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Market Matters Blog           01/17 11:30
DTN Weekly Average DDG Price Steady
2020 Spending Bill Gives Money to Aging US Waterways; Is It Enough?
DTN Weekly Average DDG Price Weaker
2019 Corn Harvest: Will it Ever End?
DTN Weekly Average DDG Price Steady
FDA Inspections on the Rise to Ensure Facilities are FSMA Compliant
DTN Weekly Average DDG Price Stronger 
2019 Just Won't Go Away
DTN Weekly Average DDG Price Moves Higher 
UMR 2019 Barge Navigation Season Ends; Duluth Grain Shipping End Near

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DTN Weekly Average DDG Price Steady

   OMAHA (DTN) -- The domestic distillers dried grains (DDG) weekly spot price 
from the 40 locations DTN contacted was unchanged at $149 per ton for the week 
ended Jan. 16. Prices were steady on average this week, with an uptick seen in 
California prices. The weekly Energy Information Administration report showed 
that, for the week ended Jan. 10, ethanol plant production jumped over 3% after 
two straight weekly declines.

   Based on the average of prices collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative 
to corn for the week ended Jan. 16 was at 111.10%. The value of DDG relative to 
soybean meal was at 49.57%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG was $5.52, 
compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $6.33. 

   In its weekly DDGS export update, the U.S. Grains Council noted, "DDGS 
markets are still quiet this week with much of the trade watching for the 
details of the U.S.-China trade agreement. Barge CIF NOLA values are $1 to $2 
metric ton (mt) higher this week with winter storms across the Midwest 
tightening logistics. U.S. rail rates are increasing for the same reason as 
well. FOB NOLA offers are steady/slightly higher amid moderate international 
demand. Prices for 40-foot containers to Southeast Asia are $1/mt higher on 
average this week, with notable price increases for product destined for 
Vietnam and Thailand." 

   * CIF (cost, insurance and freight paid by seller) NOLA (New Orleans)

   * FOB (free on board means buyer pays costs of ocean freight, 

   insurance, unloading, and transportation from originating port)


ALL PRICES SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION       CURRENT    PREVIOUS  CHANGE
COMPANY         STATE                   1/16/2020   1/9/2020
Bartlett and Company, Kansas City, MO (816-753-6300)
                Missouri          Dry     $165        $165      $0
                                  Wet      $83        $83       $0
Show Me Ethanol LLC, Carrollton, MO (660-542-6493)
                Missouri          Dry     $165        $165      $0
                                  Wet      $80        $80       $0
CHS, Minneapolis, MN (800-769-1066)
                Illinois          Dry     $155        $155      $0
                Indiana           Dry     $150        $150      $0
                Iowa              Dry     $140        $140      $0
                Michigan          Dry     $145        $145      $0
                Minnesota         Dry     $140        $140      $0
                North Dakota      Dry     $145        $145      $0
                New York          Dry     $155        $155      $0
                South Dakota      Dry     $140        $140      $0
MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS (800-255-0302 Ext. 5253)
                Kansas            Dry     $155        $160     -$5
POET Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD (888-327-8799)
                Indiana           Dry     $155        $155      $0
                Iowa              Dry     $137        $137      $0
                Michigan          Dry     $145        $145      $0
                Minnesota         Dry     $135        $135      $0
                Missouri          Dry     $155        $155      $0
                Ohio              Dry     $155        $155      $0
                South Dakota      Dry     $158        $158      $0
United BioEnergy, Wichita, KS (316-616-3521)
                Kansas            Dry     $165        $165      $0
                                  Wet      $65        $65       $0
                Illinois FEB      Dry     $164        $160      $4
                Nebraska          Dry     $160        $160      $0
                                  Wet      $65        $65       $0
U.S. Commodities, Minneapolis, MN (888-293-1640)
Illinois        Dry               $155    $155         $0
Indiana         Dry               $155    $155         $0
Iowa            Dry               $140    $140         $0
Michigan        Dry               $150    $150         $0
Minnesota       Dry               $140    $140         $0
Nebraska        Dry               $145    $145         $0
New York        Dry               $170    $170         $0
North Dakota    Dry               $150    $150         $0
Ohio            Dry               $160    $160         $0
South Dakota    Dry               $140    $140         $0
Wisconsin       Dry               $140    $140         $0
Valero Energy Corp, San Antonio Texas
                Indiana           Dry     $150        $150      $0
                Iowa              Dry     $140        $140      $0
                Minnesota         Dry     $140        $140      $0
                Nebraska          Dry     $145        $145      $0
                Ohio              Dry     $160        $160      $0
                South Dakota      Dry     $140        $140      $0
                California        Dry     $204        $202      $2
Western Milling, Goshen, California (559-302-1074)
                California        Dry     $215        $210      $5
*Prices listed per ton.
                Weekly Average            $149        $149      $0
The weekly average prices above reflect only those companies DTN
collects spot prices from. States include: Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska,
Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan,
Wisconsin and Indiana. Prices for Pennsylvania, New York and
California are not included in the averages.

                      VALUE OF DDG VS. CORN & SOYBEAN MEAL
                        Settlement Price:   Quote Date        Bushel  Short Ton
                                     Corn      1/16/2020     $3.7550     $134.11
                             Soybean Meal      1/16/2020     $300.60
            DDG Weekly Average Spot Price        $149.00
                                  DDG Value Relative to:    1/16         1/9
                                                    Corn     111.10%     108.86%
                                            Soybean Meal      49.57%      50.30%
                               Cost Per Unit of Protein:
                                                     DDG       $5.52       $5.52
                                            Soybean Meal       $6.33       $6.24
Notes:
Corn and soybean prices take from DTN Market Quotes. DDG price
represents the average spot price from Midwest companies
collected on Thursday afternoons. Soybean meal cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 47.5. DDG cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 27.

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

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2020 Spending Bill Gives Money to Aging US Waterways; Is It Enough?

   Late on Dec. 20, 2019, President Donald Trump signed into law the 2020 
spending bills. Contained in the spending package for fiscal 2020 was $7.65 
billion for the civil works mission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
(USACE), which oversees the inland waterways system and port dredging. That 
amount is $652 million above the current spending level and $2.69 billion more 
than the president had requested earlier this year, according to the Waterways 
Council (WCI), an industry-funded group that advocates for waterways spending.

   The bill also includes another provision sought by the waterways industry, 
which is full use of the estimated receipts of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund 
(IWTF) that includes additional prior-year revenues to produce a strong 
investment level of $317 million for spending on needs of the antiquated inland 
waterways system during the next fiscal year, according to WCI. 

   The IWTF was established to help underwrite the costs of construction and 
major rehabilitation of the nation's inland waterway system. "Funds are 
generated via the Inland Waterways Tax: a 29 cent per gallon assessment on 
diesel fuel used on 27 stretches of the country's inland waterway system. The 
12,000 miles of fuel taxed waters include most of the nation's largest rivers: 
the Mississippi, Ohio, Illinois, the lower Missouri, and the Gulf and Atlantic 
Intracoastal waterways," notes the Soy Transportation Coalition (STC) on their 
website.

   According to the STC, the fund annually generates approximately $110 million 
to $120 million per year via the IWTF. These funds are then matched with 
revenue from the U.S. Treasury. The total $220 million to $240 million is 
directed toward construction and major rehabilitation projects. The U.S. 
Treasury assumes 100% of the costs of operations and maintenance.

   The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) praised the funding 
bills, saying the $225 million allocated for port infrastructure will be spent 
on improvements to gate operations, roads and rail within and connecting ports, 
ship berths and cargo operations.

   "Ultimately much more is needed, but this package reflects the association's 
ongoing priorities for improving the critical infrastructure that is 
represented at America's seaports and will go a long way to enhancing trade and 
transportation across the nation," said AAPA President Chris Connor in a 
statement.

   AAPA also noted the Corps of Engineers received a 12% increase in spending 
for deep-draft dredging projects and got money for a regional demonstration 
program to respond more effectively to critical national dredging requirements 
along the Gulf coast between Louisiana and Alabama. 

