Weekly Grain Update – December 12, 2017

 

12/12/17

The USDA will be out with its December monthly crop report on Tuesday at 11 am.  As the old saying goes, “big crops generally get bigger,” there is a decent chance that both corn and bean carryouts could grow slightly after the numbers are released.  Why?  Because our exports are lagging the original projections from the USDA of 1.925 B bu of corn exports and 2.25 B bu of bean exports.  When the grain does not leave the country, its starts to stack up in the interior.  The Chinese have been aggressive buyers of US beans, and we have made recent corn trades with Mexico and possibly the Chinese as well.  However, the current low price of corn and beans are starting to stimulate demand, and we are getting to the time of year where Brazil can no longer be the lowest cost world supplier of corn.  The second best option is the US and I expect the corn export pace to ramp up considerably next month.

One item that might offset the lagging exports is the huge quantity of corn being used for ethanol this year.  For several years, the amount of corn used for ethanol production was at the 5.0 B bu level and it stayed relatively constant.  However, as the world becomes more comfortable using the 15% ethanol blend in their gasoline for their cars, or burning E85 which is 85% corn ethanol, the amount of corn consumed by the ethanol industry has grown in recent years.  In 2016 we used 5.224 B bu of corn for ethanol, in 2017 we used 5.439, and this year I believe it will be over 5.5 B bu when the dust settles.  This increase in ethanol production will offset the lagging exports to a degree and might leave corn ending stocks unchanged.  We will all find out at 11 am today what the government’s opinion is on these categories.

The market continues to have its eyes focused squarely on the weather in Argentina.  Brazil’s weather conditions are generally good with planting nearly complete and soil moisture levels generally good.  However, Argentina is dry.  Last week’s price explosion in beans was due to these dry conditions in Argentina.  We are truly in a weather market due to these conditions.  Going back to Monday a week ago, January bean futures ramped up significantly and made a new high of $10.15 due to fresh fund buying associated with dryness in Argentina.  However, as soon as the forecast changed towards the end of last week, the bean market tumbled just as fast as it ramped up just two days before.  This is a classic weather market, and you better wear your seat belts!  Yesterday, the fresh 11-16 day forecast called for much improved chances of rain in Argentina and the funds pushed the bean market much lower.  Currently, January beans are trading around the $9.85 level when a new high was made a week ago at $10.15  As you can tell, the market is very sensitive to the weather forecasts for Argentina and the market will react violently higher or lower based on the current weather forecast.

As volatility is ramping up this week due to the weather in South America and due to the crop report today, this is a perfect opportunity to use targets to get a better price for grain on your farm.  Volatility is not a bad thing, as long as you can control it, and use it to your advantage.  Many times during these high volatile weather markets, opportunities present themselves to sell your grain at a significant premium.  However, this opportunity might be at 2 am in the morning while most everyone is sleeping at home, and the opportunity might only last a few minutes.  If you place a target for your grain in our system, you have the ability to sell your grain during all hours that the market is trading.  The market opens at 7 pm at night, and trades until 1:15 pm the next day.  If you place a target on our online system, your order is working continuously during these hours, and if the funds decide to buy futures at 2 am in the morning, you are covered!  Our system is easy, free, and will allow you to capture short lived opportunities in the market.  For more information on how to use our free online target system, please click here.

As I look at the charts tonight, March corn futures continue to be in a flat trading range with support at the $3.48 level and resistance at the $3.60 level.  Yesterday, March corn futures made a new contract low at $3.48 ¼  Technically, anytime a contract makes a new low, this is not a good sign for the future of that market.  Something must change to reduce the supply or increase the demand for our corn as it is stacking up everywhere in this country.  The future of the corn market depends on what the USDA does today, and how our exports stack up in the coming weeks.  The lower futures market is allowing the corn basis to perk up, and now that harvest is over, the basis will be forced to do most of the work to stimulate movement.

Looking at the bean chart, January bean futures are in a slightly upward channel with support at the $9.75 level and resistance at the $10.15 level.  Since we are now in a weather market with ramped up volatility, we now have a channel that is 40 cents thick, and wider than normal.  January bean futures are currently trading at just over $9.80  It will likely take another weather scare in South America for the funds to push beans back over the $10 level once again.  For those of you who have a little time, I would put a target out there in our system (click here) and let it work and do its job.  Who knows, you might end up with a present under the Christmas tree.

