Posts By: Anne Moore

Grain Update – April 11, 2019

4/11/19

USDA Shows More Corn, But Market Holds Steady

The USDA released its April crop report on Tuesday and showed more corn stocks than originally thought.  However, the market held firm after the release.  Let’s look at the details.

In the corn market, the USDA reduced feed usage by 75 M bu down to 5.3 B bu.  They also reduced the amount of corn used by the ethanol industry by 50 M bu down to 5.5 B bu.  This industry continues to struggle with a lack of margins, and the industry is not running at capacity at this time.  This helps to explain why corn usage has backed off.  Finally, corn exports were reduced by 75 M bu down to 2.3 B bu as well.  The US market is struggling to find export demand.  Last year, the PNW was very busy shipping corn to China.  This year, Brazil and Argentina have huge corn crops on the horizon and their price is substantially cheaper than corn from the US.  In fact, they have the cheapest corn in the world now, and the Chinese are buying their corn and not ours.  On top of all of this, the Trump administration and China continue to work together to try and get a new agreement in place to end the tariff war between the two countries.  This is allowed China to not buy corn like in past years as well.  Its been a very long time since we have seen the USDA reduce all three of these categories on the same report, and it added to the heaviness of the report.  When the dust settled, there were 200 M bu of corn added to ending stocks, increasing this final number to 2.035 B bu.

As I have said many times, having a corn carryout starting with a “2” puts the market in comfort mode.  Supplies are plentiful, and the market will likely see no need to rally.  However, we have a mounting problem just around the corner.  This relaxed sentiment makes the assumption that we have no problems planting a 92.8 M acre corn crop.  Will the US be able to get all of this corn planted at the right time as major areas of the western and northern Corn Belt sit now with a major snow or rain event on top of it right now?  Even with no snow or rain today, vast areas still are dealing with wetter and colder soil conditions which will likely press the corn planting date well into May.  Now, with more snow and rain, it just keeps pushing the likely corn planting date farther and farther into the back edge of the appropriate planting window for corn.  If any other weather systems develop and drop more precipitation in these areas, I can easily see many corn acres get switched to beans.  If this happens, all of a sudden, we don’t have such a plentiful corn supply.  In the coming days, I see the corn market becoming much more sensitive to the weather situation.  On top of this, the funds are extremely short corn futures, and all we need is a reason for them to cover (buy) their short position back, and we could have an explosive corn market on our hands until the we get our corn completely planted.  Thus, I am not bearish corn.  There is a real potential for the corn market to bounce from these levels and rally until at least we get 50% of the crop planted.  It is a real risk, and the market will eventually recognize it, at some point.

The bean market is totally different.  But first, lets look at the USDA report.  Unlike corn, the USDA made very little changes to the Supply and Demand table during April.  They reduced imports by 3 M bu and increased seed usage by 2 M bu.  But the most obvious change that is needed, they failed to adjust, again.  They left bean exports at 1.875 B bu and continue to leave bean exports alone.  If the USDA was honest with us, they would start cutting these back instead of waiting until the end of the crop year to slash them.  My best guess is that exports will be lowered (eventually by 200 M bu or so.  When this happens, bean carryout will grow from its current 895 M bu to at least 1.1 to 1.2 B bu.  Folks, this is a lot of beans.  Many producers went ahead and used the $1.65 from the USDA and used this payment to supplement their cash flow needs and left their beans in the bin or in storage, and still unpriced.  I can build a case where beans move lower and lower as more and more corn acres get planted with beans, and the farmer won’t move their beans until they are forced to do so just prior to fall harvest.  Thus, we could have a very heavy farmer deliveries during Aug / September and have 2 harvests back to back.  This will add increased pressure to futures and basis as more beans are rammed in the pipeline.

Most farmers are waiting for a China deal to be finalized before selling more of their beans.  My best guess is that Trump will demand a perfect agreement with China, and this will take another 6-8 weeks to get accomplished.  By then, the opportunity for China to buy any more old beans will be completely over.  Brazil and Argentina have the cheapest beans in the world right now, and their bigger than average yields will continue to press bean prices lower and lower.  On top of this, if the US farmer cannot plant his corn crop due to wet / cold weather, and instead plants beans to be able to survive, the beans carryout will continue to expand and beans are /  will be extremely over priced compared to today’s values.  Thus, I am bearish beans in a big way.  The market is not looking at these fundamentals yet, but as we inch closer and close to planting, and experience continual delays in plating corn, the market will be forced to recognize it in a big way.  The real risk here is a substantially lower bean futures market and a substantially wider new crop basis levels that will be considerably wider than last years wide basis level.  If I were you, I would take action today to protect your farm.  Please click here to see which grain originator on our staff can help you create a unique marketing plan for your farm, and help you place target orders in our online system.  I offer further explanation below.

What Are The Charts Telling Us?