   Here is a link to a story I did on the importance of non-flood related 
dredging in the Lower Mississippi River. A study by the STC shows doing so 
would have a positive impact on farmers who haul soybeans and other grains to 
river terminals that eventually send them down the Mississippi to the Gulf of 
Mexico for export: 
https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/blogs/market-matters-blog/blog-post/201
9/08/05/dredge-will-come .

   

   A DROP IN THE INFRASTRUCTURE BUCKET?

   The spending package includes $75.3 million to begin construction of a new 
Soo Lock. It will take seven to 10 years and $1 billion to build another lock, 
and this money will cover the first year of work. "This would be the first time 
in decades that construction of a new lock at the Soo has received funding 
appropriated by Congress. Construction of a new lock was first authorized in 
1986 and again in 2007, but leaders in Washington then were unable to get 
funding for the construction," said Congressman John Moolenaar, R-Mich., on his 
website. Congressman John Moolenaar is Michigan's senior member of the House 
Appropriations Committee and has been a strong advocate for construction of the 
Soo Locks.

   In August 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a 
significant new study that quantifies the cost-savings and competitive 
advantages that would accrue from investing in long-delayed improvements to the 
inland waterways locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois River 
system: 
https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/transportation-analysis/inland-waterways-repor
t .

   

   This study is a warning that failure to modernize those and other locks and 
dams, "increases costs of U.S. farm exports and helps Brazilian exporters close 
the cost gap with the United States." The study also pointed out what has been 
obvious for years; that U.S. barge traffic delays on the Mississippi and other 
rivers continue to rise as a result of growing lock and dam malfunctions. The 
added costs associated with those delays are ultimately passed on to shippers, 
especially farmers. That means farmers will get a lower price for their 
commodities shipped on the inland waterways system.

   The Mississippi River System is America's primary inland waterways system. 
It comprises the Mississippi, Arkansas, Illinois, Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, 
and Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. "This extensive waterway system feeds exports 
from grain elevators from Baton Rouge through New Orleans, to Myrtle Grove, 
Louisiana. This region handles 57% of U.S. corn exports in volume (valued at 
$4.8 billion) and 59% of U.S. soybean exports ($12.4 billion), as well as 55% 
of soybean meal exports and 72% of distiller's dried grains exports," said USDA 
in the study results.

   The study noted without "consistent, predictable funding, the grain and 
soybean export draw area around the waterways system could shrink from an 
average of 150 miles, currently, to as little as 75 miles under a constrained 
scenario, as the cost to ship on the river increases." For corn, delays on the 
Mississippi River could have up to a 24 cent per bushel impact, while impact to 
soybeans could be up to 25 cents per bushel.

   The river's infrastructure continues to deteriorate and major flood events 
like in 2019 put even more stress on locks and dams. Most of the locks and dams 
were built in the 1930s with a life expectancy of maybe 50 years. In March 
2019, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimated the backlogged maintenance 
cost for locks and dams of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers is more than $1 
billion. 
https://www.mvr.usace.army.mil/About/Offices/Programs-and-Project-Management/Dis
trict-Projects/Projects/Article/1164618/backlog-of-maintenance-major-rehabilitat
ion-and-major-maintenance-mississippi-r/ .

   

   There have been many lock and dam failures recently due to barges striking 
them during flooding or heavy ice events, but also due to structural failures 
because of old age. The Corps has been relentless in making repairs on top of 
normal maintenance, but eventually that may not be enough to keep those locks 
and dam functional. 

   A major failure at any of the locks and dams would paralyze commerce along 
the river. The U.S. government needs to get serious about properly funding the 
waterways infrastructure to prevent that from happening.

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

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DTN Weekly Average DDG Price Weaker

   OMAHA (DTN) -- The domestic distillers dried grains (DDG) weekly spot price 
from the 40 locations DTN contacted was $1 per ton lower on average at $149 per 
ton for the week ended Jan. 9. Prices were mixed this week as the cash corn 
market remains flat. The weekly Energy Information Administration report showed 
plants reduced ethanol production, but DDG supplies versus current demand don't 
appear to be affected.

   Based on the average of prices collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative 
to corn for the week ended Jan. 9 was at 108.86%. The value of DDG relative to 
soybean meal was at 50.30%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG was $5.52, 
compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $6.24. 

   In its weekly DDGS export update, the U.S. Grains Council noted, "DDGS 
markets are still quiet this week as traders emerge from the holiday lull. 
Merchandisers report active inquiries from Asian buyers, but sales are slow so 
far. Barge CIF NOLA values are $1 to $2 metric ton (mt) lower this week but 
forecasts for winter weather across much of the Midwest this weekend/early next 
week could tighten the market due to logistics issues. FOB Gulf values are 
$3/mt lower for spot shipment while deferred positions are mostly steady. 
Asking prices for 40-foot containers to Southeast Asia are steady for January 
shipment at $246/mt while February/March values are slightly lower." 

   Barges moving south in the Lower Mississippi River from Cairo to the Gulf 
are currently subject to reduced tow sizes and safety protocols because of high 
water there. American Commercial Barge Line noted in their daily river update 
"a significant rain event is expected to impact the river system beginning 
tonight, 1/9, and lasting through Saturday, 1/11. The pattern is currently 
predicted to drop 4-7 inches of rain in St. Louis and the Illinois River. This 
amount of rain could impact the Lower Miss and Gulf areas in the coming weeks." 

   * CIF (cost, insurance and freight paid by seller) NOLA (New Orleans)

   * FOB (free on board means buyer pays costs of ocean freight, 

   insurance, unloading, and transportation from originating port)


ALL PRICES SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION        CURRENT  PREVIOUS  CHANGE
COMPANY         STATE                    1/9/2020  1/2/2020
Bartlett and Company, Kansas City, MO (816-753-6300)
                Missouri           Dry     $165      $165      $0
                                   Wet      $83       $83      $0
Show Me Ethanol LLC, Carrollton, MO (660-542-6493)
                Missouri           Dry     $165      $165      $0
                                   Wet      $80       $80      $0
CHS, Minneapolis, MN (800-769-1066)
                Illinois           Dry     $155      $155      $0
                Indiana            Dry     $150      $150      $0
                Iowa               Dry     $140      $140      $0
                Michigan           Dry     $145      $145      $0
                Minnesota          Dry     $140      $140      $0
                North Dakota       Dry     $145      $145      $0
                New York           Dry     $155      $155      $0
                South Dakota       Dry     $140      $140      $0
MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS (800-255-0302 Ext. 5253)
                Kansas             Dry     $160      $160      $0
POET Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD (888-327-8799)
                Indiana            Dry     $155      $155      $0
                Iowa               Dry     $137      $140      -$3
                Michigan           Dry     $145      $145      $0
                Minnesota          Dry     $135      $139      -$4
                Missouri           Dry     $155      $158      -$3
                Ohio               Dry     $155      $160      -$5
                South Dakota       Dry     $158      $158      $0
United BioEnergy, Wichita, KS (316-616-3521)
                Kansas             Dry     $165      $165      $0
                                   Wet      $65       $65      $0
                Illinois FEB       Dry     $160      $160      $0
                Nebraska           Dry     $160      $160      $0
                                   Wet      $65       $65      $0
U.S. Commodities, Minneapolis, MN (888-293-1640)
Illinois        Dry                $155    $155       $0
Indiana         Dry                $155    $155       $0
Iowa            Dry                $140    $145       -$5
Michigan        Dry                $150    $150       $0
Minnesota       Dry                $140    $140       $0
Nebraska        Dry                $145    $165      -$20
New York        Dry                $170    $170       $0
North Dakota    Dry                $150    $150       $0
Ohio            Dry                $160    $160       $0
South Dakota    Dry                $140    $140       $0
Wisconsin       Dry                $140    $140       $0
Valero Energy Corp, San Antonio Texas
                Indiana            Dry     $150      $150      $0
                Iowa               Dry     $140      $135      $5
                Minnesota          Dry     $140      $135      $5
                Nebraska           Dry     $145      $145      $0
                Ohio               Dry     $160      $155      $5
                South Dakota       Dry     $140      $140      $0
                California         Dry     $202      $208      -$6
Western Milling, Goshen, California (559-302-1074)
                California         Dry     $210      $216      -$6
*Prices listed per ton.
                Weekly Average             $149      $150      -$1
The weekly average prices above reflect only those companies DTN
collects spot prices from. States include: Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska,
Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan,
Wisconsin and Indiana. Prices for Pennsylvania, New York and
California are not included in the averages.

