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Market Matters Blog           06/15 09:13
DDG Prices Continue Downward Slide
New Crop, New Year for Winter Wheat 
DDG Prices Sharply Lower
Time Running Out for Agriculture ELD Exemption
DDG Prices Lower
DDG Prices Steady 
Export Outlook for U.S. DDGS Challenging, but Promising
High Water Temporarily Closes Two Mississippi River Locks
DDG Prices Steady
Will a Late Start to Planting Affect Expected Spring Wheat Planted Acres?

******************************************************************************
DDG Prices Continue Downward Slide

   OMAHA (DTN) -- The average distillers dried grains (DDG) spot price from the 
39 locations DTN contacted was sharply lower again this week at an average of 
$149 per ton for the week-ended June 14, down $11 versus one week ago.

   Merchandisers noted that the sharp decline seen again this week can be 
blamed on the recent large losses in corn and soymeal prices. Also, there is no 
shortage of product, as the most recent EIA report showed that ethanol plant 
production was estimated at 1.053 million barrels per day for the week-ending 
June 8, slightly higher than the prior week.

   Based on the average of prices collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative 
to corn for the week-ended June 14 was at 114.93%, and the value of DDG 
relative to soybean meal was at 43.41%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG 
was $5.52, compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $7.23. 
Even with the drop in DDG prices, DDG remains a better value in rations than 
soymeal on a per-protein unit cost.

   In its weekly price update, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) reported: 
"Internationally, FOB U.S. Gulf DDGS values slipped this week while containers 
CIF Southeast Asia fell $8 per metric ton on average.


ALL PRICES SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION              CURRENT        PREVIOUS  CHANGE
COMPANY    STATE                               6/14/2018       6/7/2018
Bartlett and Company, Kansas City, MO (816-753-6300)
           Missouri            Dry                $155           $170     -$15
                               Modified           $80            $85       -$5
CHS, Minneapolis, MN (800-769-1066)
           Illinois            Dry                $162           $172     -$10
           Indiana             Dry                $158           $165      -$7
           Iowa                Dry                $145           $160     -$15
           Michigan            Dry                $163           $165      -$2
           Minnesota           Dry                $140           $155     -$15
           North Dakota        Dry                $140           $155     -$15
           New York            Dry                $170           $170      $0
           South Dakota        Dry                $145           $160     -$15
MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS (800-255-0302 Ext. 5253)
           Kansas              Dry                $150           $158      -$8
POET Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD (888-327-8799)
           Indiana             Dry                $155           $175     -$20
           Iowa                Dry                $150           $165     -$15
           Michigan            Dry                $170           $175      -$5
           Minnesota           Dry                $145           $160     -$15
           Missouri            Dry                $165           $175     -$10
           Ohio                Dry                $160           $175     -$15
           South Dakota        Dry                $145           $160     -$15
United BioEnergy, Wichita, KS (316-616-3521)
           Kansas              Dry                $150           $158      -$8
                               Wet                $40            $40       $0
           Illinois            Dry                $160           $172     -$12
           Nebraska            Dry                $150           $158      -$8
                               Wet                $40            $40       $0
U.S. Commodities, Minneapolis, MN (888-293-1640)
           Illinois            Dry                $155           $165     -$10
           Indiana             Dry                $150           $160     -$10
           Iowa                Dry                $140           $145      -$5
           Michigan            Dry                $150           $155      -$5
           Minnesota           Dry                $140           $140      $0
           Nebraska            Dry                $125           $140     -$15
           New York            Dry                $150           $165     -$15
           North Dakota        Dry                $140           $145      -$5
           Ohio                Dry                $155           $160      -$5
           South Dakota        Dry                $140           $145      -$5
           Wisconsin           Dry                $145           $145      $0
Valero Energy Corp, San Antonio Texas      (210-345-3362)     (210-345-3362)
           Indiana             Dry                $150           $165     -$15
           Iowa                Dry                $135           $160     -$25
           Minnesota           Dry                $140           $160     -$20
           Nebraska            Dry                $125           $140     -$15
           Ohio                Dry                $155           $165     -$10
           South Dakota        Dry                $145           $165     -$20
           California                             $195           $220     -$25
Western Milling, Goshen, California (559-302-1074)
           California          Dry                $220           $230     -$10
*Prices listed per ton.
           Weekly Average                         $149           $160     -$11
The weekly average prices above reflect only those companies DTN
collects spot prices from. States include: Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska,
Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan,
Wisconsin and Indiana. Prices for Pennsylvania, New York and
California are not included in the averages.

