Printable Page Corn News   Return to Menu - Page 1 2 3 4 5 6
 
 
Market Matters Blog           12/02 12:37
Good Riddance to 2019 Soybean Harvest
Electronic Logging Device Challenged as Final Compliance Date Nears
DTN Weekly Average DDG Price Firm
2019 Beet Harvest Over: Frozen Sugarbeets Left to Rot in Upper Midwest
DTN Weekly Average DDG Price Higher
As Harvest Drags On, Producers Reminded to Cool Stored Grain
DTN Weekly Average DDG Price Slightly Higher
Corn Futures: A Look at Bullish, Bearish Influences
A Sunflower Surprise on the Horizon? 
Change to Hours of Service Comment Period Ends With Mixed Feelings

******************************************************************************
Good Riddance to 2019 Soybean Harvest

   Normally, I would have written a soybean harvest story in late October. This 
year, however, soybean harvest was very late for many and, in fact, is still 
not 100% finished. The most recent USDA Crop Progress report showed that 
soybean harvest nationwide was 94% completed as of Nov. 25. The states where 
soybean harvest was running well behind average were North Dakota at 89% 
finished versus 99% average, Michigan at 80% versus 94% average and Wisconsin 
at 82% versus 97% average. Because the soybean harvest is not finished, USDA 
plans to report soybean harvest for the week ended Dec. 1 in its Monday Crop 
Progress report.

   While farmers continue to struggle with the harvest, perhaps the bright spot 
in this frustrating season was the DTN national average soybean basis. During 
the third week of October, the DTN national average basis climbed out of the 
cellar and above the five-year minimum average basis, surpassing the five-year 
average that week. Since that time, the soybean basis has continued to move 
higher, which is a phenomenon for a harvest-time basis, especially soybeans. 
Here is a story I wrote on Oct. 28 giving insight as to some of the reasons for 
the newfound basis strength: 
https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/blogs/market-matters-blog/blog-post/201
9/10/28/soybean-basis-climbs-cellar. 

   As October turned to November, the DTN national average basis has still been 
a rising star. However, even with the strong basis, many farmers are incurring 
drying costs and many are taking other quality discounts that can chip away at 
their final price and year-end profit. 

   After getting harvest comments from various Midwest farmers and elevator 
managers -- some with lower yields and quality issues -- one can see why 
soybean basis has remained strong for this time of year.

   Ryan Wagner, Wagner Farms, Roslyn, South Dakota, told me that they usually 
like to start soybean harvest around the last two weeks of September, but got 
off to a late start this year because the beans weren't quite ready yet. 

   "We did manage to get a few acres done Oct. 8 and Oct. 9, but then a 
snowstorm and rain that followed kept us out of the field until Oct. 18. 
Lodging due to the snow was minimal, but the saturated ground conditions, 
high-moisture soybeans, sloppy gravel road conditions and road closures due to 
flooding made it a challenge," said Wagner. 

   Wagner said that the cold snap in late October helped to "float machinery 
across fields without making a huge mess but that didn't help the soybeans dry 
down at all, and we ended up sending about half of them through the dryer. We 
were able to combine a few loads one day with moisture content around 13%, but 
for the most part, they were in that 15% to 18% range, right up until we 
finished on Nov 12. We did see some well-drained areas yielding fairly well, 
but still below potential, and field averages were well below APH (actual 
production history) due to large areas that were low yielding or completely 
drown out." 

   "Harvest was delayed until early October due to late planting dates and wet 
conditions that remained into this fall and then even more rain," said Cory 
Tryan, grain department manager Alton Grain Terminal, LLC Hillsboro, North 
Dakota. "Some areas were able to poke around on high ground and get some beans 
harvested mid-October for a couple days as some farms were still trying to get 
done with their wheat. Other areas finally started the last three days of 
October when some of wettest fields began to hold equipment up. 

   "Another big rain saturated fields to the max and left a lot of water 
standing. The majority of harvest was finished between Nov. 6 and Nov. 15 when 
an early November freeze up allowed equipment back into the fields. This same 
hard freeze is when the beet harvest here was shut down for good. We still have 
a small amount of beans in the field but would say 96% complete now," said 
Tryan.  

   Tryan also noted that the entire harvest was over the moisture limits and 
needed drying, but noted it wasn't as wet as the second half of harvest 2018, 
which was full of snow and at 19% to 21% moisture. 

   "The majority of this 2019 crop came off 15% to 18% moisture," Tryan said. 
"We still have a half-million bushels in house on fans to get through the 
dryers. Farmers have hauled more beans off the field than expected with the 
lower prices due to the higher moisture with an even mix of storing, basis 
contracts or just flat pricing it."

   Keith Brandt, general manager of Plains, Grain and Agronomy in Enderlin, 
North Dakota, said: "About 5% of our soybeans are waiting to be harvested, and 
we need frozen ground to get the majority that are left. Our yields are off 10 
bpa (bushels per acre) to 12 bpa from last year and it took a good field to 
average over 40 bpa. The low areas were thinned out from too much rain through 
the growing season. We dried about 95% of the beans that we have dumped. It is 
tough to get anyone to sell 2020 harvest delivered beans, but we are at levels 
that our best-priced contracts for 2019 harvest delivery are."

   I checked in with Lyn Wessel who farms in Watonwan County, Minnesota, 
mid-August to hear how his crop looked as southern Minnesota was getting beat 
up by rain and storms most of the summer. "I already had 20% drowned out on two 
fields, plus early hail damage," said Wessel. When I asked him before 
Thanksgiving how harvest was going, he said, "considering my beans were planted 
the second week of June with a 290HP track tractor pulling a 20-foot drill on 
soil not even close to fit, they were better than expected at 44 bpa to 50 bpa 
verse 60 bpa to 70 bpa normally." 

   Peter Ness, Ness Farms, Sharon, North Dakota, said: "What started out with a 
promising crop of soybeans when we started harvest on Sept. 24, went south in a 
hurry. We had daily rains and muddy fields that gave away to an Oct. 9 through 
Oct. 11 blizzard, which dropped 20 inches of snow on top of the already 
saturated soil. November came and the ground finally froze hard enough for 
combine and grain cart travel, but the damage was obvious. One-third of the 
bean crop had been lost to lodging, pods breaking open and plants just snapping 
off, with plants frozen in the water. In addition, all the beans came off the 
field wet at 14% to 18% moisture. We finally finished the beans on Nov. 9 and 
moved on to what was left of our sunflower crop."

   "We had a pretty decent soybean harvest and appreciated the beans we had 
above the Missouri River flooding," said Quentin Connealy, Tekamah, Nebraska. 
"Mid-May planted beans, which were put in before the long, wet spell, performed 
very well. Seed treatment proved to help their emergence during the wet spell 
and it showed during harvest. Many beans were planted June 8-10 in this area, 
and they were impressive considering how late they were planted and our dry 
spell after a wet spring. Most ended up being in the 52 bpa to 58 bpa range, 
which impressed me.  

   "Harvest went fairly smooth with not many rain days; maybe only a day or 
two. Nevertheless, short days with tough beans in the morning made it feel like 
a long soybean harvest. We started soybean harvest a little late on Oct. 15, 
which we usually start up around the end of September to beginning of October. 
We finished up soybean harvest Oct. 19, a touch late for the area," added 
Connealy.  

   "We started soybean harvest a little later than usual because we planted 
late and everything was behind," said Doug Saathoff, West Fork Farms Inc., 
Trumbull, Nebraska. "We got rolling around the 25th of September and finished 
up with soybeans on the 15th of October. We had some rain delays in there, but 
overall, the weather wasn't too bad. Our yields were down significantly from 
previous years. I would say they were down 20% to 30%. It was disappointing to 
see that, because they did look good all summer. Some fields did receive some 
hail and wind in August, but the biggest reasons yields were down was too much 
rain over the summer, lack of sunlight and too cool during August. 

