Landscapes Monthly Newsletter – March 2020

The monthly Landscapes Newsletter is sent to Landmark Services Cooperative members with each monthly statement.  View the Landscapes Newsletter for news and important information from Landmark Services Cooperative.

Grain Exchange 2-27-20

Grain exchange update with Melissa Schmidt

Spring officially starts in 21 days!  Markets continue to be soft with uncertainty with coronavirus.  Exports were on the lower side of expectations (see below).  Exports of corn went to Japan, Mexico, Costa Rica and one cargo to South Korea.  Corn continues to be sourced from the Black Sea and South America opposed to the U.S.  South America continues to be the choice for bean exports with their currencies weakening.  Meal rallied early yesterday over reports Argentine government will propose an increased export tariff due to farmer/Ag protests.

Wheat futures are weaker with no threat of weather conditions affecting the current U.S. crop.

Stay active in the markets whether it is buying fuel for this year or beyond.  Make sure to book fertilizer ahead of spring busy season, as currently they remain flat.  Talk to your grain marketing specialist regarding offers ahead of spring.  Write down a plan and share it with us ahead of your busy season!

Enjoy the sun!

Melisa Schmidt

Grain Exchange 2-25-20

Grain exchange update with Katie Demrow

Morning markets are slightly firmer after a rough Monday to start the week. Coronavirus still seems to be the major headline impacting almost all global markets as cases continue to add up. Italy announced that they have had six deaths due to the virus and 219 cases. This has caused one of their main financial hubs, Milan, to shut down business in many aspects. Markets including energies, grains, and livestock were all down yesterday, and the DOW lost more than 3%. Crude oil futures were down 4% yesterday, which put prices below $52 per barrel. While these markets aren’t favorable to grain prices, this may be a good time to look into booking some of your future fuel usage.

The eastern corn belt will see some wet weather today through Friday, and the 8-14 day forecasts are showing some more wet weather March 2-9. We’re on track to be one of the warmest winters on record, with the average temperature tracking three degrees Celsius warmer than the 20th century average. Brazil is also seeing wet weather with rain fall yesterday and continued precipitation and thunderstorms in the forecast for the next 5 days. This is causing harvest delays, as well as some issues loading at the ports. Argentina also saw widespread rains over the last 24 hours.

We saw big futures volumes today as the March board is set to expire soon. Corn traded 448 thousand contracts while beans traded 293 thousand and wheat traded 209 thousand contracts. While farmer selling slows during these drops in the market, continue to watch input costs and make big-picture plans for the coming crop year. As always, give us a call if we can help!

Have a great day!

Excellent Pricing for Soyhull Pellets with April Forward Contracting

Landmark has excellent buying opportunities for April-forward contracting on soyhull pellets. Dairy and beef producers struggling with forage inventories after several poor years of harvest and quality issues should consider products like soyhull pellets, corn gluten pellets and cottonseed to extend forages by providing fiber to the diet.

For more information, please contact:

  • Bill Cody – Formulation and Risk Management Coordinator
  • Phone: 608-819-3305
  • Email:

Evansville Fertilizer Facility Updates

The 28,000-ton dry plant at the Evansville location is tracking on schedule for an early summer 2020 completion. Currently the concrete walls for the storage bins are complete and wood walls are being set in place. The building will quickly start to take shape in the coming weeks. This is an exciting opportunity for Landmark and its members moving forward. As we move closer to completion we will be announcing tour dates and an open house to showcase this state-of-the-art building to our members. Keep your eyes peeled in your travels as the main fertilizer tower is scheduled to start to take shape in the coming months.

Key benefits for Landmark members include:

  • Faster loading, resulting in shorter wait times for our tender fleet and members getting direct loads. Loading time of tender trucks and semi-trucks will be under 10 minutes now, versus 30 minutes in the past.
  • Blending 250 tons per hour.
  • Receiving product at 600 tons per hour.
  • Flexibility of fertilizer delivery to Landmark by rail or truck.
  • Cost savings related to insurance, utilities and repairs with older facilities.

