Selling Soybeans Across the Scale

September 16, 2018

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.