Livestock & poultry cash market comparisons, 1/25/17

Livestock and meat ($)

January 25

January 18

6 mos. ago

Year ago

Steers, Choice, carcass, 550-700 lb., cwt., Omaha

191.25

193.22

199.08

221.33

Steers, Choice, 1,050-1,200 lb., cwt. southern Plains

122.50A

119.00

115.00

134.50A

Feeder steers, 600-700 lb., cwt., Oklahoma City

138.87A

135.75A

150.25A

164.00A

Lean hogs, carcass, Iowa-Minn. 167-187 lb.(1)

65.73

65.05

72.62

59.36

Feeder pigs, 40 lb. national direct delivered(2)

67.61

69.51

33.57

71.30

SEW pigs, 10 lb., national direct delivered (per head)

53.41

51.28

21.62

62.20

Choice beef, cutout, cwt.

193.00

191.60

198.76

220.12

Pork loin, 185 lb. 51-52% lean, cutout, cwt.(3)

77.44

80.35

83.58

84.18

Hog corn ratio

19.72

19.43

18.00

16.36

Steer corn ratio

37.65

37.65

30.18

37.71

Poultry and eggs (cents)

 

 

 

 

Chickens, Grade A, fresh lb. Chicago

N/A

82.09a

79.07a

82.83a

Hen turkeys, Grade A, frozen, lb., Chicago

N/A

100.00Aa

118.50Aa

114.00Aa

Young tom turkeys, Grade A. frozen lb. Chicago

N/A

100.00Aa

127.00Aa

123.50Aa

Eggs, Grade A, large, doz., Chicago

75.50

65.50

50.50

138.50

N/A: not available.         A: average.

(1) Replaces live hogs; live hogs are 0.755 of quote.
(2) Replaces Sioux Falls, 50-60 lb. (2/26/07)
(3) National FOB plant, replaces national daily carlot.
Livestock, meat, poultry and egg prices from USDA.

Ingredient market prices, 1/25/17

ingredient market image

The following prices, which include delivery, were obtained Jan. 25 from feed and grain vendors in the U.S. and Canada. The prices represent current trading values but are not guaranteed. Second column shows the amount of change since the previous week. Prices of certain products can vary depending on the processing method used. U.S. short tons, 2,000 lb. N-Nominal. N/A-Price not available. Click to download.

OILSEED PRODUCTS

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Soybean meal

 

 

(high-protein)

 

 

Atlanta

377.00

-

Boston

370.00

-

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

338.00

-8.00

Delmarva

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

387.00

-

Ft. Worth

367.00

-9.00

Kansas City

325.00

-5.00

Los Angeles

370.00

-9.00

Memphis

N/A

-

Minneapolis

304.00

-6.11

Okeechobee

377.00

-

Portland

376.00

-7.90

San Francisco

370.00

-9.00

Twin Falls

390.00

-

Soybean meal

 

 

(low-protein)

 

 

Atlanta

367.00

-

Boston

365.00

-

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

326.00

-8.00

Delmarva

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

377.00

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Kansas City

325.00

-5.00

Los Angeles

349.00

-8.00

Memphis

N/A

-

Minneapolis

N/A

-

Okeechobee

367.00

-

Portland

N/A

-

San Francisco

349.00

-8.00

Soybean hulls

 

 

Atlanta

200.00

-

Buffalo*

N/A

-

Chicago

155.00

2.00

Fayetteville, NC

220.00

-

Ft. Worth*

105.00

-

Los Angeles

168.00

11.00

Minneapolis

105.00

-5.00

Okeechobee

200.00

-

San Francisco

168.00

11.00

Twin Falls

N/A

-

* unpelleted

 

 

Whole cottonseed

 

 

Atlanta

200.00

-

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

236.00

3.00

Delmarva

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

200.00

-

Ft. Worth

235.00

-

Los Angeles

300.00

-

Lubbock

205.00

-

Memphis

200.00

-2.00

Okeechobee

217.00

-

Portland

325.00

-2.50

San Francisco

300.00

-

Twin Falls

315.00

-

Cottonseed meal

 

 

Atlanta

325.00

-

Chicago

260.00

2.00

Delmarva

325.00

-

Fayetteville NC

325.00

-

Ft. Worth

275.00

-

Kansas City

280.00

-

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Lubbock

245.00

-

Memphis

215.00

-5.00

Okeechobee

335.00

-

San Francisco

253.00

9.00

Cottonseed hulls

 

 