As our membership continues to grow, we remain focused on our ability to serve members’ operations of all sizes in the most timely and efficient manner. Landmark is proud to be committed to your current and future needs.

Grain Exchange 2-20-20

Grain exchange update with Kasey Baker

Another beautiful day in the countryside today, hopefully the temperature starts rising as well.

The markets have been staying pretty range bound for several days or what seems like weeks, staying between 2-5 cent of open prices. Except for wheat which has seen some crazy ups and downs.

Corn has heard some positive news. Brazil is behind on their second crop corn planting. However, the export demand has been lacking by about 8 million bushels according to the USDA expectations. Reuters is putting 2020 corn planting at 93.6 million acres. See chart below for the USDA estimated corn 2020 average price. FSA also released that the 2019 prevent plant was at 11,433,459 on corn in 2019 across the US.

Beans in Brazil are also behind on harvesting by almost 15%. Brazil seems to be out of old crop beans so they are needing to push through harvest as quickly as possible. Domestic usage on beans has been very strong with crushing demands higher than expected. Prevent plant 32,902 acres on beans nationwide as released by the FSA.  2020 planted bean acres estimated at 84.6 million bushels which according to the chart below will result in a rise of bean average price.

Just a reminder, we will be having our Winter Producer Meetings next week. It’s not too late to sign up. On the grain side we will be discussing marketing plans, marketing contract options, and having a guest speaker for a brief market outlook.

Have a safe day!

Grain Exchange 2-18-20

Going into the markets three-day weekend the corn market continued its 3.76-3.85 range with funds short 72k contracts of con vs 56k the week prior.  Technically the corn complex had appeared to be over sold and wanting to build back up in the range but have seemed to be stuck in this area for the month of Feb still trading below the 20-day moving average.  The optimists among us want to point out that the fear of a slowing China or even World economy could subside with Coronavirus announcements slowing in China while they also approve imports of live poultry from the US for the first time since 2015.  With Phase 1 going into effect the market is on the cusp of understanding what we are in for going forward.   Will China honor their purchase intentions?  China says, yes but had just purchased Ukraine corn.

As we move to beans there also seems to be some sense of optimism as price is moving above the 20-day moving average suggesting we will continue to bounce off the bottom of the range.   South America has not been a source of bullish support as crop conditions are not alarming and the currency dynamics push both corn and beans into the World market.   Managed money was a net seller of all 3 portions of the soybean complex last week, but cash bean markets are firming, and spreads are starting to firm up which is supportive of futures.

It is that time of year when we are all working on marketing plans.  How do we sell this crop we have not yet planted but fully intend too?  One thing we are being told is, do not count on additional “Trump Bucks” for next year.  With that information and looking at the economics of grain farming next year things do not look easy.   Corn might be attractive as opposed to beans, but both will take some strict and careful management to make things work and that is why planning this time of year is so important.

Josh Grunnet


Grain Exchange

Grain prices rebounded from small overnight losses Tuesday night to close moderately higher Wednesday, as trade and export optimism triggered some technical buying yesterday. Corn and soybeans moved around 0.7% higher, with some wheat contracts climbing as much as 1%. Traders have their fingers crossed for another round of solid export sales data from USDA first thing this morning.

Next Thursday the 20th, the USDA Ag Outlook Forum will put a variety of updated numbers that will include forecasted impacts from Phase 1 execution and CV.  The markets are oversold and without more shocks from China on CV, next week has the potential to return to some solid footing.

And USDA’s 10.7% reduction in U.S. ending soybean stocks from last month should not be taken lightly, argues Duane Lowry, senior risk manager with Silver Creek Commodities. “I ponder the likelihood that we will see further notable cuts in U.S. soybean ending stocks as the marketing year unfolds,” he writes in the latest Ag Marketing IQ blog.

Coronavirus is now being named COVID-19.  There are over 44,000 cases in China with over 1,100 deaths.  The rate of new cases is slowing in China, but is just starting in other countries, according to the head of the WHO response team.  He also said a vaccine could be ready in 18 months.

