Hot Topics from Muscatine Ag

  • ADM Morning Grain Comments 2/15/18

    Good Morning!

    As of 7:30 AM

    Corn: MAR17 +0’4 @ 367’6; MAY18 +0’2 @ 375’2

    Beans: MAR18 +1’0 @ 1018’2; MAY18 +1’2 @ 1029’0

    Wheat: MAR18 +1’0 @ 456’6

    February 15, 2018 by Michael Niemiec 

    Wheat prices overnight are up 1 in the SRW Wheat, up 2 in HRW, and up 2 for Spring; Corn is near unchanged; Soybeans up 1; Soymeal unchanged, and; Soyoil up 5 points.

    Chinese Ag futures were closed for week long holiday (back on February 22). The Malaysian Palm Oil market was up 2 ringgit at 2,502, basis April, in a half-day session and will be closed until Monday due to holiday.

    The South American weather forecast has rains developing in Argentina tomorrow and continue into the weekend bringing moderate amounts; most of next week looks dry with another rain event possible the following weekend------the 6 to 10 day forecast for Brazil is close to average rains to fall in all of its growing areas---------the 6 to 10 day has close to average temps in most of South America.

    Things look to be fairly quiet across the HRW wheat belt for much of the next week to 10 days.

    The player sheet had funds net sellers of 4,000 contracts of SRW Wheat; net bought 5,000 Corn; bought 8,000 contracts of Soybeans; net bought 6,000 lots of Soymeal, and; net bought 3,000 Soyoil.

    We estimate Managed Money net short 82,000 contracts of SRW Wheat; net short 49,000 Corn; net long 22,000 contracts of Soybeans; net long 99,000 lots of Soymeal, and; net short 30,000 lots of Soyoil.

    Preliminary Open Interest saw SRW Wheat Futures down roughly 5,900 contracts; HRW Wheat down 240; Corn up 17,700; Soybeans up 13,500 contracts; Soymeal up 4,100 lots, and; Soyoil up 4,900 lots.

    Wheat sales estimates 200,000-450,000t; Corn 1.0-1.5 mt; Soybeans 450,000-750,000t; Soymeal 150,000- 450,000t, and; Soyoil 10,000-30,000t.

    NOPA January crush estimated at 165.5 mil bu versus 166.3 a month ago and 160.6 mil a year ago

    ---Soyoil stocks estimated at 1.603 bil lbs versus 1.518 bil last month and 1.655 bil a year ago

    Malaysia's palm oil exports during the February 1-15 period are estimated up 12.4% on month at 635,298 metric tons, cargo surveyor SGS (Malaysia) Bhd. said

    -----Malaysia's palm oil exports during the Feb. 1-15 period are estimated to be 10.10% higher than a month earlier, at 608,447 metric tons, cargo surveyor Intertek Agri Services said


  • Annual Customer Meeting

    Watch for your invitation for you and a guest in the mail for our Annual Customer Meeting to be held on Thursday, March 8, 2018, at The Rendezvous, 3127 Lucas St., Muscatine, IA, 52761. Happy Hour is 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM, dinner is 5:30 PM with speakers immediately following. This year's featured speaker is Mike Pearson, host of nationally syndicated Market to Market television program. Please RSVP no later than February 22, 2018.

  • Soybean Protein Plight by Karl Plume

    Good morning!

    Protein plight: Brazil steals U.S. soybean share in China

    Karl Plum·


    CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. soybean growers are losing market share in the all-important China market because the race to grow higher-yielding crops has robbed their most prized nutrient: protein.

    FILE PHOTO: Soybeans being sorted according to their weight and density on a gravity sorter machine at Peterson Farms Seed facility in Fargo, North Dakota, U.S., December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Dan Koeck/File Photo

    Declining protein levels make soybeans less valuable to the $400 billion industry that produces feed for cattle, pigs, chickens and fish. And the problem is a key factor driving soybean buyers from the U.S. to Brazil, where warmer weather helps offset the impact of higher crop yields on protein levels.