As a reminder, if you need to sell more grain this calendar year, our cut off is 5 pm on Wednesday, December 27.  If you sell grain prior to this time, you will receive your grain funds prior to year end.  Unfortunately, if you sell grain after this time, your settlement will occur after the new year starts.  Please talk to your accountant and let us know how we can help you.

As always, if I can help you with anything, please call me at Readfield.

Marcus

New Application Requirements

There have been changes in the applicator requirements if you are applying any of the new formulations of dicamba to RR2 Xtend soybeans.  These products currently include Xtendimax, FeXapan, and Engenia.  You must hold a restrictive use applicator license to purchase and apply these products.  In addition all applicators must attend an annual group 4 herbicide specific training prior to using these products.  We will be keep you informed of training opportunities, so please contact us if you require additional information.

By Mike Weiss, CHS Technical Agronomist 

Weekly Grain Update – December 5, 2017

Soybean Influences

The market is becoming very concerned about the weather in Argentina.  Brazil was plagued with wet weather several weeks ago, but that situation has improved.  Argentina is dry, and the market is adding risk premium due to this situation.  The world is counting on a large bean harvest from Argentina.  If this dry weather continues, the world bean carryout could be cut quite significantly.  However, it is early in their growing season, and there is time for the situation to improve.  Friday was the first day of the month and the funds decided to buy bean futures and add to their existing long bean position.  On Monday, they continued to buy bean futures and pushed beans higher through the day.  It is normal for beans to rally during the Thanksgiving holiday, so the strength in beans was not unexpected.

It is interesting to see that even though beans and wheat rallied significantly on Monday, corn could do very little amongst the strength in the other grains.  Corn is still being weighed down by the huge carryover of roughly 2.5 B Bu.  In addition, corn is struggling to rally as there are a huge amount of farmer sell orders just above the market.  Any attempt for corn to rally and these orders squash any rally attempt.  The farmer generally sold his beans for cash flow at harvest, but is storing his corn in any where possible.  Our US corn exports are also struggling to keep pace, and it is very likely that the USDA will need to lower corn exports by approximately 100 M bu on the next Monthly Crop Report on December 12.  If this happens, we could see corn carryout be raised by this same amount to nearly 2.6 B Bu, a truly huge amount of excess corn.

As I look at the charts tonight, March corn futures are trading in a sideways pattern with support at the $3.48 level and resistance at $3.60 level.  For those of you who must sell corn nearby, I would place targets around the $3.55 to $3.60 level vs March corn futures.

Beans are moving in an upwards channel as it rallies.  January bean futures closed at $9.98 tonight, which is right in the middle of the upwards channel.  Support is currently at the $9.70 level with resistance at the $10.10 level vs January bean futures.  For those of you who need to sell beans, I would place targets at the $10.00 to $10.10 level vs January futures.  With this recent run up in the bean market, I encourage all of you to seriously start looking at forward contracting Oct / Nov ’18 beans for fall delivery.  Currently, new beans can be locked in around $9.35 cash price and if you start selling at this point, I recommend placing a target each 20 cents higher and reward the market on rallies.  This is a strategy that really works well over time, and it will protect your farm.

CHS ProAdvantage

This is the LAST CALL for our CHS ProAdvantage  Contracts. All growers need to try at least one contract to diversify your marketing strategies.  It is a great tool, and has worked well.  Below is a description:

This contract is a very simple approach to allowing our trading professionals at CHS to market your grain for you.  Basically, you will hand over a portion of your grain to them to squeeze as much money out of the market as they can.  They will do many trades behind the scenes to generate as much profit for you as possible and when the program is over, their profits will be added together and given back to you in the form of a price that should be higher than the prevailing price at that time.  You don’t have to worry about the trades that they do, or any complex marketing strategies to learn.  This is easy folks.  Just give them a portion of next year’s grain production, and allow our marketing professionals to make money for you.

