Forecasts call for cool, dry weather this week for much of the Midwest, which will be welcomed for farmers in eastern Iowa where standing water and flooding rivers and streams have sidelined combines and disrupted grain movement.
The high water on Iowa’s rivers will move to the Mississippi River and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is forecasting that river will be above flood stage later this week at various points south of the Quad Cities. Wire reports say a few locks will be closed then, which will temporarily halt barge movement to the Gulf.
Barge rates have crept higher due to the combination of expected flood-related problems and to increased demand as harvested crops move into market channels. Barge rates for shipment from the Quad Cities to the Gulf were 550% of tariff on Tuesday, up from 525% a week ago. The 25 point increase in shipping costs equates to an increase of 3.4 cents a bushel for corn and 3.6 cents for soybeans.
Despite the increases in shipping costs, river shippers said that market offers the best bids for soybeans, while corn is going to local processors. In central Illinois, corn and soybeans are going to local processors.
Corn at the Gulf was bid about 50 cents over December for October shipment, compared with 46 a week ago. Soybeans for October shipment were bid 67 cents over November versus about 72 a week ago.
While farmers have largely been holding onto harvested corn, soybeans have been moving into market channels.
Late on Monday, USDA said the U.S. corn harvest was 15% done, which trailed last year’s 16% and the five-year average of 19%. Illinois corn was 24% harvested, Indiana 15%, Iowa 4% and Nebraska 7%. Soybean harvest was at 10% versus 17% last year and the 13% average. The IIlinois harvest was at 6%, Indiana 9%, Iowa 4% and Nebraska at 9%.
USDA’s weekly grain inspections for corn of about 52.6 million bushels were up from a week ago, beat trade forecasts and topped the pace needed to meet USDA’s annual export forecast. Soybean shipments of 14.1 million were down sharply from a week ago, missed trade forecasts, and were below USDA’s projected weekly rate. Wheat shipments of 32.2 million were up from a week ago, beat forecasts and topped the weekly rate needed to meet USDA’s forecast.
USDA said barge grain shipments during the weekend Sept. 17 were 524,306 tons, down 1% from the prior week but up 77% from a year ago.
In the rail sector, grain car loadings totaled 22,599 for the week ended Sept. 10, down 8% from the prior week and up 26% from a year ago, said USDA’s Grain Transportation Report.
For truckers, the U.S. average diesel fuel price dropped 1 cent in the latest week at $2.39 per gallon. That is down 10 cents from the same week last year.
Weekly Grain Movement - Sept. 20, 2016 - Farmers hold tight to corn as harvest advances
Weekly Grain Movement - Sept. 14, 2016 - Processor want corn and soybeans now