   **


                     VALUE OF DDG VS. CORN & SOYBEAN MEAL
                        Settlement Price:   Quote Date      Bushel  Short Ton
                                     Corn      6/14/2018   $3.6300      $129.64
                             Soybean Meal      6/14/2018   $343.20
            DDG Weekly Average Spot Price        $149.00
                                  DDG Value Relative to:   6/14        6/7
                                                    Corn   114.93%      119.07%
                                            Soybean Meal    43.41%       44.64%
                               Cost Per Unit of Protein:
                                                     DDG     $5.52        $5.93
                                            Soybean Meal     $7.23        $7.55
Notes:
Corn and soybean prices take from DTN Market Quotes. DDG price
represents the average spot price from Midwest companies
collected on Thursday afternoons. Soybean meal cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 47.5. DDG cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 27.

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

******************************************************************************
New Crop, New Year for Winter Wheat 

   What a difference a year makes. When I wrote the 2016-17 year-end story for 
hard red winter (HRW) wheat, the DTN national average basis chart had a 
completely different look than the 2017-18 chart. The basis for 2016-17 was 
dismal as it stayed well below the DTN five-year minimum average basis for the 
entire crop year. Between August and January of that crop year, basis was at 
historic lows.

   As you can see by the attached chart, the 2017-18 crop year started out well 
above the prior crop year and ended higher than the DTN five-year average 
basis. In the Jan. 12 NASS planting report of winter wheat in 2018, acres were 
estimated at 32,608,000, which represented the smallest winter wheat-seeded 
area since 1909. Planting delays in the fall of 2017 was one of the reasons for 
the lower acreage, which became a boost for premiums.

   The 13% protein basis levels were historically strong while basis for ords 
(10% and lower) were relatively weak during the past year, as the 2017 new-crop 
harvest produced an average protein of 11.4% on top of a 2016 crop protein 
average of 11.2%. The premium spread remained wide due to an abundance of lower 
protein HRW wheat available versus higher protein wheat. Mills had to get 
creative to make the blends needed for flour, and while they could also use 
spring wheat, it too was expensive, just like the higher protein winter wheat.

   As the new-crop year approached for HRW wheat, the basis spread between 13% 
protein and ords has weakened from recent highs. Depending on the weather 
conditions between now and the end of harvest, that spread could weaken even 
further from current levels. 

   According to Informa Economics, "For the spread to maintain near-current 
levels, basis quotes for ords and 13% would need to generally move together. 
The wideness in the spread in 2016 and 2017 was due to both a weakening of 
ordinary basis quotes and a strengthening of 13% quotes. On average, for the 
2018-19 crop year, the spread between HRW 13% and ordinaries is forecast to 
average about 50 cents. If realized, the average spread would be down from 
2016-17 and 2017-18 levels."

   In their June 8 weekly wheat harvest report, U.S. Wheat Associates noted an 
average so far of 13% protein with harvest still in early stages. "The 2018 HRW 
harvest raced northward over the past week into southern Kansas, slowed only by 
locally heavy rain June 7 across areas of north-central Oklahoma and 
southeastern Kansas. The Texas harvest is now 39% complete and Oklahoma's 
harvest is 51% complete. Yields continue to be variable with a current average 
estimated at under 25 bushels per acre (1.7 tons/ha). Hot temperatures forecast 
for next week should push maturity." 

