September 20, 2018

Trump Trade Policy Crashes Soybean Basis



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.”

Fall 2019 Soybean Basis


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 manage 5. Because of this, cash prices from the Dakotas all the way to Illinois River - it feeds the export market & St. Louis - are miserably low. Those farmers east of the Illinois River are impacted, too. If the map includes Canadian export terminals you can see that farmers in far western North Dakota are getting a $1.90 a bushel less for their soybeans than their counterparts near London, Ontario. Farmers in parts of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio are getting about 60 cents less.


September 20, 2018

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…


September 16, 2018

Selling Soybeans Across the Scale

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 backs right up into Illinois says Todd Hubbs, “I hope some people put in at $10 to $10.30. Now it is just a lot of damage limitation and hopefully, you get a good yield and you can market some of those soybeans right across the scale, but you are looking at really low prices.”

Hubbs, a commodity marketing specialist from the University of Illinois, thinks the only other option is for farmers to store soybeans on the farm and to hope for an end to the trade dispute with China or for a weather problem in Brazil, or both. Though he admits hope is not a strategy.


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