Atlanta

325.00

-

Chicago

165.00

-

Fayetteville NC

325.00

-

Ft. Worth

105.00

-

Okeechobee

362.00

-

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Lubbock

75.00

-

San Francisco

174.00

-20.00

Canola meal

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Minneapolis

266.10

-

Los Angeles

281.00

14.00

Montreal

277.00

-7.00

Portland

279.50

-3.40

San Francisco

281.00

14.00

Twin Falls

293.00

-

Vancouver

240.00

40.00

Sunflower seed meal

 

 

Fargo

150.00

-

Minneapolis

175.00

-

Linseed  meal

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Chicago

345.00

-

Fargo

280.00

-

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

316.00

-

Kansas City

245.00

-5.00

Minneapolis

320.00

-

Safflower meal

 

 

Los Angeles

N/A

-

San Francisco

134.00

3.00

ANIMAL BYPRODUCTS

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Meat and bone meal

 

 

(ruminant)

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

285.00

7.00

Delmarva

380.00

25.00

Fayetteville NC

320.00

10.00

Ft. Worth

280.00

20.00

Kansas City

260.00

-40.00

Los Angeles

260.00

-

Memphis

310.00

10.00

Minneapolis

270.00

-

Portland

250.00

5.00

San Francisco

260.00

-

Meat and bone meal

 

 

(porcine)

 

 

Fayetteville NC

370.00

10.00

Los Angeles

300.40

-

Memphis

360.00

20.00

Minneapolis

295.00

-15.00

Flash-dried blood meal

 

 

(ruminant)

 

 

Fayetteville NC

1050.00

-

Los Angeles

925.00

25.00

Memphis

1025.00

-

Minneapolis

1000.00

50.00

Flash-dried blood meal

 

 

(porcine)

 

 

Fayetteville NC

1025.00

-

Memphis

1000.00

-

Minneapolis

1025.00

25.00

Poultry byproduct meal

 

 

(feed grade)

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

300.00

-

Ft. Worth

230.00

-

Kansas City

N/A

-

Los Angeles

369.00

-

Memphis

300.00

-

Poultry byproduct meal

 

 

(pet food grade)

 

 

Memphis

650.00

-

Fayetteville NC

650.00

-

Hydrolized feather meal

 

 

Atlanta

400.00

10.00

Delmarva

415.00

7.50

Fayetteville NC

400.00

10.00

Ft. Worth

500.00

25.00

Kansas City

495.00

-

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Memphis

400.00

10.00

Minneapolis

475.00

25.00

Menhaden fish meal

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

1450.00

-

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Kansas City

N/A

-

Memphis

1350.00

-

Minneapolis

1525.00

-

Twin Falls

N/A

-

Blended tuna meal

 

 

Los Angeles

N/A

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

Anchovy  meal

 

 

Los Angeles

N/A

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

ANIMAL FAT, GREASE

 

 

(cents per pound)

 

 

Prime Tallow

 

 

Chicago

28.00

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Los Angeles

34.38

10.00

San Francisco

25.00

-

Yellow grease

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

22.00

-

Delmarva

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

24.00

-

Ft. Worth

26.00

0.50

Kansas City

25.90

-

Los Angeles

23.38

-

Memphis

24.00

-

Minneapolis

22.00

-

San Francisco

24.00

-

Choice white grease

 

 

Chicago

27.00

-

Minneapolis

25.00

-0.50

Bleachable fancy tallow

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

30.00

-

Ft. Worth

30.50

-

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Minneapolis

29.50

-0.50

San Francisco

N/A

-

Vegetable-animal blend

 

 

Ft. Worth

26.25

0.25

Los Angeles

24.13

-0.75

Minneapolis

23.50

-

San Francisco

24.13

-0.75

Poultry grease

 

 

(feed grade)

 

 

Delmarva

24.50

-

Fayetteville NC

23.00

-

Memphis

23.00

-

Poultry grease

 

 

(pet food grade)

 

 

Memphis

30.00

-

Fayetteville NC

30.00

-

GLUTEN, HOMINY

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Corn gluten meal

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

523.00

-

Kansas City

600.00

30.00

Los Angeles

610.00

10.00

Corn gluten feed

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

106.00

-

Fayetteville NC

130.00

-

Kansas City

145.00

-

Okeechobee

150.00

-

Twin Falls

185.00

-

Wahpeton

N/A

-

Hominy feed

 

 

Atlanta

205.00

-

Boston

144.00

-

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

98.00

-3.00

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Kansas City

105.00

-

Los Angeles

169.00

10.00

Okeechobee

N/A

-

San Francisco

169.00

10.00

Twin Falls

188.00

-

BREWERS, DISTILLERS

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Brewers dried grains

 

