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3 Big Things Today, January 10

Beans, Grains Little Changed; Ethanol Production Falls to Lowest Since April.

1. Soybeans, Grains Little Changed on Lack of News

Soybeans and grains were little changed in overnight trading as investors await more news on exports and further talks with China.

With the partial government shutdown continuing, there’s still no news on whether China has actually made purchases of U.S. soybeans since late December. Outside of a few rumored reports of sales, there’s been a dearth of data with regard to export sales.

That’s keeping some traders and investors from taking a position one way or the other in recent weeks. The shutdown is now entering its 20th day with no relief in sight after President Trump reportedly walked out of a meeting with Democrats.

Negotiations with China on finding a resolution to the ongoing trade dispute between the countries went well this week, according to both sides, and now farmers, traders, and analysts are waiting to hear when the next round of talks will begin.

For now at least, it seems traders are sitting on the sidelines waiting for news.

Soybeans for March delivery fell 1¢ to $9.22¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal fell 20¢ to $323.20 a short ton, and soy oil added 0.01¢ to 28.61¢ a pound.

Corn was unchanged at $3.82 a bushel overnight.

Wheat fell 1½¢ to $5.18½ a bushel, while Kansas City futures declined ¾¢ to $5.04¾ a bushel overnight.  

** Today’s 3 Big Things from Successful Farming is brought to you by Golden Harvest Seeds. **

2. Ethanol Production Falls to Lowest Level in Eight Months; Iowa Production Hits Record High

Ethanol production fell to the lowest level in more than eight months in the seven days through January 4 while inventories rose to a three-week high, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Output of the biofuel last week averaged 1 million barrels a day in the U.S., down from 1.011 million a day a week earlier and the lowest level since April 20, EIA data show. Production in the Midwest, which has, by far, the biggest output, fell to an average of 929,000 barrels from 932,000 a week earlier.

Gulf Coast production dropped to 13,000 barrels a day, on average, from 20,000 barrels, the agency said in a report. Output on the East Coast and in the Rocky Mountain region each dropped by 1,000 barrels a day, while West Coast production rose by 1,000 barrels a day.

Stockpiles, meanwhile, were reported at 23.254 million barrels last week, up from 23.162 million seven days earlier and the highest amount since December 14, the EIA said.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association said in a report yesterday that ethanol plants in the state, the biggest producer of the biofuel, produced 4.35 billion gallons in 2018. The association attributed the all-time high to record exports.

Still, the amount was below capacity and margins suffered due to the ongoing trade dispute with China, the Iowa RFA said in its report.

“This record production is a testament to the resilience of Iowa’s ethanol producers,” said Monte Shaw, the executive director of the association. “This past year, they were hit with demand-destroying small-refinery exemptions and a closed Chinese market. The resulting low or, in some cases, negative margins made 2018 a tough year for ethanol producers and our corn suppliers. Iowa ethanol producers have weathered the storm fairly well given the reports of idled and even shuttered plants in other states.”

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3. Winter Storm Watch in Effect For Parts of Missouri, Illinois as 7 Inches of Snow Possible

A winter storm watch is in effect for most of eastern Missouri and southern Illinois, and hazardous weather may show up just east of there, according to the National Weather Service.

A storm expected to hit the region starting tomorrow will bring heavy snow and sleet, the NWS said in a report early this morning. As much as 7 inches of snow are possible and sleet accumulations are forecast around a third of an inch.

Travel is expected to be “very difficult” in the region should the storm’s full impact be realized.

Farther east, a “slow-moving low-pressure system” will bring a mix of rain and snow to parts of the Ohio Valley starting Friday and lasting through Monday, the NWS said.

“Although we don’t know the exact track and fine details of this weather system, accumulating snow looks possible, especially for areas along and north of Interstate 64 Friday night into Saturday morning,” the agency said.

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