APRIL 3, 2014
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration based on Oil Price Information Service (ethanol prices) and Thomson Reuters (RBOB prices).
Note: RBOB is reformulated blendstock for oxygenate blending gasoline, a motor gasoline blending component intended for blending oxygenates to produce finished reformulated gasoline.
Ethanol spot prices have increased steadily since early February. By late March, New York Harbor (NYH) spot ethanol prices exceeded prices for RBOB (the petroleum component of gasoline) by more than $1 per gallon. Ethanol spot prices in Chicago and Gulf Coast markets also rose above NYH RBOB prices.
The premium of New York Harbor over Chicago spot ethanol prices, which averaged 25 cents per gallon in January (close to the typical transportation costs of moving ethanol from production centers in the Midwest to terminals on the East Coast in recent years) widened to $1 per gallon in early March. Logistical constraints in and around ethanol production centers in the Midwest, mainly involving railroads on which approximately 70% of ethanol is shipped, appear to be a key factor driving recent prices.
Ethanol futures prices suggest that market participants expect the recent price increase to be short-lived as both rail system congestion improves and ethanol producers respond to the strong incentive that higher ethanol prices provide.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Railroad Performance Measures .
Note: Manifest trains combine cars carrying different products and are often broken up for delivery in a smaller number of cars. Railcar dwell time is the time that loaded railcars spend in a terminal awaiting movement.
Extremely cold temperatures this winter led to rail congestion in and out of midwestern terminals that delayed shipments to other regions and resulted in significant ethanol stock draws. Railcar dwell time, the time that loaded railcars spend in a terminal awaiting movement, at Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation’s Galesburg, Illinois terminal, which handles many ethanol cars from Iowa, nearly doubled in early 2014 to reach a peak of 60 hours in February and remain above year-ago levels.
While more than 70% of ethanol producers are equipped to load unit trains (trains running a single product), only about 35% of gasoline blending terminals are equipped to receive them. The average speed of manifest trains (trains running multiple products), which are often used to deliver ethanol to gasoline blending terminals that are not equipped to handle unit trains, decreased by 23%, from 22 miles per hour (mph) to 17 mph over the past 12 months.
Ethanol stocks were drawn down nationwide by nearly 2 million barrels (bbl) from mid-February to mid-March, partially recovering to 15.9 million bbl on March 28. This is more than 4 million bbl below typical March levels, which averaged more than 20 million bbl from 2011 through 2013. East Coast inventories were especially hard hit and on March 14 reached their lowest level (4.5 million bbl) since EIA began recording data in June 2010. For a more detailed analysis, see the April 2 edition of This Week in Petroleum.
Principal contributors: Arup Mallik, Sean Hill
USDA has released the March 2014 Quarterly Hogs & Pigs report. It, by most accounts, shows more inventory than the trade expected. However, the figures reported do show an impact from PED-V. This impact is, simply put, not as dramatic as the price rise has been in lean hog futures. The futures are still looking forward to what most expect to be a short market ready supply of hogs in April, May, June, and July. The following is excerpted from USDA's March 28, 2014 Quarterly Hogs & Pigs report.
United States Hog Inventory Down 3 Percent
United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on March 1, 2014 was 62.9 million head. This was down 3 percent from March 1, 2013, and down 5 percent from December 1, 2013.
Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Inventory – United States: March 1
Breeding inventory, at 5.85 million head, was up slightly from last year, and up 2 percent from the previous quarter. Market hog inventory, at 57.0 million head, was down 4 percent from last year, and down 5 percent from last quarter.
The December 2013-February 2014 pig crop, at 27.3 million head, was down 3 percent from 2013. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 2.87 million head, up 3 percent from 2013. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was 9.53 for the December-February period, compared to 10.08 last year. Pigs saved per litter by size of operation ranged from 7.70 for operations with 1-99 hogs and pigs to 9.60 for operations with more than 5,000 hogs and pigs.
Quarterly Litter Rate - United States
United States hog producers intend to have 2.88 million sows farrow during the March-May 2014 quarter, up 2 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2013, but down 2 percent from 2012. Intended farrowings for June-August 2014, at 2.96 million sows, are up 2 percent from 2013, and up 1 percent from 2012.
The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 48 percent of the total United States hog inventory, up from 47 percent last year.
In 2013, the total of all economic costs per acre for growing corn in Illinois averaged $1,033 in the northern section, $966 in the central section for farmland with "high" soil ratings, $951 in the central section for farmland with "low" soil ratings, and $872 in the southern section. Soybean costs per acre were $727, $715, $673 and $631, respectively (see Table 1). Costs were lower in southern Illinois primarily because of lower land costs. The total of all economic costs per bushel in the different sections of the state ranged from $4.90 to $5.20 for corn and from $12.32 to $12.88 for soybeans. Variations in this cost were related to weather, yields, and land quality.
Those that work in and around flowing grain know just how dangerous it can be. That's why they train to be in the bins and how to extract someone that has been trapped in a bin. Todd Gleason has more from the Illinois AgriCenter in Bloomington.
Every three months the United States Department of Agriculture releases a report on the available supply of soybeans. The next report is due Monday March 31st. Todd Gleason has more on what it might show.
No guarantees here, but I believe this map represents Ukraine's primary grain export facilities. You can use this link to view the satellite image in a Google Map of the Elevators.
Here you may watch the six presentations made at the All Day Ag Outlook. The event has been held at the Beef House in Covington, Indiana during the month of March since 1991. University of Illinois Extension's Todd Gleason emcee'd the event. The program was arranged by Illinois Public Media Director of Agriculture Dave Dickey.
NOTE - the Farm Bill video has yet to be added to the list.
A team of researchers led by the University of Illinois reports that it can increase sugarcane’s geographic range, boost its photosynthetic rate by 30 percent, and turn it into an oil-producing crop for biodiesel production. These are only the first steps in a bigger initiative that will turn sugarcane and sorghum – two of the most productive crop plants known – into even more productive, oil-generating plants. “Biodiesel is attractive because, for example, with soybean, once you’ve pressed the oil out it’s fairly easy to convert it to diesel,” said Stephen P. Long, a University of Illinois plant biology researcher and leader of the initiative. “You could do it in your kitchen.”
But soybean isn’t productive enough to meet the nation’s need for