This contract has been offered for 3 years and the results are quite remarkable.  Their bean contract has worked well, and has allowed participants to enjoy contracts that were significantly higher than the current market.  All of this goes directly to your bottom line.  For bushels in your bin, you can enroll in a contract for July 2018 delivery.  For next year’s production, you can enroll in a Fall of 2018 delivery, and we also have Fall of 2019 delivery contracts as well.  The cost is 10 cents per bushel for the July 2018 or Fall 2018 contracts, and 12 cents per bushel for the Fall 2019 contracts.  The Fall 2019 is an especially good deal because the contract allows our traders an additional year to make trading returns on your behalf for only 2 additional cents.  Also, the 2 year contract has worked tremendously well over its history.  There is no minimum bushel quantity required.  Please click here for more information on our CHS ProAdvantage contract.  Every grower in the area should take advantage of this contract on at least a portion of next year’s production.  It is a very good contract that has a long history of success.  If you have other questions, please call me at Readfield.  Enrollment ends December 8th, 2017.

As always, if I can help you with anything, please call me at Readfield.

Marcus

Weekly Grain Update – November 29, 2017

In A Carry Market

As most of you are now done, or almost done with harvest, I would like to take a minute and start looking at new crop levels for next harvest of 2018.  It is no secret that we are in a carry market with huge amounts of corn and bean carryouts each year.  There is a large quantity of farmer selling orders above the market, and any market rally attempt is quickly stalled by selling orders from the country.  I don’t see this changing anytime soon, especially in the corn market.  The farmer is undersold on corn in a large way, and the market knows this.  This situation creates huge board carries.  This means the market heavily discounts the front end, but rewards the producer for locking in deferred values now.  My guess is that cash corn will stay close to the $3.00 level over time, but the carry will slowly grind out of the market over time.  What do I mean by this?  Let’s go back two months ago.  The cash price for corn delivered into Readfield for July 2018 delivery was roughly a 50 cent premium over the cash price.  Today, this premium has been reduced to only 27 cents.  If we wait another month, it will likely drop to 20 cents, and until we eventually get to almost even money.  The point is that the market is willing to pay you a premium if you are willing to step up and write a contract to lock these premiums in.  However, you only get these premiums if you contract the grain.  If you do nothing, once we get to July, the cash price of corn will be the same as it is today, roughly $3.00, and that entire 50 cent premium has just vanished over time.  This is a text book definition of big carry markets and how the carry gets “ground out” as we move through the crop year.  Big premiums are available for those who take the time, create a plan, and are willing to forward contract their grain.  One cannot receive this big premium by waiting until July 1, and selling cash at that point, but forward contracting those levels NOW for delivery THEN.

I have always encouraged the farmer to have at least 75% of his crop already marketed by Thanksgiving each year.  Good marketers always have a good handle on how many bushels they will produce, and are willing to jump on opportunities as they see them in the future.  They are willing to take the time to forward contract the vast majority of their grain before one kernel is harvested in the fall.  Over time, these marketers have a solid plan and know how to protect the revenue on their farm.  These keen marketers have a huge opportunity now because the market is offering some huge premiums for later this summer, and for harvest delivery next fall of 2018, and the fall of 2019.  However, and I repeat, the only way you can take advantage of these levels is to forward contract them TODAY vs waiting to sell them over the scale during next harvest.  I encourage all of you to get your old crop grain (harvest of 2017) marketed as soon as possible, and put it in the past, and then focus on the production from 2018, and some from 2019.  We now have bids out over 2 ½ years into the future which you can view by clicking here.  There are some huge opportunities available, but you must be willing to forward contract to lock in the premiums.  If you don’t, they will vanish over time.  It’s just that simple.

How to Benefit from a Carry Market

Let’s look at a few examples.  You can now sell corn for Oct / Nov ’18 delivery into Readfield at $3.33 and for Oct / Nov ’19 at $3.51.  Almost all of you have just sold some corn this past month at the $3.00 level across the scale, so what is wrong with these levels?  The market is giving you a gift.  Why don’t you gracefully take some, and put your mind and your banker at ease?  This is easy, simple, and SAFE.  Let’s look at beans.  The opportunity is not as big, but there is still a premium.  All of you just sold some bushels across the scale this month at the $9.00 level.  Beans for Oct / Nov ’18 can be sold for $9.25 now and for Oct / Nov ’19 are at $9.14  Both are over $9.00 and worth consideration.

Finally, lets look at wheat.  Out of all the grains, wheat has the most carry in the market.  If you grow wheat, you need to be selling the vast majority of your crop a year in advance because the rewards are just huge.  Cash wheat is now $3.50 at Readfield.  However, wheat for July / Aug 2018 is at $3.85 and wheat for July / Aug 2019 is at $4.42 or nearly $1 over the cash market!  These are huge premiums and worth serious consideration.  Again, the market is offering you a gift.  Please reach out your hand and take some!