Here are the support and resistance levels for cash and new crop grains.  These are all futures levels as traded at Chicago:

Cash Corn – May 19 Corn Futures – Support at $3.55, Resistance at $3.66, Place Targets at $3.65

New Corn – Dec 19 Corn Futures – Support at $3.84, Resistance at $3.96, Place Targets at $3.95

Cash Beans – May 19 Bean Futures – Support at $8.83, Resistance at $9.12, Place Targets at $9.02

New Beans – Nov 19 Bean Futures – Support at $9.18, Resistance at $9.39, Place Targets at $9.34

New Wheat – July 19 Wheat Futures – Support at $4.35, Resistance at $4.82, Place Targets at $7.78

To see where grain futures are currently trading, please click here.

Have You Sold Enough New Beans Yet?  Make Values Even Better With Cash Plus Contracts

I can build a solid case why beans will move lower in the coming weeks as more acres get planted and less corn.  In addition, the bean planting window is not nearly as tight as the optimum corn planting window.  If you still have new beans to sell, please check out our Cash Plus Contracts.  We can add a premium to your new crop bean sales price in exchange for an offer to sell more new beans if November Bean futures close above a certain level on Oct 23rd.  These contracts will allow you to sell new beans today with an 18 cent premium added to the new crop cash price in exchange for an offer to sell the same quantity of new crop bean futures around $9.60 if on Oct 23rd, the November bean futures close at or above this level.  If futures close below this level, you get to keep this entire premium, and you don’t have any other obligation.  So it is a win-win for you.  You get to keep the 18-cent premium paid to you on top of the current new crop bean price, and if on Oct 23rd, depending on what November bean futures trade at the close on this date, you might be able to keep this entire premium free and clear.  The worst case is that you would have the same bushel commitment in another new crop sale where November futures were locked in at the $9.60 level.  Taking off the basis of 92 cents under the November futures for delivery into Readfield, which is our current posted new crop bean basis, you would have a new crop bean contract at 9.60 – 92 +18 cent premium = $8.86  The worst case is that you would have another set of new beans sold at $8.68 for Oct / Nov ’19 delivery into Readfield or Center Valley.  This is a good price considering our posted new crop price is at $8.38 or so today.  Please check this out.  We have been writing many of these contracts as of late, and they work really well.  Please click here to see our current cash grain bids.

Targets Produce Success and Protection For Your Farm

Before long, weather markets will push the market around like a yoyo and produce unprecedented volatility.  However, volatility can be your friend if you have a solid marketing plan and know how much and at what price you feel comfortable selling when the right opportunities present themselves.  If you are not working with one of our grain originators today, please give us a call.  We will gladly sit down with you to create a plan and help you protect your farm.  For a list of our grain originators and the one closest to you, please click here.  The volatility present selling opportunities that are very short lived.  For the disciplined marketer, who knows exactly what commodity he needs to sell and at what level, this is a perfect scenario.  You simply place target orders in our system and at 3 am in the morning next Thursday while China makes an announcement when we are all sleeping, the markets ramps up, hits your target, locks in your contract price, all automatically while you are in bed.  How fantastic is that!  I encourage all of you to start using our online target system.  Its free, easy, and will protect your farm.  Please click here for more information.

LAST CALL For New Crop Average Price Contracts – Sign Up Today

We are now enrolling bushels into our new crop Average Price Contract which is for new crop grain that will be delivered during this fall.  This is a cash contract and will use a 10 week period to average the price.  The timing of the new crop contract will be May 1st through July 3rd.  We will simply average the closing prices each Wednesday during these periods, pricing 1/10 of your contracted bushels each week during the period.  At the end of the period, we will simply average the prices together.  There is no minimum quantity and the best part of these contracts are that they are FREE.  There are no fees associated with these averaging contracts. 

The dates associated with the new crop pricing period of May 1st  to July 3rd  is normally a very good time to sell new crop grain because the market is dealing with planting problems and then dealing with dry weather problems somewhere in the Corn Belt.  When problems surface, the market puts more risk premium in the futures, and you will be participating in the market to capture these premiums.  If there are no problems, the market usually drifts lower after the July 4th holiday, making the timing an excellent part of this new crop average contract.    These contracts are simple, easy to understand, and they work.  Every farmer should put a decent amount of grain into these contracts to help protect your farm.  For more information on these exciting new contracts, please click here.

As always, if I can help you with anything, please call me at the grain office on my cell at 419-279-3809, or send me an email at marcus.cordonnier@chsinc.com.

Marcus Cordonnier

2019 First Quarter Energy Update

We rang in the new year with the lowest crude oil values since August of 2017.  To our surprise, those values remain the lowest seen this quarter.  Slow and steady, just like a turtle crude oil managed to sneak in a 23% gain in values over the past three months.  Diesel and Gasoline followed crude oils pattern, just like the good soldiers that they are.  Both increasing roughly 25%, gasoline gaining a bit more than diesel.

So, why the drastic change and such volatility in the past three months? 

To figure this out we need to examine the factors that cause market movement.  So, let’s look a little closer at supply/demand and the economy.

Over the past 18 months OPEC has managed to make headlines with their continued threats of production cuts.  There has been quite a bit of skepticism regarding the actual follow through of these cuts.  In the past, greed has taken over and most of the nations that did agree to cut production have failed miserably.  Over the past 6-9 months however, OPEC and non-OPEC countries have steadily decreased their production and have managed to cut 1.2 million bpd.  This 3% total cut in oil production has managed to drive values up almost 25%.  Though the US continues to ramp up its production, these imports, or lack thereof are killing us.  Every so often, the President will take to twitter and demand that OPEC discontinue their cuts.  This is usually enough to bring crude oil values down a buck or so, but unfortunately it seems to be short lived as the market rebounds a day or two later. 

