. Do I understand and feel able to use my farm’s financial statements in decision-making? The financial statements for your operation that your bookkeeper or accountant are generating for you can be helpful pieces of information. But that’s true only if you have a clear concept of what each financial statement is telling you, and why it matters. If you could use more information or understanding about that, find ways to get more education around how you can use financial statements in decision-making for your business. Understanding this better helps you truly run your operation by the numbers.
  3. Do I have a clear plan for the future to improve my farm’s numbers? No matter where your farm currently stands financially, there’s always room to work on strengthening its financial position. Your farm’s key metrics will come in handy here, because you can evaluate which ones will matter most to improve. You’ll also want to keep your lender in the loop about your plans and communicate exactly what you’re doing to work on improving those numbers.

One of the major steps lenders are often excited to see as part of a farm’s business plan are dynamic, effective marketing plans. You can get in touch with our market advisors to start your planning today.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 
Unloading grain - man at back of truck with grain pouring out back of truck. AFP Contributor/Getty Images

Help with your post-harvest marketing plan

As harvest, the time is right to ask a question inspired by William Shakespeare: “To store, or not to store?” This question is at the core of a post-harvest marketing plan.

To help answer meet my marketing friends, Barney Binless, May Sellers, and Earl Eitheror. Their marketing results over the past 31 years offers some guidance.

Barney Binless has no on-farm storage. Barney delivers his corn and soybeans at harvest, and his price represents the price of grain at harvest.

May Sellers has on-farm storage and she does what most producers do at harvest; stores unpriced grain and sells it the following spring.

Earl also has on-farm storage. At harvest he makes a choice. If carrying charges are large – large carries speak to a bearish price environment - Earl plays it safe by storing grain and selling the carry in the market. He does this by selling July futures (or a July HTA) against grain in storage. He unwinds the hedge at the end of May by selling grain and buying back the futures position.

And if carrying charges are small? Small carries (or inverses) reflect a more bullish price environment. In this case, Earl copies May Sellers and stores grain unpriced.

Let’s look at their post-harvest results for corn and soybeans, using Iowa average cash prices over the last 31 years.

Iowa average cash prices comparison

  • Barney sells at harvest - the Friday between October 12-18 for corn, October 5-11 for soybeans.
  • May holds her grain unpriced in on-farm storage and sells it on the Friday between May 25-31.
  • Earl sold the carry when carrying charges were large (>140% of interest). When carrying charges were small (<140% of interest), he copied May with unpriced grain held in storage.
  • May and Earl sell 20% of their grain at harvest, and this sale is part of their average price. Their results are also net of variable costs, including interest at 1% over prime and 8 cents/bu. shrink and handling for corn, and 11 cents in soybeans.
  • The figures in parenthesis (e.g., 12/31) after May and Earl’s results reflect the number of years out of 31 years they received a price less than Barney’s harvest price.

Look at the frequency of large carrying charges in corn vs. soybeans. Large carries – deferred contracts trading at a premium to nearby contracts – are common in the corn market (25 of the past 31 years). In these large carry years, May and Earl are taking very different approaches to pricing stored corn.

In contrast to corn, large carrying charges are not common in soybeans (3 of 31 years). When carrying charges are small, Earl mimics May’s approach to holding grain unpriced. In all but three years, Earl and May marketed their soybeans in exactly the same way.

In corn, both May and Earl are beating Barney’s harvest price. May and Earl beat Barney by 16 and 11 cents/bu., respectively. Keep in mind that the margin is net of on-farm storage costs and includes the fact that both players sell 20% of their production at the harvest price.

May beats Earl by an average of 5 cents/bu. Are you impressed? I am just as impressed by Earl’s consistency over the years. In only 4 of 31 years was Barney’s harvest price better than Earl’s. May had some outstanding years, but Barney beat her in 12 of 31 years.

The results are even better in soybeans. May and Earl beat the harvest price by an average of 50 and 43 cents/bu., respectively. As you would expect, holding unpriced grain is riskier, and Barney is beating May and Earl in about 1 of 3 years.

