Grain News: April 30, 2019 – Planting Delays Leave Opportunity for Grain Marketing

Katie of landmarkCorn and soybean markets are trading neutral to slightly firmer on this rainy Tuesday morning. Yesterday’s crop progress report showed few surprises. The USDA says corn is 15% planted while trade estimated 14% and we were at just 6% last week. We are dragging behind the five-year average of 27%. Soybeans are said to be 3% planted vs. 1% last week and a five-year average of 6%. US Winter wheat conditions are said to be 64% good/excellent compared to 62% last week.

Weather has not been very conducive to getting spring fieldwork and planting complete. The Midwest is set to see a rain system move in today and tomorrow, covering a chunk of the corn belt. It should dry up by the weekend, but the forecast shows another system moving in late Monday. Below average temps aren’t helping to dry up the moisture, but it’s expected to warm up this weekend.

The local farmer is holding tight to their old crop corn supply as they hope that some sort of bounce happens in the next month or two. Corn basis has stayed firm, but that still leaves the farmer less than excited about the flat price. Old crop bean carryout is still weighing on markets, and with a wet spring, it’s likely that late acres will switch to beans.

While it certainly has not been an exciting start to 2019 when it comes to marketing, now is the time to take a look at your marketing plan and make some updates to your target orders and sales goals. Remember to continue to be proactive in marketing, so opportunities don’t slip away from you.

As always, give us a call if we can help!

Mike Halvensleben Recognized with The Patriot Award

COTTAGE GROVE, WI, April 26, 2019 – The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) recently presented the Patriot Award to Mike Halvensleben, Vice President – Landmark Logistics of Landmark Services Cooperative (LSC) on Friday, April 12. The award recognizes supervisors and managers nominated by a National Guardsman or Reservist employee for support provided directly to the nominator.

To recognize employers who support their Guard and Reserve employees, ESGR grants a series of Department of Defense awards. The first in ESGR’s series of awards is the Patriot Award. The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed.

“Landmark is grateful for all those that serve our country and protect our freedoms. We are very proud of Mike’s and all employees’ dedicated efforts to support our employee servicemen and women. Employees of Landmark ‘Work Proud’,” states Jim Dell, CEO and president of LSC.

Mike was nominated in February 2019 by one of his employees. “I am very thankful for Mike’s support with my military leave. He deserves to be recognized and that’s why I nominated him for this award,” proudly boasts Charlie Lentz, Logistics driver of LSC. Mike was extremely touched to be nominated and honored to receive a framed Patriot Award certificate and accompanying lapel pin.

Recognizing supportive employers is vital to ESGR’s mission. ESGR’s 54 State Committees actively promote awards as a key element in furthering employer support, while strengthening relationships between service members and employers. These Department of Defense awards honor the sacrifices made by so many employers year after year.

“When I make a Patriot Award presentation I’m struck by the willingness of the employers to work with their employees in the area of military deployments and training. The absence of an employee can be pretty disruptive to the usual state of affairs in any enterprise, but the employers seem to accept this and do the best they can to make it as easy as possible for our military,” states Wynne Williams of ESGR.

Patriot Award presentation information


Grain News: April 25, 2019 – Corn and Soybean Futures Traded at New Contract Lows

Doug Cropp grain signaturesCorn and soybean futures traded at new contract lows again on Wednesday as the funds continue to build on their record net short position.  It is estimated that funds are short roughly 345,000 contracts of corn. May corn has lost 33 cents since March 25th.  The wheat market has not helped corn any as improving wheat growing conditions around the world and lack of exports has pushed it lower. Also, Canadian farmers are expected to plant an extra 750,000 hectares of spring wheat this year.

The corn trade continues to mostly disregard the weather forecast which is cooler and wetter for the next 6-14-days.  Some planting progress is being made in the western corn belt, however much of the eastern corn belt is still too wet.  Next week’s planting progress report should show corn and soybean planting further behind average.  The market knows that the U.S. farmer can plant so quickly, and they are not concerned just yet.

World currency rates remain an issue as the U.S. dollar made a 2-year high today while Brazil and Argentina’s currencies traded lower.  This does not help exports for the U.S. farmer. While the U.S. farmers see lower prices, the South American counterparts are seeing higher prices for soybeans. Since Feb 1st July soybean futures have fallen from $9.44 to $8.68 (-8%).  In the same time, July soybean futures in Brazilian reals are flat and in Argentina pesos are up 9%.

The National Agricultural Statistics Services indicated this week that they will not be releasing stored bushels loss data from the floods until the June 28th stocks report.  This will create a bit more uncertainty as there were millions of bushels lost due to the flood.

While all the news lately has been bearish this crop isn’t in the ground yet and far from being made.  It seems as if all the risk premium has been taken out the markets and the funds have huge short positions, so it has the potential for a decent rally. Marketing grain isn’t for the faint of heart and being patient right now is probably the best idea.  It might be time to revisit some of your offers and your overall marketing plan and see if some adjustments a bit lower should be made. If you need to sell today for cash flow needs, it may make sense to work some type of re-ownership strategy with options or futures.