As much as President Trump tries to help with his tweets, the new jobs created as well as the overall confidence in the US economy that have become the norm under his leadership are only helping push crude oil values up.  US unemployment is at an all-time low of 3.8%.  We have watched the DOW’s steady incline over the past few years; going up over 30 points in the past three months.  The Federal Reserve has also taken advantage of the stronger economy outlook, raising interest rates several times in the past year; from 1.7% to 2.5%- 1/4% of this growth occurring within the last four months.  Globally, things are not as strong; and this may be our only saving grace.  Considered to be one of the foremost developing nation, China, was projected to have extraordinary growth throughout 2019/2020.   Well, they are a mess!  Their projected growth figures have been cut three times this year, with more to come. 

I honestly don’t know that we will see a lot of change over the next three months.  But, as the OPEC cut agreements get closer to their maturity dates, I think we may see some excitement.    

Written by Kim Leisner, Energy Sales Manager

Don’t Skip the Weight on Silage Covers

Recent regulations may change how some U.S. producers weigh down their silage covers. Yet, the benefits to properly covering silage bunkers or piles continue to provide returns.

“The additional time and expense to comply with new waste tire regulations may cause producers to question the need for covering piles at all,” notes Renato Schmidt, Ph.D., Technical Services – Silage, Lallemand Animal Nutrition. “There is absolutely no question that effectively covering piles saves money by preserving important nutrients in the silage, reducing dry matter (DM) losses and maintaining the hygienic quality of the feed. The effort to cover and seal silage piles is a vital part of the silage management program.”

Covering piles helps create the anaerobic environment required for the ensiling fermentation on the most critical portion in terms of porosity — the surface. As a result, the quality of the fermentation process is improved compared to uncovered piles. During storage, well-maintained plastic covers help prevent oxygen ingress, which can cause spoilage.

For example, sealing and covering a 40-foot by 100-foot bunker returns approximately $2,000 in improved silage DM recovery when filled with corn silage. Plus, feeding spoiled silage from an uncovered silo can reduce feed intake and digestibility and potentially lead to metabolic and reproductive issues in the herd.

A combination of high-quality plastic and adequate weighting helps prevent losses. Use plastic that is at least five millimeters thick and dual layer — black inner and white outer — to resist deterioration. Also consider using plastic film with an increased oxygen barrier, Dr. Schmidt advises.

Weighting the plastic down prevents air from seeping underneath the covering. Full-casing waste tires have been the standard for anchoring bunk silo covers for years, but they are heavy to move and bulky to store. Standing water in a full-casing tire can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. With the increasing concern around West Nile virus (WNV) — and the new state regulations prohibiting full tires — producers may be searching for new options, such as:

  • Modifying tires by leaving tires on the rims, removing tire sidewalls, drilling holes in the tire sidewalls or cutting tires in half
  • Covering tires with plastic to reduce standing water
  • Treating tires with a mosquito larvicide, which requires a certified pesticide applicator
  • Replacing tires with sidewall disks
  • Using heavy equipment tire beads
  • Finding alternatives to tires, such as gravel or sand bags

Dr. Schmidt advises producers to choose an option that maintain the integrity of the plastic. Tears or holes reduce the effectiveness of the covering and allow oxygen into the pile.

“Covering and sealing silage bunkers makes economic sense,” Dr. Schmidt says. “There are options for producers looking for alternative ways to weigh down covers. Don’t drop a best practice that pencils out in the long run.”

Originally posted by: Lallemand Animal Nutrition

Grain Update – March 2019

USDA Report was a Non-Event

The USDA released its March crop report last Friday which turned out to be mostly anticipated by the market, and it did not send shock waves through the industry.  There was a slight surprise in corn as ending stocks did rise more than expected.  Let’s look at the details.

In the corn market, the USDA did reduce corn used in the production of ethanol by 25 M bu down to 5.55 B bu.  The ethanol industry has been plagued with very slim margins over the last 6 months and this has caused the industry to slow their grind.  The USDA also reduced corn exports by 75 M bu down to 2.375 B bu.  The big crop of corn being grown in Brazil and Argentina today is cheaper than the corn that can be purchased from the US.  China is buying their corn and not ours, and this is weighing on exports.  When the dust settled, corn ending stocks for this year grew by 100 M bu from 1.735 B bu to 1.835 B bu.  This change was not expected by the market and this helped to press the market lower after the report.