   "Beans like dry feet and sunshine, and we definitely did not have that this 
summer in my area," added Saathoff, who is a director on the Nebraska Soybean 
Board and the Nebraska Rural Radio Board.

   "As far as harvest went, I'm almost afraid to say because I know of all the 
struggles others went through in other areas, but we had a pretty good harvest 
here in southwest Iowa," said Mike Carlson, Red Oak, Iowa. "We didn't have too 
many weather delays like 2018, thankfully, because I don't think I could have 
handled another fall like that. I didn't even get stuck this year! Once again, 
I expected the beans to be better than they were; however, our beans did yield 
a few bushel better than a year ago, which puts them a little better than the 
five-year average."

   Tim Dufault, who farms in Crookston, Minnesota, told me empathically, 
"Soybean harvest 2019 sucked! It was 31 days from start to finish. We only 
actually harvested 13 of those days, and some of those days might have been 
only one load or one round in the field. We received over 10 inches of rain in 
September and October. That is over half our annual precipitation. The early 
cold temperatures helped with harvest because frozen ground was the only way 
the crop was going to get harvested.

   "Despite all the weather troubles, yields overall were good. I have heard 
yield reports from the upper 30s to low 50s bushels per acre. However, the 
beans came off wet and we saw many at 14% to 15% moisture. One quality issue 
that popped up in a few locations in my area was discolored beans. No one is 
sure yet as to why, but the thought is that those varieties were susceptible to 
some viral or bacterial infection," added Dufault. 

   "Every single farmer I have talked to within a large radius of my area says 
this was the worst fall harvest season. Every crop was a struggle; from wheat 
to dry edible beans, sugarbeets, potatoes, sunflower to corn," added Dufault.

   "This was one of the more difficult soybean harvests I can remember (not to 
be confused with the difficult spring wheat harvest of August through September 
or the difficult corn harvest of November through to be determined)," added 
Wagner. "Harvest 2009 was also an extremely tough year and has been a swear 
word around here ever since, but I think 2019 will replace it now."

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

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn 

******************************************************************************
Electronic Logging Device Challenged as Final Compliance Date Nears

   The final deadline for truckers to comply with the electronic logging device 
rule is fast approaching but continues to face opposition from certain trucking 
groups.

   It has been two years since the still-controversial electronic logging 
device (ELD) rule took effect, and the final date for 100% compliance is Dec. 
16. That means that unless the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 
(FMCSA) has allowed any commercial motor vehicles (CMV) an exemption, all 
commercial vehicles traveling on the roads in the U.S. must meet the deadline. 
Here is a link to the current exemptions and waivers: 
https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/electronic-logging-device-eld-exemp
tions-and-waivers. 

   Of note is that, in the agriculture sector, transporters of livestock and 
insects are currently not required to have an ELD. 

   "The statutory exemption will remain in place until further notice," notes 
the FMCSA. "Drivers do not need to carry any documentation regarding this 
exemption." 

   Remember, the ELD and hours of service (HOS) rules intertwine, with the HOS 
rule being the most contentious for not just the trucking industry, but also 
for safety advocates as well. 

   Once the driving time expires when the HOS limit is reached, the ELD doesn't 
shut the truck down, but it alerts the driver that they are violating the rule 
if they continue to drive. If they the driver is found in violation, the truck 
and driver could face being taken out of service. The out-of-service criteria 
(OOSC) associated with the ELD mandate went into effect on April 1, 2018, for 
anyone not exempt from compliance. The out-of-service criteria provides uniform 
enforcement tolerances for roadside inspections to enforcement personnel 
nationwide, including FMCSA's state partners.

   One group in particular, the Small Business in Transportation Coalition 
(SBTC), has been protesting the ELD rule as it relates to all motor carriers 
with fewer than 50 employees, including (but not limited to) one-person private 
and for-hire owner/operators of commercial motor vehicles used in interstate 
commerce. The SBTC had applied for an exemption, but was officially denied on 
July 17, 2019. On Oct. 29, the FMCSA noted on the Federal Register that the 
SBTC had asked the FMCSA to reconsider their application for exemption from the 
ELD.

   The FMCSA noted in the Federal Register that it is requesting public comment 
on SBTC's application for reconsideration through Nov. 29.  
https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-10-29/html/2019-23561.htm 

   SBTC President James Lamb said in an Oct. 24 news release on the 
organization's website that he had taken the matter to Congress in reaction to 
the Oct. 22, 2019, release of 2018 large-truck fatality data reported by 
USDOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That study 
revealed more truckers died in accidents last year than at any time in the last 
30 years.

   In a letter to Sen. Roger F. Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the U.S. Senate 
Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, 
D-Ore., chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, 
Lamb wrote: "Although NHTSA's release title is intended to highlight a general 
decrease in highway fatalities, the news is not so good for trucking. 
Large-truck fatalities increased yet again 0.9% in 2018. This is on top of an 
increase of at least 4.9% in 2017, the year the ELD mandate went into effect." 

   Lamb noted that USDOT previously reported truck fatalities for 2017 
increased 9%. However, "The Department has now removed from this statistic some 
pickup trucks from the large-truck category, which, when combined with a 
trailer, still constitutes commercial motor vehicles over 10,000 pounds, 
calling into question whether they are trying to skew the results to achieve a 
lower increase in fatality percentage."

   Lamb believes the cause of the increased fatality rate can be attributed to 
truck drivers recklessly speeding to try to "beat the clock." The FMCS website 
report titled "Roadside Inspections, Driver Violations" notes that, so far this 
year in the U.S., speeding is the No. 1 violation. If you read down the list, 
you will also see infractions related to ELDs. You can change the date at the 
top to also show comparisons from previous years: 
https://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/SafetyProgram/spViolation.aspx?rpt=RDDV. 

   SBTC responded to the 2018 NHTSA report posted on the FMCSA's Facebook page 
on Oct. 22, saying: "Why are you misleading the public when you know your own 
data published yesterday showed an INCREASE once again in large truck 
fatalities? Have you no Honor or shame, FMCSA? This is false, deceptive and 
misleading."

   Also responding on the FMCSA Facebook post was Truckers.com, saying: "How 
about you come clean and tell the truth. More truckers died in accidents last 
year than at any time in the last 30 years, according to a new report by the 
USDOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. You're killing us with 
these ELDs. So much for saving 26 lives. How about you do the right thing and 
issue an ELD suspension order now that the facts show ELDs were one big 
mistake?"

   On Oct. 25, the SBTC created a WhiteHouse.gov petition asking for the U.S. 
government to intervene to suspend current ELD regulations: 
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/immediately-suspend-electronic-logging
-device-eld-rule?fbclid=IwAR2_gbvX5QnvAQ5DgminfFbyMB72_xs-KQpik_cEw1-HtaMF57s4G6
JnXLE. 

   SBTC also called on truck drivers nationwide to join the group in 
publicizing its #SuspendELDsNow hashtag on social media. 
https://myemail.constantcontact.com/USDOT-Large-Truck-Fatality-Data-released-tod
ay-show-ELDs-are-killing-more-people--not-saving-lives-at-promised-by-FMCSA.html
?soid=1129065728034&aid=4TIKq2pPt-s 

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

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn 

******************************************************************************
DTN Weekly Average DDG Price Firm

   OMAHA (DTN) -- The domestic distillers dried grains (DDG) weekly average 
spot price from the 40 locations DTN contacted was steady at $143 per ton for 
the week ended Nov. 21. Prices were firm this week in spite of weaker corn 
futures not pulling prices down thanks to the strong corn basis.

