WEEKLY GRAIN MOVEMENT: End users fill up as harvest gains traction

Barges are being loaded after high water on Mississippi River has passed.

Supplies of new-crop corn and soybeans have filled local processors and grain exporters through October and, in some cases, early November as the harvest of both crops gains traction, grain dealers said this week.

Bids for corn firmed slightly at Gulf of Mexico export points in the past week, while those for soybeans declined. However, local processors still had the better bids, dealers said.

The high water that briefly shut a lock last week on the Mississippi River has passed, and river shippers said barges were being loaded for the Gulf. Those barges were sold some time ago, when bids were higher. Lately, very few new sales of corn and soybeans were being made for the Gulf, they said.

Corn at the Gulf was bid about 42 cents over December for October shipment, compared with 38 cents over a week ago. Soybeans for October shipment were bid 46 cents over November versus about 57 cents a week ago.

Barge rates for shipment to the Gulf have declined due to a glut of empty barges.

“Because of delays in the harvest, all of the empties backed up,” one river shipper said of the barges.

At mid-Mississippi River points, barges for next week’s shipment were bid this week at 390% of tariff versus 500% a week ago. The 110-point decrease equates to a decrease in shipping costs of about 14 cents/bu. for corn and 15 cents for soybeans.

Late on Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the U.S. corn harvest was 35% done, which trailed the five-year average of 38%. The soybean harvest was at 44% versus the 47% average.

USDA’s weekly grain inspections for corn of 44.6 million bu. were down from a week ago, matched trade forecasts and topped the weekly pace needed to meet USDA’s annual export forecast. Soybean shipments of 66.2 million bu. were up sharply from a week ago, beat trade forecasts and topped USDA’s projected weekly rate. Wheat shipments of 15.9 million bu. were down from a week ago, matched forecasts but missed topped the weekly rate needed to meet USDA’s annual estimate.

Shipments

USDA said barge grain shipments during the week ended Oct. 1 were 695,317 tons, up 56% from the prior week but down 21% from a year ago.

In the rail sector, grain car loadings totaled 25,129 for the week ended Sept. 24, up 12% from the prior week and up 13% from a year ago, according to USDA’s "Grain Transportation Report."

For truckers, the U.S. average diesel fuel price rose 1 cent in the latest week to $2.39/gal. That is down 10 cents from the same week last year.

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