On beans, the USDA made small tweaks to the supply and demand table.  The only change was an increase in bean crush by 10 M bu to 2.1 B bu.  Bean crush margins have been and continue to be stronger than normal this year.  This helps explain why crush rates continue to be strong.  Amazingly, the USDA made no adjustment to bean exports at 1.875 B bu.  Comparing last year to this year, the Chinese have purchased 639 M bu less beans this year due to the tariff war.  Yet, when you compare the bean exports from last year of 2.129 B bu to the 1.875 B bu this year, this is only a reduction of 254 M bu.  What about the other 385 M bu?  Maybe the Chinese will come and buy more beans, but the window of opportunity is quickly slamming shut.  It might be possible for another 85 M bu to be sold.  If this happens, the end result of 300 M bu beans from less exports this year will push the final bean export number down to 1.575 M bu and this same 300 M bu will fall right into the ending stock number, and raising it to 1.2 B bu.  This is likely where the ending stock number will grow to and this helps explain why the market did not rally on Friday even though the ending stock number posted was actually reduced by 10 M bu down to 900 M bu.  The market simply does not believe the current export number.

We have heard time and time and time again that the Chinese will come and buy massive amounts of beans from the US.  Obviously, the Trump administration and the Chinese government are continuing to work on a new trade deal.  Trump decided not to increase the tariffs on $200 B of Chinese products from 10% to 25% on March 1st when no agreement was made.  He did not want to disrupt the momentum in the current negotiations.  The best guess today is that a new deal between the US and China will not occur until sometime in April.  In the mean-time, traders are tired of taking positions in anticipation of these Chinese purchases until they actually happen.  They are tired of being hood winked and loosing money when the Chinese purchases don’t develop.  Initially, the bean market popped up at every single new tweet or new headline.  Today, the market is ignoring these false signals and is only rallying when actual bean sales are published.  As of late, the bean market could not even do this as the amount of beans actually purchased are only a fraction of what was promised several weeks ago.

In addition to the loss of bean sales to China, there are two other factors that are pressing the market as of late.  The first is much improving weather in South America.  The second is a massive short position taken in the corn and bean markets by the funds.  Let’s examine these issues.

Northern areas of Brazil had been very dry going back 2 months ago.  Since that time, Brazil’s weather has stabilized, and northern Brazil has received nice rains over the last few weeks.  Argentina did suffer from excessive water in the early growing season, but less rains have fallen as of late.  The end result is that both the corn and bean production in both Argentina and Brazil have stabilized and now are increasing in volume.  Looking at total South American bean production, the current crop is pegged at 181.6 MMT (6.67 B bu) as compared to 171.2 MMT (6.29 B bu) last year.  As you can see, bean production is substantially higher this year, and bean shipped from Brazil or Argentina to China are considerably cheaper than the bean originated from the US going to China.  Also, the US produced 4.412 B bu of beans last year compared to their 6.29 B bu of beans.  South America is now the leading producer of soybeans and helps explain why our bean ending stocks have exploded higher in recent years.

Finally, the funds have a massive short position now in all grains.  In corn, the current estimate is that managed money is short approximately 200,000 contracts.  In beans, they are short approximately 75,000 contracts.  These are huge short positions and help explain why the market has been pressed significantly lower over the last 2 weeks.  The funds are nearing their record short position levels, so their continued selling will likely be limited.  However, anything is possible.  At some point, these funds will likely cover (buy back) their short positions due to a planting scare are a weather problem in the April – June timeframe.  Now is the time for all of you to put firm targets into our system to sell when the market pops back.  Additionally, the USDA will release their Perspective Planting report on March 29th.  This report will finalize the corn and bean acres for this growing season.  This report historically produces a very volatile market reaction and pushes the market based on the new production data.  This could be an opportunity for the funds to cover some of their short positions if acreage comes in significantly different than expectations.  I seriously recommend that all of you have target orders in place ahead of this report.  Please click here to see which grain originator on our staff can help you create a unique marketing plan for your farm, and help you place target orders in our online system.  I offer further explanation below.

New Crop Average Price Contracts – Sign Up Today

We are now enrolling bushels into our new crop Average Price Contract which is for new crop grain that will be delivered during Oct / Nov ’19 into our grain facilities.  This is a cash contract and will use a 10-week period to average the price.  The timing of the new crop contract will be May 1st through July 3rd.  We will simply average the closing prices each Wednesday during these periods, pricing 1/10 of your contracted bushels each week during the period.  At the end of the period, we will simply average the prices together.  There is no minimum quantity and the best part of these contracts are that they are FREE.  There are no fees associated with these averaging contracts. 

The dates associated with the new crop pricing period of May 1st to July 3rd is normally a very good time to sell new crop grain because the market is dealing with planting problems and then dealing with dry weather problems somewhere in the Corn Belt.  When problems surface, the market puts more risk premium in the futures, and you will be participating in the market to capture these premiums.  If there are no problems, the market usually drifts lower after the July 4th holiday, making the timing an excellent part of this new crop average contract.    These contracts are simple, easy to understand, and they work.  These contracts are a very good tool for you to use and they allow the co-op to sell fall trains ahead of the busy harvest period.  Every farmer should put a decent amount of grain into these contracts to help protect your farm.  For more information on these exciting new contracts, please click here.