   Wednesday's Energy Information Administration ethanol report showed ethanol 
inventory in the U.S. was drawn down again last week, falling to the lowest 
stocks level in more than 2 1/2 years despite a decline in ethanol demand and 
higher output, with ethanol production up for an eighth week.

   Based on the average of prices collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative 
to corn for the week ended Nov. 21 was at 108.66%. The value of DDG relative to 
soybean meal was at 47.51%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG was $5.30, 
compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $6.34. The 
DDG-to-soymeal price ratio continues to remain above the three-year average.

   In its weekly export DDGS update, the U.S. Grains Council noted: "The U.S. 
DDGS market is mixed this week with merchandisers reporting active trade on 
Thursday. Barge CIF NOLA* and FOB* NOLA values are firmer (up $1-$3 per metric 
ton) versus last week while rail-delivered prices are $3/mt lower, on average. 
Some merchandisers report that the Canadian National Railway strike is 
affecting logistics and prices for some locations. 

   "Overseas buyers have been actively securing U.S. DDGS and prices are firmer 
for most destinations. Prices for DDGS shipped to Indonesia and South Korea are 
showing the strongest gains, up $5-$6/mt. The average price increase for 
product destined for Southeast Asia is up $2/mt this week to $240 for December 
shipment," said USGC.

   * 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                           11/21/2019     11/14/2019
Bartlett and Company, Kansas City, MO (816-753-6300)
           Missouri                 Dry       $155           $155         $0
                                    Wet        $78            $78         $0
Show Me Ethanol LLC, Carrollton, MO (660-542-6493)
           Missouri Subject         Dry       $160           $150        $10
                                    Wet        $80            $77         $3
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       $150           $150         $0
           South Dakota             Dry       $125           $125         $0
MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS (800-255-0302 Ext. 5253)
           Kansas                   Dry       $150           $150         $0
POET Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD (888-327-8799)
           Indiana                  Dry       $140           $150        -$10
           Iowa                     Dry       $137           $137         $0
           Michigan                 Dry       $135           $135         $0
           Minnesota                Dry       $137           $135         $2
           Missouri                 Dry       $155           $155         $0
           Ohio                     Dry       $145           $150        -$5
           South Dakota             Dry       $145           $145         $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       $145           $145         $0
           Indiana                  Dry       $145           $145         $0
           Iowa                     Dry       $145           $145         $0
           Michigan                 Dry       $140           $140         $0
           Minnesota                Dry       $135           $135         $0
           Nebraska                 Dry       $150           $150         $0
           New York                 Dry       $165           $165         $0
           North Dakota             Dry       $135           $135         $0
           Ohio                     Dry       $150           $150         $0
           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       $150           $150         $0
           South Dakota             Dry       $140           $140         $0
           California               Dry       $208           $208         $0
Western Milling, Goshen, California (559-302-1074)
           California               Dry       $214           $211         $3
*Prices listed per ton.
           Weekly Average                     $143           $143         $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     11/21/2019   $3.6850      $131.61
                             Soybean Meal     11/21/2019   $301.00
            DDG Weekly Average Spot Price        $143.00
                                  DDG Value Relative to:   11/21      11/14
                                                    Corn   108.66%      106.56%
                                            Soybean Meal    47.51%       47.18%
                               Cost Per Unit of Protein:
                                                     DDG     $5.30        $5.30
                                            Soybean Meal     $6.34        $6.38
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 Beet Harvest Over: Frozen Sugarbeets Left to Rot in Upper Midwest

   The 2019 sugarbeet harvest in the Red River Valley ended on Nov. 9 when 
American Crystal Sugar Company (ACSC) was no longer able to continue taking 
frozen beets to process, leaving farmers with unharvested beets, some of which 
will stay in the field and rot over the winter. 

   American Crystal Sugar Company is an agricultural cooperative corporation 
owned by approximately 2,800 sugarbeet growers in the Minnesota and North 
Dakota areas of the Red River Valley. The Red River Valley forms a band 
approximately 35 miles wide on either side of the North Dakota and Minnesota 
border and extends approximately 200 miles south from the border of the United 
States and Canada, according to the company website. The company purchases all 
of its Red River Valley sugarbeets from members under contract with the company.

   American Crystal is the largest beet sugar producer in the United States and 
has two locations in eastern North Dakota, three in northwestern Minnesota and 
one plant in northeastern Montana. The company, through its wholly owned 
subsidiary Sidney Sugars Incorporated, owns and operates a sugarbeet processing 
facility in Sidney, Montana, which processes nonmember sugarbeets from 
approximately 30,000 acres.

   The nonstop rains at the end of September and into October caused muddy 
conditions at the start of harvest; after it snowed, the melted snow just added 
more water to the ground. When the freeze came, many of the sugarbeets were 
frozen in the ground. Matthew Krueger, an East Grand Forks, Minnesota, grower 
told me ACSC sent a text to member growers on Nov. 3 that frozen beet quotas 
had been removed in all districts, and growers could deliver any frozen beets 
that were mud free. He said by Nov. 9, another text came saying that ACSC was 
ending harvest of all beets because of poor beet conditions, along with high 
levels of mud and leaves, making them uneconomical to process.

   I spoke with Krueger while he was combining soybeans and he told me his 
harvest ended early in November after realizing the beets he was harvesting 
were too full of mud chunks, making it harder for ACSC to process. "We had to 
leave a significant portion of our beets in the ground, unable to finish the 
long, at times difficult, harvest," said Krueger.

   It is important to note that the root of the sugarbeet is what contains the 
high concentration of sucrose and is grown commercially for sugar production. 
As Knutson pointed out, his unharvested beets will become cattle feed this year 
and that consists of just the roots, not the tops.

   Wikipedia notes that, "The root of the beet contains 75% water, about 20% 
sugar and 5% pulp. The exact sugar content can vary between 12% and 21% sugar, 
depending on the cultivar and growing conditions. Sugar is the primary value of 
sugarbeet as a cash crop. The pulp, insoluble in water, is mainly composed of 
cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, and pectin, is used in animal feed. The 
byproducts of the sugarbeet crop, such as pulp and molasses, adds another 10% 
to the value of the harvest."

   Krueger said that in years where there is an early freeze, a sugarbeet can 
thaw and "heal itself," but will lose some sugar content. This fall, after the 
heavy rains, muddy fields and then a freeze, the beets were unable to recover. 
He said the ACSC actually took in close to 1 million tons of frozen beets, but 
some of the beets began to rot, and the excess chunks of mud became 
problematic. 

   "As co-op members, the amount of sugarbeets a grower is expected to deliver 
to ACSC depends on how many shares they own," Krueger said. "One share plants 
0.8 acres and in my case, I grow about 680 acres of sugarbeets." Krueger 
estimates that there may have been as much as 65% of the harvest lost in parts 
of the Red River Valley.

   "Our contract does have act of God in there, but it also has clauses in 
there that if unable to deliver beets, you may be obligated for fixed costs," 
said Krueger. "That cost for this year has been set at $343 per acre by ACSC 
for the unharvested acres." 

   I asked Krueger about how much crop insurance will pay, and he said, "For 
simple math, insurance will pay for 60% of what I could have made on our beets. 
But, input costs are roughly 60%, so the fee puts us in the red. It also 
depends on how high your cost of production is, and it can vary several hundred 
dollars between growers. One thing to note is as shareholders we are paying in 
in order to keep the co-op financially sound."