             VALUE OF DDG VS. CORN & SOYBEAN MEAL
               Settlement Price: Quote Date   Bushel Short Ton
                            Corn    1/9/2020 $3.8325   $136.88
                    Soybean Meal    1/9/2020 $296.20
   DDG Weekly Average Spot Price     $149.00
                      DDG Value Relative to:   1/9      1/2
                                        Corn 108.86%   107.28%
                                Soybean Meal  50.30%    49.90%
                   Cost Per Unit of Protein:
                                         DDG   $5.52     $5.56
                                Soybean Meal   $6.24     $6.33
Notes:
Corn and soybean prices take from DTN Market Quotes. DDG price
represents the average spot price from Midwest companies
collected on Thursday afternoons. Soybean meal cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 47.5. DDG cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 27.

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

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2019 Corn Harvest: Will it Ever End?

   As the calendar turned to 2020, corn harvest in the U.S. was not 100% 
complete. In the last weekly Crop Progress report for 2019, USDA reported that 
as of Dec. 8, 92% of the U.S. corn crop had been harvested. That was hardly 
obvious in North Dakota where only 43% of the crop had been harvested as of 
that date, while South Dakota was at 83% and Michigan and Wisconsin were 74% 
completed. On Jan. 2, North and South Dakota updated their corn harvest as of 
Dec. 31 versus the Dec. 8 report with North Dakota reporting harvest 48% 
complete and South Dakota reporting 90% of its corn harvested.

   Besides the late harvest in many states, the weather was unkind to the 
quality of the crop, with many farmers reporting low test weights, more broken 
kernels and other discountable grade factors. Perhaps one of the biggest 
challenges during the 2019 corn harvest was that the corn was wet and needed 
drying. Farmers faced drying charges, and in the Upper Midwest, propane 
shortages left farmers and some elevators unable to dry corn, causing a 
slowdown in harvest, on top of the major snowstorms that started as early as 
Oct. 1.

   I spoke to farmers and elevators in a few different states and asked how 
their harvest went, extra costs they faced and what other challenges they faced 
in 2019. Here were their comments:

   Cory Tryan, grain department manager at Alton Grain Terminal LLC in 
Hillsboro, North Dakota, told me that the 90-plus-day corn varieties planted 
between May 10 and end of May mostly didn't make black layer before the first 
hard freeze and remain at 50 pounds per bushel (lbs./bu) or less. "The majority 
of this corn will likely be left in the field due to high moistures being stuck 
in mid- to upper-20s and poor quality. When dried mechanically, it generally 
loses some test weight, breaks up bad and likely will not store well. It is 
unclear if anything improves on immature corn if harvested next spring. Our 
experiences carrying corn to next spring successfully was mature black-layered 
corn that continued to field dry and add test weight." He noted that, at the 
end of December, there was about 60% of the corn left in the field until spring 
and much of it is immature.

   "We have somewhere in the area of 40% of our corn left to harvest," said 
Keith Brandt, general manager of Plains, Grain and Agronomy in Enderlin, North 
Dakota. "That corn was tested at 26% to 30% plus moisture in early to 
mid-November. Since then, some of that has field dried to 21% to 23% and 
possibly gained 2 lbs./bu of test weight. That puts that corn at over 50 
lbs./bu, with some as high as 51.5. The 50 lbs. corn has a 20-cent discount and 
then 5 cents each 1/2 pound below 50 lbs." 

   Brandt said their biggest challenge was trying to keep combining after the 
recent snowstorm, which increased the snow depth in the fields. "We might have 
a lot of cobs in snow now; we need that January thaw!" said Brandt. "In 
addition, the snow that came after Thanksgiving insulated the ground and it has 
now thawed out. So, we battle mud in the fields and roads in areas that aren't 
regularly plowed out, so you have to plow the road." 

   Matthew Krueger of K & D Krueger Farms & Sons in East Grand Forks, 
Minnesota, told me on Dec. 30, "Well, we are still doing corn harvest. We are 
about 48% complete, and when we hand-shelled out the next fields, it showed 
that it was close to 28% moisture! We also just got 16 inches of snow dumped on 
us, so 2019 isn't done yet. 

   "Our first acres looked good, but after we got it combined, it ran 35% under 
projection. This wasn't a planned hit. We also have had test weight be highly 
variable by variety. Our best field averaged 54 lbs./bu, but our worst has been 
51 lbs. We suspect these last acres that are still wet are in probably worse 
shape (maybe 48 lbs./bu). What a year; we just want it to be done." 

   Krueger said they can't combine in the snow until the temperatures get 
colder. "If we can get 10 degrees and colder, we can combine with snow on the 
corn and have no issues. At this point, we figure it's not going anywhere. The 
stalks seem to be in okay shape to support the plant a while longer. I don't 
know if we are keen on leaving the corn out there until March/April, but sadly, 
we may just have to." 

   Tin Dufault, Crookston, Minnesota, told me that as of Christmas, he 
estimated 66% of the corn in that area is harvested. "Growers will be waiting 
on the rest of the crop until late winter/early spring to finish; hoping the 
corn will dry down, but not breakdown."

   Josh Backstrom, Maddock, North Dakota, said that they experienced the third 
spring in a row that was extremely dry, with a lot of wheat and corn seed going 
into dry dirt, only to be saved at the last minute with a much-needed rain 
event in mid-late May. "We had beautiful rains in June, and then shutting off 
again in July and August, hurting the later season row crops. The difference 
this year was record rains in September followed by 30 inches of wet snow from 
the Oct. 10 blizzard. Thankfully, the weather cooperated enough to melt most of 
the snow and then freeze hard enough to get the combines across the fields to 
get everything in except the areas that still had snow drifts and all the 
sloughs that were plumb full of water. After that hard battle, we thought the 
worst was over.

   "Little did we know that a combination of not enough GDUs (growing degree 
units) in August and September and a very cold and humid October left a lot of 
our corn from reaching full maturity and drying down. We grow a range from 81- 
to 88-day corn. In November, the early stuff was low to mid-20% range while the 
later was 28% to 30% moisture. Test weights range from 44 to 52 lbs./bu wet, 
depending on hybrid. The FM (foreign material) is higher in general this year, 
but way worse in the really wet, immature stuff. 

   "So far to date we've combined about 25% of our corn crop, most of it being 
earlier maturities. The fields we have left are a lot of hybrid side-by-side 
trials of all different maturities scattered throughout the fields. We are 
going to have to blend all these together to bring up the average test weight; 
what better way to do it than right in the field as we combine. We are going to 
have to wait a bit longer to lower the average moisture, and to try and 
preserve the test weight as much as possible. We are still going out every 
couple weeks to sample and the really wet 28% to 30% is now down to 25% to 
26%."  

   Ryan Wagner, Wagner Farms, Roslyn, South Dakota, told me that they didn't 
quite finish corn harvest before the late December weekend storm, but did get 
close. "Many in the area are either done or very close to done, but there still 
is quite a bit of corn standing in northeast South Dakota, especially north of 
highway 212. We have about 10% still standing in the field and hope to be able 
to get at that as soon as the snow gets off the plants or it gets cold enough 
to flow through; we will just have to take a loader tractor with us wherever we 
go.

   "It's been a tough weather year, but since the ground has been frozen we 
haven't had much trouble getting around in fields and haven't been stuck 
outside of the occasional truck needing a pull because we couldn't get traction 
in the snow. Yields have been pretty good considering we didn't quite make it 
to maturity, and if we would have had any heat at all in late August and 
September to finish it off, we could have had record yields."  

   Wagner said that when they started corn harvest back on Nov. 2 the moisture 
was 26% to 28%, but it dropped down into the 20% to 22% range when they were 
last in the field Dec. 23 ahead of the storm. "Moisture discounts are pretty 
similar to what they have been in a "normal year," with 5 cents per 1% of 
moisture pretty much covering it, with some locations bumping that up for very 
high moisture corn in addition to the typical shrink schedule. Of course, some 
locations do not have dryers or have limited drying capacity so it's all 
subject to how much room they have for wet corn as well," said Wagner.