Have You Sold New Beans Yet?  Make Values Even Better With Cash Plus Contracts

If you still have new beans to sell, please check out our Cash Plus Contracts.  We can add a premium to your new crop bean sales price in exchange for an offer to sell more new beans if November Bean futures close above a certain level on Oct 23rd.  These contracts will allow you to sell new beans today with a 21 cent premium added to the new crop cash price in exchange for an offer to sell the same quantity of new crop bean futures around $9.55 if on Oct 23rd, the November bean futures close at or above this level.  If futures close below this level, you get to keep this entire premium, and you don’t have any other obligation.  So it is a win-win for you.  You get to keep the 21 cent premium paid to you on top of the current new crop bean price, and if on Oct 23rd, depending on what November bean futures trade on the close on this date, you might be able to keep this entire premium free and clear.  The worst case is that you would have the same bushel commitment in another new crop sale where November futures were locked in at the $9.55 level.  Taking off the basis of 90 cents under the November futures for delivery into Readfield, which is our current posted new crop bean basis, you would have a new crop bean contract at 9.55 – 90 = $8.65   The worst case is that you would have another set of new beans sold at $8.65 for Oct / Nov ’19 delivery into Readfield or Center Valley.  This is a decent price considering our posted new crop price is at $8.36 today.  Please check this out.  This is another excellent contract which puts more money in your pocket.  Please click here to see our current cash grain bids.

What Are The Charts Telling Us?

Looking at the charts today, all grains made a fresh high about a month ago.  Since then, we have been pulling back.  Here are the support and resistance levels for cash and new crop grains.  These are all futures levels as traded at Chicago:

Cash Corn – May 19 Corn Futures – Support at $3.61, Resistance at $3.75, Place Targets at $3.70

New Corn – Dec 19 Corn Futures – Support at $3.86, Resistance at $3.91, Place Targets at $3.91

Cash Beans – May 19 Bean Futures – Support at $8.89, Resistance at $9.07, Place Targets at $9.00

New Beans – Nov 19 Bean Futures – Support at $9.24, Resistance at $9.35, Place Targets at $9.32

New Wheat – July 19 Wheat Futures – Support at $4.36, Resistance at $4.60, Place Targets at $4.55

To see where grain futures are currently trading, please click here.

Take Advantage Of Selling Opportunities With Online Targets

Just prior or after the monthly USDA grain reports, volatility really ramps up in the grain markets.  This causes the futures levels to move around much more than during the rest of the month.  I encourage all of you who need to sell grain to use targets to take advantage of a pop in the market.  It is simply amazing what these markets can do in a very short amount of time.  There is simply no way we can communicate to all of you during a 15 minute rally that happens right during a crop report.  That is why targets work so well.  It allows you to have resting orders already in position at Chicago so when the market starts to gyrate, your orders get picked off and you can take advantage of a very nice pop in the market. Targets are a great tool to help you lock in better returns for your farming operation.  You can call us and we can enter them for you, or you can do it all by yourself by entering them online through our Online Bid Center by clicking here.

CHS Larsen Co-op To Host Grain Marketing Meetings

On April 3rd and 4th, we will be hosting 3 Grain Marketing Meetings throughout our draw area.  Meetings will be held in New London, Waupaca, and Larsen.  Brian Rydlund from CHS Hedging will be joining us to go over the current S&D’s and also offer his recommendations for contracting and marketing.  It will be a lively discussion on current grain topics.  You are welcome to attend.  For more information on the location, times, and how to RSVP, please click here.

As always, if I can help you with anything, please call me at the grain office in New London at 419-279-3809 or send me an email at marcus.cordonnier@chsinc.com.

Marcus Cordonnier – Grain Dept Manager

Join CHS Larsen Cooperative to help fight hunger through CHS Harvest for Hunger

CHS Larsen Cooperative is gathering donations of money and food to help fight hunger. As part of CHS Harvest for Hunger food and fund drive, CHS Larsen Cooperative will accept contributions from March 1 through March 20 at its locations in New London, Readfield, Center Valley, Weyauwega, Larsen, and Oconto Falls; they will then deliver all collections to the local food pantries.

“Hunger is a reality for more than 40 million people in America, including 13.1 million children. Every dollar we raise through CHS Harvest for Hunger can purchase six pounds of food through our food banks,” says Todd Reif, general manager, CHS Larsen Cooperative. “That’s making a real difference for those in need.”

Financial donations are encouraged because they enable food banks to leverage their buying power to provide nutritious food at deeply discounted rates. In 2018, CHS Larsen Cooperative raised $2,600 and over 580 pounds of food. This all stayed in the communities in which they reside.

“Our local communities also win when CHS Country Operations makes a contribution to help friends and neighbors right here in our community. Fighting hunger in our communities’ ties directly to what farmers and ranchers do every day, raising crops and livestock to feed the world,” adds Reif.

Donations can be made at CHS Larsen Cooperative’s locations in New London, Readfield, Center Valley, Weyauwega, Larsen and Oconto Falls. If you would like to donate to this cause but are unable to drop it off at one of our locations, please contact Anne Moore at our main office 920-982-1111 and she will send someone out to pick up the donation. Or you may mail a check to CHS Larsen Cooperative Attn: Harvest for Hunger P.O. Box 308 New London WI, 54961 or call 920-982-1111 for more information on how you can help.

For more information go to our community tab.

Take Action During & After Snowstorms

This winter continues to dump snow all over Wisconsin. We as your propane provider are doing everything we can to keep your propane tanks full and safe!