   Krueger said his beets left in the field will be left to rot until spring 
and that he will use a rotary beater to chop the greens off the top before 
then. Krueger also grows corn and soybeans and will rotate one of those crops 
in to that field next spring. He also noted that spring wheat could work, but 
next year may be rough where beets had rotted. He said although other growers 
do rotate wheat in, in his opinion, corn is the best choice. His rotation on 
beets is three years. "I have a 3,000 acre farm so I am always rotating," added 
Krueger. 

   USDA LOWERS PRODUCTION

   In the Nov. 15 Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook Projected, USDA Economic 
Research Service noted that U.S. sugar production for 2019-20 was reduced, as 
both cane sugar and beet sugar production were lowered based on most recent 
crop data. "Domestic deliveries for 2019-20 were reduced as well, based on 
lower forecast totals than previously reported for 2018-19. Reported ending 
stocks by domestic processors and refiners for 2018-19 resulted in an ending 
stocks-to-use ratio of 14.5%. Projected sugar exports are down from the 
previous month, as the availability of fewer supplies is expected to reduce the 
volume of shipments to non-U.S. markets."

   USDA said production for 2019-20 has been hampered by cold, wet weather 
conditions in most of the key sugarbeet producing regions during the harvest 
season. Through Nov. 3, the national sugarbeet harvest was only 70% complete 
and the slowest pace on record since 2000. This was mainly due to record-slow 
harvest progress made in Minnesota (70%), North Dakota (67%) and Michigan 
(55%). 

   "At the time of the WASDE release, growers were still contending with 
freezing temperatures and wet soil conditions, which can hinder growers' 
ability to get in the field, harvest sugarbeet roots from the soil, and provide 
healthy, clean beets that can be stored and processed during the winter and 
spring slicing season. The likelihood of unusually high levels of sugarbeets 
being left unharvested has been increasing as winter conditions continue in 
those states," noted USDA. 

   "The reduction is primarily in Minnesota and North Dakota, the first and 
third largest sugarbeet producing states. The reduction is due to lowered 
harvested area forecasts, currently at 971,000 acres -- an 11.3% reduction from 
the October forecast. If realized, this would be the lowest harvested acreage 
total since 1960-61." Here is a link to the entire Nov. 15 report: 
https://usda.library.cornell.edu/concern/publications/pv63g024f?locale=en

   On Nov.18, USDA announced it intends to take appropriate actions to ensure 
an adequate supply of sugar to the U.S. market as prospects for U.S. sugar 
production have declined significantly due to adverse weather in sugarbeet and 
sugarcane regions. With a 10.5% ending stocks-to-use ratio forecast for fiscal 
year 2020, USDA will be addressing options in the near future in order to 
stabilize U.S. sugar supplies. USDA noted that it intends to make an 
announcement between Nov. 18 and Dec. 10 as to quantity, type and source of 
additional sugar needed to ensure an adequate supply for the domestic market, 
avoid forfeitures and prevent or correct market disruptions.

   To say the 2019 sugarbeet season has been rough is putting it mildly. 
Knutson said, "Yes, the struggles were real and took their toll on growers. No 
ton came through the gate that did not have sweat and blood involved. Many went 
above and beyond what was expected to get the crop in." Knutson added that 
during this growing season "we had snow, rain, frost, flooding and a freeze; 
about the only thing we didn't have was locusts."

   He was, of course, referencing one of the seven plagues listed in the bible 
in Exodus 10:1--20. Basically, the prophecy is that locusts would swarm Earth 
and eat away all of the plants leaving nothing. Knutson's comment gives a 
pretty good indication of just how bad the 2019 sugarbeet harvest season was 
for many growers. 

   ACSC is holding factory district meetings the week of Nov. 18 to inform 
growers what to expect this winter, added Knutson.

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

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn 

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

   OMAHA (DTN) -- The domestic distillers dried grains (DDG) weekly average 
spot price from the 40 locations DTN contacted was $2 higher at $143 per ton 
for the week ended Nov. 14. 

   Prices were mixed, but the weakness in the cash corn price has been balanced 
once again by stronger basis values in some areas where corn harvest is slow or 
stalled. The onset of early, record cold temperatures also added to feed 
demand. 

   The Energy Information Administration data released Thursday morning showed 
ethanol inventory fell for the third time in four weeks and to the lowest level 
in over two years despite a seventh straight weekly gain in ethanol plant 
production.

   Based on the average of prices collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative 
to corn for the week ended Nov. 14 was at 106.56%. The value of DDG relative to 
soybean meal was at 47.18%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG was $5.30, 
compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $6.38. The 
DDG/soymeal price ratio continues to remain above the three-year average.

   In its weekly export DDGS update, the U.S. Grains Council noted: "The U.S. 
DDGS market is higher this week while international prices are slightly lower 
for spot shipments. Barge CIF (cost, insurance and freight paid by seller) NOLA 
(New Orleans)prices are $6 to $9 per metric ton (mt) higher while FOB (free on 
board means buyer pays costs of ocean freight, insurance, unloading, and 
transportation from originating port) NOLA DDGS are up $3 to $4/mt. U.S. rail 
rates are $4/mt higher on average with this week's winter storm complicating 
logistics." 

   USGC also noted that internationally, merchandisers report Indonesia and 
Vietnam remain active buyers with several shipments secured for December and 
January. "South Korean buyers have reportedly been looking for product but bids 
from that country are below firm asking prices. On average, 40-foot containers 
to Southeast Asia are down $1/mt for December shipment while deferred positions 
are steady."


ALL PRICES SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION            CURRENT       CURRENT     CHANGE
COMPANY    STATE                            11/14/2019     11/7/2019
Bartlett and Company, Kansas City, MO (816-753-6300)
           Missouri                 Dry        $155           $153        $2
                                    Wet         $78           $77         $1
Show Me Ethanol LLC, Carrollton, MO (660-542-6493)
           Missouri Subject         Dry        $150           $150        $0
                                    Wet         $77           $77         $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        $150           $150        $0
           South Dakota             Dry        $125           $125        $0
MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS (800-255-0302 Ext. 5253)
           Kansas                   Dry        $150           $148        $2
POET Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD (888-327-8799)
           Indiana                  Dry        $150           $150        $0
           Iowa                     Dry        $137           $137        $0
           Michigan                 Dry        $135           $135        $0
           Minnesota                Dry        $135           $135        $0
           Missouri                 Dry        $155           $155        $0
           Ohio                     Dry        $150           $150        $0
           South Dakota             Dry        $145           $145        $0
United BioEnergy, Wichita, KS (316-616-3521)
           Kansas                   Dry        $150           $142        $8
                                    Wet         $55           $55         $0
           Illinois                 Dry        $153           $150        $3
           Nebraska                 Dry        $150           $142        $8
                                    Wet         $60           $45        $15
U.S. Commodities, Minneapolis, MN (888-293-1640)
           Illinois                 Dry        $145           $140        $5
           Indiana                  Dry        $145           $140        $5
           Iowa                     Dry        $145           $135       $10
           Michigan                 Dry        $140           $145       -$5
           Minnesota                Dry        $135           $135        $0
           Nebraska                 Dry        $150           $140       $10
           New York                 Dry        $165           $165        $0
           North Dakota             Dry        $135           $135        $0
           Ohio                     Dry        $150           $145        $5
           South Dakota             Dry        $135           $135        $0
           Wisconsin                Dry        $135           $135        $0
Valero Energy Corp, San Antonio Texas
           Indiana                  Dry        $150           $135       $15
           Iowa                     Dry        $135           $145       -$10
           Minnesota                Dry        $135           $140       -$5
           Nebraska                 Dry        $145           $135       $10
           Ohio                     Dry        $150           $145        $5
           South Dakota             Dry        $140           $135        $5
           California               Dry        $208           $205        $3
Western Milling, Goshen, California (559-302-1074)
           California               Dry        $211           $211        $0
*Prices listed per ton.
           Weekly Average                      $143           $141        $2
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     11/14/2019   $3.7575      $134.20
                             Soybean Meal     11/14/2019   $303.10
            DDG Weekly Average Spot Price        $143.00
                                  DDG Value Relative to:   11/14       11/7
                                                    Corn   106.56%      105.21%
                                            Soybean Meal    47.18%       46.13%
                               Cost Per Unit of Protein:
                                                     DDG     $5.30        $5.22
                                            Soybean Meal     $6.38        $6.43
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