We started with the most basic of questions at harvest: “To store, or not to store?” Earl answers with a different question: “What is the carry in the market?” The current corn market is sporting a large carry, trading near 25 cents from Dec’20 to the Jul’21 contract. Earl would sell that carry.

After nearly two years of trade-war induced larger carries, the soybean market has returned to a more normal market – the May’21 and Jul’21 contracts are currently trading just a few cents premium to the Nov’20 contract. Earl, like May, will store unpriced soybeans after harvest.

You might wonder, “Is this all there is to post-harvest marketing – just look at the size of the carry and make a choice to emulate May or Earl?”

There is more, and we will discuss it next month. But answering the question, “What is the carry?” is a great place to start.

Edward Usset is a Grain Market Economist at the University of Minnesota, and author of the book “Grain Marketing is Simple (it’s just not easy).” You can reach him at usset001@umn.edu.
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Biological breakdown of wind destroyed corn

Corn fields destroyed by the August 10, 2020 derecho will have different crop residue than normal after grain harvest.

Things that will be different include early plant death (at varying reproductive growth stages), ears at various stages of grain fill, and whole plants instead of “loose” stalks/leaves/husks after grain harvest (unless tilled). The amount of vegetative material, except for some husk material, basically reaches a maximum around R1- silking.

Therefore, the amount of vegetative material will be the same now as would be after grain harvest. One question has been use of nitrogen application to speed degradation. Dr. Mahdi Al-Kaisi wrote a good ICM News article on such use last fall (Corn Residue Breakdown as Affected by Tillage and N Application). Basically, nitrogen application to corn residue will not affect residue breakdown or rate of breakdown, and the applied N will likely not be there for the next crop.

I would expect the same result with destroyed corn. I would also expect the breakdown rate to potentially be quicker than residue remaining after harvest as destroyed corn would have been at reproductive growth stages earlier than maturity. That is, the amount of carbon and nitrogen in vegetative components and grain would be different than at harvest.

Using data from a recent era hybrid study, here are some approximate carbon:nitrogen (C:N) ratios of vegetation (including cob) and grain at four reproductive stages. Including the cob increases the C:N ratio at maturity as cobs have little N but considerable carbon. The ratios, with the cobs not included with the vegetation at R6 stage, would be 69:1 for vegetation and 130:1 for cobs.

With the lower C:N ratios, the earlier stage vegetative and grain material should be more easily decomposable. With dry soils, however, the breakdown will be slowed.

Vegetative      C:N ratio

R3 – Milk        39:1

R4- Dough      43:1

R5 – Dent       56:1

R6- Maturity   75:1

 

Grain               C:N ratio

R3 – Milk         27:1

R4- Dough       34:1

R5 – Dent        37:1

R6- Maturity    37:1

Source: Iowa State University 

Weaned calves at a bunk Alan Newport
Some pre-planning and good handling go a long way toward successful weaning.

Make weaning work better

As the leaves begin to turn, it’s time to think about getting calves weaned. While there’s more than one way to wean a calf, there’s certainly ways to wean that are better than others.

For those who continue to own their calves after weaning, it is imperative that weaning is done correctly. Every year, I talk to someone who has “always done it this way and never had a problem” over a calf that just died of pneumonia. The cost isn’t just in the calf, but in the roughly $25 per head we have to spend on an antibiotic to make the problem stop.

To make weaning work it requires some planning on our part. Through planning, we can give the calf three important improvements:

1. Good immune memory

2. Appropriate nutrition

3. A gentler separation from the dam

The reason for utilizing each of these components is to aid in the health of the immune system by building the calf’s immunity or decreasing stress on the animal.

Slow the separation

Stress is the enemy of immune function. Stress causes release of the hormone cortisol, which if released for a period of days at high levels downregulates the immune system. Though it is impossible to completely avoid stress by weaning, we can minimize how much occurs if we slow the separation between the calf and the cow.

There are multiple techniques to accomplish this objective. Fence-line weaning and using a nose flap (sometime referred to as a weaning ring) are two common ones. The key aspect to of any good weaning system is allow contact between the cow and her calf, but prohibit nursing. This allows the cow to dry off while still retaining the connection between the two. As a calf finds it can source all its nutritional needs from outside the cow, it becomes less attached to her.