My clients have had excellent success with starting to sell next harvest bushels around Thanksgiving time and then placing targets to sell 10% of next year’s APH each 10 cents higher on corn.  On beans and wheat, I recommend selling 10% of next year’s APH each 20 cents higher, and reward the market as it moves higher.  You really need to look at your wheat production for July / August 2019 and get some of those bushels forward contracted as well.  Placing a target is easy and it is free.  You can manage this yourself by clicking here and placing targets on our online bid center.

This is the LAST CALL for our CHS ProAdvantage  Contracts.

All growers need to try at least one contract to diversify your marketing strategies.  It is a great tool, and has worked well.  Below is a description:

This contract is a very simple approach to allowing our trading professionals at CHS to market your grain for you.  Basically, you will hand over a portion of your grain to them to squeeze as much money out of the market as they can.  They will do many trades behind the scenes to generate as much profit for you as possible and when the program is over, their profits will be added together and given back to you in the form of a price that should be higher than the prevailing price at that time.  You don’t have to worry about the trades that they do, or any complex marketing strategies to learn.  This is easy folks.  Just give them a portion of next year’s grain production, and allow our marketing professionals to make money for you.

This contract has been offered for 3 years and the results are quite remarkable.  Their bean contract has worked well, and has allowed participants to enjoy contracts that were significantly higher than the current market.  All of this goes directly to your bottom line.  For bushels in your bin, you can enroll in a contract for July 2018 delivery.  For next year’s production, you can enroll in a Fall of 2018 delivery, and we also have Fall of 2019 delivery contracts as well.  The cost is 10 cents per bushel for the July 2018 or Fall 2018 contracts, and 12 cents per bushel for the Fall 2019 contracts.  The Fall 2019 is an especially good deal because the contract allows our traders an additional year to make trading returns on your behalf for only 2 additional cents.  Also, the 2 year contract has worked tremendously well over its history.  There is no minimum bushel quantity required.  Please click here for more information on our CHS ProAdvantage contract.  Every grower in the area should take advantage of this contract on at least a portion of next year’s production.  It is a very good contract that has a long history of success.  If you have other questions, please call me at Readfield.  Enrollment ends December 8, 2017.

As always, if I can help you with anything, please call me at Readfield.

Marcus

Unconscious Bias and the Role of Women in Agribusinesses

Women in Agribusinesses

 

By Amy Piersak, market intelligence specialist with CHS

A farmer standing in their field surrounded by the sights and smells of a spring rain. An agronomist analyzing a seeding recommendation. The grain merchandizer settling into a Monday morning at your local cooperative. The animal nutrition specialist you trust to provide the right feed for your animals. Now pause and visualize these people. Who are you picturing?

If you are picturing men in these roles, you are likely experiencing unconscious bias. Humans are only able to consciously process a fraction of the information we receive every second, so out of necessity, our brains have developed the incredible ability to unconsciously process thousands of pieces of information in an instant. While this is invaluable when assessing the threat of a lion in the brush (spoiler: very high), it can cause us to fall prey to biases when envisioning tasks or roles such as those mentioned earlier.

Despite these perceptions, the role of women in agriculture has been steadily evolving. Much of the shift has come from the changing demographic landscape in education. Most colleges of agriculture are posting higher numbers of women seeking ag-related degrees. In the spring of this year, The College of Agriculture at Purdue University posted that 58% of their undergraduate students were women. This is a colossal change from the 1970s when women comprised only 2-5% of their undergraduate population. For comparison, women represented 43% of the total undergraduate students at Purdue University in spring of 2017. In 2017, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State reported 52% of their undergraduates are women. Like Purdue University, Iowa State University reported that of their undergraduate students, 43% were women.

As women are obtaining more degrees in areas related to animals, animal behaviors, entomology, botany, plant sciences, and environmental sciences compared to men, the implications on the “typical candidate” will be significant. It is worth noting that these degrees are considered STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) degrees. Women have historically been underrepresented in STEM degrees, and agriculture is a leading area of growth on that front.

Unfortunately, the gains in education are not as well represented in the working world. The United States Department of Labor reports that women represented 47% of the workforce in 2016. Which remains relatively unchanged from the last 20 years. When we look at agribusinesses and local agricultural cooperatives, the percentage of women in the workforces drop to 32% and 22% respectively.