   What Lies Ahead for HRW Wheat Prices?

   I asked Dan Maltby, a former HRW buyer in Kansas City and now a consultant 
for Risk Management Group in Minneapolis, for his insight into the year ahead. 
While we are very early in to the new year and don't have a firm grasp on 
new-crop quality and protein, some things always seem to be constant. 

   "Never forget nobody can pay more for wheat than a miller" appears to be the 
theme of this upcoming year, said Maltby. "Translation: In a supply-constrained 
year, basis will be firm, as millers will be reluctant to let supply get away 
easily."

   "As mills force the market higher, that forces terminals to pay up, which 
would make exporters pay up; IF they had to do some business, which so far, 
they do not. Assuming all of this was foreseen, then that would explain the 
local cash bid basis rising 85 cents in the past six months," added Maltby. 
"It's certainly not due to exporters, as we've seen the posted gulf bids for 
12% pro drop 60 cents in the same time."

   Maltby said that particular spread has moved $1.45/bushel, "which of course 
is indicative of the collapse of protein premiums, which may help explain the 
collapse of the Minny/KC futures spreads, which leads into big spring wheat 
acreage increases in North Dakota and Canada."

   An interesting question is there are so few HRW wheat bushels coming, will 
it force a narrowing of the Kansas City calendar spreads? "I lean towards not," 
said Maltby. "UNLESS of course, Brazil actually becomes a significant buyer of 
U.S. HRW wheat, which would only happen if Argentina's drought is severe enough 
and Argentina goes ahead with a 10% tax on wheat exports."

   Maltby said he wonders if these HRW prices are now good enough to cause an 
uptick in U.S. HRW wheat acres, and if so, will these winter wheat prices be 
"sustainable"?

   "Unfortunately," he said, "that question is better answered by the answer to 
this question; will Black Sea fob quotes stay at $205/metric ton, or will they 
next year sink again to $170 sellers?"

   As usual, our export business relies on us being cheaper than everyone else 
and more times than not, it is a tough playing field for the U.S. Informa 
Economics reported that, "For the U.S. to have an export program that notably 
exceeds 900 million bushels, a significant production cut likely would be 
needed for Russia. But, expectations are that much of the business would switch 
to the EU."

   The Northern Hemisphere largely is in its growing and planting seasons for 
winter and spring wheat, which, with adverse or favorable weather in the coming 
weeks, could change the supply and the price outlooks, added Informa Economics.

   In the U.S., the June 3 USDA Crop Progress report showed 9% of the U.S. 
winter wheat was harvested, as harvest is still in its early stages. Conditions 
slipped a little with 14% of the crop rated very poor, 21% rated poor, 28% 
rated fair, 29% rated good and 8% rated excellent. 

   Until the U.S. and Northern Hemisphere new-crop bushels are harvested, 
graded and in the bin, hopefully escaping any serious weather issues between 
now and then, the cash price for the new year remains unpredictable.

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com 

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

******************************************************************************
DDG Prices Sharply Lower

   OMAHA (DTN) -- The average distillers dried grains (DDG) spot price from the 
39 locations DTN contacted was $160 per ton for the week-ended June 7, $11 
lower versus one week ago.

   Merchandisers noted that it was "time" for prices to move lower seasonally, 
along with the lack of fresh news, especially with recent hopes fading that 
China may adjust the stiff penalties currently placed on U.S. DDGS imports. DDG 
prices have been strong for the majority of 2018. But, as summer arrives and 
with no positive news coming out of China as the trade war continues, markets 
are moving lower. Also, recent losses in corn and soymeal prices are putting 
pressure on the market as well. 

   Based on the average of prices collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative 
to corn for the week-ended June 7 was at 119.07%, and the value of DDG relative 
to soybean meal was at 44.64%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG was $5.93, 
compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $7.55. 