 

Chicago

N/A

-

Kansas City

N/A

-

Malt Sprouts

 

 

Chicago

120.00

-

Milwaukee

95.00

-

Winona, Minn

95.00

-

Distillers dried grains

 

 

Atlanta

170.00

-

Boston

148.00

-

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

90.00

-20.00

Fayetteville NC

170.00

-

Kansas City

150.00

-5.00

Los Angeles

166.00

5.00

Minneapolis

90.00

3.00

Okeechobee

180.00

-

Portland

165.50

-

San Francisco

166.00

5.00

Twin Falls

175.00

-

Brewers yeast

 

 

(dollars per pound, sacked)

 

 

Chicago

0.75

-

Milwaukee

0.75

-

Minneapolis

0.75

-

ALFALFA

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Dehydrated pellets

 

 

(17% protein)

 

 

Central Neb.

225.00

-

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

310.00

-

Kansas City

240.00

-

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Minneapolis

245.00

-

Toledo

300.00

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

Suncured pellets

 

 

(15% protein)

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

175.00

-

Kansas City

180.00

-

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Portland

200.00

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

WHEAT MILLFEEDS

 

 

Shorts

 

 

Chicago

95.00

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Los Angeles

139.00

-

Millrun

 

 

Los Angeles

130.00

-

Portland

145.00

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

Twin Falls

115.00

-

Bran

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

120.00

-

Los Angeles

134.00

-

Minneapolis

N/A

-

Middlings

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

95.00

-

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

150.00

-10.00

Kansas City

100.00

-5.00

Los Angeles

137.00

-

Memphis

142.00

-11.00

Minneapolis

90.00

-5.00

Okeechobee

N/A

-

DAIRY BYPRODUCTS

 

 

(dollars per hundredweight)

 

 

Dried skim milk

 

 

Ft. Worth

104.50

-0.50

Minneapolis

104.50

-0.50

Dried buttermilk

 

 

Ft. Worth

97.00

-

Minneapolis

97.00

-

Whole whey

 

 

Chicago

42.50

0.80

Ft. Worth

43.00

0.50

Kansas City

27.50

-

Minneapolis

43.00

0.50

Whey protein concentrate

 

 

Ft. Worth

94.00

-

Milwaukee

94.00

-

Lactose

 

 

Ft. Worth

37.50

0.50

Minneapolis

37.50

0.50

OATS, RICE PRODUCTS

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Rolled oats

 

 

Chicago

410.00

-

Kansas City

350.00

-

Minneapolis

587.00

-

Crimped oats

 

 

Chicago

380.00

-

Kansas City

285.00

-

Minneapolis

422.00

-

Pulverized oats

 

 

Chicago

120.00

-

Minneapolis

138.00

-

Reground oat feed

 

 

Chicago

60.00

-

Kansas City

30.00

-

Minneapolis

72.00

-

Oats

 

 

(dollars per bushel)

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Minneapolis

2.92

-

Portland*

210.00

-

(*per ton)

 

 

Rice bran

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

140.00

-10.00

Freeport

N/A

-

Kansas City

120.00

-5.00

Memphis

N/A

-

San Francisco

113.00

-

Stuttgart, Ark.

N/A

-

Rice millfeeds

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

95.00

-

Freeport

N/A

-

Kansas City

95.00

-5.00

Memphis

N/A

-

Stuttgart, Ark.

N/A

-

Rice hulls

 

 

Ft. Worth

60.00

-

Kansas City

60.00

-

DRIED PULP

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Citrus pulp pellets

 

 

Atlanta

185.00

-

Fayetteville NC

195.00

-

Okeechobee

160.00

-5.00

Los Angeles*

N/A

-

*(sold wet)

 

 

Beet pulp pellets

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Boise

N/A

-

Chicago

150.00

-

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Kansas City

440.00

-

Minneapolis

120.00

-

Portland

156.00

-

Saginaw

140.00

-

Beet pulp shreds

 

 

Mpls (sacked)

355.00

-

Los Angeles*

N/A

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

Twin Falls

N/A

-

*bulk, wet

 

 

GRAINS

 

 

Barley feed

 

 

Kansas City (bu.)

4.60

-

Los Angeles (cwt)

8.87

-0.01

Portland (ton)

162.50

-2.50

San Francisco (cwt)

8.87

-0.01

Feed wheat

 

 

Atlanta (bu.)

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC (bu.)