    A decade ago, the United States supplied 38 percent of soybeans to China, the world’s top importer, compared to 34 percent from Brazil. Now, Brazil supplies 57 percent of Chinese imports compared to 31 from the United States, according to China’s General Administration of Customs.

    Soybeans are by far the most valuable U.S. agricultural export, with $22.8 billion in shipments in 2016. Declining protein levels and market share pose another vexing problem for soy farmers already reeling from a global grains glut and years of depressed prices.

    The U.S. soybean industry also faces rising competition from a growing number of synthetic and organic alternative feeds that provide more protein for less money.

    These are troubling trends for the $41 billion U.S. soybean sector, but the industry’s response has yet to take on much urgency. That’s because the erosion of protein levels has come over many years, and many industry players still have short-term economic incentives to prioritize higher yields over higher protein.

    (For graphic on soybean yield, protein content and market share, see:

    Protein levels have fallen as biotechnology and other breeding advances have pushed yield per acre to record highs, which dilutes protein content. But U.S. farmers can still make more money producing higher volumes of lower-protein crops because they only get an additional 3 to 5 cents a bushel for higher-protein beans.

    Over the long term, however, falling protein levels could have dire consequences for the U.S. industry as a whole - especially in China, which buys two-thirds of all soybeans traded in the world market to feed its vast livestock operations.

    “China needs soybeans, and we’re at risk of becoming a residual supplier if we don’t work on protein improvements,” said North Dakota farmer Jared Hagert, a director and past chairman of the United Soybean Board (USB), an industry association.


    The USB and other industry advocates are starting to take the protein problem seriously. The industry group will spend $5.6 million in fiscal year 2018 on research and other efforts to boost protein, up from $3.7 million last year.

    They face a tough task. Like many farmers, the agribusiness giants that develop seed technology, such as Monsanto Co and DowDuPont Inc, have little incentive to focus on raising protein levels.

    Seed developers have had great success boosting yields through traditional breeding methods and genetic engineering to make crops use less water, tolerate weed killers and grow better in colder or drier climates. But they have yet to crack the genetic code that would raise protein content without hurting yield, seed breeders said.

    At DowDuPont, scientists have identified some promising leads in boosting protein without hurting crop yields, said Steve Schnebly, senior research manager with the agriculture division of DowDuPont. But any commercially viable solution could be two decades away, he said, and isn’t a company priority.

    “Our major objective to our farmer customers is maximum yield,” Schnebly said.

    Monsanto, the world’s largest seed producer, currently has no genetic research projects focusing on elevating protein, spokeswoman Christi Dixon said in a written statement.

    “Market potential and demand doesn’t warrant the R&D investment,” she said.

    The protein decline coincides with a rise of cheaper and more abundant alternative feeds available to livestock and poultry producers. They include distillers grains, a byproduct of the ethanol production process, and synthetic amino acids that are mixed with corn to mimic soymeal.

    Jeff Knott, a swine nutrition consultant and owner of Minnesota-based Ideal Animal Nutrition, creates recipes with such alternatives for hog feed used by producers in several Midwest states.

    “Compared to 20 years ago, we’re probably feeding 70 percent less soybean meal than we used to,” he said. “And it’s all economically driven.”


    Brazilian soybean producers use the same genetically modified seeds as their U.S. counterparts, and have also seen a reduction in protein content.

    But Brazilian growers retain an crucial edge in protein thanks to warmer weather and longer days. The nation’s soybeans contain 37 percent protein on average, according to data from Embrapa, the government’s agriculture research agency.

    That compares to 34.1 percent for U.S. crops in 2017 - a record low, according to the U.S. Soybean Export Council.

    The protein shortfall in this season’s crop has prompted U.S. processors such as Bunge Ltd to cut the amount of protein they can guarantee in soymeal they sell.

    Brazil’s three-percentage-point protein advantage is plenty enough to sway many buyers, especially when combined with the nation’s recent efforts to expand production and reduce shipping delays. Since overtaking the United States as the world’s top soybean exporter in 2013, Brazil has boosted production by about 40 percent.