We are currently offering free delayed price on corn and soybeans.  This allows you to move the grain from your bins now and it will be in position to sell if the market moves higher, possibly when you are busy in the fields.   Give us a call if you have questions.   Please be safe during this busy planting season.

Doug Cropp




Agronomy News – Alfalfa Winter Kill Causes and Solutions

Alfalfa evaluation

This spring we are seeing a concerning amount of winter killed alfalfa. Stands that looked and yielded great last year just did not hold up to our harsh winter. There were three factors that contributed that led to less than stellar looking spring hay fields:

  1. The wettest fall ever recorded.
    • Alfalfa does not like its “feet” wet and these small plants were exposed to constant wet weather conditions
  2. Harsh winter conditions.
    • Lack of early snow cover, freezing rain alternating with heavy snow and long spells of bitter cold battered the plants.
  3. Disease pressure that thrives in wet conditions.
    • Anthracnose, Aphanomyces root rot and Phytophthora root rot, a fungal disease that causes loss of stand on heavy or poorly drained soils. So, as we approach the alfalfa stand review this spring, we look at the dead area as well with what is still remaining will also have the same disease on the live plants as well. These diseases are also present in other fields that have alfalfa history in them.

LEARN MORE about Alfalfa disease HERE

Forage Solutions:

Immediate Forage Replacement Solutions

Landmark Agronomy Dairy Feed Shortage Options

How to manage your risk:

The best management practice is to choose alfalfa hybrids that have highly resistance to these diseases.  Rebound 6xt and Hvx Megatron are the only varieties that are resistance to the 3 different races of aphanomyces. Landmark Services Cooperative carries Croplan alfalfa because it is the only company that has hybrids that surpass the industry for alfalfa disease tolerance. To learn more about how to manage your alfalfa contact your Landmark agronomist today.

Grain News: April 23, 2019 – Busy Planting? Open Offers Keep You in the Market

jim photoIt did not rain on Easter Sunday, thus as weather lore goes, we should not have to worry about seven consecutive rainy Sundays! My family and I made our annual pilgrimage down to northern Illinois for Easter to be with family.  I saw a decent amount of tillage equipment and planters rolling and taking advantage of the warm dry conditions.

Secretary Lighthizer and his team will be heading to China this week with a return for both delegations to Washington next week.  Rumors are that a June date is targeted for a signing, but the market still awaits a signed trade agreement.  The WTO ruled against China in last week’s decision which should motivate the Chinese negotiators to get a new trade deal done.

Corn planting 6% complete vs. 12% average and 6-8% estimated (IL 1% complete vs. 17% avg, IA 4% vs. 10% avg, IN vs. 5% avg, MN zero vs. 11% avg, WI 1% vs. 2% avg, NE 2% vs. 8% avg, SD zero vs. 3% avg, ND zero vs. 1% avg)

Soybean planting 1% complete vs. 2% average and 2% estimated

Winter wheat 9% headed vs. 18% average

Winter wheat 62% good/excellent vs.  60% last week

Spring wheat planted 5% complete vs. 22% average

Corn and wheat knocked it out of the park in yesterday’s export news, beans not so much!

Grain expectations





Our agronomy team is going full bore to stay ahead of you and planting.  That being said, if you have not put in your open offers yet, it is time to do so now. The next few weeks, you will be focused on planting your crops and getting home safely every night, not on marketing.  Having an open offer in place will make sure you do not miss any bounce in these markets; allowing you to do what you do best, get the crop in!

Grain News: April 18, 2019 – Corn Continues To Grind Lower

Melissa with LandmarkExtreme spring weather is not shaking up the market in a positive way.  With rainfall coming in less than first expected, the market looks for planting to get a good start.  Fieldwork around here has not really started, but south of here has and fertilizer applied.

Markets are taking a break on Good Friday holiday and trading will resume Sunday night.  High level talks are scheduled for last week of April in China and then Washington DC in early May.  There is still hope that a deal will be reached and signed by the end of May or early June.

Corn continues to grind lower with lack of news and farmer selling.  Ethanol production saw an increase over last week by 295 million gallons.  Ethanol is currently outpacing seasonal averages and USDA estimates.  Ethanol stocks are still 6.2% above levels at this same time last year.  February the U.S. exported 114 million gallons below last year by 48%.  The normal buyers are still buying Brazil, Canada and India.  U.S. corn is still 30-35 cents over priced against Brazilian corn.

Funds continue to take a shorter position in beans.  Argentina’s government estimated their soybean crop at just shy of 56 million metric tons vs. the USDA at 55 million metric tons.  China is thought to have most of their beans bought for May but only 30% for June.

Start looking at corn numbers for October/November 2020.  Spring 2021 offers some good numbers out there.  Make sure to talk to one of us and review your offers ahead of planting.  Have a safe and great planting season.