N/A

-

Kansas City (bu)

3.59

-0.05

Los Angeles (cwt)

N/A

-

San Francisco (cwt)

N/A

-

Corn

 

 

(dollars per bushel)

 

 

Atlanta

5.35

-

Boston

3.90

0.51

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

3.73

0.16

Delmarva

3.88

0.01

Fayetteville NC

5.35

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Kansas City

3.51

0.01

Los Angeles*

8.94

-0.04

San Fran (rail)*

8.94

-0.04

San Fran (truck)*

N/A

-

Memphis

3.84

0.00

Minneapolis

2.90

-

Okeechobee

5.58

-

Portland (per ton)

171.75

2.50

(*per cwt)

 

 

Milo

 

 

(dollars per bushel)

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

3.24

-0.03

Kansas City

3.11

0.01

Los Angeles*

8.34

-1.06

Memphis

N/A

-

*(per cwt.)

 

 

Ground grain screenings

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

  1. Worth

434.00

9.00

Kansas City

50.00

-

OTHER

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Almond hulls

 

 

Los Angeles

96.00

2.00

San Francisco

74.00

1.00

Bakery feed

 

 

Atlanta

165.00

-

Buffalo

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

170.00

-

Memphis

160.00

-

Minneapolis

160.00

-

Feed urea

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Minneapolis

N/A

-

Salt

 

 

Kansas City

58.00

-

Los Angeles

50.00

-

Cane molasses

 

 

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Houston

130.00

-

Kansas City

167.50

-

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Memphis

N/A

-

Minneapolis

177.50

-

New Orleans

132.50

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

LIVESTOCK MARKETS: Growing production to boost beef exports

DarcyMaulsby/iStock/Thinkstock. Cattle in Nebraska feedlot
CAPACITY CONSTRAINTS: Expanding beef processing capacity today may be fixing yesterday's problem as cattle cycle turns to lower production.

Global beef exports are expected to increase year over year in 2017, with growth in several major beef exporting countries supported by growing production, in most cases.

However, Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist, said the situations vary among beef exporting countries, and market conditions will keep international markets dynamic for the foreseeable future.

Nonetheless, beef exports in 2017 from the top four exporting countries — Brazil, India, Australia and the U.S. — are projected to account for 73% of total exports from the top 10 beef exporting countries.

Brazil and India, with roughly equal beef export totals, are projected to lead the world in beef exports in 2017. Both countries are experiencing increasing production and growing international market demand and access, Peel said.

Brazil, which has a dominant position in European and Middle Eastern markets, is seeing increased access to China as well as the U.S.

“Late in 2016, the U.S. and Brazil announced an agreement that would allow Brazil to export fresh or frozen beef to the U.S., along with cooked product,” Peel noted, adding that Brazil's exports have also been boosted by the currency weakness of the real.

India has also seen growing production and international demand for its beef, much of which is carabeef (water buffalo). “Recent announcements indicate that India has an agreement with China for direct access to the Chinese market," he said. "Previous Indian beef shipments to China were transshipped through other countries such as Vietnam.”

According to Peel, Australia has slipped to the number-three beef exporting country as an extended herd liquidation that lasted through 2015 — which resulted in temporarily higher exports in 2014 and 2015 — is now resulting in reduced beef production and exports.

“Low cattle inventories, combined with herd rebuilding on better forage conditions, will suppress beef production and exports in 2017 and beyond," he said. "Australia has enjoyed expanded beef market access in China and most recently began shipping live cattle to China as well.”

Peel said the U.S. will maintain its rank as the number-four beef exporting country in 2017. After dropping in 2015, beef exports increased in 2016 as production increased and beef prices dropped from record levels.

Improved beef exports are projected for 2017 despite the headwinds of a continued strong dollar and considerable uncertainty surrounds the Trump Administration's unfolding trade policies.

“Renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) exposes the beef industry to less favorable trade conditions, while the apparent demise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will maintain restricted U.S. access or less favorable tariffs in some markets, most notably Japan,” Peel said.

The U.S. currently does not have direct access to the rapidly growing Chinese beef market. Unofficial U.S. beef exports to China have occurred in recent years as transshipments through Hong Kong and Vietnam.

In the fall of 2016, China announced a willingness to move forward with an agreement for the U.S. to export beef to China. However, Peel said no agreement is in place at this time, and the current status of these discussions is unclear, given the political changes in the U.S. and the confrontational posture of the Trump Administration towards China.

The next tier of beef exporting countries are significantly smaller in export volume compared to the top four beef exporting countries, according to Peel. These include, in descending order based on projected 2017 exports: New Zealand, Canada, Paraguay and Uruguay. Combined beef exports from these four countries are smaller than the total of either Brazil or India. Each of these countries is expected to maintain or expand beef exports in 2017, Peel said.