******************************************************************************
As Harvest Drags On, Producers Reminded to Cool Stored Grain

   Many Midwest farmers faced a late-planting season with the added headache of 
poor summer growing weather, excessive rainfall and in some states early 
snowfall stalling harvest. However, things got worse at harvest, which has been 
moving almost at a snail's pace. This presented a new headache for many, with 
probably the biggest issue being wet corn.

   The USDA reported that as of Nov. 3, corn harvest reached 52% and still 10 
days behind average. Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas did see some progress for that 
week, but North Dakota was only at 10% done, three weeks behind average and the 
least amount harvested for this date in 2009.

   Many farmers have been storing this year's harvest in their on-farm bins, 
likely after having to dry it down. But many university extension offices are 
reminding farmers not to ignore the corn after binning and to be sure to keep 
it cool. "A good rule of thumb is to cool grain any time the average air 
temperature is around 20 degrees Fahrenheit (F) cooler than the grain 
temperature. Repeat this cooling cycle until the grain temperature is 30 to 40 
degrees F for winter storage. This storage temperature minimizes insect 
activity and mold growth in the stored grain. Cooling grain below 30 degrees F 
has little added benefit and can cause ice to form in the grain. Air humidity 
makes little difference when cooling grain," Kristina TeBockhorst and Shawn 
Shouse of Iowa State University said in a Nov. 4 blog published by the 
University of Minnesota Extension.

   The blog noted that the hours required for cooling the whole bin can be 
estimated as 15 divided by the cubic feet per minute of airflow per bushel of 
grain in the bin (cfm/bu). If you don't know how much airflow per bushel your 
fan provides, you can estimate it using the calculator provided by the 
University of Minnesota at this link: https://bbefans.cfans.umn.edu/

   "The key at-harvest activities are cooling as fast as possible and drying as 
rapidly as drying systems will allow," noted a Nov. 4 blog from the University 
of Minnesota Extension.

   HAULING WET CORN CAN BE COSTLY

   Many farmers don't have the room to store their corn on farm and will need 
to haul it to their local elevator for drying, which will add costs to the 
farmer and lower their final price for their corn. See Iowa State Extension's 
article "Corn Drying and Shrink Comparison" at 
https://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/crops/html/a2-32.html

   However, some elevators have extended their wet corn allowance in order to 
get farmers to bring new crop bushels to them. The norm for the start of drying 
charges is that corn sold via contract is 15.1% and higher, but corn sold for 
storage is at 14.1% or higher. To give you an idea of the added cost to a 
farmer, here is a typical drying discount schedule, this one from Beardsley 
Farmers Elevator Company, Beardsley Minnesota: 
http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.agricharts.com/sites/1530/discounts/CornDiscounts2
019.pdf

   Archer Daniels Midland Company waived grain drying charges below 19% at 
three of its processing locations to keep their plants running. In a statement 
provided to Brownfield News on Nov. 8, ADM said they are not charging farmers 
to dry corn unless it is above 19% moisture at their corn-wet mills in Cedar 
Rapids and Clinton, Iowa, and Decatur, Illinois. 

   However, wet corn will need to be handled differently by processors. When I 
was a corn buyer at an ethanol plant in Wisconsin, we only took wet corn to 
17.5% moisture if we were desperate for corn to grind. We put wet corn in the 
"day" bin so the corn didn't sit around for long and was used immediately. When 
the corn is above 16.5%, the hammer mills (they grind the incoming corn) can 
gum up and the plant manager is quick to make a call to the corn buyer noting 
the mess that was made. On top of that, wet corn can contaminate a bin if it 
makes it to the larger storage bin, so it needs to be used right away.

   While some farmers will leave their corn in the field over the winter, 
especially if space is tight and the corn is wet, there are considerations that 
need to be weighed when doing so. North Dakota State University Extension 
Service grain drying expert Ken Hellevang noted to make sure corn stalks and 
cob shanks are strong if considering leaving high-moisture corn in the field 
over winter. "Field losses can range from minor to severe. Compare the cost of 
drying versus losses associated with leaving the corn in the field. In 
addition, standing corn tends to slow soil drying in the spring, which may 
delay planting."

   The biggest problem now facing Midwest farmers is a propane shortage related 
mostly to logistics issues, causing a lack of physical supply in some parts of 
the Midwest. Much of the shortages have been seen in Iowa and Minnesota, but a 
farmer from western Illinois said on social media Nov. 9 that his local co-op 
officially decided not to haul any more propane to grain dryers for the time 
being.

   So, the headaches continue.

   For the latest update on propane shortages in parts of the Midwest by DTN 
Staff Reporter Todd Neeley, see: 
https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/news/article/2019/11/07/propane-demand-
outstripping-pipeline

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

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn 

******************************************************************************
DTN Weekly Average DDG Price Slightly Higher

   OMAHA (DTN) -- The domestic distillers dried grains (DDG) weekly average 
spot price from the 40 locations DTN contacted was slightly higher at $141 per 
ton for the week ended Nov. 7. 

   Prices are mixed from various sellers again this week, but the weakness in 
the cash corn price due to lower futures this past week is starting to put some 
pressure on prices. As the cold weather season has come earlier this year, 
feeders will be coming to the market for more product and DDG prices will need 
to remain competitive.

   Based on the average of prices collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative 
to corn for the week ended Nov. 7 was at 105.21%. The value of DDG relative to 
soybean meal was at 46.13%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG was $5.22, 
compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $6.43. 

   In its weekly export DDGS update, the U.S. Grains Council noted: "Following 
last week's gains barge CIF (cost, insurance and freight paid by seller) NOLA 
(New Orleans, Louisiana) prices and FOB (free on board means buyer pays costs 
of ocean freight, insurance, unloading, and transportation from originating 
port) Gulf offers were slightly lower. Other quoted routes, including U.S. rail 
rates, are unchanged. Merchandisers report that inquiries and bids from 
Southeast Asia are continuing to firm but the bid/ask spread remains wide. The 
average prices for 40-foot containers to Southeast Asia is up $1 per metric ton 
(mt) to $240 per mt after increases were noted for shipments to Malaysia and 
Vietnam."

   The U.S. Census Bureau reported this past week that U.S. exports of DDGS 
totaled 1,045,775 mt in September, down from 1,117,501 mt in August, but up 2% 
from a year ago. Mexico was the top destination in September, taking 13% U.S. 
exports, followed by Vietnam, Turkey, South Korea and Japan. In the first nine 
months of 2019, U.S. exports of distillers grains are down 6% versus one year 
ago.


