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Grain News – Trade war is “on hold”

The US corn planting progress reported this week had the US at 81% completed which is right at the average pace for this time of year.  Wisconsin was reported at 56% completed as we continue to lag here with all the rain.   Soybeans were reported ahead of average at 56% completed, compared to 44% on average.  Wisconsin was at 33% complete.  Spring wheat planting progress has improved at 79% complete vs 80% on average.

The markets this week have been reacting to headlines and tweets around the trade war with China.  The US Treasury Secretary aid said that the trade war is “on hold” for now as they work on trade agreements.  This has provided support to the markets once again.  One premise of any deal to reduce the trade deficit would be China importing more US agricultural and energy products.  Positive news to an already robust demand picture.

As we started trade out this morning corn, soybeans and wheat were all trading higher.  The planting progress numbers were generally bearish so this strength has been led by wheat.  Continued concerns over global dryness in wheat production areas around the world provides support.  It is a bit dry in Russia, Argentina, Australia as well as the US growing areas.  Nothing drastic yet but something to keep an eye on.  The Brazil corn production forecast continues to be trimmed just a bit as less than ideal rains have been received in some areas.   Also in Brazil truck drivers blocked roads leading to grain ports as a protest to higher fuel prices there.

The markets continue to provide some selling opportunities with these news headlines and crop progress concerns.  Demand has been strong and things are changing a bit; however, the fundamentals, especially in soybeans still show an abundance of supply in the short term.  Keep your offers in front of the market and keep selling as opportunities arise.  If the balance of the US crop gets planted and progresses without any major growing season issues, we can easily trade lower.

Let us know how we can help put a plan together that works for you.  Tell us what you are looking for and together we can figure out how to get there.  Be safe out there.

Doug Cropp




Posted in Blog, Grain

Grain News – Stronger Dollar from Raising Interest Rates

Wow, the weather has really straightened out in the last couple of days. We are seeing planting starting back up again before the weekend weather hits. The weather throughout the US continues to be warm with rain in the forecast. The weather in Brazil has rain coming in for the weekend. The trade is seeing no major weather issues or threats. The dollar is also stronger from raising interest rates.

Below is the weekly export. The US exported more bean meal than beans this last week. The US did make a sale to unknown this morning of beans of 132,000 tons.

Weekly Export Sales-1,000 tonsAs of:5/3/2018
ActualEstimates Last Week ActualEstimates Last Week
Source: Reuters


Brazilian farmers continue to be selling on weaker currencies. Brazilian farmers are also taking advantage of selling with the US/China trade deal meetings. Beans have been under technical pressure this week due to soybean meal falling. Wednesday was the first day since February that beans closed below $10 on continuous chart. Bean meal was sold to Philippines (largest buyer), Spain and Morocco.

Below is current US Drought monitor change from May 8 week to May 15.


Posted in Blog, Grain

How to Care for Laying Chickens

Check out these tips on how to care for laying chickens from chick to the laying stage.

  • When chicks are babies you will need a draft free pen with a heat lamp on at all times. The temperature should be around 92⁰F. When they have started to feather out you can reduce temperature by five degrees per week until they are six-weeks old.
  • Once the chicks are six-weeks old you can transfer them into the chicken coop.
  • Make sure to provide clean bedding such as wood shavings once a month.
  • One of the most important daily tasks will be to ensure they have access to feed and fresh water.
  • Provide a quality complete chicken feed made for growing birds through 20-weeks of age.
  • At 20-weeks they can transition from the grower feed to a quality layer feed.
  • Depending on the quantity of chickens you are raising, add more feeders and watering stations to ensure all chickens have access to eat and drink at the same time.
  • Once the chickens are laying, it is a good idea to add a free-choice feeder for oyster shells. This allows the birds to regulate how much they need.
  • If you choose to give your birds treats, make sure to research items that they can and cannot have, especially if it is something from the house or garden. Other go-to treats are grit, mealworms or cracked corn.
Posted in Animal Nutrition, Blog

Grain News – Optimism in the Market

What two weeks of somewhat good weather does!  The market has some optimism this week with the Chinese delegation arriving to Washington for tariff talks.  The hope is less tariffs in the agriculture sector and progress on moving forward.  Making grain move freely to China.  Spain continues to buy sorghum that was slapped with an import tax from China.