    Expanded port capacity in northern Brazil and lower freight costs have widened the country’s advantage in China, said a Brazilian trader with a large exporting company.

    “Brazil’s soybeans on average have less impurities and higher protein content,” said the trader, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. “Some destinations will pay a premium for that.”

    Protein is paramount for Chinese importers, two managers at soy crushing plants and one soy meal buyer at a pig producer told Reuters in interviews.

    “Feed producers mainly consider the cost of the soy meal - the price, and the amount of protein it contains,” said a swine feed buyer who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak. “With more supplies from Brazil ... we don’t necessarily need to buy beans from the U.S.”


    The United Soybean Board has launched a pilot project at a small number of processors and grain elevators - facilities that store and load grain for shipping - to record and analyze the protein content of soybeans delivered by local farmers.

    The effort aims to provide highly localized data in the hope that farmers will select seed varieties that produce higher-protein crops and that soybean buyers will pay them a premium.

    Other USB efforts include financing genetics research to boost protein, including studies by researchers at the University of Illinois and by scientists at DuPont Pioneer.

    “We’ve got to be cognizant as to what kind of product we are providing the end user,” said Hagert, the USB director.

    Another study - conducted by the University of Wisconsin and paid for by the Illinois Soybean Association and the U.S. Soybean Export Council - suggests that farmers can better compete with synthetic alternatives by planting beans with a specific amino acid balance.

    Such soybeans can save hog feeders up to $3 a head and save chicken producers 7 cents a bird, said the study’s lead author, John Osthus.

    “Right now, there are synthetic amino acid companies that are undermining U.S. market share,” Osthus said. “If we don’t do something about this, we’re missing a huge market opportunity.”

    Additional reporting by Ana Mano in Sao Paulo and Dominique Patton and Hallie Gu in Beijing; Editing by Simon Webb and Brian Thevenot

    Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

  • Small Seed

    Muscatine Ag would like to be your small seed supplier for waterway seed, pasture mixes, oats, alfalfa, grasses, legumes and lawn seed. We also carry several types of lawn fertilizer.


  • Cover Crops

    Cover Crops!!
    As we rapidly approach the harvest season, cover crops are front and center of possible winter soil building for next years crops.
    Nutrient retention throughout the fall and winter months is the hallmark of fields utilizing cover crops, along with providing organic matter and erosion control.

    Getting Started
    Your management goals will play an important role in helping you decide which cover crop to use and how you manage it. For example:
    • Grasses utilize more soil nitrogen.
    • Legumes use both nitrogen and phosphorus.
    • Deep rooted species provide maximum nutrient recovery.
    • Species like rye will produce high volumes of organic matter if allowed to grow longer in the spring.
    • To maximize weed suppression, leave cover crop residues on the soil surface to maximize allopathic (chemical) and mulching (physical) effects.
    • Select species (i.e. oilseed, radish) that have a large tap root to help alleviate compaction problems.
    Because each cover crop performs differently you may want to consider mixtures of two or more species.
    Muscatine Ag is actively working with growers to provide specialized cover crop seeds and applications!
    If you are considering making cover crops part of your agronomy program, stop in or call us and let us assist you with the identifying of the right Cover Crop seed combination.
    Want your Cover Crop custom applied? Give us a call!!

  • High Clearance Dry Spreader Now Available


    The 2014 custom side-dress was a huge success! So if you are considering side-dressing, whether we custom apply or you use a cart, a blend of urea/AMS is a great fit for this program. Give us a call so we can get you scheduled on our list.

    Some of the field friendly benefits are a 60 or 90 foot spread. This means fewer trips across the field and less turns on the end rows, not to mention the time savings!

  • Lawn Seed and Fertilizer

    Let Muscatine Ag help you achieve that beautiful, lush green lawn that everyone will envy. We carry a large variety of lawn seed and lawn fertilizer.


  • Office Hours


    Monday - Friday 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM 

  • Agrotain Field Study

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