Get them on feed fast

The critical component to hastening this separation is the availability of a quality diet. The calf’s main attachment to the cow is through its food. Consequently, if we don’t provide an appropriate diet off the cow, the calf will be less inclined to wean.

How we get the calf bunk broke for successful weaning can take many forms. This includes, but is not limited to, preweaning creep feed, settling the calf in the pen, availability of long-stemmed hay, among other options. Because each person’s operation is different, the best route is to work with a good nutritionist who can put together a diet plan that works for you.

Pre-plan vaccines

Another person to have on your weaning team is a veterinarian. However, it’s best to bring that vet on to the place a few prior to weaning to discuss a vaccine program. The act of sticking a needle in a calf is not synonymous with vaccination, making appropriate vaccine selection and timing of administration critical to creating an immune response.

While it is convenient to give vaccines at the time of weaning, it is the worst time to create a good immune response. The cortisol level is at its height at the time of weaning, interfering with immune function. Also, considering it takes at least a week or two before a vaccine can protect from a disease, it is too late to be advantageous in preventing pneumonia directly after weaning.

This is where it helps to work with a veterinarian that can construct a vaccination program that works with your schedule. Ideally, a calf is vaccinated with a five-way viral and a Mannheimia vaccine three to four weeks prior to weaning. As this may not be possible in all situations, modifying the grass turnout program to maximize immune response can help fill the gap.

While utilizing low-stress weaning will not prevent 100% of calf pneumonia, it is the best deterrent we can offer. If you are going to weaning soon, have no fear, there is still time to put these low-stress principles in place. And the nice thing is each has an additive effect, so if you cannot implement all of them this year, using some of them will still provide you the benefit of healthier calves after they are separated from their mothers.

The opinions of this author are not necessarily those of Beef Producer and Farm Progress.

Businessman pointing at risk management concept on screen guvendemir/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Why price risk management is more important than price prediction

As a farmer you are tasked with pricing your commodity amid an ever changing set of circumstances. 2020 has certainly provided plenty of fluctuating events.

Just as the past months have contained some unexpected developments, more surprises—bearish and bullish— will inevitably surface before the next crop is marketed. That means it’s even more important to understand and define price risk management in your business.

Risk Management requires your constant vigilance. It means planning for the next unknown. History has taught it is easy for a change in fortune to catch us off guard.

Relying on a philosophy of expecting upside and not respecting downside is dangerous. One can easily look at recent history as a reminder of expenses exceeding revenues. That’s why we defend the balance sheet through managing price risk.

Don’t get caught

We know that price will always change. It is easy to get caught thinking prices must rally (crop damage, drought areas, China needs food! etc.) Unfortunately, prices do not “have” to go higher.

Stories will report that prices are going higher and stories will report that prices are going lower. The truth is no one has any idea what the market is going to do. 

Time and resources are spent seeking someone to reveal market direction. Low price and low volatility years generate producer interest in having someone else do the marketing. 

The truth is, commodity price is in an ever-changing equilibrium influenced by events far too numerous to quantify. The demand for this elusive information is what leads to an ever-changing supply of grain contracts and “experts” to administer them, to help the farmer market their crop.

There’s one caveat

Selecting the best contract is only revealed with hindsight. The success of a marketing strategy is based on market direction, as some contracts work best in higher markets, other contracts work best in lower markets.

With the success of contracts/strategies based ultimately on price direction, experience teaches those that attempt to predict prices that it cannot be done consistently. 

So, what is price risk management? First, it recognizes this difficulty and removes the focus from predicting specific incidents and redirects the focus to how you can defend prices against any possible occurrence.

Price risk management is NOT price prediction. It is “optionalized” margin management for those who have price risk. 

This approach turns price volatility into a welcome event. 

Your task is to plan for all opportunities and make sure market changes do not inflict harm to your balance sheet. Plan for positive price outcomes, but do not leave yourself at risk for negative outcomes.

Marketing and helping farmers with marketing advice is a difficult business. Producers desire information that will determine price direction and inevitably those that try to predict price will be grossly wrong some years. 

The take-away? 