Corn planting jumped from 39% planted last week to 62% this week.  This is better than what was expected except for the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Iowa is only behind by 5% not a big deal.  South Dakota is by far the furthest behind at 40%.  Brazil’s safrinha crop estimates are coming down and the trade is watching.  South America farmers are reluctant to sell due to currency and crop size.

Soybean planting is well ahead of the 5-year average.  35% complete this year vs 26% on 5-year average.  Trade is really watching trade talks with China.

Wheat is really mixed in the last week.  Winter wheat good/excellent improved to 36% vs last year 15%.  The crop continues to run behind on at 45% headed vs 53% on average.  Spring wheat planting have made great strides to 58% vs 30% last week.

Make sure to put offers in and look forward into next spring and beyond.  We have many different options to help your operation profitable.  Our price builder corn in March is a $4.57 board and corn July 19 are $4.66.

Happy Tuesday!


Posted in Blog, Grain

Grain News – Quick Rundown on WASDA

  • World 18/19 bean carryout at 86.7mmt vs an estimated 90.52.
  • US 18/19 bean carryout at 415 million bushels vs an estimated 535 million bushels.
  • World 18/19 corn carryout at 159.2 mmt vs an estimated 186.35 mmt.
  • US 17/18 corn carryout 2.182 billion bushels and 1.682 billion bushels for 18/19.
  • 18/19 wheat production at 1.821 billion bushels with a carryout of 995 million bushels.
  • The state by state winter wheat production has Wisconsin production up 3.77 million bushels by increasing yield 5 bpa and acres up 40,000 acres. Record yields for IL, KY and MI while KS crop is bigger than some expected.
  • Overall the report was bullish beans, neutral to friendly corn and bearish wheat.


Posted in Blog, Grain

Strengthening Board Room Governance

COTTAGE GROVE, WI, May 10, 2018 – Landmark Services Cooperative (LSC) Chairman of the Board John Blaska was recently recognized for his success in completing the three-year Advanced Governance Series (AGS) training through FCC Services, Inc. (FCCS).

Developed solely for cooperatives, the AGS merges timely, content-rich courses and dynamic collegial interaction. Focus is given to the complexities of governance today and fiduciary responsibilities directors face. The result is a proven path to higher board performance and greater confidence for directors seeking substance and significance.

Over the course of the three-year program, Blaska joined directors from agricultural cooperatives across the nation as part of an AGS membership group. These participants take part in six core modules, each focusing on an area essential to excellence in governance. The modules provide a solid foundation for leadership decision-making.

Throughout this series, Blaska had the opportunity to network with others in similar roles while furthering his education, thereby demonstrating his dedication to the cooperative and its member owners. Jim Dell, Landmark CEO and president explains, “The Landmark board chairman’s decision to participate in the AGS training emphasizes the board’s commitment to excellence. This program not only provides comprehensive training to complement our strategic plan, but also exposes our directors to tactics and management practices used by other progressive cooperatives that participate in this program.”

Upon completion of this series Blaska was recognized for his achievements at the April Landmark Services Cooperative Board of Directors meeting. Jim Dell, Landmark CEO and president, presented Blaska with an Advanced Governance Series Certificate of Achievement.

The Landmark Services Cooperative Board of Directors was part of a leading group of cooperative board members who helped FCCS develop this series of training board governance. Members of the Landmark Services Cooperative Board of Directors take part in FCCS training throughout the year.