The severe economic problems in Brazil and Argentina are forcing their new leadership to address their mountain of government debt and sagging economies.  The new taxes that were levied against Ag exports was the start and now they are cutting interest rates to help stimulate some new growth.  Cutting interest rates has tanked both the Real and Peso and they now sit at their lowest levels against the Dollar in over a decade.

As Tuesday’s report results were within estimates and offered nothing surprising, the trade now looks forward to the February 15th Phase 1 installment date to see if China makes a large-scale move to drop additional tariffs and approve import licenses for sizable purchases of US food products.

Stay warm and be safe today,

Jim Fleming

Grain Exchange

Grain exchange update with Judy Uhlenhake

Will we see any surprises in the USDA February WASDE report due at 11:00 am? Markets are all trading even to slightly lower this morning ahead of the report. China Phase one and coronavirus continue in the headlines pressuring grain. USDA does not plan on adjusting exports for projections of Phase One.

March corn continues to trade in 3.79 to 3.85 range. Exports have shown some strength as demand out of the Gulf has intensified recently. Currently exports are 42% behind last year. Corn production number is not expected to be adjusted until the Northern Plains and Lake States are resurveyed, at the earliest in the March report.

Soybeans are hit the hardest on the coronavirus news. South America is currently harvesting and supplying the global stocks. There just isn’t any news to spark a rally in soybeans.

Wheat has been trying to get a handle on global supplies. Russia enacted an export quota which will continue to tighten stocks. Australia has received some rainfall, time will tell if it’s enough to replenish soil moisture following a three year drought.

Spring crop insurance price is currently being tracked. Right now 2020 price is tracking at lowest level in 10 years excluding 2016. With that being said it is looking more attractive to plant more corn than soybeans. With the current carryout, exports lagging and increase in acres December corn price will see some pressure. Now might be the time to get some new crop sold when the board trades at $4.00 or above.

This is a good time to have a marketing plan in place to lock in prices when they trade at a profitable level. Reach out to your Grain Marketing specialist to get offers in place to capture any upside swings in the market.

We will have our Grain Producer meetings February 24 and 25th. We will discuss Market outlook and creating a plan for your crop. Hope you can make it!

With the quality of this year’s crop please keep safety in mind when working around your bins. If you have problems with the grain bridging please take the time to approach the situation in a safe manner. Twenty seconds is roughly how log it takes for a grown man to become entrapped in a grain bin. Instead take twenty seconds to make the right choice and stay alive.

Contact your Grain Marketing specialist for all your grain marketing needs. We are here for you.

Have a great day.

Judy Uhlenhake

Grain Exchange

Good morning,

Markets calmed and finished mixed yesterday after a quiet day of news about the coronavirus and mostly higher world equity markets.  Solid progress appears to be being made on containment and treatment in China to help soothe the nerves of an exhausted trade.  Today’s export report could be a good spark if numbers continue last week’s strength.

Some things you cannot make up.  Not only do we have global concerns of the coronavirus but a plague of locusts (seriously) is moving across northern Africa and expected to triple in size before reaching India in a few years. Lord have mercy, what’s next!

Corn prices tilted lower yesterday on a round of technical selling that pared some gains picked up earlier this week. Expectations for another bullish round of export data from USDA limited losses yesterday, but longer-term demand concerns still linger. March and May futures each spilled 1.5 cents lower to close at $3.80 and $3.86. Ethanol production for the week ending January 31 jumped moderately higher, reaching a daily average of 1.081 million barrels, the highest output in three weeks.

Soybean prices finished a choppy session yesterday with fractional gains on cautious optimism that Chinese purchases will pick up, although expectations for a lackluster round of export sales data from USDA expected this morning kept gains to a minimum.

One of our most popular contracts “The Average Grain Pricing Program” is now being offered. I use these for both corn and beans in almost all my marketing plans. They have done very well the last few years that we have offered them. We have designed it to get an average price established during the seasonal trend for higher prices. This is for new crop only and runs March 16 through July 10th. Contact your grain marketing specialist for more details.

Have a great day,

Jim Fleming