High water will close locks for a few days this week on the mid-Mississippi River, which will halt grain shipments to the U.S. Gulf.
The closures had been expected as last week’s flooding on Iowa creeks and rivers moved downstream. The closure may affect soybeans more than corn as river elevators have been loading soybean barges but very few corn barges. The soybean basis at the Gulf dropped sharply recently, which is normal during harvest, but many of the barges destined for the Gulf were sold some time ago when prices were higher.
On Monday, the National Weather Service river gauge showed the Mississippi River at moderate to major flood stages from the Quad Cities to St. Louis. The Army Corps of Engineers said the lock near New Boston, Illinois, is closed and was set to reopen on Wednesday. Two others were likely closed but the Corps office on Monday was unable to provide their current status.
A river terminal in the Quad Cities continued to load soybean barges that will be ready when navigation resumes. Bids for soybeans at the Gulf have fallen sharply in the past week as harvested soybeans downstream have become available. That has made local processors the better market, but even those bids have trended lower, shippers said.
In central Illinois, a rail shipper this week loaded two trains of soybeans destined for Gulf export markets. But those trains also were sold some time ago and local processors currently have the best bids. The shipper was sending corn to a local ethanol plant.
Barge rates for shipment from the Quad Cities to the Gulf eased in the past week to about 525% of tariffs for next week and 500% the following week. The 25 point decrease in shipping costs equates to a decrease of 3.4 cents a bushel for corn and 3.6 cents for soybeans.
Corn at the Gulf was bid about 38 cents over December for October shipment, compared with 50 a week ago. Soybeans for October shipment were bid 57 cents over November versus about 67 a week ago.
Late on Monday, USDA said the U.S. corn harvest was 24% done, which matched last year’s pace, but trailed the five-year average’s 27% average. Soybean harvest was at 26% versus 36% last year and the 27% average.
USDA’s weekly grain inspections for corn of about 57.9 million bushels were up from a week ago, matched trade forecasts and topped the pace needed to meet USDA’s annual export forecast. Soybean shipments of 40.6 million were up sharply from a week ago, beat trade forecasts, and topped USDA’s projected weekly rate. Wheat shipments of 23.6 million were down from a week ago, matched forecasts and topped the weekly rate needed to meet USDA’s forecast.
USDA said barge grain shipments during the weekend Sept. 24 were 444,350 tons, down 15% from the prior week and down 10% from a year ago.
In the rail sector, grain car loadings totaled 22,525 for the week ended Sept. 17, unchanged from the prior week and down 2% from a year ago, said USDA’s Grain Transportation Report.
For truckers, the U.S. average diesel fuel price dropped 1 cent in the latest week to $2.38 per gallon. That is down 9 cents from the same week last year.
Weekly Grain Movement - Sept. 27, 2016 - Iowa farmers await dry weather to resume harvest
Weekly Grain Movement - Sept. 20, 2016 - Farmers hold tight to corn as harvest advances