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WEEKLY GRAIN MOVEMENT: Rain threatens crops; high water may halt barges

Farmers made good progress planting corn and soybeans.

Farmers made good progress planting corn and soybeans last week despite wet fields and regular storms, but this spring’s abundant rain created ponds in some fields, and replanting of those areas may be needed, Midwest grain dealers said this week.

In addition, runoff from the storms has filled rivers and streams. The Coast Guard on Monday said high water may close the Mississippi River to barge traffic and other navigation.

The National Weather Service predicts major flooding on Wednesday on the Mississippi River near St. Louis, Mo., and the confluence with the Illinois River. Moderate to major flooding was expected on Friday farther south where the Ohio River joins the Mississippi. Major flooding was expected Tuesday in eastern Missouri along the Missouri River.

Water levels remained manageable on the Mississippi River near the Quad Cities, but barge movement there could be disrupted by the flooding farther south, shippers said. One shipper loaded a corn barge on Monday, but otherwise business has been slow.

Weather maps showed more showers Tuesday and Wednesday in the Midwest but drier weather later this week and next week.

Higher market prompts sales

The higher crops markets on Monday caused an increase in farmer selling of old-crop corn at a few locations. Cash basis bids to farmers were largely unchanged during the past week, although a central Illinois dealer said soybean bids gained a penny when the basis was rolled to the July contract.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture late Monday put corn planting at 34% completed, matching the five-year average, and soybean planting at 10%, which topped the 7% average.

In western and eastern Iowa, dealers said farmers should be back in the fields by Friday if the forecasted drier weather arrives.

Bids increase

Corn for May shipment to the Gulf of Mexico increased 2 cents in the past week to 38 over the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) May contract, while June was 30 over the July. Soybean bids at the Gulf for May rose 2 cents to 32 over the CBOT July, and June was 30 over.

Barge grain shipments during the week ended April 22 totaled 1.03 million tons, up 48% from the prior week and up 29% from a year ago, according to USDA’s "Grain Transportation Report."

Grain vessel loadings at the Gulf eased, with USDA reporting 33 vessels loaded during the week of April 20, down 11% from a year ago. Thirty-seven vessels were expected to be loaded in the next 10 days, down 35% from a year ago, the report said.

In the rail sector, grain car loadings totaled 21,566 for the week ended April 15, down 9% from the prior week and up 4% from a year ago.

Rail traffic to the Pacific Northwest has been improving from the weather-related slowdowns in February, but traffic remains below year-ago levels, the USDA report said.

For truckers, the U.S. average diesel fuel price was unchanged during the week ended April 24 at $2.60/gal. That is up 40 cents from a year ago.

USDA’s latest weekly grain inspections are detailed in the following table and charts.

 

Corn export destinations, bushels – week ended April 27 – USDA

 Soybean export destinations, bushels – week ended April 27–USDA

 Wheat export destinations, bushels – week ended April 27 – USDA

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