   "Test weights have been mostly in the 50 to 54 lbs./bu range dry here, with 
a few really late planted acres coming in around 48 lbs./bu. The test weight 
discounts are really all over the board; ethanol plant discounts of 1 cent per 
1/2 lb. under 54 lbs. have been pretty typical, with a steeper discount of 2 
cents per 1/2 lb. under 50 lbs. if they will take it. Shuttle loader terminals 
are more punitive with 3 cents to 5 cents per 1/2 lb. from 50 to 54 lbs. and 
are more likely to have zero wiggle room on rejecting sub 50 lb. corn. I have 
heard some pretty bad horror stories farther north, but around here, I haven't 
heard of anyone who hasn't been able to find a home for corn. I'm guessing it 
probably helps that we have a strong ethanol demand pull coming from our south 
due to all the prevented planting in southeast South Dakota," added Wagner.

   Tim Luken, manager Oahe Grain in Onida, South Dakota told me, "Corn harvest 
started the 24th of October and we dumped corn still on the 27th of December. I 
am sure we will be dumping new-crop corn every week until spring if they can 
get to it. We have dumped 1.7 million bushels and average moisture was 19.2%, 
with average test weight at 53.5 lbs./bu. Needless to say, I am very pleased 
with the test weight." Luken said that they dried 100% of their new-crop corn 
and was glad they used natural gas and did not have to deal with the propane 
shortages.

   "The early corn harvested late October through middle part of November was 
in the 52.5 to 56 lbs./bu range, but as the calendar clicked by, the test 
weight went down into the 48.5 to 50 lb. range. Fortunately, we have an outlet 
for light test weight corn to local and statewide ethanol plants. The recent 
major snowstorm that dumped 12 to 14 inches of snow, if not more, has shut 
things down for a while. Hats off to my employees who have done an outstanding 
job of dealing with Mother Nature," added Luken.

   "As far as harvest conditions go, we were very fortunate compared to some," 
said Kenny Reinke, Neligh, Nebraska. "We are used to running in snow so that 
wasn't anything more than an annoyance to us. One thing we are not used to 
having to deal with is wet soil conditions. I'm still fighting wet soil 
conditions in one field from spring that we couldn't get all planted. Luckily, 
the combine didn't get stuck, but we had a couple close calls.

   "After wrapping up bean harvest, we started in on corn Oct. 16, which is a 
pretty average date for us, but the corn was easily 3 to 4 points wetter than 
we are used to. Our normal harvest moisture is 15% to 18%. Luckily, the delayed 
harvest meant there were opportunities out there also. The first field was 
taken out wet to take advantage of a drying incentive program for a local 
elevator so they could have enough non-GMO corn on hand to ship. On the 
opposite end of the spectrum, you also really had to shop around on the drying 
changes. Some were as high as 6 cents a point to a more normal rate of 3 cents 
per point. 

   "After delivering the wet corn the elevator wanted for the program, I sat 
for 7 to 10 days waiting and hoping the corn would still dry down some. Corn 
had a very long delayed black layer fill, which caused some of it to be damaged 
slightly from the frost. This definitely caused some of our dry down and test 
weight issues. We stayed consistently in the 20 to 17.5 moisture levels all the 
way through harvest. 

   "We are traditionally a field drying area, which makes years like this a 
challenge. Thankfully, the elevators really increased drying capacity since 
2009. This doesn't solve the problem of on-farm storage though. This delayed 
harvest left many area farmers waiting for corn to dry enough to be bin stored. 
The quality of the grain was very noticeable this year; in a bad way. Increased 
fines (material smaller than whole corn kernels) have been very noticeable this 
year in the stored grain. The later harvest also means less opportunity to 
capture quality fan drying days while the corn is bin stored. 

   "On average, our test weights are down 1.5 to 2 lbs./bu," said Reinke. "They 
varied from 60 to 54 lbs./bu and no doubt this won't help the stored corn. Our 
yields came in right in line with farm averages, which is good considering the 
year we went through. Year-over-year yields are down dramatically but 2018 was 
also an exceptional year. It's going to be interesting to see how the higher 
moisture and lower test weight affect the disappearance of the crop."

   Randy Uhrmacher, Hastings, Nebraska, said his harvest started a little later 
than normal this year as the crops wouldn't dry down as he would have liked 
them to. "We did get a hard-killing freeze followed by about a week of warmer 
windy weather that changed all of that. At that point, everything dried very 
well. We did have a couple of snow delays, but they were short lived and we 
finished the first part of November. Yields were off from the last couple of 
years, but about like expected after the challenging year we had. Just too many 
bad days for record crop yields."

   "We started corn on Oct. 23," said Quentin Connealy, Tekamah, Nebraska. 
"When we started out, the corn was a touch wet, but not bad considering the 
year. It was 18.5% to 19% when we started and hauled most of it to the elevator 
since we don't have a drying bin. Once the corn got under 18%, we started 
putting it in the bin. 

   "We got our corn planted fairly good on timing, so we didn't have much 
drying issues like other areas. Test weights were all solid to ranging from 58 
to 61 lbs. across the board. We are mostly irrigated so that helped keep our 
test weights up along with some late rains. Yields were pretty good but 
figuring down 5% to 10% from last year. Similar to beans, we were happy with 
all our corn that stayed above floodwaters. I lost 290 acres of my April 23 
planted corn, so that was especially sad. We finished harvest Nov. 22 with some 
great help from our neighbor Tim Gregerson, who brought his combine over to run 
along with us. It felt like a long harvest, but overall went fairly smooth, and 
we were sure glad to be done before Thanksgiving." 

   LATE HARVEST CAUSES DOMINO EFFECT 

   "Farmers who harvested wet corn and were unable to dry it down all the way 
before storing it will have to keep a sharp eye on their bins this winter. It 
was hard to weigh the risk of leaving the corn in the field against putting it 
in the bin too wet. It's going to be interesting come next spring as 
temperatures start to warm up and then we see how well some of this grain 
keeps," said Reinke. 

   Here is a link to SDSU extension discussing storing wet corn and late 
harvest options: 
https://extension.sdstate.edu/wet-corn-storage-and-late-harvest-options

   Backstrom noted that another issue from the late harvest they are going to 
be dealing with is fertilizer application, or lack thereof. "We always try to 
get as much nitrogen on in the fall for next year's wheat and corn, which helps 
take a huge burden off us for the spring. Last year we only got half done, and 
this year we have zero done for spring 2020. We apply NH3 by either strip-till 
knife or coulter. Not only will this cause a logical challenge for us on our 
farm, that's providing we have a decent early spring, (early to mid-April), but 
also since most of the country didn't get much on we will most likely be 
waiting for days at a time for it to show up by truck." 

   Here is a link to more info on strip-till from UNL: 
https://cropwatch.unl.edu/tillage/striptill

   "One caveat from 2019 is that there could potentially be a lot of prevented 
planting next year in parts of the country that were already fully saturated 
before the September rains and October snow," added Backstrom. "In addition, 
some places in North Dakota have already had as much as their annual snowfall 
as well." 

   Brandt agreed. "As wet as we are and lots of snow, (well over 40 inches for 
the season already) with lots of unharvested crop, every elevator and agronomy 
company fears we may see more prevented planting acres in 2020."

   "Prevented planting paid well in 2019," according to Brandt. "You're done 
harvesting and all your equipment is put away."

   Perhaps one of the worst things coming out of 2019 in parts of the Upper 
Midwest is that some farmers may have to stop farming in areas where nearly all 
their crops were affected by poor weather events in 2019. "We've had three 
farms in our area announce they were done," said Krueger. "I suspect this 
number may increase as we get into renewal season and farmers start meeting 
with their lenders. It's not a great environment to be in. Lenders are 
stressed. Farmers are stressed." 

   Krueger added, "Salesman and companies for inputs in 2020 are trying to get 
growers to commit, but there's so much in the air yet."

