Weekly grain movement - 12/29/15

Rain, snow, flooding dominate grain markets.

Weather was again the main focus in Midwest grain markets this past week as rain caused flooding near creeks and streams, snow made road deliveries difficult and wind briefly delayed the loading of grain onto rail cars.

 “There has been snow, ice, rain and flooding,” said an Iowa dealer on the Mississippi River.

Three to four inches on snow fell there on Monday, but by Tuesday operations were back to normal. River traffic has shut down for the season, but the terminal still ships grain by truck.

The U.S. Coast Guard on Tuesday closed a section of the Mississippi River near St. Louis to all river traffic as high water made for hazardous conditions. The river was forecast to crest there on Thursday.

In central Illinois, the loading of corn on an 85-car train was halted on Monday as strong wind made it dangerous for workers to stand atop the rail cars. Loading resumed on Tuesday and the train will soon move to poultry farms in Georgia.

Six to seven inches of rain fell in central Illinois the past few days, the Illinois dealer said. About 10 inches of rain fell at the company’s elevator near St. Louis.

Northwest of Decatur, Illinois, heavy rain and flooding closed a few rural roads on Monday and raised concerns the water in the nearby Clinton Lake may overflow.

In Iowa, five to six inches of snow was reported in central part of the state near I-80, while seven inches fell near the western border.

Blowing snow, amid 30 mph wind, caused an Iowa elevator near Omaha to close early on Monday. By Tuesday, a dealer there said operations were back to normal with a truckload of soybeans loaded and dispatched to a nearby processor.

Farmer selling remained quiet as year-end grain prices failed to inspire them to open grain bins or let go of supplies in commercial elevators.

Basis bids for corn and soybeans were largely unchanged from a week ago, the exception being some processors raising corn bids in western Illinois. That left grain dealers to largely focus on shipping out previous sales or clean away snow or water from loading docks.

USDA’s latest grain transportation report said grain rail car loadings for the week ended Dec. 12 were down 6% from a year ago, while year-to-date loadings are up 4.4%. Year-to-date grain barge movement as of Dec. 19 on key waterways was up 1%.

USDA’s weekly export inspections on Monday showed soybean shipments at 51.5 million bushels, down slightly from last week and a year ago. China was again the largest recipient. Year-to-date shipments for the crop year are 906.3 million bushels, down about 12% from a year ago.

Corn export shipments of 22.5 million bushels were down 21% from a week ago and down 6% from a year ago. Mexico was the largest market followed by Japan. Year-to-date shipments for the crop year are about 359 million bushels, down 21% from a year ago.

Weekly wheat shipments of 11.2 million bushels were down 37% from a week ago but up from a year ago. Bangladesh and South Korea were the leading markets. Year-to-date shipments for the crop year that began June 1 are about 432 million bushels, down 13% from a year ago.  
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