Landmark Services Cooperative is a member-owned cooperative business dedicated to providing both rural and urban customers the highest quality products and services. For 85 years, Landmark has been providing agronomy, energy and retail services, animal nutrition, grain, retail and transportation products and services to its more than 11,000 members in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Employing more than 540 people in rural areas and reaching sales in excess of $387 million, Landmark provides the benefits of volume buying and access to state-of-the-art technology to its members while maintaining a hands-on, customer service oriented approach in each of the communities we serve. For more information, visit, call 800-236-3276.



Cutline:  Landmark Services Cooperative Chairman of the Board John Blaska (right) was recently recognized by Landmark Services Cooperative CEO and president, Jim Dell (left), for his successful completion of the Advanced Governance Series through FCC Services.

Posted in Landmark News

Grain News – What the crop progress report is showing

The planters are definitely rolling at a fast pace, getting the crop in the ground.  Monday’s crop progress report showed how quickly farmers can get the crop planted.  Last week the report showed a slight delay in planting.  This week many states are ahead of their average.  Illinois was 32% planted last week, this week they have 74% of corn in the ground.  Minnesota and Wisconsin went from 9% planted last week to 15% this week.  With today’s technology, favorable weather and the farmers persistence the crop can get planted quickly.

The corn market is slightly higher this morning.  A lot is going on today on a political note that may help or hinder the market.  President Trump is set to talk via phone with China’s president Xi about trade and North Korea.  He will also announce what they are doing with the Iran deal which could increase the price of crude oil.  Lastly there is a meeting today with the heads of ethanol and refinery industries and lawmakers.  Refining wants a cap on RINs and ag industry wants E-15 in return.  Corn’s weekly export inspections was the 2nd largest so far this year.  July corn is finding support at $4.00.  A close higher today would be a positive sign.

Soybeans are estimated 15% planted which is ahead of the 13% average.  Export inspections for soybeans were down this week.  China’s top economic adviser is supposed to be coming to the U.S. next week to continue trade talks which should be supportive.  Soybeans are trading higher on a turn around Tuesday bounce.

Wheat prices are mixed today.  Winter wheat conditions improved with G/E up 1% to 34% vs 53% a year ago.  Projected yields are between 43.4 and 45.2 bpa.  Exports continue to lag for wheat.

The USDA supply and Demand report comes out on Thursday.  It is the first forecast of 2018 supply and demand.  It will be interesting to see the numbers they use for South America corn and soybeans.  Keep an eye on the carryout number with the current demand.  Traders are wondering if they will use normal trend to estimate production.

Get your offers into your grain market specialist ahead of the report to be prepared in case there are any surprises.  Let us help you achieve your marketing goals.  Have a safe planting season.

Posted in Blog, Grain

Grain News – Mixed Markets

Good Morning!

Markets are mixed on this rainy Thursday morning. Prices are somewhat lower as basis softens across the country, starting with a pull back from plants in Illinois. Ethanol production was up this week to 303 million gallons versus the 290 million gallons from last week. However, ethanol stocks also grew from 911 million gallons to 930 million gallons.

Both farmers and traders will continue to watch weather closely as we move through planting season. Most of the Midwest saw storms in the past 48 hours with the heaviest rain falls in Iowa, N. Illinois, and S. Wisconsin. We’re also watching the South American weather forecast closely as the lower production estimates for the Brazilian Safrina corn crop will impact our markets. They’ve been experiencing dry weather, however the 11-15 day forecast is showing a decent chance of rain for them.

Soybeans were trying to push higher after we saw profit taking towards the end of trade on Wednesday. The higher prices we’ve seen may convince the farmer the switch late planted acres over to beans. Pair that with an already large supply of old crop beans, we may see the bean market start to react.

The Brazilian Ag Minister has announced that they have been charged with corruption and bribery. They’re now waiting on the Supreme Court to decide whether he will face charges or not. Currency in both Argentina and Brazil saw new lows versus the US dollar.