ALL PRICES SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION          CURRENT        PREVIOUS     CHANGE
COMPANY    STATE                           11/7/2019      10/31/2019
Bartlett and Company, Kansas City, MO (816-753-6300)
           Missouri                 Dry       $153           $153         $0
                                    Wet       $77            $77          $0
Show Me Ethanol LLC, Carrollton, MO (660-542-6493)
           Missouri Subject         Dry       $150           $150         $0
                                    Wet       $77            $77          $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       $150           $150         $0
           South Dakota             Dry       $125           $125         $0
MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS (800-255-0302 Ext. 5253)
           Kansas                   Dry       $148           $148         $0
POET Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD (888-327-8799)
           Indiana                  Dry       $150           $145         $5
           Iowa                     Dry       $137           $140        -$3
           Michigan                 Dry       $135           $135         $0
           Minnesota                Dry       $135           $137        -$2
           Missouri                 Dry       $155           $148         $7
           Ohio                     Dry       $150           $150         $0
           South Dakota             Dry       $145           $148        -$3
United BioEnergy, Wichita, KS (316-616-3521)
           Kansas                   Dry       $142           $142         $0
                                    Wet       $55            $55          $0
           Illinois                 Dry       $150           $147         $3
           Nebraska                 Dry       $142           $135         $7
                                    Wet       $45            $45          $0
U.S. Commodities, Minneapolis, MN (888-293-1640)
           Illinois                 Dry       $140           $140         $0
           Indiana                  Dry       $140           $140         $0
           Iowa                     Dry       $135           $135         $0
           Michigan                 Dry       $145           $145         $0
           Minnesota                Dry       $135           $135         $0
           Nebraska                 Dry       $140           $140         $0
           New York                 Dry       $165           $165         $0
           North Dakota             Dry       $135           $135         $0
           Ohio                     Dry       $145           $145         $0
           South Dakota             Dry       $135           $135         $0
           Wisconsin                Dry       $135           $135         $0
Valero Energy Corp, San Antonio Texas
           Indiana                  Dry       $135           $135         $0
           Iowa                     Dry       $145           $145         $0
           Minnesota                Dry       $140           $140         $0
           Nebraska                 Dry       $135           $135         $0
           Ohio                     Dry       $145           $145         $0
           South Dakota             Dry       $135           $135         $0
           California               Dry       $205           $205         $0
Western Milling, Goshen, California (559-302-1074)
           California               Dry       $211           $211         $0
*Prices listed per ton.
           Weekly Average                     $141           $140         $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      11/7/2019   $3.7525      $134.02
                             Soybean Meal      11/7/2019   $305.60
            DDG Weekly Average Spot Price        $141.00
                                  DDG Value Relative to:   11/7       10/31
                                                    Corn   105.21%      100.51%
                                            Soybean Meal    46.13%       45.99%
                               Cost Per Unit of Protein:
                                                     DDG     $5.22        $5.19
                                            Soybean Meal     $6.43        $6.41
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

******************************************************************************
Corn Futures: A Look at Bullish, Bearish Influences

   As we are in the midst of one of the most challenging planting, growing and 
harvesting years on record, and as we grapple with newly revamped trade deals, 
I wanted to take a new look at the corn market. 

   While many farmers and grain analysts have, throughout 2019, postulated on 
the potential for a sharp decline in corn yield, production and acreage, USDA 
has surprised us with not-so-disastrous numbers on each successive report; 
we'll find out in the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates 
(WASDE) on Friday, Nov. 8, if that changes. But following heavy snows and too 
much rain in parts of the Western Corn Belt and Northern Plains -- and recent 
freeze events on a crop that has lagged badly in maturity -- perhaps the true 
effect will not be completely realized until the final crop numbers are 
revealed in January. 

   With December corn futures now sitting just 23 cents per bushel above the 
contract low -- 98 cents under the June high -- where is this market going and 
what are the factors driving it? 

   Here is a look at some, but certainly not all, of the bullish and bearish 
ingredients that may influence corn trade.

   BULLISH

   -- Managed funds, as we approach the Nov. 8 WASDE report, are estimated to 
still carry a net short of close to 165,000 contracts or 825 million bushels 
(mb). 

   -- The third slowest U.S. corn harvest on record could lead to surprising 
declines in yield, production and acreage, as frequent snow, rain, high winds 
and freezes may have negatively affected corn, especially in the Northern 
Plains. 

   -- USDA will revise both North Dakota and Minnesota acreage downward in the 
Nov. 8 report.

   -- The U.S. corn basis, especially in the Eastern Corn Belt, is the 
strongest in years. Farmer selling has been lighter than usual with on-farm 
storage more than adequate. (Short-term bullish only.)  

   -- The recent trade deal with Japan, along with the prospect of a new USMCA 
trade pact (expected by Thanksgiving) with Canada and Mexico, could increase 
export quantities of corn or byproducts to these countries.

   -- The new U.S.-China trade agreement may be signed by late November and 
could possibly include China sorghum, ethanol and DDG imports in addition to 
corn imports. China's feed grain supplies are supposedly very tight.

   -- Until recently, Brazil has been very dry on a historical basis in 
September and October 2019, but rains appear to be picking up for November. 
Failure to get the normal rainy season, as planting has been delayed, may lead 
to lower second crop corn (safrinha) acres. 

   -- World corn carryout for 2019-20 is expected to fall to the lowest level 
in five years at 299.5 million metric tons (mmt), according to the average 
trade estimate. This compares to 324 mmt in 2018-19 and 341.3 mmt in 2017-18. 

   -- Although Brazilian corn production is pegged at a hefty 103 mmt for this 
coming year, Argentine corn acreage is expected to decline 6% and production to 
fall to 46.5 mmt, down 3.5 mmt. Argentina potentially faces much higher grain 
export taxes under their new president.

   -- The November to the final U.S. corn production numbers has seen a decline 
in five of the past six years. If November corn production is lower, as many 
expect, then we can assume January will also be lower, as freeze, wind, snow 
damage and abandonment becomes more quantifiable. 

   -- The Dow Jones' survey of analysts suggests both corn yield, production 
and acreage on the Nov. 8 WASDE will be lower. Corn yield is estimated at down 
1.1 bushels per acre (bpa), with harvested acreage falling by 500,000 and 
production dropping by 177 mb. 

   -- In their recent baseline projections, USDA projects a sharp rise in feed 
and residual use as meat exports are predicted to rise and the number of 
animals on feed remains large. 

   BEARISH

   -- U.S. corn demand is the slowest since 2012, with export sales running 47% 
behind last year, and export inspections down over 62% from a year ago. 

   -- USDA can be expected to drop exports by 100 mb in November and ethanol 
usage by 25 mb on weak demand, further adding to ending stocks.

   -- U.S. ending stocks of corn, currently pegged at 1.929 billion bushels 
(bb) for 2019-20 could rise close 2.1 bb if the above cuts happen and yield and 
production doesn't decline.

   -- USDA's baseline numbers for 2020-21 suggest acreage will increase by 4.5 
million acres (ma) to 94.5 ma. With a yield of 178.5 bpa, ending stocks could 
go to a burdensome 2.754 bb next season, even with an increase of close to 600 
mb in feed/residual use and exports. Other private acreage estimates are close 
to 96 ma. 

   -- Brazil looks to raise a large crop estimated to be 103 mmt, while Ukraine 
had a record large corn crop of 36 mmt.

   -- Ethanol margins beyond November are called at breakeven or worse, 
suggesting lower corn usage.

   -- There is potential for large pockets of feed grade wheat to compete 
domestically with U.S. corn demand.

   -- Argentina, Brazil and Ukraine are expected to continue to provide very 
stiff competition into 2019, unless, with respect to Argentina, export taxes 
are increased. Those three countries in 2019-20 will export an estimated 97.5 
mmt compared to U.S. at just 48.3 mmt. Compare that to 2017-18 when those three 
exported just 64 mmt versus 62 mmt from the U.S. 