Mexico, which has expanded beef exports sharply in recent years, ranks as the number-10 beef exporting country, just behind the European Union.

“Mexican beef exports are expected to continue growing in 2017 with significant expansion of Mexican feedlot and beef packing infrastructure in 2016,” Peel said, adding that the majority of Mexican beef exports currently are imported by the U.S.

Market recap

The February fed cattle futures market was mostly lower this week. Nearby contracts closed unchanged Monday at $120.25/cwt. and lower Thursday at $118.70/cwt.

January feeder cattle futures fell this week. Nearby contracts closed lower Monday at $132.775/cwt. and Thursday at $131.825/cwt.

For the beef cutouts this week, Choice and Select were higher at $193.00/cwt. and $189.74/cwt., respectively.

February lean hog futures were mixed. Nearby contracts closed lower Monday at $65.00/cwt., posted some gains Tuesday and Wednesday but closed lower again Thursday at $65.85/cwt.

Pork cutout values were mixed Thursday. The wholesale pork cutout increased to $82.81/cwt. Loins closed lower at $77.44/cwt. Hams were lower at $64.04/cwt., while bellies were sharply higher $158.50/cwt.

Hogs delivered to the western Corn Belt were higher this week, closing at $63.90/cwt. on Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported the Eastern Region whole broiler/fryer weighted average price at 86.98 cents/lb. on Jan. 20.

According to USDA, egg prices have been steady, with a steady to firm undertone. Offerings and supplies have been light to moderate. Demand has been light to fairly good, but mostly moderate.

Large eggs delivered to the Northeast were higher at 79-82 cents/doz. Prices in the Southeast and Midwest were also higher at 77-80 cents/doz. and 73-76 cents/doz., respectively. Large eggs delivered to California were higher at $1.55/doz.

For turkeys, USDA said the market was mostly steady, with light to moderate offerings. Demand has been light to good. Prices were lower at 95 cents to $1.05/lb. for both hens and toms.

Warmer weather, increased precipitation ahead

weather field

MDA Weather Services reported that the latest 31-60 day weather outlook is trending slightly warmer across the northwestern Midwest and east-central Plains, reducing threats of late-season winterkill.

“Mild temperatures in Florida will also keep frost threats there low,” noted Kyle Tapley, senior agricultural meteorologist for MDA.

As for the Pacific Northwest, he said the precipitation outlook has trended slightly wetter, which would improve moisture further for white winter wheat.

“The dry pattern in the central and western Plains would allow moisture there to decline again, and moisture shortages would also build again in the Southwest,” Tapley said, adding that abundant showers in the eastern and southern Midwest and northern Delta would maintain favorable moisture in those regions, while limited rains in the southern Delta would allow fieldwork there to increase.

“Generally, we are not expecting any sustained cold across the Central U.S. over the next few months, with above-normal temperatures expected across the southern U.S. We are forecasting above-normal precipitation for March and April across the west-central Midwest and the Delta, which could lead to some delays in corn planting,” he said.

The U.S. Drought Monitor this week reported that, as of Jan. 24, drought has eased to 16% for the lower 48 states. This is the first time the 48 states have been free of D4-level (exceptional) drought since March 29, 2011.

National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) climatologist Deborah Bathke said precipitation in December helped improve and even eliminate drought conditions in many locations across the contiguous U.S.

“Most notably, the Southeast saw an elimination of exceptional (D4) drought, with additional categorical decreases throughout much of the region. Long-term drought conditions in the West and Northeast also saw improvements,” she said.

At the beginning of January, drought was affecting 22.53% of the contiguous U.S., compared to 31.46% on Nov. 30.

Improvements were seen in all drought categories,  Bathke noted. Severe drought was cut in half, decreasing from 16.60% to 8.63%. Extreme drought decreased from 8.66% to 3.15%, and exceptional drought decreased from 2.68% to 0.96%. Drought area also decreased from 8.34% to 2.47% in Hawaii. There was no drought in Alaska or Puerto Rico.

Drought is now affecting 119.3 million people in the U.S. versus 148.6 million at the end of November, Bathke added.

South American forecast wetter

MDA senior agricultural meteorologist Don Keeney said the forecast for February in Argentina has trended wetter overall, but excessive rainfall is not currently expected, which should prevent wetness from increasing significantly again in central Argentina.

“The normal rainfall across most of Argentina in February would favor corn and soybean growth,” he said.

