Crop outlook tainted with uncertainty

Corn and soybean plantings by U.S. farmers are sure to surge this spring, according to USDA and private analysts, but the coronavirus pandemic is creating uncertainty about whether there will be enough buyers for a bumper crops this fall. The economic slowdown is likely to reduce demand for corn ethanol, hitting corn growers in the wallet, but the alternative crop for many farmers, soybeans, faces a glut of its own.

Ethanol market is ‘disturbing as hell’ to American farmers. And now there’s Covid-19.

Some 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop is refined into ethanol, but over the last two weeks, Covid-19 has joined a host of other disrupting factors to create what Geoff Cooper, president of the Renewable Fuels Association, calls “not just a perfect storm for ethanol, but a perfect tsunami.” Since the outbreak, ethanol prices have plunged to an all-time low of 88 cents a gallon and manufacturers are warning of more plant closures and reduced run rates.(No paywall)

Coronavirus darkens income prospects for grain farmers

Seven weeks ago, the USDA forecast the highest U.S. net farm income since 2013. Since then, the coronavirus pandemic has driven down grain prices and “reduced (the) grain farm income outlook for 2020,” wrote five university economists on Tuesday. “Given current expected …

Larger soybean and cotton plantings due to trade deal?

The "phase one" trade agreement with Beijing will bring larger U.S. plantings of soybeans and cotton this spring than now projected by USDA, as growers aim for revived exports to China, analysts said over the weekend. China is the world's largest importer of the commodities but U.S. ag exports to China were halved by the tit-for-tat tariffs of the Sino-U.S. trade war.

EPA issues biofuel mandate, is accused of breaking a deal on ethanol

Less than two weeks before the new year, the EPA said it modified the Renewable Fuel Standard to ensure that “a net of 15 billion gallons” of corn ethanol is blended into gasoline in 2020. But ethanol makers and farm groups were skeptical that the EPA’s final version of the RFS, issued on …

Painful ag restructuring if Sino-U.S. trade war persists

If there is no near-term resolution of the Sino-U.S. trade war, the Trump administration will need to spend billions of dollars in additional trade war payments to farmers and ranchers or watch farm income sink, said two economists on Monday. Either way, there would be painful restructuring in the sector, which has collected more than $10 billion in Trump tariff payments this year.

Late harvest, bad weather put revenue pressures on country elevators

Between a weather-delayed harvest and uncertainties about the demand for their crops, farmers have been slow to sell corn and soybeans this fall. One consequence is tighter margins and revenue pressures on country elevators, said a report from ag lender CoBank.

One-year wonder: U.S. soy stockpile to shrink as quickly as it grew

Aided by the Sino-U.S. trade war, the U.S. soybean inventory doubled to a record 913 million bushels in one year, the government said on Thursday. At the same time, the USDA estimated that total will be cut in half by next September.

Storms and hard freeze threaten corn and soybeans

A hard freeze is forecast across a significant portion of the western Corn Belt, with 14 percent of the U.S. corn crop and 5 percent of the soybean crop at risk of freeze damage, said forecaster Maxar on Wednesday.

Different types of corn drive U.S.-Mexico trade

The United States and Mexico are among the world’s largest corn producers, and both are expanding production. A USDA report says that despite their geographic proximity, there are fundamental differences in the “corn economies” of the two countries.