River terminals are busy loading corn and soybean barges destined for Gulf export points, with one shipper reporting a busy shipping schedule for much of July.
That demand for barges lifted barge rates about 100 points in the past month to about 475% of tariff as of this week at the Quad Cities. The rise in rates did pressure basis bids to farmers for a while, but those recovered when crop bids at the Gulf moved up.
“The last two weeks they jumped pretty good,” a Quad Cities shipper said of the barge rates. “It is just because of demand.”
USDA’s weekly grain transportation report said 996,000 tons of grain were shipped by barge during the week ended June 25, up 12% from the prior week and up 38% from a year ago. Year-to-date shipments are up 7% from 2015.
Also, grain shippers in Illinois and in Iowa have sold corn trains to Southeast poultry markets - one train for July shipment and another for August. Elsewhere in the Midwest, local processors appear to taking most of the corn and soybeans.
A surge in grain shipments by rail helped offset a drop in coal and petroleum shipments, the grain transportation report said. For the four weeks ended June 18, grain car loadings are up 5% from the previous week and up 8% from a year ago.
USDA released weekly export inspections Tuesday morning, a day late because of Monday’s holiday, and it showed corn and soybean shipments down from a week ago and wheat up. The soybean shipments of 7.03 million bushels missed forecasts in a Reuters poll.
For truckers, the U.S. average diesel fuel price was unchanged from the previous week at $2.43 a gallon. That is down 42 cents from the same week last year.
Rain fell across southern Illinois over the weekend, where it was needed. Amounts of four inches or more fell in some areas and grain dealers said that amount was over a long enough time that the moisture soaked into the ground rather than run off.
In western and southern Iowa rain fell last week and more is forecast.
“We are not overly wet, but we are a lot better than what we were,” said a dealer near Interstate 80 in western Iowa. “We are going to get warm this week but cooler next week. Everything is looking good.”
Corn is either tasseling in many areas or will be this week or next, dealers said. While hot weather is expected, the forecasted highs near 90 degrees should not hurt the crop. Also, rain should help.
Farmer selling of corn and soybeans has been slow since last week’s USDA crop report, which surprised the market with the larger-than-expected corn acreage of 94.1 million.
Weekly Grain Movement - June 27, 2016 - Farmers stay home as Brexit rattles market
Weekly Grain Movement - June 21, 2016 - River markets heat up; shippers hunt for barges
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