As a home or business owner we also ask that you do your part to keep your propane equipment safe. To the left you can read some great actionable items to ensure your safety this winter.

Please pay close attention to the last tip about keeping clear driveways and pathways to propane tanks! This is extremely important as our delivery drives need to be able to get to your tanks.

If you’d like to view the entire “Safeguarding Your Home for Winter” document you can do so by going to propane.com

If you are unsure of any safety issues with your propane please feel free to contact our customer services reps at 866-455-7200.

Average Price Program Enrollment Open

Even after positive numbers on the report a few weeks ago, prices still do not seem to be positive. South America is running the bean market during harvest and corn seems to be piggy backing off bean trends, which do not help at all. Not to mention Chinese tariffs are not helping either. Setting targets at reasonable levels in the near future may be your best bet.

Our average price program enrollment has opened. The average price contract prices out an even number of bushels, at the close of every Wednesday. This happens for a 10 week period from May 1st to July 3rd. This program is a useful tool to use as a benchmark for your grain marketing, also it is free of charge. Click Here to learn more.

If you have questions or want to get some contracts in place feel free to reach out to Mike Steingraber and he would be happy to go over options with you.

Written by Mike Steingraber, Grain Originator

Starter Fertilizer Offers Dual Action Chemistries

Working quietly under the soil, starter fertilizers ensure that seeds have access to the readily available nutrients needed to develop roots faster and stronger than seeds without starter fertilizers. By helping plants use micronutrients in the soil to reach their full potential, starter fertilizers give crops a stronger start, which is especially important during variable spring conditions.

Dedicated to helping a grower’s plants reach their full potential, CHS continuously researches and develops new ways to improve their starter fertilizer product lines. Their latest technology, CHS Lumen, is an all-in-one starter fertilizer that contains unique chemistries to help grower’s reach their bottom line. It is a 5-15-3 fertilizer with 0.8% zinc included.

Boasting a 1:3 ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus, CHS Lumen contains two of the most important nutrient components in starter fertilizers. This 1:3 ratio has proven to be the optimal ratio for early plant growth and product stability.

Dual Action Chemistries

CHS Lumen is made with the pure ortho-ortho EDDHA chelate, and an advanced hemicellulose enzyme. Hemicellulose is an advanced enzyme that processes organic matter to release nitrogen, phosphorus and water.

When combined, the chelate and enzyme create a push-pull mode of action that redefines starter fertilizer efficiency by providing nutrition to the plant. This dual action makes nutrients more available and enhances the plant’s ability to take up those nutrients, correcting nutrient deficiencies.


Throughout 2018, CHS ran several trials using CHS Lumen. In one trial completed at the University of Illinois through Dr. Fred Below’s Crop Physiology Lab, results showed that using CHS Lumen products had a significant increase in the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) over standard starter fertilizers.

Applying CHS Lumen

CHS Lumen can be used on soybeans, dry beans, sugar beets, corn, wheat, sunflowers and potatoes. This product is labeled for use as a starter fertilizer and also as a postemergence. When used as a postemergence, CHS Lumen helps prevent the occurrence of a nutrient deficiency or as remediation to an existing nutrient deficiency.

For more information on how you can use in-furrow starter fertilizer applications like CHS Lumen, contact your CHS Agronomist or subscribe to the LIFT blog at www.inthefurrow.com/enewsletter/.

Agellum™ Advantages in February

This past week, I had the privilege of talking Agellum™ with several growers, at our Agellum™ meeting and on farm. All growers I talked with had certain positive thoughts about the program, and some concerns and hopes for future development. With that in mind, I am here to tell you, when making a choice on what farm planning software to purchase on your farm, think about the service package that comes with the software. Here at CHS Larsen, utilizing the Agellum™ Program on your farm gets you a service team that cannot be beat by any other software provider in the Ag industry. Locally our YieldPoint® team, comprised of myself, Olivia Wagenson, Cody Miller, and Ryan Jones are the first line of questions when issues arise and when clarification is needed. Agronomically, your CHS Agronomist is the best source of advice into building a Farm Plan that works for your operation, and is the most financially sound decision in these tough margins. This is a winning team to help you through any farming questions and software concerns of your operation, all in the same time zone and local area.

The one piece of information that I want to tell you about Agellum™ today, is the break-even and variance tool of our Farm Planning section. This tool, after building your farm plans, allows you to analyze marketing and strategic grain contracting, field by field. Utilizing this tool can help you make sound decisions in farming for the upcoming year, below you will see an example of what our chart looks like.

If you would like to find out more information into the farm planning and management software Agellum™, call your local YieldPoint® Specialist or CHS Agronomist.

Written by: Alex Yost, CHS YieldPoint® Specialist

Grain Update – February 13, 2019

After 2 Months, We Finally Get A USDA Report.  Unfortunately, It Does Not Change Much

The USDA was out with its monthly crop report last Friday for the Grain Industry.  The report was a rather large data dump as this report was the combination of the Jan ’19 and Feb ’19 monthly data.  The government shutdown prevented the USDA from releasing its January report on time.  Thus, Friday’s report gave us first quarter grain usage, winter wheat planted acreage, final numbers from the ‘17/18 crop, and the supply and demand and ending stocks update for the current month.  Since the grain trade was waiting on this information for 2 months, it was widely anticipated and projected to be a game changer.  In the end, it changed little and came back as mostly as expected with little market reaction.