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

******************************************************************************
DTN Weekly Average DDG Price Steady

   OMAHA (DTN) -- The domestic distillers dried grains (DDG) weekly average 
spot price from the 40 locations DTN contacted was unchanged at $150 per ton 
for the week ended Jan. 2. Prices have been steady during the holiday break as 
cash corn prices have been mostly unchanged overall.

   Based on the average of prices collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative 
to corn for the week ended Jan. 2 was at 107.28%. The value of DDG relative to 
soybean meal was at 49.90%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG was $5.56, 
compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $6.33. 

   In its weekly export DDGS update, the U.S. Grains Council noted, "DDGS 
markets are quiet this week with the New Year's holiday dampening trading 
activity. Merchandisers report that between the holiday, staff vacations, and 
no significant logistics issues, markets are thinly traded and prices are 
mostly in-line with the prior two week's values. Indications for January DDGS 
FOB NOLA are steady while offers for February and March are down $1/MT from 
last week. Conversely, prices for 40-foot containers to Southeast Asia are up 
$1/MT for deferred months, while spot values are unchanged at $246/MT." 

   * CIF (cost, insurance and freight paid by seller) NOLA (New Orleans)

   * FOB (free on board means buyer pays costs of ocean freight, insurance, 
unloading, and transportation from originating port)


ALL PRICES SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION      CURRENT     PREVIOUS  CHANGE
COMPANY    STATE                        1/2/2020   12/19/2019
Bartlett and Company, Kansas City, MO (816-753-6300)
           Missouri             Dry       $165        $165      $0
                                Wet       $83         $83       $0
Show Me Ethanol LLC, Carrollton, MO (660-542-6493)
           Missouri             Dry       $165        $165      $0
                                Wet       $80         $80       $0
CHS, Minneapolis, MN (800-769-1066)
           Illinois             Dry       $155        $145     $10
           Indiana              Dry       $150        $150      $0
           Iowa                 Dry       $140        $140      $0
           Michigan             Dry       $145        $150     -$5
           Minnesota            Dry       $140        $140      $0
           North Dakota         Dry       $145        $145      $0
           New York             Dry       $155        $155      $0
           South Dakota         Dry       $140        $140      $0
MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS (800-255-0302 Ext. 5253)
           Kansas               Dry       $160        $160      $0
POET Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD (888-327-8799)
           Indiana              Dry       $155        $155      $0
           Iowa                 Dry       $140        $142     -$2
           Michigan             Dry       $145        $145      $0
           Minnesota            Dry       $139        $140     -$1
           Missouri             Dry       $158        $160     -$2
           Ohio                 Dry       $160        $155      $5
           South Dakota         Dry       $158        $152      $6
United BioEnergy, Wichita, KS (316-616-3521)
           Kansas               Dry       $165        $165      $0
                                Wet       $65         $65       $0
           Illinois FEB         Dry       $160        $155      $5
           Nebraska             Dry       $160        $160      $0
                                Wet       $65         $65       $0
U.S. Commodities, Minneapolis, MN (888-293-1640)
Subject    Illinois             Dry       $155        $155      $0
Subject    Indiana              Dry       $155        $155      $0
Subject    Iowa                 Dry       $145        $145      $0
Subject    Michigan             Dry       $150        $150      $0
Subject    Minnesota            Dry       $140        $140      $0
Subject    Nebraska             Dry       $165        $165      $0
Subject    New York             Dry       $170        $170      $0
Subject    North Dakota         Dry       $150        $150      $0
Subject    Ohio                 Dry       $160        $160      $0
Subject    South Dakota         Dry       $140        $140      $0
Subject    Wisconsin            Dry       $140        $140      $0
Valero Energy Corp, San Antonio Texas
           Indiana              Dry       $150        $150      $0
           Iowa                 Dry       $135        $135      $0
           Minnesota            Dry       $135        $135      $0
           Nebraska             Dry       $145        $145      $0
           Ohio                 Dry       $155        $155      $0
           South Dakota         Dry       $140        $140      $0
           California           Dry       $208        $208      $0
Western Milling, Goshen, California (559-302-1074)
           California           Dry       $216        $218     -$2
*Prices listed per ton.
           Weekly Average                 $150        $150      $0
The weekly average prices above reflect only those companies DTN
collects spot prices from. States include: Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska,
Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan,
Wisconsin and Indiana. Prices for Pennsylvania, New York and
California are not included in the averages.

             VALUE OF DDG VS. CORN & SOYBEAN MEAL
               Settlement Price: Quote Date   Bushel Short Ton
                            Corn    1/2/2020 $3.9150   $139.82
                    Soybean Meal    1/2/2020 $300.60
   DDG Weekly Average Spot Price     $150.00
                      DDG Value Relative to:   1/2     12/19
                                        Corn 107.28%   108.67%
                                Soybean Meal  49.90%    50.27%
                   Cost Per Unit of Protein:
                                         DDG   $5.56     $5.56
                                Soybean Meal   $6.33     $6.28
Notes:
Corn and soybean prices take from DTN Market Quotes. DDG price
represents the average spot price from Midwest companies
collected on Thursday afternoons. Soybean meal cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 47.5. DDG cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 27.

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

******************************************************************************
FDA Inspections on the Rise to Ensure Facilities are FSMA Compliant

   The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) includes a rule called the 
"Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food," which was created to 
protect foods from farm to table by keeping them safe from contamination during 
transportation. National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) Senior Vice 
President of Feed Services David Fairfield spoke at the Nebraska Grain and Feed 
Association winter meeting on Dec. 17 about FSMA inspections and reviewed the 
Sanitary Transportation rule, clarifying the requirements for ag related 
businesses. 

   As a reminder, the rule establishes requirements for shippers, loaders, 
carriers by motor or rail vehicle, and receivers involved in transporting human 
and animal food to use sanitary practices to ensure the safety of that food. 
According to the FDA, the requirements do not apply to transportation by ship 
or air because of limitations in the law. FDA's final rule largely exempts rail 
carriers and truckers from the rule's requirements unless the shipper and 
carrier have a written agreement (e.g., contractual arrangement) making the 
carrier or another party responsible, in whole or in part, for sanitary 
conditions during the transportation operation. The rule defines a "carrier" to 
mean "a person who physically moves food by rail or motor vehicle in commerce 
within the United States," excluding persons who transport food while operating 
as a parcel delivery service.

   Exemptions from the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food rule 
include:

   -- Shippers, receivers, or carriers engaged in food transportation 
operations that have less than $500,000 in average annual revenue.

   -- Transportation activities performed by a farm.

   -- Transportation of food that is transshipped through the United States to 
another country.

   -- Transportation of food that is imported for future export and that is 
neither consumed or distributed in the United States.

   -- Transportation of compressed food gases (e.g. carbon dioxide, nitrogen or 
oxygen authorized for use in food and beverage products) and food contact 
substances.

   -- Transportation of human food byproducts transported for use as animal 
food without further processing.

   -- Transportation of food that is completely enclosed by a container except 
a food that requires temperature control for safety.

   -- Transportation of live food animals, except molluscan shellfish.

   "The most responsible party for enduring the safety of food transportation 
is the shipper," said Fairfield. "Shippers, loaders, carriers and receivers all 
need to comply." Fairfield also noted that many companies are asking about 
prior loads before loading an empty vehicle -- a good practice to follow. 

   Fairfield noted that while compliance dates have passed for this rule, FDA 
is inspecting more facilities than they have in the past. FDA inspections will 
encompass all the FSMA rules your facility is expected to comply with and can 
last four to five days. Fairfield also noted that FSMA compliance inspections 
are expected to increase in 2020.

   "Facility managers should be familiar with the regulations and how they 
apply to their operation. They should train the appropriate employees, develop 
programs that demonstrate compliance, including record keeping and have an 
inspection plan in place," said Fairfield. "A comprehensive plan to prepare for 
an inspection should address the potential scope of the inspection, questions 
an FDA inspector may ask and guidelines on handling record requests."

   Fairfield said it is very important for facilities to establish and maintain 
required records. "All of the FSMA rules have provisions that specifically 
require certain procedures and activities to be documented. The FDA has the 
right to access, review and copy any required record. Having all of these 
required records in place is essential for a facility to demonstrate 
compliance. Facilities should include in their inspection plans which records 
the investigator would be allowed to access and copy."