Grain News: April 16, 2019 – Trade Optimism

Josh of LandmarkTrade optimism and a slow start to planting gave headlines a friendly tone to start the week but a drier Western Corn Belt outlook tempered the anticipation of higher prices.  Monday’s U.S. corn planting was at 3% vs the expected 5% and vs the 5-year average of 5%.  Spring wheat planting was at 2% vs the expected 4%.  Next weeks progress is already expected to get further behind the 5-year average.

A statement from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that the U.S. and China are “getting close to the final round of concluding issues” continue to give optimism to an outcome while many start to speculate what could be involved in such a deal given the state of the Chinese swine industry as it relates to meat (including beef and poultry) as part of the deal.  China was on the export shipments list for the week ending April 11 with two cargoes of soybeans 4.8 million bushels.  Soybean export inspections in yesterday’s report was on the low end of expectations at 460 tmt, down from last week’s 888tmt.

Grain markets will be closed this Friday for Good Friday.

Grain News: April 11, 2019 – More Snow & Freezing Rain

Kasey of LandmarkJust another strange week here in the great state of Wisconsin. Here in the central part of the state we have more snow/freezing rain that is not welcome this time of year.  This week in the grain world not much is exciting. The WASDE Report was released leaving prices in approximately the same range we have been seeing for a week now.

Corn is trading a smidge lower due to loss of export sales. Corn harvest in South America is still plugging along. It looks like Argentina has raised the estimated production again on corn and beans. Ethanol margins are getting tighter due to some plants shut down due to flooding.

Soybeans are also lower this morning. It seems that the market is getting more skeptical on an agreement between the US and China. Along with no deal there also has been a cancellation of the World Pork Expo in Des Moines IA. This could potentially affect the bean market, I would think new relationships are found during such world events.

Wheat is still holding somewhat steady. Looks like exports are neutral for the US. European futures are a tad higher. RJO reported that the wheat market could start to stabilize in the next coming months.

While prices are not where most farmers would like, now is a great time to try Premium Offer Contracts on old crop grain. If you look further in to the differed months prices start to get stronger, so forward contracting in 2020 or Price Builder Bonus contracts can help farmers capture the carry in the market. My final tip for these markets is selling the calendar not just the spikes. When selling the calendar one can hopefully beef up the average price per bushel rather than missing out on the short window of a rally.

Have a great day, spring should be arriving soon!

Kasey Baker


Grain News: April 9, 2019 – Bearish News

Judy of LandmarkMarkets are trading mixed following the release of the USDA S/D report where minor changes were made.  The report was slightly bearish compared with average trade expectations.

Ethanol, feed and residual and export forecasts were lowered in the report.  As a result, ending stocks forecast was raised by 200 million bushels.  Global ending stocks were raised about 5.5 million tonnes.  With ending stocks raised again corn could have a hard time rallying even with weather issues.  Some are questioning lowering the feed use when hog, cattle and poultry numbers have been increasing.

Soybean stocks were lowered by five million bushels to 895 million bushels, which was below trade expectations.  USDA made no adjustments to exports or crush.  Brazil’s production was raised but kept Argentina’s production unchanged.

Wheat exports were cut 20 million bushels and feed and residual use was cut 10 million bushels.  Endings stocks are forecast at 1,087 million bushels.

So, what is the game plan now with all this bearish news.  The markets focus will be on planted acres and weather.  We would encourage you to stay focused on your marketing plans and update them as the planting and growing season moves on.

Get your offers working for you while you are getting your crop in the ground.  Your grain marketing specialists are ready to help get your old and new crop sold.   Please take the time to be safe this spring—No one can take your place.

Grain News: April 4, 2019 – Markets Slowly Climbing Back

Katie of LandmarkMarkets are continuing to slowly climb back from last Friday’s report. This morning’s exports were better than expected for beans and wheat, but disappointing on corn. The USDA announced 72.4 million bushels of bean exports, 25.9 million bushels of wheat, and 21.2 million bushels of corn to be exported.

The five-day forecast shows rain for 95% of the Midwest with low pressure systems moving in from the Plaines. Temperatures should be around average for the rest of the week, but a cold snap will cool things down at the end of next week. Field work will most likely be slow until the fields get a chance to dry up.

In trade news today, India is allowing 100K tons of non-GMO corn to be imported at 15% tariff compared to their normal 60% import tax. US negotiators met with Chinese officials on Wednesday, and President Trump is expected to host Vice Premier Liu this afternoon in The White House. Sources have indicated that a deal could be close that would have the Chinese buying a trillion dollars of US commodities between now and 2025. Have your orders in working, especially before you get too busy in the fields, so that you can take advantage of any trade talk rallies that may be short lived.

As we all try to stay optimistic about a trade deal, remember that a good marketing plan also takes into account the calendar. While we will continue to hope for a bounce in markets, make realistic decisions in your sales to manage your risk.

Have a great day!

Katie Demrow