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WEEKLY GRAIN MOVEMENT: Mississippi River navigation returns to normal

doranjclark_iStock_Thinkstock freight rail hoppers and grain silos
New sales have been light due to lack of supplies to fill them.

Barges were being loaded on the Mississippi River at the Quad Cities on Monday after navigation near St. Louis, Mo., resumed late last week when water levels quickly receded from flood stages.

The barges of corn and soybeans being loaded at the Quad Cities were sold some time ago. New sales have been light due, in part, to a lack of supplies to fill them, dealers said. Farmers have not sold a lot of corn or soybeans as they are focused on planting.

A central Illinois dealer sold “a couple of corn trains” to a local processor, which needed coverage for May production. Otherwise, new sales have been slow, he said.

Another central Illinois dealer raised corn bids to farmers about 5 cents/bu. in the past week in response to another processor needing supplies. Soybean bids, however, remained unchanged.

Farmer selling slows

Farmer sales of old-crop corn and soybeans remained fairly light as cash prices were not enough to get farmers out of the fields, dealers said.

Corn planting was rapid over the weekend in Iowa and Illinois amid warm, dry weather. The U.S. Department of Agriculture late on Monday put U.S. corn planting at 71% completed, which topped the five-year average of 70%. Illinois was 75% planted versus its 77% average, and Iowa was at 85% versus 75%.

Soybean planting jumped to 32% completed, which matched the five-year average. Illinois was at 23% versus its 31% average, and Iowa was at 40% versus 32%.

In central Illinois, dealers reported improvement in the emerged corn. Some fields that had yellow plants shortly after emergence had turned green and were looking normal following the warm, dry weather this past week.

Bids decrease

Corn for May shipment to the Gulf of Mexico was bid 31 over the Chicago Board of Trade July contract on Monday versus 35 over in the previous week, while June was bid 31 over versus last week’s 32 over. Soybeans at the Gulf for May were bid 33 over July versus 38 over a week ago, and June was bid 34 over versus 36 over the prior week.

The river closure early this month hit barge shipments. Barge grain shipments during the week ended May 6 totaled 325,550 tons, down 61% from the prior week and down 67% from a year ago, according to USDA’s "Grain Transportation Report."

Grain vessel loadings at the Gulf eased, with 33 vessels loaded during the week of May 4, down 6% from a year ago. Forty-seven vessels are expected to be loaded in the next 10 days, up 2% from a year ago, the report said.

In the rail sector, grain car loadings totaled 23,784 for the week ended April 29, up 1% from the prior week and up 18% from a year ago.

For truckers, the U.S. average diesel fuel price decreased nearly 2 cents during the week ended May 8 to $2.57/gal. That is up 29 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 May 11 – USDA


Soybean export destinations, bushels – week ended May 11–USDA


 Wheat export destinations, bushels – week ended May 11 – USDA

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