So where does that leave us? We have a growing number of qualified candidates, and yet a top 5 challenge identified by agribusiness leadership is the availability of qualified talent. How do we bridge this gap? A great place to start is for both sides to begin watching out for their biases, and working proactively to compensate for them. This simple change will help expand a talent pool that is perceived to be constrained, and increase career opportunities for members of your local community.

This article was originally published on AgCareers.com.

Weekly Grain Update – November 21, 2017

China Buys Corn

The big news this week was that China was in the market place buying corn and ethanol.  We have seen the Chinese purchase soybeans for many years, and frankly, we count on them to buy huge quantities of beans during the fall harvest.  They are a cornerstone of our US bean export program, and help to add stability during a time when prices in beans could get quite sloppy.  So when we see the Chinese looking at buying corn and / or ethanol, the market pays attention, and it causes some unique things to happen.

The funds currently have a huge net short position in corn futures.  They are so short that last week’s Commitment of Trader’s report showed that they broke a new record on the size of their short position.  Previously, the record short for managed money was 229,000 contracts of short corn futures.  Last week’s report had them short 231,000 contracts, or a new record.  The funds are short because the fundamentals tell them to be so.  The corn crop is huge.  Our corn export program is in the tank.  The crop seems to be getting bigger each month, and there is a huge amount of farmer selling just above the market.  All of this is weighing on corn, and they see this and are putting their money where it counts.

(more…)

Gear Up For Gift Cards for Gallons

Beginning Nov. 1, end-user customers can earn one $50 VISA® gift card for every 125 gallons of qualifying Cenex® lubricants purchased through February 28, 2018.

Qualifying Cenex products include:    

  • Superlube TMS®
  • Superlube 518®
  • Qwiklift® HTB®
  • Maxtron® Enviro-EDGE®
  • Maxtron® DEO
  • Maxtron® THF+
  • MP Gear Lube
  • Maxtron GL
  • Cenex premium greases

To redeem purchases, end-user customers must complete a redemption form, attach their detailed invoice(s) and/or receipt(s), and mail the documentation as instructed no later than April 6, 2018.

Article courtesy of Cenex Fuels & Lubes

What is your time worth?

Since the onset of ULSD in 2006 & the common rail diesel engine just one short year later; higher pressures in diesel engines play a major factor in unscheduled maintenance.  Cenex Fuel has seen the need for a better quality fuel to help these engines perform at their peak levels and they answered with the best additive package manufactured! Our multi-functional additive package has many features and benefits that create the highest quality fuel that money can buy.

 

My colleague Lynn Sheets from Key Cooperative in Iowa has seen the changes for himself and would talks about how Cenex Fuels have addressed this.

 

 

Weekly Grain Update – November 14, 2017

corn harvest

 

The USDA came out with its November crop report on Thursday and shocked the market with their interpretation of the current crop.  Most believed that bean yields would be lowered and corn yields would be raised slightly from the October report.  This was not what the USDA had in mind, and their report dramatically altered the markets going forward.

In the case of corn, the USDA raised this year’s production by a whopping 3.6 bpa which took their final corn yield to 175.4 bpa.  This is a huge yield and beat last year’s average yield by .9 bpa.  Production was raised by 293 M Bu from last month’s total to a jaw breaking 14.578 B bu.  In addition to the yield increase, the USDA also increased exports by 75 M Bu to 1.925 B Bu.  Many traders are scratching their heads about this number as we are having a very difficult time making increased export sales to foreign buyers today, yet the USDA is projecting a big increase.  Time will tell on whether the USDA is right or not.  But the only way for our exports to increase is through lower prices which none of you will like to see.  When the dust settled, the carryout for the 17/18 corn crop was raised 147 M Bu to 2.487 B Bu.  This is a tremendous amount of corn carryout and an amount we have not seen for decades since the glut of corn in the mid 80’s.  With this amount of corn hanging over the market, it will be very difficult for the market to rally anything significant.  Any type of strength will be met with a huge amount of selling from the country.

(more…)

CHS reports fiscal year-end results, announces FY 2018 priorities

CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, today reported net income of $127.9 million for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2017, compared to net income of $424.2 million for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2016. Consolidated revenues totaled $31.9 billion for fiscal 2017, approximately a five percent increase over consolidated revenues of $30.3 billion for fiscal 2016. (more…)

© 2017 CHS Inc.