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WEEKLY GRAIN MOVEMENT: Rising water slows Mississippi River shipping

doranjclark_iStock_Thinkstock freight rail hoppers and grain silos
Corn and soybean demand at Gulf fairly light, so barge loading suspensions should not cause significant supply shortages there.

Barge movement on the Mississippi River may slow some more this week as rising water has forced some river elevators to suspend barge loadings and other elevators may do the same later this week, river shippers said.

National Weather Service projections show that water levels at several sections of the Mississippi River from the Quad Cities to St. Louis, Mo., will reach moderate flood levels and, in some cases, major flood levels in the next few days.

While barge loadings will be slowed, shippers said demand for corn and soybeans at the Gulf of Mexico have been fairly light, so the suspensions should not cause significant supply shortages at the Gulf.

Closure of the Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) loading facility at Ama, La., because of an accident may cause some minor logistical problems, but the slow pace of shipments this summer also should prevent significant delays, shippers said. Wire stories said ADM would shift vessel loadings to its three other Louisiana facilities.

“That is going to tighten capacity a little bit, but it should have a neutral effect since we do not have a large shipping program for July and August,” a Quad Cities shipper said regarding the ADM facility.

Containers of soybeans were sold last week in central Illinois for shipment by rail to the West Coast, where they will then be shipped by boat to Asian markets. Local processors remain the best market for soybeans, but the shipper said the container market has been competitive.

Farmers sell corn

The jump in Chicago, Ill., corn futures on Friday prompted some old-crop corn sales then, but sales have since slowed with Tuesday's lower market. Chicago futures were closed during the Memorial Day holiday Monday.

In central Illinois, Friday's higher futures put cash bids at or above $3.50/bu., which triggered farmer selling, dealers said. No new-crop corn or old-crop soybean sales were reported.

Dry conditions in most areas had farmers in the fields during the three-day weekend; some were wrapping up corn and soybean planting, and others were spraying weeds. Replanting was done in southern Illinois and in parts of western Iowa.

Crop insurance will provide full coverage of corn planted in much of Illinois until June 5. Insurance will cover soybeans replanted until June 15 in northern Illinois and until June 20 south of there, dealers said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will update planting progress numbers later on Tuesday. Farm Futures expects about 91% of the corn and 63% of the soybeans to be planted. A year ago, the five-year averages were 92% for corn and 66% for soybeans.

Gulf soybean bids increase; corn eases

Soybeans at the Gulf for June shipment were 37 over July versus 34 over in the previous week, and July was 40 over versus 40 over a week ago.

Corn for June shipment to the Gulf was bid 28 over the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) for July versus 33 over a week ago, while July was bid 28 over CBOT versus last week's 33 over.

Barge grain loadings during the week ended May 20 totaled 656,269 tons, down 34% from the prior week and down 23% from a year ago, according to USDA's "Grain Transportation Report."

Grain vessel loadings at the Gulf totaled 33 vessels during the week of May 18, down 22% from a year ago. Fifty-one vessels are expected to be loaded in the next 10 days, up 16% from a year ago, the report said.

In the rail sector, grain car loadings totaled 23,256 for the week ended May 13, up 6% from the prior week and up 26% from a year ago.

For truckers, the U.S. average diesel fuel price weakened a little during the week ended May 22 but stayed at $2.54/gal., up 18 cents from a year ago.

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

Farm Futures


Corn export destinations, bushels — week ended May 25 — USDA

Farm Futures

Soybean export destinations, bushels — week ended May 25—USDA

Farm Futures

Wheat export destinations, bushels — week ended May 25 — USDA

Farm Futures


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