In Brazil, Keeney said the forecast has trended drier in far northern areas, which would favor early harvesting of corn and soybeans.

“Above-normal rainfall in southern Brazil during February would favor late growth of corn and soybeans,” he said.

Below-normal rainfall in north-central Argentina would favor dry-down and harvesting of crops. Near-normal rainfall in Brazil would favor fieldwork and early growth of safrinha corn. However, Keeney said the forecast for April shows warmer and drier weather across northern and central Brazil, which would stress development of the safrinha corn crop. “Normal to below-normal rainfall in Argentina would also favor the soybean harvest,” he added.

U.S. meat groups stress importance of North American trade

Thinkstock NAFTA flags Canada Mexico United States

During the week, President Donald Trump took aim at the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and specifically said he would use it as a bargaining chip to make Mexico pay for a wall along the border, which he noted he will move forward on building.

“The U.S. has a $60 billion trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA, with massive numbers of jobs and companies lost. If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting,” Trump said in a tweet Thursday following reports that Mexico’s president plans to cancel the meeting previously scheduled with Trump next Tuesday.

Altogether, Canada, Mexico and the U.S. make up one of the most competitive and successful regional economic platforms in the world, and agricultural groups are hoping that the new Trump Administration understands the vital role agricultural exports play in offsetting the trade deficit with Canada and Mexico.

A total of 133 organizations and companies from the food and agriculture sector, which supports more than 15 million jobs nationally, sent Trump a letter this week expressing their eagerness to work with his Administration to modernize NAFTA while preserving and expanding the gains achieved to date.

"U.S. food and agricultural exports have produced a trade surplus for nearly 50 years," the letter notes. "Consistent growth over this period resulted in over $130 billion worth of exports, which created $423 billion in U.S. economic activity in 2015." The letter also noted that in the 20 years since NAFTA was implemented, the market integration it fostered helped quadruple the value of U.S. food and agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico.

“With a few key sector exceptions that still require attention, North America intra-regional food and agriculture trade is now free of tariff and quota restrictions," the letter continues.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) noted that U.S. pork exports in 2016 through November totaled nearly $1.2 billion to Mexico, up 21% from the same time last year, and totaled $731 million to Canada, making those countries the number-two and number-four export markets, respectively, for U.S. pork.

Since the U.S., Canada and Mexico instituted their free trade agreement on Jan. 1, 1994, U.S. trade north and south of the borders has more than tripled, growing more rapidly than U.S. trade with the rest of the world. Canada and Mexico are the two largest destinations for U.S. goods and services, accounting for more than one-third of total U.S. exports, adding $80 billion to the U.S. economy and supporting more than 3 million American jobs, according to data from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

In fact, U.S. manufacturing exports to Canada and Mexico have increased nearly 260% over the past 23 years, and U.S. farm exports to the countries have grown by more than 150%.

“Trade in pork with Canada and Mexico has been so successful that any disruption in exports with either partner could hurt our producers’ ability to compete,” said NPPC president John Weber, a pork producer from Dysart, Iowa. “We need to make sure we maintain and even improve our pork exports to our neighbors while working to ensure that others benefit as much as we do.”

NAFTA has brought benefits to the U.S. beef industry, too. For example, U.S. imports of Mexican feeder cattle bring the advantage of less expensive feed grains, economies of scale and proximity to packing plants. On the trade side, U.S. beef exports to Mexico and Canada grew from $656 million in 1994 to more than $1.9 billion in 2015.

In addition, a new fact sheet on NAFTA benefits explained that the U.S.-Mexico portion of NAFTA has been a “resounding success for America’s dairy industry.” The agreement eliminated all dairy tariffs with Mexico and put Mexico head and shoulders above all other U.S. dairy export markets, at more than $1 billion. U.S. dairy exports to Mexico now account for a quarter of total dairy exports and accounted for 3.4% of all U.S. milk production in 2015, which equated to 30,000 American jobs.

National Milk Producers Federation president Jim Mulhern said NAFTA has “opened a major door to Mexico that we don’t want slammed shut.” Mexico is the top market for U.S. dairy exports, totaling $1.2 billion in 2016.

On the crop side, Mexico nearly quadrupled its imports of U.S. soy products since the implementation of NAFTA, reaching $2.44 billion of soy products in 2015.

NAFTA also has substantially expanded the U.S. wheat market in Mexico through the removal of tariffs and state-run procurement and price supports. Wheat exports were 500% higher in the 10 years following NAFTA implementation than in the 10 years preceding it. For the past five years, Mexico has consistently been the second-largest market for U.S. wheat, importing, on average, nearly $1 billion per year. Mexico is not a captive market by proximity, however, and the U.S. share of the wheat market likely will erode without the level playing field created by NAFTA.