   CONCLUSION

   These are a few of the factors that may go into corn futures prices in the 
weeks ahead. Mother Nature, macroeconomic forces and currency gyrations are 
tough to predict, and they can all affect corn prices. While corn stocks are 
certainly moving in the right direction -- with the lowest world stocks in five 
years -- the U.S., South America and the Black Sea are still awash in corn. In 
the U.S. (if the USDA baseline projections are to be believed,) it would appear 
that -- given good weather -- we will have plentiful supplies for 2020-21 and 
years to come. The rise in corn acreage for 2020-21 is a given following the 
prevented plantings and abandoned acreage of 2019. 

   As burdensome as supplies look to be next year and beyond, it is demand that 
may continue to be a real challenge for U.S. corn. South American and Black Sea 
farmers and exporters continue to ramp up crop production and infrastructure to 
export those crops, as their percentage of world exports continues in an upward 
trajectory.

   While we await the WASDE report on Nov. 8, it may be prudent to set a plan 
to market some corn -- both remaining old crop and new crop -- in the event of 
a bullish report. Granted, the report could be bullish and the potential for a 
new U.S.-China and USMCA trade deal could be supportive to corn, but the 
current demand pace suggests USDA is far overstating U.S. export demand. 

   With the prospect for a huge acreage increase in 2020-21 and a monstrous 
ending stocks number (with good weather), there is little for corn bulls to get 
excited about. A rally to $4.00 to $4.10 on old- or new-crop December futures 
could warrant some aggressive sales. 

   **

   Comments above are for educational purposes and are not meant to be specific 
trade recommendations. The buying and selling of grains and grain futures 
involve substantial risk and are not suitable for everyone.

   Dana Mantini can be reached at dana.mantini@dtn.com   

   Follow Dana Mantini on Twitter @mantini_r 

******************************************************************************
A Sunflower Surprise on the Horizon? 

   There's an old market adage that says, "There is always a bull market 
somewhere." Corn, soybean and wheat bulls have had opportunities during the 
2019-20 marketing year, and some of that story is still being written as 
harvest continues to plod along across the Midwest. One market that hasn't 
gotten a lot of attention until combines began to roll, however, is the 
sunflower market. 

   For obvious reasons, the sunflower market doesn't garner the interest other 
grain and oilseed markets do given the largest number of planted acres over the 
last 10 years was 2 million. The sunflower market is taking on added importance 
this year given the tightening U.S. and global vegetable oil markets, as some 
DTN authors have written about recently.

   South and North Dakota rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in sunflower 
production in the United States. It is no secret to anyone that these two 
states were inundated with rain throughout the summer growing season with both 
running 150% to 600% above normal precipitation over the last 90 days. Unlike 
corn and soybean crops, sunflower crops do not need near the amount of moisture 
as their row-crop brethren to produce bumper yields. As producers know all too 
well, excess moisture can be a large hindrance to yield in the way of disease 
pressure. Producers in the Dakotas are seeing that play out this year with 
anecdotal reports from both Dakotas suggesting yields are down anywhere from 
15% to 50% versus a year ago. 

   Based on the last production estimates from USDA, the national average 
sunflower yield in the United States was expected to be 1,722 pounds per acre 
(ppa), which would be down from last year's record-tying yield of 1,731 ppa, 
but still the second highest in history. That percentage change would be down 
half of 1%. Total sunflower supplies of 2.748 billion pounds are expected to be 
essentially flat from a year ago. 

   Assuming USDA is close on their ideas for demand at 2.492 billion pounds, 
this would produce a carryout of 253.4 million pounds. If accurate, this would 
be the smallest carryout since 2014-15. The projected stocks-to-use ratio at 
current estimates of 10.17% would be the smallest since 2013-14. The USDA 
assumptions are based on yield ideas that clearly look elevated at this 
juncture, not to mention harvested acreage, which could prove optimistic given 
the soggy field conditions in the Northern Plains. 

   If the national average yield is reduced even 10%, which would seem 
conservative based on reports from producers, projected carryout would be 
reduced to just 20.2 million pounds versus 286.5 million pounds a year ago. If 
we plug in the lowest yield of the last 10 years, which would be 1,383 ppa from 
2013-14, and down 20% from last year, carryout goes negative by 189.6 million 
pounds if demand is left unchanged. Obviously, demand will not remain static, 
but it helps illustrate the degree to which rationing could be necessary in 
2020.

   If the U.S. situation weren't enough on its own, the global sunflower 
balance sheet offers its own compelling argument for higher prices. Using 
USDA's latest estimates, global sunflower production is expected to be the 
second largest on record at 51.381 million metric tons (mmt), or 113.2 billion 
pounds, just behind 2018-19's record number of 51.417 mmt (113.3 billion 
pounds). 

   Total supplies in 2019-20 are essentially flat from last year's record while 
demand is expected to rise to 54.055 mmt (119.1 billion pounds), a new record. 
Carryout is projected at 2.450 mmt (5.399 billion pounds), which would be the 
tightest since 2010-11. The projected stocks-to-use ratio of 4.53% is seen as 
the tightest since 1997-98. All of the aforementioned assumptions are obviously 
before making any changes to the U.S. To be fair, the U.S. ranks 10th in global 
sunflower production with Ukraine, Russia and the European Union ranking first 
through third, respectively. 

   As noted above, a tight sunflower market takes on added importance in a year 
with a tightening global vegetable oil market. Combining supplies of coconut 
oil, cottonseed oil, olive oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, rapeseed oil, 
soybean oil and sunflower oil yields, the largest total supplies on record sit 
at 313.4 mmt. Combined demand for these individual markets is estimated by USDA 
at 293.8 mmt, also a new record, and providing a carryout of 19.659 mmt. 
Assuming this to be accurate, carryout would be the smallest since 2010-11. The 
estimated stocks-to-use ratio of 6.69% would be the tightest since 1976-77. 

   With general market expectations that the soybean supply situation could 
tighten further before the end of the 2019-20 marketing year, the global 
vegetable oil outlook could get even more constructive. The largest vegetable 
oil markets in the world are palm oil, soybean oil and rapeseed oil, 
respectively. When just these three markets are isolated, the trends remain the 
same with the smallest carryout since 2010-11 and the tightest stocks-to-use 
ratio since 1976-77.

   Based on the latest crop progress data from USDA, sunflower harvest 
nationally was estimated at 31% complete as of Nov. 3, which is the slowest 
since 2013 but above 2009's record-slow harvest progress of 15% at this time. 
Over two-thirds of the U.S. crop is yet to be harvested, but if early yields 
are an overall indicator of this year's sunflower crop, much tighter supplies 
look like a certainty in 2019-20. With an abundance of prevented planting acres 
in the Dakotas this growing season and wet conditions pointing toward another 
year of prevented planting in 2020, sunflowers may need to send a strong price 
signal next spring to ensure producers do not opt for other crops.

   Tregg Cronin can be reached at tmcronin31@gmail.com 

   Follow Tregg Cronin on Twitter @5thWave_tcronin

******************************************************************************
Change to Hours of Service Comment Period Ends With Mixed Feelings

   The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Administration hours of service rule has been in the news for several years as 
the agency tries to fine-tune the rule in hopes of easing some restrictions for 
the trucking industry. Meanwhile, safety groups continue to fight any changes 
to the rule.

   Recently, a public comment period on proposed changes to the hours of 
service rule ended. The thousands of comments that were submitted show the 
agency has a difficult task ahead of it in weighing the pros and cons of its 
proposed changes before it reaches a final decision. 