Do not have a bias about where prices will go - the market has a way of punishing the price predictor. Simply manage the price risk, protect the downside, and keep flexibility to the upside. Have a consistent, non-emotional, and disciplined plan for higher or lower markets.

If you are not currently using price risk management tools, now is the time to educate yourself. Sit down with an adviser or find a risk-management consultant with whom you are comfortable.

Contact Advance Trading at (800) 664-2321 or go to www.advance-trading.com
Information provided may include opinions of the author and is subject to the following disclosures:
The risk of trading futures and options can be substantial. All information, publications, and material used and distributed by Advance Trading Inc. shall be construed as a solicitation. ATI does not maintain an independent research department as defined in CFTC Regulation 1.71. Information obtained from third-party sources is believed to be reliable, but its accuracy is not guaranteed by Advance Trading Inc. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.
The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.
mississippi river barge grain barge bridge st. louis

Weekly Grain Movement – "Big Three" volume slumps

USDA’s latest grain export inspection report, released Monday morning and covering the week through August 27, were nothing but disappointing, with corn, soybeans and wheat all landing on the lower end of trade estimates and spilling lower week-over-week. Traders mostly shrugged off the latest data, however, with most grain prices moving higher in morning trading.

Corn export inspections fell to 15.8 million bushels, which was less than half of the prior week’s tally and below all trade estimates, which ranged between 31.5 million and 43.3 million bushels. With less than a week to go in the 2019/20 marketing year, cumulative totals of 1.640 million bushels are more than 200 million bushels behind last year’s pace.

 Mexico was the No. 1 destination for U.S. corn export inspections last week, with 7.8 million bushels. China, Japan, Jamaica and Taiwan rounded out the top five.

Sorghum remains a small-but-mighty highlight for 2019/20 grain export inspections, doubling the prior week’s pace with another 6.4 million bushels last week, all of which was headed for China and Zimbabwe. Cumulative totals for the 2019/20 marketing year have far outpaced last year’s tally, with 195.2 million bushels.

Soybean export inspections were also lackluster last week, falling 34% week-over-week to 29.6 million bushels. That was at least good enough to land in the middle of trade estimates, which ranged between 23.9 million and 36.7 million bushels. As the 2019/20 marketing year winds down, cumulative totals remain moderately behind last year’s pace, with 1.585 billion bushels.

China accounted for more than half of all U.S. soybean export inspections last week, with 17.1 million bushels. The Netherlands, Spain, Mexico and Egypt filled out the top five.

Wheat export inspections trended moderately lower last week, dropping to 19.0 million bushels. That was on the lower end of trade estimates, which ranged between 14.7 million and 15.7 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2020/21 marketing year are still a bit ahead of last year’s pace, with 247.8 million bushels.

Nigeria led all destinations for U.S. wheat export inspections last week, with 3.0 million bushels. An Asian quartet of the Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan rounded out the top five.

Click here to review the latest round of grain export inspection data from USDA.

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Help farmers impacted by derecho

Alltech has established the Iowa Derecho Devastation Relief Fund to match donations dollar for dollar and provide goods and services to farmers and their local communities who have been directly impacted by the Aug. 10 storm.

“This unexpected derecho caused significant destruction in the communities that our customers and colleagues call home,” said Dr. Mark Lyons, president and CEO of Alltech. “Many now face flattened fields and grain bins, significant repair of fencing and much more in the midst of an already difficult year. We hope our Iowa Derecho Devastation Relief Fund provides a boost of support as Iowa’s farming community demonstrates its resilience in recovery.”

Alltech and Hubbard Feeds will be donating the funds raised to the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, the Iowa Pork Producers Association and the Iowa Corn Growers Association, who will ensure that these resources are utilized to aid the rural communities most in need of assistance. The companies are also donating equipment, including tractors and skid steers.

Donations are being collected through the Pearse Lyons ACE Foundation, Alltech’s 501(c)(3) non-profit. Alltech will match donations up to $25,000, and all contributions will go directly toward helping Iowa farmers and the surrounding communities impacted by the derecho. For more information and to donate to the Alltech Iowa Derecho Devastation Relief Fund, visit www.alltech.com/iowa-derecho-relief.

Source: Alltech, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.