Wheat is softer this morning after seeing a run up this past week. We’re seeing improved planting conditions for spring wheat, as well as some rains in the dryer parts of Texas and Oklahoma. Forecasters for the wheat crop in Ukraine say that the dry weather there won’t cause irreversible damage to the crop.

We hope your planting season is off to a safe and productive start!

Katie Demrow

Posted in Blog, Grain

Grain News – Planting Progress

The month of May is starting off with much better weather for planting in the US. Yesterday’s planting progress report had corn plantings at 17% complete vs. 27% on average. The soybean planting was at 5% complete vs. 5% on average. Winter wheat was rated at 33% good to excellent vs. 31% last week and 54% last year. Spring wheat was only reported at 10% planted vs. 36% on average. Some spring wheat acres will probably switch to corn or soybeans as the planting gets later.

The USDA will update March soybean crush numbers this afternoon. Traders expect a record crush number again this month as margins at the crush plants remain strong led by the soybean meal price.

Rainfall is expected to move in to the western corn belt today and across the eastern belt tomorrow. The weather looks quiet through the weekend and then another rain system or systems to push through next week. The Southern plains are still dry affecting the wheat conditions there. Some wheat acres will be abandoned in that area due to lack of moisture and poor quality stands.

The Trump administration said on Monday that it would delay a decision to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union, Canada and Mexico for another 30 days, giving key allies a reprieve as the White House tries to extract concessions from trading partners who have resisted those demands. The 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent on aluminum were set to go into effect on Tuesday. Trade disputes and how it may or may not affect agriculture exports are still a key item to watch going forward.

We have made new contract highs in the corn market today. New crop cash prices are over $3.80 per bushel and old crop corn into direct ship markets is over $3.80 cash as well. Depending on where you are at with your marketing plan these are levels that may be worth looking at for some sales. Think about have some offers working for you as you are busy planting over the next few weeks. The weather and planting progress will be the focus as we move forward in the short term. Be safe out there and enjoy the spring weather.

Doug Cropp

Posted in Blog, Grain

Collision Damages Grain Dock in Argentina – Grain News

jim photoGood Morning,

Yesterday started out pretty quiet until about 9:00am when I started receiving some emails talking about damages in a port in Argentina. The markets started rallying and my phone started ringing asking what was going on? This is what we know so far: An ocean vessel fully loaded crashed into a dock in the Argentine port of Rosario destroying the grain infrastructure at the berth. One half of terminal six is operational but blocked with debris and the other half has suffered “serious damage”. Reports that are coming out are saying that it will take a few months to get things back up and running again. Argentina exports represented 48% of the world soyoil exports, 45% of the world bean meal exports and 16% of the world corn exports.

The US Treasury Secretary is in China this week for trade talks and reports coming out from the ongoing negotiations on NAFTA are saying that we should have a deal by late June.

Corn in the overnight trade is currently trading flat. Yesterday’s trade had corn up 5/6 cents through July of 2019. USDA announced this morning the sale of 107.6 tmt of old crop corn to unknown. Beans are currently up 5 cents on the nearby and wheat is down 3 cents. Soil temperatures in the area are still running on the cool side. Warmer weather coming in next week should help turn that around and get the planters in the area rolling.

Ethanol production fell to the lowest level since harvest, though that’s not unusual as blenders start to make the transition to summer gasoline stocks. Inventories rose last week but prices rebounded from early selling on turnaround in crude prices.

Corn and beans were disappointing and wheat was above expectations.

As 2018 spring planting gets underway, don’t let you marketing fall by the wayside. It’s easy at this time of year to get caught up and focused on the work at hand and miss rallies in the market. Avoid the mistake by having your open offers in place allowing you to focus on getting the seed in the ground. Currently our Price Builder Bonus contracts can get you $4.31 on new corn and $10.74 on your new beans. Contact your Landmark Grain specialist to get top dollar for all your hard work. As always keep yourself and your family safe in this busy time of the year.

Happy Planting,

Jim Fleming

Posted in Blog, Grain