Rainfall, temperature changes expected to transform coastal wetlands

USGS In Port Fourchon, La., roseate spoonbills and other wading birds feed near color-coded posts marking research plots for the USGS-University of Texas Rio Grande Valley study.
In Port Fourchon, La., roseate spoonbills and other wading birds feed near color-coded posts marking research plots for the USGS-University of Texas Rio Grande Valley study.

Sea-level rise isn’t the only aspect of climate change expected to affect coastal wetlands: Changes in rainfall and temperature are predicted to transform wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico and around the world within the century. These changes will take place regardless of sea-level rise, a new study from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley concluded.

Such changes are expected to affect the plant communities found in coastal wetlands. For example, some salt marshes are predicted to become mangrove forests, while others could become salty mud flats. These shifts in vegetation could affect the ecological and economic services wetlands provide to the communities that rely on them.

“Coastal wetlands are an invaluable resource,” said former USGS scientist Christopher Gabler, who is currently an assistant professor at the University of Texas and lead author of the study published Jan. 23 in Nature Climate Change. “They protect surrounding communities from storms and coastal erosion, support fisheries and wildlife, purify water pollution and help prevent 'dead zones' from forming in the Gulf.”

It’s unknown exactly how these services will be affected as wetlands transform in response to climate change, which has many different facets. Although studies on climate change effects in wetlands have typically addressed sea-level rise, this research looked at aspects of climate change that have received little attention.

“Most studies have focused on the impact of sea-level rise on coastal wetlands and have excluded the important role of temperature and precipitation,” USGS research ecologist and study co-author Michael Osland said. “We know that climate influences how these wetlands look and work, so this study aimed to demonstrate the importance of considering these forces when modeling what coastal wetlands may look like in the future.”

The intensive study relied on field studies at 10 estuaries along the northern Gulf of Mexico in five states: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The fieldwork took place in a variety of coastal wetland types, including mangroves, marshes and salt flats.

The model included the current climatic conditions, which were based on climate observations from the northern Gulf of Mexico during 1981-2010. The researchers then evaluated how coastal wetlands might be affected by several potential future climates, including temperature increases of 3.6-7.2°F (2-4°C) by 2100 and a 10% increase or 10% decrease in rainfall from current levels.

“The Gulf of Mexico is one of the best natural laboratories in the world for studying the influence of temperature and precipitation on coastal wetlands,” Osland said. “Coastal wetlands function similarly worldwide, so our results in this region also indicate what the potential future changes could be in other areas with coastal wetlands.”

The predicted changes are likely to affect how these wetlands operate, Gabler added, but it’s not all bad news.

“There are going to be winners and losers,” he said. “Some things are going to be better; some are going to be worse. The systems will do things differently, and ‘different’ is a challenge.”

The research paper is available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate3203.

The project was supported by the USGS’s Ecosystems Mission Area and its Climate & Land Use Change Program and the South Central Climate Science Center.

'Achilles’ heel' of crops costs farmers 10% of potential yield

swisshippo/iStock/Thinkstock Corn field

Scientists assumed that leaves at the top of a plant would be the best at turning higher levels of light into carbohydrates — through the process of photosynthesis — and that the lower, shaded leaves would be better at processing the low levels of light that penetrate the plant’s canopy of leaves. However, according to research conducted at the University of Illinois, in two of the most productive crops, these shaded leaves are less efficient than the top leaves, which limits yield.

These findings, published in the Journal of Experimental Botany, could help scientists further boost the yields of corn and miscanthus as well as other C4 crops that have evolved to photosynthesize more efficiently than C3 plants, such as wheat and rice.

“The wild ancestors of C4 crops are thought to have grown as individuals in open habitats, where the number of leaves they produced would have been limited by water and nitrogen, and most leaves would be exposed to full sunlight,” said principal investigator Steve Long, the Gutgsell endowed professor of plant biology and crop sciences at the University of Illinois.

“Today, we grow these crops in ever-denser stands and provide them with nitrogen and water so they can produce many more layers of leaves. As a result, the proportion of leaves that are shaded has increased, and the production of grain will depend more and more on the contribution of this increasing proportion of shaded leaves," Long said. "So, how do the Maseratis of photosynthesis — C4 crops — do when they are on a meager fuel ration in the shade?”