In the corn market, the USDA reduced the corn yield by 2.5 bpa down to 176.4 which caused total corn production to drop 206 M bu down to 14.42 B bu.  This change was mostly as expected by the market, and already factored into futures.  On the demand side, the USDA reduced corn used for feed by 125 M bu down to 5.375 B bu.  This was not expected by the market.  We have a big increase in total livestock now consuming corn, so how can feed corn usage go down?  The USDA also reduced corn used for ethanol by 25 M bu and reduced corn used for seed by 15 M bu.  When the dust settled, the corn ending stocks for this crop year was reduced by 46 M bu down to 1.735 B bu.  As discussed, the market pretty much anticipated this yield cut and the resulting reduction in corn ending stocks.  Generally, a 2.0 B bu carryout puts the market into comfort mode, and a 1.5 B bu carryout starts to put the market on edge.  This level allows the market to remain at the status quo as if we look back through history, this type of carry over number is actually quite common. 

The market will be looking forward to how the South American corn crop develops and if Brazil’s corn crop will have its yield trimmed like its beans.  Additionally, the market is projecting US corn planting intentions around 92 M acres this spring.  Dec corn futures are hovering just above $4.00 today.  Corn acres could get a bump if Dec corn rallies upwards close to the $4.25 level.

On beans, the market is a bit different.  It is currently being pushed around by the latest tweet, and the most recent headlines coming out of the US / China negotiations as the teams aggressively try and end the tariff war prior to the March 1st deadline.  If no agreement is made between the US and China by March 1st, the 10% US tariffs on China’s goods that we buy will increase from 10% to 25%.  This is a huge deal to the Chinese because they hate these tariffs, but it is the major item that is forcing China to be honest and negotiate with the US.  In the end, it will be Trump who will make the final decision to extend the March 1st deadline if no deal is made, but significant progress has / is occurring.

China is now done with buying beans from the US and from this point forward, they will buy all of their beans from South America as their beans are the cheapest in the world and both Argentina and Brazil are in major harvest mode today.  Argentina’s bean crop is just massive, but the Brazilian bean crop has been trimmed down to the 115 MMT level or so due to dry weather.  In the last week, Brazil has received more rain and Argentina received less rain which is benefitting both countries.  Thus, we could see the bean yields improve on both as we move forward.

Nearby, the bean market is in a tug-of-war between the big optimism of a new China trade deal, and the yield reducing weather in Brazil.  The fact is that neither will affect the outcome of this year’s world bean carryout that much.  The world has a huge cushion of excess beans, and once the Brazilian crop gets harvested, and the market sees that their volume is still quite substantial, and once the US gets its bean acres planted and emerged, I believe we could see a major reduction in bean prices going forward.  The US bean carryout is between 900 M and 1.0 B bu and could grow substantially going forward depending on final bean acres and planting weather.  Nov ’19 bean futures above $9.50 is a gift and should be sold by the farmer.  We have beans tucked away in many areas of the Corn Belt this year as the farmer hated the wide basis levels this past fall.  One can build a case where we have back to back bean harvests in late summer as the farmer cleans out his bins just before fall harvest to make room for new crop.  This will likely pressure futures and basis lower to significantly lower once the new crop acres emerge.

Let’s look at the USDA report from Friday.  The USDA reduced the bean yield by 0.5 bpa down to 51.6 bpa which lowered the final bean production number by 56 M bu down to 4.544 B bu.  The USDA also increased beans used for crush by 10 M bu, but lowered bean exports by 25 M bu down to 1.875 B bu.  With the lack of Chinese bean buying, the bean export number is still vastly overstated, and I can see bean exports being trimmed by at least another 100 M bu by the end of the crop year.  When the dust settled, the final bean carryout was trimmed by 45 M bu down to 910 M bu.  Yes, the bean carryout was reduced, but we are still looking at over 900 M bu which is a huge number!  To give you some historical background, the US bean carryout has never been over 1.0 B bu.  Going back to 1975, the biggest bean carryout prior to this year was in 2007 when final bean carry out was only 573 M bu.  Our current bean carryout is almost double this and looks to grow once exports come down.

If you do not like the basis, sell beans on an HTA contract and set basis later. However, the posted basis today could very well be the best basis of the year, only to widen out considerably as we get closer to harvest.  If you plan on growing soybeans on your farm this summer, and if you don’t have them sold yet, I strongly suggest you do this now.  I have no problem getting at least 50% of these beans protected in some way.  If you don’t like the cash price, and you don’t want to sell beans on an HTA, another option is to use our cash plus contract where you can generate an additional 25 cents today in exchange for a new crop offer.  Please see below for more details.  This is a great tool, and many customers are using it.

If you would like to place a target to sell grain, you can either call us or place your own target on our Online Target Offer system.  It is easy, free, and an awesome way for you to protect your farm.  Please click here for more information.  If you would like to talk to one of our grain originators or make an appointment for one of them to meet with you on the farm, please click here.