   Below are links to the FSMA rules and a link to the NGFA guidance for FDA 
inspections.

   Link to information about Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food 
rule: 
https://www.fda.gov/food/food-safety-modernization-act-fsma/key-changes-fsma-fin
al-rule-sanitary-transportation-human-and-animal-food

   Link to information about the FSMA: 
https://www.fda.gov/food/guidance-regulation-food-and-dietary-supplements/food-s
afety-modernization-act-fsma

   Link to NGFA guide "Rights and Obligations During FDA Inspections":

   
https://www.ngfa.org/news/feed-news/ngfa-unveils-new-guide-rights-obligations-fd
a-inspections/

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

******************************************************************************
DTN Weekly Average DDG Price Stronger 

   OMAHA (DTN) -- The domestic distillers dried grains (DDG) weekly average 
spot price from the 40 locations DTN contacted was up $5 at $150 per ton for 
the week ended Dec. 19. Prices jumped higher as buyers have been securing their 
December needs ahead of the holidays, causing some locations to be short on 
spot product.

   The Energy Information Administration noted in their weekly supply report 
that ethanol supply in the U.S. was unchanged at 21.8 million barrels (bbl) for 
the week ended Dec. 13, according to data released Wednesday morning. Blending 
demand was up a sharp 6.3% on the week while plant production eased.

   Based on the average of prices collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative 
to corn for the week ended Dec. 19 was at 108.67%. The value of DDG relative to 
soybean meal was at 50.27%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG was $5.56, 
compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $6.28. 

   In its weekly export DDGS update, the U.S. Grains Council noted, "The U.S. 
DDGS market is mixed this week with Barge CIF NOLA and FOB Gulf values firmer 
while rail-delivered rates are down $2 per metric ton (mt). Merchandisers are 
reporting the forward curve for DDGS has flattened versus last week. FOB NOLA 
offers average $216/mt for January shipment while the average price for 40-foot 
containers to Southeast Asia stands at $246/mt. Buyers in Indonesia and the 
Philippines remain active, with offers for containerized shipments to those 
countries up $2-$3/mt this week." 

   Containers trying to make their way to the Gulf are experiencing slowdowns 
along the way. The St. Louis harbor was closed for a few days this past week 
after a barge fleet broke away during a winter storm. American Commercial Barge 
Line noted Dec. 19 that tow sizes are reduced on the Lower Mississippi River 
with southbound tows cut back by a string of barges (five) due to high river 
levels.

   * CIF (cost, insurance and freight paid by seller) NOLA (New Orleans)

   * FOB (free on board means buyer pays costs of ocean freight, insurance, 
unloading, and transportation from originating port)


ALL PRICES SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION           CURRENT       PREVIOUS     CHANGE
COMPANY     STATE                          12/19/2019     12/12/2019
Bartlett and Company, Kansas City, MO (816-753-6300)
            Missouri               Dry        $165           $162         $3
                                   Wet         $83            $81         $2
Show Me Ethanol LLC, Carrollton, MO (660-542-6493)
            Missouri               Dry        $165           $165         $0
                                   Wet         $80            $80         $0
CHS, Minneapolis, MN (800-769-1066)
            Illinois               Dry        $145           $135        $10
            Indiana                Dry        $150           $140        $10
            Iowa                   Dry        $140           $135         $5
            Michigan               Dry        $150           $150         $0
            Minnesota              Dry        $140           $135         $5
            North Dakota           Dry        $145           $135        $10
            New York               Dry        $155           $155         $0
            South Dakota           Dry        $140           $125        $15
MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS (800-255-0302 Ext. 5253)
            Kansas                 Dry        $160           $160         $0
POET Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD (888-327-8799)
            Indiana                Dry        $155           $150         $5
            Iowa                   Dry        $142           $142         $0
            Michigan               Dry        $145           $135        $10
            Minnesota              Dry        $140           $140         $0
            Missouri               Dry        $160           $160         $0
            Ohio                   Dry        $155           $150         $5
            South Dakota           Dry        $152           $150         $2
United BioEnergy, Wichita, KS (316-616-3521)
            Kansas                 Dry        $165           $150        $15
                                   Wet         $65            $55        $10
            Illinois/FEB           Dry        $155           $153         $2
            Nebraska               Dry        $160           $150        $10
                                   Wet         $65            $60         $5
U.S. Commodities, Minneapolis, MN (888-293-1640)
            Illinois               Dry        $155           $150         $5
            Indiana                Dry        $155           $150         $5
            Iowa                   Dry        $145           $140         $5
            Michigan               Dry        $150           $145         $5
            Minnesota              Dry        $140           $135         $5
            Nebraska               Dry        $165           $160         $5
            New York               Dry        $170           $165         $5
            North Dakota           Dry        $150           $145         $5
            Ohio                   Dry        $160           $155         $5
            South Dakota           Dry        $140           $135         $5
            Wisconsin              Dry        $140           $135         $5
Valero Energy Corp, San Antonio Texas
            Indiana                Dry        $150           $150         $0
            Iowa                   Dry        $135           $135         $0
            Minnesota              Dry        $135           $135         $0
            Nebraska               Dry        $145           $145         $0
            Ohio                   Dry        $155           $155         $0
            South Dakota           Dry        $140           $140         $0
            California             Dry        $208           $208         $0
Western Milling, Goshen, California (559-302-1074)
            California             Dry        $218           $215         $3
*Prices listed per ton.
            Weekly Average                    $150           $145         $5
The weekly average prices above reflect only those companies DTN
collects spot prices from. States include: Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska,
Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan,
Wisconsin and Indiana. Prices for Pennsylvania, New York and
California are not included in the averages.

   **


                     VALUE OF DDG VS. CORN & SOYBEAN MEAL
                        Settlement Price:   Quote Date      Bushel  Short Ton
                                     Corn     12/19/2019   $3.8650      $138.04
                             Soybean Meal     12/19/2019   $298.40
            DDG Weekly Average Spot Price        $150.00
                                  DDG Value Relative to:   12/19      12/12
                                                    Corn   108.67%      110.85%
                                            Soybean Meal    50.27%       49.06%
                               Cost Per Unit of Protein:
                                                     DDG     $5.56        $5.37
                                            Soybean Meal     $6.28        $6.22
Notes:
Corn and soybean prices take from DTN Market Quotes. DDG price
represents the average spot price from Midwest companies
collected on Thursday afternoons. Soybean meal cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 47.5. DDG cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 27.

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com 

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

******************************************************************************
2019 Just Won't Go Away

   This year will go down in history as one of the most challenging for Midwest 
producers. Thanks to a persistent wet pattern from spring to winter, producers 
fought wet fields during planting, heavy moisture during small grain harvest 
and snowstorms during fall harvest. For some, the season has not ended as 
harvest drags out in the Upper Midwest and will carry into 2020. One of the 
largest concerns for producers during winter meetings has been the moisture 
levels in their fields and what that may mean for spring next year without a 
massive change in weather patterns. A closer look at the amount of prevented 
planting acreage and some of the weather records set in 2019 helps put into 
perspective the challenges waiting in 2020.

   Final planted acreage data from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) will be 
released in January for the 2019-20 growing season. As of Dec. 1, FSA said U.S. 
producers planted 236.5 million acres of barley, corn, cotton, oats, rice, 
sorghum, soybeans, sugar beets, sugarcane and wheat. This is the lowest acreage 
pie on record for the available FSA data that goes back to 2007. The next 
closest year was 238.7 million acres in 2010 following the incredibly wet fall 
of 2009. 

   A record amount of prevented planting acreage was also seen in 2019, 
totaling 19.6 million acres for the aforementioned crops with 2011 a distant 
second at 9.6 million acres. Another metric we looked at that helps put the 
amount of prevented planting into perspective is prevented planting acres as a 
percentage of the total planted acreage pie. In 2019, prevented planting 
amounted to 8.29% of the total planted acreage pie, far and away the highest on 
record with 2011 once again second at 3.34%. Said another way, the U.S. saw 
almost one acre of prevented planting for every 10 acres planted, which is 
truly an astonishing amount. 