Not well, according to this paper: When top and bottom leaves are placed in the same low light, the lower canopy leaves showed lower rates of photosynthesis. Shaded corn leaves are 15% less efficient than top leaves; even worse, lower leaves are 30% less efficient than the top leaves of miscanthus, a perennial bioenergy crop that is 60% more productive than corn in Illinois.

Considering the crop as a whole, this loss of efficiency in lower leaves may cost farmers about 10% of potential yield — a cost that will increase as planting density increases. This "Achilles’ heel" likely applies to other C4 relatives, such as sugarcane and sorghum.

“What’s interesting is that we saw this loss in efficiency in the lower canopy was not due to the leaf senescing and dying off; we would have expected that,” said first author Charles Pignon, a doctoral candidate in department of crop sciences in the University of Illinois' College of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences and at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. “The leaves were still perfectly healthy when we were looking at them; they were even darker. In the study, we show through experiments that this was not caused by age.

“Next, it will be important to find out why this loss in efficiency occurs and if there’s any way we can fix it, because overcoming this and gaining a 10% increase in production would be very significant,” Pignon said.

Eel research aim is to develop aquaculture system

InesWiehle/iStock/Thinkstock tangle of glass eels
hundrets of glass eels (anguilla anguilla), baby of eel

Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands has started a public/private partnership within the Agri & Food top sector with DUPAN (Stichting Duurzame Palingsector Nederland, the Dutch Sustainable Eel-sector Foundation), the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and private parties.

The partnership aims to develop methods for the propagation of eel to make aquaculture possible independent of the supply of glass eels from nature. International collaboration among eel researchers within the Eel Reproduction Innovation Center (EELRIC) will help accelerate the advancements of eel propagation research.

Over the past two years, Wageningen University & Research has worked together with DUPAN and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs in a research project to develop methods for the production of viable eel broodstock. Last year, thousands of larvae were propagated from seven different females. Unfortunately, food sources on which European eel larvae can survive and grow are still unknown.

The newly initiated international collaboration within EELRIC aims to accelerate the advancements of eel propagation research. Research institutes from eight European countries and Japan, New Zealand and the U.S. now share their knowledge to achieve the ultimate goal of large-scale glass eel production.

The researchers aim to achieve a controlled production of eel larvae, to develop good larval feed and, ultimately, to produce glass eels. This would enable aquaculture to breed eel without having to rely on wild glass eels. If successful, eel propagation will alleviate the fishery pressure on the wild eel stocks, thereby further improving the sustainability of eel aquaculture, the university said.

WEEKLY EXPORT REPORT: Corn, wheat have big sales week

cargo ship

Corn and wheat export sales had solid gains in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest weekly report, with the wheat business the highest yet for its marketing year, which began on June 1, 2016.

Soybean sales of 19.8 million bu. were lower for the week, as expected, but matched trade forecasts. There was one cancellation of 7.6 million bu. by unknown destinations. Some cancellations have been expected as buyers may switch some business to Brazil, which is harvesting now.

Weekly corn sales of 54 million bu. were up 2% from the previous week, with unknown destinations and Colombia as the leading buyers. Some of those sales were announced last week via USDA’s daily reporting program. Nearly, 827,000 bu. of 2017-18 corn were sold to Mexico.

The soybean sales of 19.8 million bu. were led by China, Mexico and South Korea. Sales of 2017-18 soybeans totaled 4.6 million bu. and went to unknown destinations.

Weekly wheat sales of nearly 31.4 million bu. for 2016-17 were up noticeably from a week ago and were led by unknown destinations, Morocco and Indonesia. Also, 3.8 million bu. of 2017-18 wheat went to South Korea.

In the Chicago, Ill., futures overnight session, corn trimmed its losses after the report came out, while soybeans maintained their losses. Winter wheat futures turned higher after the numbers were released. At the end of the overnight session, March and May corn were each 0.75 cent/bu. lower. March soybeans were 3 cents/bu. lower and May beans were 2.75 cents lower.

Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat futures closed the session1.25 cents/bu. higher for March and 1.5 cents higher for May. Kansas City, Mo., hard red winter wheat for March and May were both 2.5 cents higher. March spring wheat was up 3.5 cents, and May was up 1.75 cents.

Soybean meal export sales of 276,800 metric tons were up 3% from the previous week, led by the Philippines, Pakistan and Vietnam. A sale of 6,100 mt of 2017-18 soybean meal went to Nicaragua.

Soybean oil sales of 49,500 mt were up 19% from the prior week and were led by Morocco, the Dominican Republic and unknown destinations.

Sorghum sales of 3.01 million bu. were up 34% from the previous week, with unknown destinations, Japan and Mexico as the leading buyers.