   First adopted in 1937, FMCSA's hours of service (HOS) rules specify the 
permitted operating hours of commercial motor vehicle drivers (CMV). In 2018, 
FMCSA authored an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) to receive 
public comment on portions of the HOS rules to "alleviate unnecessary burdens 
placed on drivers while maintaining safety on our nation's highways and roads," 
the FMCSA noted on their website. In response, the agency received more than 
5,200 public comments.

   Then, on Aug. 14, 2019, the agency issued another ANPRM based on the 
detailed public comments. FMCSA's proposed rule on hours of service offers the 
following five key revisions to the existing HOS rules.

   1. Increase safety and flexibility for the 30-minute-break rule by tying the 
break requirement to 8 hours of driving time without an interruption for at 
least 30 minutes, and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on 
duty, not driving status, rather than off duty. 

   2. Modify the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their 
required 10 hours off duty into two periods: one period of at least seven 
consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other period of not less than 
two consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth. Neither period 
would count against the driver's 14hour driving window.

   3. Allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than 3 
hours, that would pause a truck driver's 14-hour driving window, provided the 
driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.

   4. Modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by 2 hours 
the maximum window during which driving is permitted.

   5. Change the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers 
by lengthening the drivers' maximum onduty period from 12 to 14 hours and 
extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air 
miles to 150 air miles.

   The agency then offered a 45-day comment period on the proposed rule 
changes. The comment period ended on Oct. 21, after a 14-day extension to the 
original end date, with over 2,600 comments received. 

   FMCSA said on its website that the proposal "is crafted to improve safety on 
the nation's roadways. The proposed rule would not increase driving time and 
would continue to prevent CMV operators from driving for more than 8 
consecutive hours without at least a 30-minute change in duty status."

   VARIOUS GROUPS WEIGH IN

   The American Trucking Association, in a news release on Aug. 14, "hailed" 
the proposed changes to the hours of service rules as a way to improve safety 
while providing additional flexibility for professional drivers.

   "(Transportation) Secretary (Elaine) Chao and (FMCSA) Administrator (Ray) 
Martinez are to be commended for their commitment to an open and data-driven 
process to update the hours-of-service rules," ATA President and CEO Chris 
Spear stated in the news release. "We look forward to studying and 
understanding how these proposed changes will impact our industry so we can 
provide relevant data and information to strengthen and support a good final 
rule that bolsters safety and provides drivers needed flexibility."

   Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) President Todd 
Spencer said in a news release, "Truck drivers are more regulated and more 
compliant than ever, but crashes keep going up. FMCSA's proposal is the best 
chance of reversing that trend and now is a critical time for drivers to submit 
comments on how flexibility would improve their ability to operate safely." 

   OOIDA emphasized in comments on the rule that in order for new changes to 
have the most safety benefits, drivers should have sole discretion about how 
and when to use the proposed provisions. Here is a link to the entire news 
release, including the group's positions on the provisions in the proposal and 
recommendations to make further improvements: 
https://www.ooida.com/MediaCenter/PressReleases/pressrelease.asp?prid=519

   The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), a partnership between the Citizens for 
Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation and Parents Against Tired 
Truckers (PATT), opposed the FNCSA proposal, claiming it would "drastically 
weaken" the HOS rules. The TSC said in a news release on Aug. 14 that the FMCSA 
claim that the proposed changes provide "greater flexibility for drivers 
subject to the HOS rules without adversely affecting safety" is a departure 
from reality as well as the agency's main mission of improving truck safety. 
"The FMCSA's proposed changes to the HOS rules for truck drivers will not 
improve safety," said the TSC.

   "Instead of moving forward on these rollbacks, the agency must produce 
compelling data to demonstrate that these changes will not lead to more health 
problems for truck drivers, more coercion of truck drivers, and more crashes 
involving trucks drivers operating while fatigued," said the TSC.

   "The agency is offering flexibility without regard for the fact that it 
could be exploited by the worst actors in the industry, including drivers who 
will operate while fatigued and motor carriers who will coerce them to do so. 
The FMCSA should immediately rescind these proposed changes and focus their 
time, resources, and efforts on advancing proven safety solutions such as speed 
limiters and automatic emergency braking," added the TSC. Here is a link to 
their original comments on the 2018 ANPRM: 
https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FMCSA-2018-0248-5191

   AGRICULTURE HAULERS HOPE FOR CHANGE

   Currently, during harvest and planting season as determined by each state, 
drivers who transport agricultural commodities, including livestock, are exempt 
from the HOS requirements from the source of the commodities to a location 
within a 150-air-mile radius from the source, the FSMCA noted on its website.

   During the first few days of November, the governors of both Minnesota and 
North Dakota issued executive orders granting a waiver of HOS requirements for 
drivers of commercial vehicles transporting propane, gasoline and diesel fuel 
to retail suppliers.

   Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said the exemption was being granted "due to a wet 
spring, followed by a cold and wet fall, the corn and soybean harvest has been 
significantly delayed. Farmers in Minnesota and neighboring states have been 
impacted by the rain and the early onset of cold weather which will result in 
harvest activities happening simultaneously throughout the region."

   Livestock carriers received an extension from current HOS rules until 
September 2018, which was then renewed for one year. On Oct. 30, the 
Responsible and Efficient Agriculture Destination (TREAD) Act was introduced in 
the House by U.S. Reps. Angie Craig, D-Minn., and Lloyd Smucker, R-Pa., to 
provide flexibility and relief from HOS rules for agricultural haulers, 
allowing agriculture haulers within a short driving distance to finish their 
route while transporting animals, live insects and perishable goods.

   "Agriculture haulers often travel on rural, unpaved roads with low-speed 
limits and run out of Hours of Service while only being a short distance from 
where they need to go," according to a news release on Craig's website. "This 
bipartisan bill would make it possible for drivers hauling live animals and 
perishable goods to finish their routes if they are within 150 air miles of 
their destination. The bill additionally allows this exemption to be utilized 
year-round rather than only during harvesting seasons." 

   More than 20 ag groups, including the National Grain and Feed Association 
(NGFA), the American Soybean Association (ASA), the National Farmers Union 
(NFU), the National Milk Producers (NMP), the American Beekeeping Federation 
(ABF) and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) support the Tread 
Act. 

   Here is a link to the news release noting all the organizations that support 
of TREAD: 
https://craig.house.gov/media/press-releases/reps-craig-and-smucker-introduce-bi
partisan-bill-providing-regulatory-relief

   NCBA President Jennifer Houston said in an Oct. 30 news release, 
"Agricultural haulers -- and especially livestock haulers -- face very unique 
challenges that haulers in other industries don't face, and this bill 
recognizes that need. On behalf of America's cattle producers, I want to thank 
Representatives Craig, Smucker, and all the other original co-sponsors for 
their leadership on this issue and working towards needed flexibility within 
Hours of Service for our livestock haulers."

   There has been no firm decision yet by the FMCSA on the proposals for its 
HOS rules for ag haulers or the trucking industry as a whole. And Ray Martinez, 
who was administrator of FMCSA for a little over 18 months, left the agency on 
Oct. 28. Jim Mullen, currently FMCSA chief counsel, will serve as interim 
administrator of the agency until President Donald Trump nominates a 
replacement who must then be confirmed by the Senate.

   Because of the change in guard at the agency and the thousands of comments 
recently received on the latest notice of proposed rulemaking, many in the 
industry feel we may not see a final decision on the hours of service rule 
until sometime in 2020. The agency will once again need to weigh the pros and 
cons of the proposal, which will not be an easy task.

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

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

******************************************************************************

Your local weather forecast from DTN can be sent to your email every morning free through DTN Snapshot.
 
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN