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Monday, December 31, 2012

A.M. Grain Market Commentary for 12/31/2012

Morning Comments 12/31/2012

Monday, December 31, 2012, 8:13 am
Submitted by: Kyle Lehman

Markets are lower this morning as we round out the year. A few hours remain until we sprint off the fiscal cliff. Instead of compromising on proposals issued by the house it seems President Obama was too busy issuing an executive order to end the pay freeze on federal employees. The pay raise will be roughly a 1% increase and cost an estimated $1bln/yr. With no progress seen happening today as far as the fiscal cliff, expect trade to continue position liquidation. Friday’s USDA hogs and pigs report came in above expectations at 100% of LY. Despite the high feed costs producer liquidation has been minimal over the course of 1 year. USDA announced another sale of soybeans this morning to an unknown destination for 140K mt.

Precipitation in the western belt and southern plains have provided some relief to wheat markets even though more precip is still needed. It’s been a while since we have talked about South American weather which usually means things are good. The only area of concern in South America is the north east which continues to see above average temps and below average precip.

Markets will be open until the normal 2:00 close and will not reopen until Wednesday at 9:30 AM.

Corn down 3c
Beans down 15c

Friday, December 28, 2012

A.M. Grain Market Commentary for 12-28-2012

AM Comments 12/28/12

Friday, December 28, 2012, 8:41 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!

Our markets are steady/better this morning with soybeans and wheat trading higher while corn is a touch lower to steady.  Soybeans are finding strength after hearing that China is stepping in and securing additional U.S. soybeans (likely because of this recent drop in prices).  This morning’s USDA export sales report however (reflecting business done last week) was disappointing in both corn and soybeans – but was friendly to wheat.  SRW recorded the biggest single week sales since August of 2007. 

The financial/equity markets are trading weaker this morning as the fiscal cliff is only days away.  Politicians are planning one last go at a compromise Sunday night to hopefully avoid the New Year’s deadline.  Traders seem cautiously optimistic that they will get something done.  The reason for optimism is… “they have to, right”?  We will know more Monday on that.

Other than that, not much going on.  Argentina has dry weather in the extended forecast which is a welcome sight for that area.  Overall SA weather still looks good.

Corn is mixed, up 1 cent to down 1 cent
Soybeans are up 1 to 4 cents

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A.M. Grain Market Commentary for 12/27/2012

AM Comments 12/27/12

Thursday, December 27, 2012, 8:06 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!

Our markets are mixed today with corn and wheat lower while soybeans recover a bit and are trading higher.  The wheat market in particular is having a tough go of it – putting in new lows for the move last night, the lowest level in 6 months.  This weakness today feels like a continuation from yesterday’s sell-off.  As we approach the end of the year we are seeing liquidation as funds work on rebalancing their positions – selling some sectors while buying others.

Other than that, it looks to be another relatively quiet, low volume day.  

Corn is down 1 to 2 cents
Soybeans are up 6 to 8 cents

Monday, December 24, 2012

A.M. Grain Market Commentary for 12/24/2012

12-24-12 AM Comments

Monday, December 24, 2012, 8:41 am
Submitted by: Jon Setterdahl

Quiet trade expected today. Markets close at noon today and reopen at 9:30am Wednesday.
News items are thin, as expected. Markets are anticipating some sort of late compromise on the fiscal cliff issue. November cattle on feed report Fri showed Nov placements down 6% from last year, overall cattle herd is at lowest level in 4 years.
Grain markets are struggling for positive news lately…..S.American weather has moderated from early concerns and is ok for the moment, US corn exports continue to be depressed, and Chinese soybean purchase cancellations last week were negative.
The next possible news-maker will be the Jan 11 USDA report, which will include monthly supply/demand updates as well as quarterly grain stocks.
Have a Merry Christmas from the FC grain marketing department!!  And be safe in your holiday travels.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Seasons Greetings from FC Coop

Seasons Greetings!

On behalf of the Farmers Cooperative Company’s 425 full-time employees and 5,279 fellow cooperative owners, I wish you and your loved ones a Happy Holidays and a safe and prosperous 2013.

FC Coop CEO Jim Chism
As I begin my first full calendar year as CEO, I want to express a sincere “Thank-you” for all of the support you have shown my wife Marcia and I during our transition here to Iowa and to FC. This is a wonderful company with unlimited potential. During the upcoming calendar year you will see several new faces and notice several new processes at FC. All of these changes are designed to either increase the level of our expertise, improve the level of our service or make FC an even stronger company.  All of which benefit our member owners! Stay tuned.

This past year was full of challenges – some within our control and some outside of our control. We will all remember the “Drought of 2012” – the worst drought since the 1930’s – which helped drive grain prices to all-time record highs (corn peaked at $8.43/bushel and soybeans reached $17.94). Collectively we (FC and our producers) came through the drought better than many, however, we all noticed the decreased yields, the effects of which will be observed in 2013.

Financially, revenue reached almost $1.3 billion, again making us one of the largest locally grain, agronomy and feed cooperatives in the entire USA. To that end, the Board of Directors approved paying 30% cash patronage (up from the usual 20%).

We are evaluating every aspect of our business right now and making sure that we meet our producers’ needs. We will continue to spend considerable amounts of time and resources assisting our producers maximize their earnings through competitive pricing, increasing grain receiving speed and capacity and with our technical expertise. We will also continue to invest in facilities and rolling stock to better serve our producers.  

Like Us on Facebook to stay updated
I encourage everyone to stay connected with us this coming year on our new social media channels. Simply visit our website ( and click on the logos on the upper right to see what we are doing, keep abreast on breaking news, and to share your thoughts with us.

It was a memorable and successful 2012 - Together We Can make 2013 an even better year.

May you have a blessed and safe Holiday Season.

Jim Chism
Farmers Cooperative Company

Saturday, December 22, 2012


The “Education Enrichment Program” was developed after an FFA instructor in central Iowa asked FC for a donation to replace textbooks that were over 20 years old. This program has been developed by FC to assist the FFA Chapters in its trade territory with funding for agriculture educational items for the classroom. FC has committed $15,000 for this program to be used toward items such as computers, textbooks, and equipment. Each chapter receives funds based on a student count provided by the Iowa FFA.
According to FC CEO, Jim Chism, “We at FC are honored to assist in the development of learning opportunities for America’s next generation famers and agribusiness people. Feeding the world over the next several decades will be a challenging, yet rewarding task. Our area FFA Chapters are helping to prepare our youth to take advantage of opportunities that agriculture will present.”

Aplington – Parkersburg FFA
FC recently donated $382 toward the purchase of auto-darkening helmets to the Aplington - Parkersburg FFA chapter

Collins-Maxwell FFA
FC recently donated $472 toward the purchase of auto-darkening helmets to the Collins-Maxwell FFA chapter 

Newell-Fonda FFA
FC recently donated $362.00 toward the purchase of two LabQuest Mini and two temperature probes from Vernier to the Newell-Fonda FFA chapter.

Panorama FFA
donated $512 toward the purchase of a cordless impact wrench, a portable battery booster pack, and a new digital camera to the Panorama FFA chapter.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A.M. Grain Market Commentary for 12/19/2012

AM Comments 12/19/12

Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 8:21 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!

Our markets are trading mixed this morning after knocking out some small gains overnight.  The outside markets are lending support (thanks to potential fiscal cliff progress?) with the dollar weaker while the Dow futures, gold and crude are all higher. 

The wheat market is finding support on news that the U.S. is exporting wheat to Egypt.  This positive news could/should spill over into corn today. 

At 10:30 this morning Informa Economics (well followed private company) will come out with their estimates an 2013 U.S. planted acreage.  Their previous guesstimate was for 97.7 million acres of corn and 80.0 million acres of beans.  (2012 acreage was 96.9 and 77.2 respectively). 

Corn is steady/mixed
Soybeans are steady to down 2c

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A.M. Grain Market Commentary for 12/18/2012

AM Comments 12/18/12

Tuesday, December 18, 2012, 8:36 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!

Our markets are lower this morning – sharply lower in soybeans.  The soybean market failed to close above $15 yesterday and that triggered some selling overnight.  With the trade being awful thin (pre-holiday maybe) the market probably slipped lower than it normally would have, triggering more sell-stops.  On top of that, the USDA reported this morning that China cancelled 300k mt of U.S. soybean purchases this morning which is adding to the weakness.  The soybean traders are nervous that there may be a temporary break in the pace of sales to China, causing additional profit taking.

Another story that could be a touch bearish overall to grains is the U.S. weather.  Parts of the Midwest and Plains have their first winter storm pointed at them – bringing 8”-15” of snow to some areas.  This isn’t a drought breaker by any means – but if we are to turn the pattern wetter, we have to start somewhere.

The outside markets are actually friendly this morning, financials, gold and crude oil are all higher while the $US is lower. President Obama is starting to appear more willing to agree to a deal with Republicans regarding fiscal cliff talks.  

Corn is down 6 to 8 cents
Soybeans are down 20 to 25 cents

Monday, December 17, 2012

A.M. Grain Market Commentary for 12/17/2012

AM Comments 12/17/12

Monday, December 17, 2012, 7:56 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!

Our grain markets were higher last night and are still higher this morning, led by soybeans.  Soybeans are receiving most of their strength on follow-through buying from Friday’s trade.  Rumors were rampant on Friday that China bought as many as 10 cargoes of U.S. gulf soybeans for Jan/Feb – and they may not be done.  This has basis and spreads both rallying.

The outside markets aren’t offering much direction yet this morning – the DOW is called a bit higher while the dollar trades steady, crude oil is a touch higher and gold is a touch lower. 

Corn is steady/mixed
Soybeans are up 6 to 10 cents

Past 3-Day Rainfall:

Friday, December 14, 2012

Anhydrous Ammonia Basics

Anhydrous ammonia (NH3) is critical for successful high-yield farming. However, misuse of it can cause significant bodily harm. Below are a few facts about anhydrous ammonia and its dangers, along with a tip to prevent long-term harm if exposed. Be sure to review our other anhydrous ammonia safety tips.

Did you know...
  • One of the most widely used sources of nitrogen for plant growth.  
  • Because NH3 contain no water, it is attracted to any form of moisture, including the human body.  
  • Attraction areas include the eyes, lungs, and skin because of their high moisture content.  
  • Most deaths from NH3 are caused by severe damage to the throat and lungs from direct blast to the face.  
  • When large amounts are inhaled, the throat swells shut and victims suffocate.  
  • Exposure to vapors or liquid also can cause blindness.  
  • If exposed to NH3 immediately flush the exposed body area(s) with water for at least 15 minutes. 
Protect yourself from anhydrous ammonia
Anhydrous ammonia safety tips

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A.M. Grain Market Commentary for 12/13/2012

AM Comments 12/13/12

Thursday, December 13, 2012, 8:04 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!

The USDA released their weekly export at 7:30 this morning and it showed strong exports in soybeans, the market was looking for 550-900kmt and we got 1.3 mmt!  That is a big number and I am a little surprised the soybean market isn’t higher than it is because of it.  Corn came out at around 260kmt, the market was looking to 150-400kmt so that number is right in line.  Corn has had a habit of being an extreme disappointment in this report lately, so to see them actually fall within the range of guesses feels somewhat friendly!

Other than that, not much happening.  Soybean basis at both the PNW and the gulf remains firm (and getting firmer).  Weather in South America looks good for crop development. 

Ethanol production dropped 1.3% versus last week.  It is down around 12% from a year ago this week.  Ethanol stocks are also rising (up 3.5% from last week and up over 17% from a year ago).  It looks like that the current pace we are crushing corn for ethanol is a little behind what was projected from the USDA.  When we the USDA releases their quarterly stocks reports later on in the marketing year it will be interesting to see if they will be bearish, showing us that we have more corn on hand than thought.  High prices cure high prices you know…

Corn is steady/mixed
Soybeans are 5 to 7 cents higher

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A.M. Grain Market Commentary for 12/12/2012

AM Comments 12/12/12

Wednesday, December 12, 2012, 8:47 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!!

Our markets are steady to lower this morning on little news.  The grains appear to be acting opposite of the rest of the market as the dollar weakens while the financial markets and most other commodities are higher.  I think our corn and soybean markets are just running into a little fund selling as the funds are liquidating their longs, maybe taking profits as the year winds down (and the fiscal cliff gets closer).

There were rumors overnight of China buying a couple cargoes of U.S. soybeans.  This has pushed both the PNW and gulf basis to new highs.  With South America’s harvest coming in Feb/March this basis rally could/should be short lived.  Corn basis at the gulf is still soft, to put it nicely.  New export business is lacking and corn may be slipping back into a trading range until we get new USDA data in early January. 

Recent rains have relaxed a few of the barge restrictions on the lower Mississippi River, restrictions are still in place between St. Louis and Cairo, IL which is where the bulk of the issues reside. 

Corn is steady to 1c lower
Soybeans are down 6 to 9 cents

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Morning Grain Market Commentary

December 11, 2012
Farmers Cooperative Company
Ames, Iowa

Good morning!

The USDA monthly S&D report was released this morning and it was, well, boring.  They didn’t change a single thing on corn, leaving supply and demand the same as last month, showing the same projected carryout as last month: 647mb.  This could be viewed as a touch friendly because the trade was expecting a bearish number but overall it is pretty neutral. 

Soybeans changed almost exactly like we thought they would, the USDA cut the projected carryout from 140mb to 130mb – due to an increase in domestic crush.  This is also friendly/neutral.  However, the Brazil and Argentina soybean crops were left unchanged which could be bearish beans as Argentina was expected to be down due to their flooding/planting issues.

The only other thing to read in this report came from the wheat market, as it was bearish wheat (exports shrunk, pushing carryouts up).  This matters to you because corn has a hard time rallying with wheat under pressure…

Overall: nothing to see here.  Can you guess what we get to concentrate on now?  The outside markets.  South American weather.  The fiscal cliff.  How exciting!  So far this morning the outside markets are a little friendly as the dollar is under pressure, SA weather looks good and the fiscal cliff is still out there adding risk as Dec 31 gets closer and closer.

Corn is down 3 to 4 cents
Soybeans are down 6 to 9 cents

Have a great day!

Dustin Weiner

Monday, December 10, 2012

AM Comments 12/10/12

Good morning!

Our markets are weaker today and the outside markets are pretty quiet.  Tomorrow morning the USDA will release their December S&D report.  The trade is estimating the 12/13 corn carryout to bump up to 659mb, it was 647mb last month.  They are estimating the 12/13 soybean carryout to shrink back down to 130mb, it was 140mb last month.  Both of these adjustments are due to perceived demand changes.  This report will give our markets direction into the end of the crop year, so it is closely followed.  You can expect today’s (and tonight’s) trade to be choppy as traders even positions up prior to the 7:30am release of USDA data tomorrow.

Weather… Argentina is warming up (into the 90’s) which will help dry out some of the flooded/wet areas.  Late season soybean plantings should start back up again down there.  In the U.S. the weekend storm brought moisture to most of the corn belt and finally created some snow cover for the winter wheat crop in South Dakota which got off to such a poor start.  Both of these weather stories are adding a little weakness to the grains.

Corn is down 7 to 8 cents
Soybeans are down 7 to 10 cents

Have a great day!
Dustin Weiner

Friday, December 7, 2012

A.M. Grain Market Commentary for 12/7/2012

AM Comments 12/07/12

Friday, December 7, 2012, 8:26 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!

Our markets are struggling to find direction this morning and are drifting lower after trading steady/higher overnight.  The $US is stronger this morning which is applying pressure to commodities. 

South American weather is improving as Argentina looks to have dry weather coming in while the dry areas of Brazil look to be getting a shot of rain.  The South American “summer” weather is starting to look pretty favorable to production and bearish to sb prices.

Soybean demand/basis is still on fire at the gulf and the PNW.  China keeps plucking beans out of the U.S. as they get closer to filling their needs for the pre-SA harvest time slot.  This should be friendly to flat price but with the weather forecasts improving down there – it is hard for the big money to go long soybeans. 

Corn demand is still plugging along domestically (ethanol, feed, etc)  while exports are almost non-existent.  If corn prices rally to the point where domestic crush margins turn red, we don’t appear to have an export market to lean on.   So, going long corn could be a risky trade for the funds due to the relatively shallow, one-sided demand sector.  Because of this corn should stay range bound for a while longer.

Next Tuesday, December 11th, the USDA comes out with their updated S&D numbers – we could see corn stocks balloon out while soybeans stocks could shrink, all due to the demand fluctuations mentioned above.

Corn is down 5 to 6 cents
Soybeans are down 9 to 11 cents

Christmas Tree Safe Tips

Many of us here in the Heartland will be celebrating Christmas and for for many people, decorating the Christmas tree is a favorite part of the holiday. Almost all of us have photos growing up of mom or dad putting the angel/star on top (or trying to hold one of us kids to do it for them). The National Safety Council offers some safety tips to make sure a Christmas tree mishap doesn't spoil your holiday season.

Christmas Trees
·      Natural and artificial Christmas trees start an average of 250 home structure fires each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. These fires cause approximately 14 deaths, 26 injuries and $13.8 million in property damage yearly.
Look for the UL Label 
·      Try to select a fresh tree by looking for one that is green. The needles of pines and spruces should bend and not break and should be hard to pull off the branches. On fir species, a needle pulled from a fresh tree will snap when bent, much like a fresh carrot. Also, look for a trunk sticky with sap.
·      Cut off about two inches of the trunk and put the tree in a sturdy, water-holding stand. Keep the stand filled with water so the tree does not dry out quickly.
·      Stand your tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Make sure the tree does not block foot traffic or doorways.
·      If you use an artificial tree, choose one that is tested and labeled as fire resistant. Artificial trees with built-in electrical systems should have the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label.

Tree lights
·      Only use indoor lights indoors (and outdoor lights only outdoors). Look for the UL label. Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Replace or repair any damaged light sets.
·      Also, use no more than three light sets on any one extension cord. Extension cords should be placed against the wall to avoid tripping hazards, but do not run cords under rugs.
·      Turn off all lights on trees and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.