   The largest prevented planting category belonged to corn at 11.4 million 
acres, which is not a surprise given the favorable economics for electing corn 
over any other cash crop. This likely led to producers electing corn prevented 
planting as opposed to a crop that they may have actually been planning to 
seed, but had lower guaranteed insurance payouts. 

   Leading all states with prevented planting acreage was South Dakota at 3.9 
million acres, followed by Ohio at 1.5 million, Illinois at 1.5 million and 
Missouri at 1.4 million. Other notables included Minnesota at 1.1 million acres 
and North Dakota at 856,913 acres. 

   For states in the Plains, such the Dakotas and Minnesota, many of those 
prevented planting acres never allowed producers to get in fields and either 
seed a cover crop, plant winter wheat or do appropriate tillage work to help 
dry fields. In some cases, standing water never receded at any point during the 
growing season. 

   As most producers will point out, a field that sits completely idle for an 
entire year loses soil structure and water-holding capacity, hindering its 
ability to shed water during the following year. A quick look at the finish to 
the growing season in these areas helps to illustrate just how saturated those 
prevented planting acres are heading into next season.

   The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National 
Centers for Environmental Information publishes monthly maps detailing 
precipitation and temperature ranks relative to history from a national and 
statewide perspective. For the three-month period of September through 
November, precipitation rankings were very high for the Upper Midwest. The 
region including Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming 
recorded the third wettest period on record going back 125 years. Within that 
region, North Dakota saw the wettest September-November stretch on record while 
South Dakota saw the fourth wettest period on record. The region consisting of 
Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan did record the wettest 
September-November on record. Within that region, the wettest 
September-November periods were seen by Minnesota and Wisconsin with Michigan 
the second wettest on record and Iowa the fifth wettest on record. 

   Just for perspective, we also took a look at the six-month period from June 
through November to see if any records were set for the entirety of the growing 
season. Once again, the Dakotas did not disappoint with both North and South 
Dakota seeing the wettest June-November stretch on record. Minnesota, Wisconsin 
and Michigan all saw the top five wettest growing seasons on record as well. 
Regardless of how one wants to slice up the growing season, the fact is a 
record amount of prevented planting acres were enrolled in 2019 and the weather 
the last three to six months ensured those acres are as saturated as possible 
heading into winter.

   While weather conditions experienced over the last six months can tell us a 
lot, much more depends on the weather in the next six months as to whether we 
can count on a repeat of 2019 or a turnaround in fortunes. 

   At the 2019 DTN Ag Summit in Chicago in early December, DTN Meteorologist 
Bryce Anderson gave his outlook for the upcoming winter and spring. In general, 
Anderson is expecting a good chance of below normal temperatures for the last 
half of winter and into spring. In addition, above normal precipitation is 
expected over the central United States, especially in the Midwest through the 
Northern Plains. The wetter signal continues through the spring and raises 
prospects for a slow start to fieldwork and another round of flood threat. 

   As Anderson pointed out, there are five components to spring flood threats 
including: 1) high soil moisture in the fall; 2) frozen ground into early 
spring; 3) high snowpack; 4) a rapid spring melt; 5) spring rainfall itself. 
Looking at the five conditions, it is quite clear that the first condition has 
already been met. If the forecast for above normal precipitation and below 
normal temperatures bears out, the second, third and fifth conditions could be 
added to the list.

   Both public and private groups have been out in recent weeks with early 
estimates for 2020-21 planted acreage, as is common this time of year. Most are 
expecting a sizable portion of 2019's record prevented planting acreage to come 
back into the fold for the 2020 growing season. While this certainly looks 
possible for states like Ohio, Illinois and Missouri, it will be a much more 
daunting challenge for states in the Northern Plains. A total of 10.9 million 
acres of prevented planting saw a top five wettest fall on record, a conclusion 
to a growing season no one needed. Without a shift to below normal 
precipitation and above normal temperatures before spring, it is difficult to 
see how many of these fields can be brought back into production in 2020. 

   If forecasters are correct about a cool, wet pattern holding until spring, 
new crop grain prices will need to carry above average risk premium until fears 
can be allayed. At the very least, the natural seller in the market -- the 
farmer -- will remain a hesitant marketer until 2020 proves it isn't going to 
be a repeat of 2019.

   Tregg Cronin can be reached at tmcronin31@gmail.com

   Follow Tregg Cronin on Twitter @5thWave_tcronin

******************************************************************************
DTN Weekly Average DDG Price Moves Higher 

   OMAHA (DTN) -- The domestic distillers dried grains (DDG) weekly average 
spot price from the 40 locations DTN contacted was up $1 at $145 per ton for 
the week ended Dec. 12. Prices remained firm in spite of a cheaper cash corn 
price this past week. A merchandiser told DTN there are a few areas running 
short on product.

   The Energy Information Administration noted in their weekly supply report 
that ethanol inventory in the U.S. increased to a five-week high, while 
blending activity fell to the second lowest weekly rate of 2019. In addition, 
domestic plant production was up for a tenth consecutive week for the week 
ended Dec. 6.

   Based on the average of prices collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative 
to corn for the week ended Dec. 12 was at 110.85%. The value of DDG relative to 
soybean meal was at 49.06%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG was $5.37, 
compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $6.22. 

   In its weekly export DDGS update, the U.S. Grains Council noted, "The U.S. 
DDGS market is quiet this week with Barge CIF NOLA and FOB NOLA offers $1 to $2 
per metric ton (mt) higher. DDGS rail-delivered to the PNW are up $3/mt this 
week for December shipment and up $1/mt for January/February. Prices for 
containers to Southeast Asia are mostly higher this week, with offers $2/mt 
higher than last week for spot shipment and up $1/mt for deferred positions. 
The average price for 40-foot containers to Southeast Asia reached $244/mt for 
December and $243/mt for January/February." 

   * CIF (cost, insurance and freight paid by seller) NOLA (New Orleans)

   * FOB (free on board means buyer pays costs of ocean freight, insurance, 
unloading, and transportation from originating port)


ALL PRICES SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION       CURRENT    PREVIOUS  CHANGE
COMPANY   STATE                        12/12/2019   12/5/2019
Bartlett and Company, Kansas City, MO (816-753-6300)
          Missouri              Dry       $162        $162      $0
                                Wet        $81         $81      $0
Show Me Ethanol LLC, Carrollton, MO (660-542-6493)
          Missouri Subject      Dry       $165        $165      $0
                                Wet        $80         $80      $0
CHS, Minneapolis, MN (800-769-1066)
          Illinois              Dry       $135        $135      $0
          Indiana               Dry       $140        $140      $0
          Iowa                  Dry       $135        $135      $0
          Michigan              Dry       $150        $150      $0
          Minnesota             Dry       $135        $135      $0
          North Dakota          Dry       $135        $135      $0
          New York              Dry       $155        $150      $5
          South Dakota          Dry       $125        $125      $0
MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS (800-255-0302 Ext. 5253)
          Kansas                Dry       $160        $155      $5
POET Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD (888-327-8799)
          Indiana               Dry       $150        $150      $0
          Iowa                  Dry       $142        $138      $4
          Michigan              Dry       $135        $135      $0
          Minnesota             Dry       $140        $137      $3
          Missouri              Dry       $160        $155      $5
          Ohio                  Dry       $150        $150      $0
          South Dakota          Dry       $150        $150      $0
United BioEnergy, Wichita, KS (316-616-3521)
          Kansas                Dry       $150        $150      $0
                                Wet        $55         $55      $0
          Illinois              Dry       $153        $153      $0
          Nebraska              Dry       $150        $150      $0
                                Wet        $60         $60      $0
U.S. Commodities, Minneapolis, MN (888-293-1640)
          Illinois              Dry       $150        $145      $5
          Indiana               Dry       $150        $145      $5
          Iowa                  Dry       $140        $145     -$5
          Michigan              Dry       $145        $140      $5
          Minnesota             Dry       $135        $135      $0
          Nebraska              Dry       $160        $150     $10
          New York              Dry       $165        $165      $0
          North Dakota          Dry       $145        $135     $10
          Ohio                  Dry       $155        $150      $5
          South Dakota          Dry       $135        $135      $0
          Wisconsin             Dry       $135        $135      $0
Valero Energy Corp, San Antonio Texas
          Indiana               Dry       $150        $150      $0
          Iowa                  Dry       $135        $135      $0
          Minnesota             Dry       $135        $135      $0
          Nebraska              Dry       $145        $145      $0
          Ohio                  Dry       $155        $150      $5
          South Dakota          Dry       $140        $140      $0
          California            Dry       $208        $208      $0
Western Milling, Goshen, California (559-302-1074)
          California            Dry       $215        $218     -$3
*Prices listed per ton.
          Weekly Average                  $145        $144      $1
The weekly average prices above reflect only those companies DTN
collects spot prices from. States include: Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska,
Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan,
Wisconsin and Indiana. Prices for Pennsylvania, New York and
California are not included in the averages.

