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3 Big Things Today, August 22

Beans, Grains Little Changed Overnight; Weekly Ethanol Production Drops to Four-Month Low.

1. Soybeans, Grains Little Changed in Overnight Trading

Soybeans and grains were little changed as results from the Pro Farmer crop tour were mixed.

In Illinois, corn yields were pegged at about 171.2 bushels an acre, down from the USDA outlook for 181 bushels an acre.

The tour measured 997.7 soybeans pods per 3×3-foot square in the state, which is down from the 1.328.9 pods found last year.

In western Iowa, yield was seen from 184.9 bushels an acre to 192.7 bushels, according to Pro Farmer. Soybean pod counts ranged from 1,095.9 pods per 3×3-foot square to 1,221.1 pods.

Soybean futures for November delivery rose 1¢ to $8.74 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal gained 30¢ to $300.60 a short ton, while soybean oil added 0.04¢ to 29.16¢ a pound.

Corn futures for December delivery gained ½¢ to $3.70¾ a bushel.

Wheat for September delivery rose ½¢ to $4.68½ a bushel, while Kansas City futures added 2¢ to $4.02½ a bushel.

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2. Ethanol Production Drops to Lowest in More Than Four Months, POET Shuts Indiana Plant

Ethanol production plunged to the lowest level in more than four months last week, and stockpiles also declined, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Output in the seven days that ended on August 16 averaged 1.023 million barrels a day, the EIA said in a report. That’s down from 1.045 million barrels a day, on average, and the lowest level since April 12.

Midwestern production, by far the biggest in the U.S., declined to an average of 945,000 barrels a day from 969,000 barrels the previous week. West Coast output fell to 15,000 barrels a day from 17,000 barrels.

East Coast production, however, increased to 26,000 barrels a day from 22,000 barrels, the EIA said.

Gulf Coast output was unchanged at 24,000 barrels a day, on average, while Rocky Mountain production stayed at 13,000 barrels a day, the agency said.

Stockpiles, meanwhile, decreased week to week to 23.367 million barrels from 23.883 million, the government said.

POET, the largest producer of ethanol in the U.S., said it shut a plant in Indiana due to what it called “mismanagement” of the ethanol mandate. It wasn’t the first.

The Renewable Fuels Association has said 13 ethanol plants – not including the Indiana facility – have been shut partly due to “to the demand loss resulting from the administration’s abusive exploitation of the small refiner waivers.”

The EPA earlier this month granted 31 so-called hardship waivers to small refineries. Farm and ethanol groups say the waivers undermine the renewable fuels standard that dictates how much ethanol must be blended into gasoline.

The National Corn Growers Association said on its website that since early 2018, the Trump administration has granted 85 RFS exemptions to refineries totaling 4.04 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel.

“Corn farmers have until August 30 to submit comments to the EPA, urging the agency to keep the Renewable Fuel Standard whole,” the NCGA said.

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3. Flooding Expected in Band From Northeastern Oklahoma Through Central Illinois      

Flash flood warnings, flood warnings, and flood advisories are in effect in a narrow band from northeastern Oklahoma into south-central Illinois as storms roll through the region.

A large storm will continue to bring rainfall and strong winds to the area today, according to the National Weather Service. Winds topping 40 mph are expected.

Three to four inches of rain have fallen in the past five hours across the area, which has led to flash flooding, the NWS said in a report early this morning. More precipitation is expected throughout the day.

Farther east, in south-central Illinois, as much as 4 inches of rain had fallen as of about 2:30 a.m. local time.

The storms will continue throughout the day, creating dangerous conditions in low-lying areas.

“Some storms could be strong to severe with damaging wind gusts being the primary threat,” the NWS said. “Locally heavy rainfall continues to be possible along and south of Interstate 70 today.”

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