Do You Want a Premium for your Beans?  Cash Plus Is The Answer

We are currently bidding $8.20 for cash beans and $8.70 for Oct / Nov ’19 beans delivered into Readfield.  If this level is still not enough to satisfy you cash flow demands, you should consider our Cash Plus Contract.  This contract will allow you to receive a 24 cent premium over the cash bid, and paid to you today.  In exchange for this premium, you will give us an offer to sell the same quantity of new crop November ’19 bean futures at the $9.90 level if on October 23rd 2019, the price of November soybean futures closes at or above the $9.90 level.  This is a win-win for you.  You will be paid a 24 cent premium now on your cash beans.  If on October 23rd , November bean futures close at or above $9.90, you will have the same quantity of beans sold at $9.90 futures, less the basis of 90 cents under November (this could vary slightly), equals a new crop bean contract at $9.00 for Oct / Nov ’19 delivery into Readfield or Center Valley.  This is a good price considering our posted new crop bean bid is $8.70 and represents a 30 cent premium over our posted new crop bid.  If on Oct 23rd , November bean futures close lower than $9.90, then you keep your 24 cent cash premium, and have no other obligation.  This contract has been popular as of late, and if you still own old beans, you should seriously consider it.

Recommendations For Corn & Bean Meal Consumers (Livestock Producers)

The bean market has ramped up yesterday with the China enthusiasm, and this has pushed bean meal higher as well.  Corn futures ramped higher yesterday, and corn basis is firming.  At some point, this enthusiasm will cool and the marker will reset lower.  This will be the time for you to lock in corn and bean meal for your livestock.  Here are my recommendations for coverage.  To see where futures are currently trading, please click here.

Cash Corn – March 19 Corn Futures – Support at $3.67, Resistance at $3.88, Place Targets at $3.71

Cash Bean Meal – March 19 Meal Futures – Support at $303, Resistance at $325, Place Targets at $308

Sign Up NOW For New Average Price Contracts

We are again offering an average price contract this year for new crop delivery.  The new crop contract will be for corn or beans for Oct / Nov ’18 delivery into any of our facilities.  The contract is a cash contract and will use a 10 week period to average the price.  The timing of the new crop contract will be May 1st through July 3rd.  We will simply average the closing prices each Wednesday during these periods, pricing 1/10 of your contracted bushels each week during the period.  At the end of the period, we will simply average the prices together.  There is no minimum quantity and the best part of these contracts are that they are FREE.  There are no fees associated with these averaging contracts. 

The dates associated with the new crop pricing period of May 1st through July 3rd  is normally a very good time to sell new crop grain because the market is dealing with planting problems and then dealing with dry weather problems somewhere in the Corn Belt.  When problems surface, the market puts more risk premium in the futures, and you will be participating in the market to capture these premiums.  If there are no problems, the market usually drifts lower after the July 4th holiday, making the timing an excellent part of this new crop average contract.    These contracts are simple, easy to understand, and they work.  Every farmer should put a decent amount of grain into these contracts to help protect your farm.  For more information on these exciting new contracts, please click here.

What Are The Charts Telling Us?  Recommendations For Grain Producers.

Here are the support and resistance levels for cash and new crop grains.  These are all futures levels as traded at Chicago:

Cash Corn – Mar 19 Corn Futures – Support at $3.67, Resistance at $3.88, Place Targets at $3.83

New Corn – Dec 19 Corn Futures – Support at $3.91, Resistance at $4.08, Place Targets at $4.03

Cash Beans – Mar 19 Bean Futures – Support at $8.80, Resistance at $9.41, Place Targets at $9.31

New Beans – Nov 19 Bean Futures – Support at $9.23, Resistance at $9.71, Place Targets at $9.65

New Wheat – July 19 Wheat Futures – Support at $5.17, Resistance at $5.50, Place Targets at $5.40

To see where grain futures are currently trading, please click here.

February Results For CHS ProAdvantage Contracts

For those of you who have placed bushels in the CHS ProAdvantage program, we have the updated pricing results for February.  Again, ProAdvantage is our fully managed contracts that we offered during December for patrons who wanted a completely “hands off” approach to grain marketing.  You simply gave the trading professionals at CHS a portion of your production for next harvest, and they take care of the rest.  Behind the scenes they are aggressively buying and selling complex futures and options positions to generate as much profit as possible on your bushels by the end of the program.  The goal is to give you the highest possible futures price at the end of the program as possible by using trading techniques and options that typically are not available to the individual farmer.  The signup period is obviously over.  However, we can see each month how they are progressing, and look at their current values as they trade through the period.  We can also see the percentage of the crop they have sold, which gives you a clue to how bullish or bearish they are.  For those of you enrolled in the program, and you did not receive the results yet, here they are.  This is an interesting read.  Don’t worry if you don’t completely understand all of the information.  If you have any questions about anything, and you want help, please call me and I will explain it to you.  Please click here to see the Feb results.

As always, if I can help you with anything, please call me at the main office in New London at 419-279-3809 or send me an email at marcus.cordonnier@chsinc.com.

Marcus Cordonnier

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