             VALUE OF DDG VS. CORN & SOYBEAN MEAL
               Settlement Price: Quote Date   Bushel Short Ton
                            Corn  12/13/2019 $3.6625   $130.80
                    Soybean Meal  12/13/2019 $295.50
   DDG Weekly Average Spot Price     $145.00
                      DDG Value Relative to:  12/12    12/5
                                        Corn 110.85%   110.31%
                                Soybean Meal  49.06%    48.08%
                   Cost Per Unit of Protein:
                                         DDG   $5.37     $5.33
                                Soybean Meal   $6.22     $6.31
Notes:
Corn and soybean prices take from DTN Market Quotes. DDG price
represents the average spot price from Midwest companies
collected on Thursday afternoons. Soybean meal cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 47.5. DDG cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 27.

   * CIF (cost, insurance and freight paid by seller) NOLA (New Orleans)

   * FOB (free on board means buyer pays costs of ocean freight, insurance, 
unloading, and transportation from originating port)

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

    

******************************************************************************
UMR 2019 Barge Navigation Season Ends; Duluth Grain Shipping End Near

   The start of the 2019 navigation season in the Upper Mississippi River (UMR) 
was late and drawn out. The Motor Vessel Aaron F. Barrett, pushing 12 barges 
heading to St. Paul, Minnesota, finally locked through Lock and Dam 2 near 
Hastings on April 24. The average date for the first tow to reach St. Paul is 
around March 18. The historic flooding and ensuing lock closures kept most of 
the entire UMR closed on and off for months, including the closure of the St. 
Louis Harbor shutting down barges from moving up or downriver through there on 
three different occasions in the late spring and early summer. 

   "Following the Barrett, there would not be another tow to reach St. Paul for 
more than three weeks due to spring flooding," said the U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers St. Paul District (USACE, Corps). "The second tow to reach the 
capital city was the Motor Vessel Thomas E. Erickson on May 20." 

   When barges were finally able make their way in to the UMR, the late corn 
and soybean harvest left hundreds of barges parked along the Mississippi River 
in St. Paul from late summer through November. Many of those empty barges were 
moved back downriver ahead of the winter closure.

   The St. Paul District Corps reported the last tow of the season, Motor 
Vessel Kelly Rae Erickson, departed St. Paul, Minnesota, Thursday, Nov. 28, 
"bookmarking" a challenging navigation season.

   "There were more than 12,000 commercial vessels and 77 million tons of 
commodities shipped this season. The shorter navigation season resulted in 
approximately a 30% drop in tonnage compared to the 2018 navigation season and 
about 25% drop from the 10-year average," noted the Corps.

   "The 2019 navigation season was one of the more challenging seasons we've 
had in a while," said Jim Rand, St. Paul District locks and dams chief. "We had 
a really late start due to Mother Nature and fought high water much of the 
summer. Fortunately, we were able to work with our partners and keep the system 
open to ensure commodities such as corn and soybeans could reach global 
markets."

   WINTER CLOSURE ALLOWS UNINTERRUPTED KEY MAINTENANCE ON UMR

   The Corps noted there will be major repairs at three of its locks over the 
winter "to ensure they continue working as designed." Maintenance is scheduled 
at Lock and Dam 6, near Trempealeau, Wisconsin; Lock and Dam 8, near Genoa, 
Wisconsin; and Lock and Dam 9, near Lynxville, Wisconsin, Dec. 10 through March 
13, 2020. 

   "The work includes concrete repairs and repairs to the tow haul rail system, 
which is used to move barges upstream of the lock chamber when a tow is heading 
north and there is a need to break the tow into two lockages. A tow with more 
than six barges must be split up when going through a lock due to size 
limitations," said the Corps.

   All of the construction activities are scheduled to be completed during the 
winter to avoid impacts to the navigation industry. The completed work will 
improve safety for Corps lock operators and industry deckhands. 

   "Having the tow haul rail system working is critical to keeping our lock 
staff safe and ensuring navigation vessels can efficiently lock through our 
facilities," said Rand. "With a lot of this infrastructure more than 80 years 
old, it's critical that we find value-added solutions to maintain the system 
and ensure navigation continues transporting commodities made in the upper 
Midwest to global markets."

   The construction activities are a part of more than $18 million dollars in 
scheduled repairs at the St. Paul District locks over the next three years.

   GREAT LAKES GRAIN SHIPPING SEASON ENDING

   On Dec. 4, the St. Lawrence Seaway published SEAWAY NOTICE NO. 17, "Closing 
of the 2019 Navigation Season," detailing the closing dates for various locks 
and ports ahead of the winter closure. All vessels must be clear of the 
Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the St. Lawrence Seaway at 1200 hours on Dec. 
31, 2019, according to the Seaway notice. 

   Click here to see the notice: 
https://dtn.box.com/s/6nrsgrfchuda7nst768d0wce7uv17czg

   As part of a season extension pilot program this navigation season, the 
Welland Canal will remain open until 1200 hours on Jan. 8, 2020. Then, 
according to the USACE, the Soo Locks will close Jan. 15, 2020, ending the 2019 
Great Lakes shipping season.

   At the western tip of Lake Superior and located 2,300 miles from the 
Atlantic Ocean, the Port of Duluth-Superior is the farthest-inland freshwater 
seaport in North America and one of the leading bulk cargo ports in all of 
North America. By far, the largest and busiest on the Great Lakes, the Port of 
Duluth-Superior handles an average of 35 million short tons of cargo and nearly 
900 vessel visits each year, connecting the heartland of the U.S. and Canada to 
the rest of the world, according to the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

   The Twin Ports of Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin, handle a 
diversified commodities base ranging from coal, iron ore, grain, and limestone 
to cement, salt, wood pulp, steel coil, wind turbine components, and other 
heavy lift/dimensional equipment, notes the Port Authority on their website. 

   Two distinct types of ships visit the Port on a regular basis. "Lakers" are 
bulk carriers specially built to move through the Great Lakes St. Lawrence 
Seaway. "Salties" are ocean-going vessels that haul mainly wheat and durum out 
of the Twin Ports to Europe and North Africa and are the last vessels to arrive 
in the spring once the winter ice is navigable.

   The grain shipping season out of the Port of Duluth-Superior will likely end 
before Christmas. I asked Jayson Hron, Director of Communications and 
Marketing, Duluth Seaway Port Authority, when the last grain ship would be 
leaving Duluth. "It takes approximately five days for a ship to travel from 
Duluth to Montreal, so it would have to depart Duluth by Dec. 26 at the latest. 
Typically, the last saltie departs Duluth-Superior earlier than that. Our 
latest saltie departure on record is Dec. 22. Usually the last saltie departs 
sometime between Dec. 18-22,"said Hron.

   As of Dec. 7, there was ice already forming along the shorelines of Lake 
Superior and Lakes Michigan, Huron and Ontario, according to NOAA. While ice 
coverage is less than 1% and won't hamper vessels heading out of Duluth ahead 
of the winter closure yet, there are ice breakers available to guide vessels 
through ice if and when it becomes difficult to break through.

   Similar to the UMR, the Great Lakes locks will undergo critical maintenance 
over the winter by USACE, Detroit District, who maintains a navigation system 
of 95 harbors, including the Great Lakes Connecting Channels that join lakes 
Superior, Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and Erie.

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

   

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