   In their weekly price update, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) reported: "On the 
export market, Barge CIF NOLA and FOB U.S. Gulf values are lower, with a larger 
drop in the latter squeezing netbacks to merchandisers. Rising freight rates 
have kept prices for containerized DDGS shipped CNF to Southeast Asia more 
stable this week. In sympathy with lower soybean meal values, exporters lowered 
asking prices for product destined for Southeast Asia approximately $7 per 
metric ton." (CNF is similar to CIF only insurance is not included)

   The U.S. Census Bureau said Wednesday that U.S. exports of DDGS totaled 
997,633 metric tons (mt) in April, up 15% from a year ago. Mexico was the top 
export destination again in April, accounting for 18% of the total and followed 
by Vietnam, South Korea and Thailand. In the first four months of 2018, U.S. 
DDGS exports were down 7% versus one year ago.


ALL PRICES SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION             CURRENT        PREVIOUS   CHANGE
COMPANY   STATE                                6/7/2018       5/31/2018
Bartlett and Company, Kansas City, MO (816-753-6300)
          Missouri            Dry                $170           $175       -$5
                              Modified           $85             $88       -$3
CHS, Minneapolis, MN (800-769-1066)
          Illinois            Dry                $172           $180       -$8
          Indiana             Dry                $165           $174       -$9
          Iowa                Dry                $160           $170      -$10
          Michigan            Dry                $165           $175      -$10
          Minnesota           Dry                $155           $170      -$15
          North Dakota        Dry                $155           $170      -$15
          New York            Dry                $170           $175       -$5
          South Dakota        Dry                $160           $165       -$5
MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS (800-255-0302 Ext. 5253)
          Kansas              Dry                $158           $160       -$2
POET Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD (888-327-8799)
          Indiana             Dry                $175           $180       -$5
          Iowa                Dry                $165           $170       -$5
          Michigan            Dry                $175           $180       -$5
          Minnesota           Dry                $160           $170      -$10
          Missouri            Dry                $175           $185      -$10
          Ohio                Dry                $175           $180       -$5
          South Dakota        Dry                $160           $170      -$10
    `              `
United BioEnergy, Wichita, KS (316-616-3521)
          Kansas              Dry                $158           $162       -$4
                              Wet                $40             $50      -$10
          Illinois            Dry                $172           $181       -$9
          Nebraska            Dry                $158           $162       -$4
                              Wet                $40             $50      -$10
U.S. Commodities, Minneapolis, MN (888-293-1640)
          Illinois            Dry                $165           $175      -$10
          Indiana             Dry                $160           $175      -$15
          Iowa                Dry                $145           $160      -$15
          Michigan            Dry                $155           $170      -$15
          Minnesota           Dry                $140           $165      -$25
          Nebraska            Dry                $140           $150      -$10
          New York            Dry                $165           $180      -$15
          North Dakota        Dry                $145           $165      -$20
          Ohio                Dry                $160           $170      -$10
          South Dakota        Dry                $145           $160      -$15
          Wisconsin           Dry                $145           $170      -$25
Valero Energy Corp, San Antonio Texas     (210-345-3362)     (210-345-3362)
          Indiana             Dry                $165           $180      -$15
          Iowa                Dry                $160           $170      -$10
          Minnesota           Dry                $160           $170      -$10
          Nebraska            Dry                $140           $170      -$30
          Ohio                Dry                $165           $180      -$15
          South Dakota        Dry                $165           $165       $0
          California                             $220           $234      -$14
Western Milling, Goshen, California (559-302-1074)
          California          Dry                $230           $238       -$8
*Prices listed per ton.
          Weekly Average                         $160           $171      -$11
The weekly average prices above reflect only those companies DTN
collects spot prices from. States include: Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska,
Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan,
Wisconsin and Indiana. Prices for Pennsylvania, New York and
California are not included in the averages.

   **


                     VALUE OF DDG VS. CORN & SOYBEAN MEAL
                        Settlement Price:   Quote Date      Bushel  Short Ton
                                     Corn       6/7/2018   $3.7625      $134.38
                             Soybean Meal       6/7/2018   $358.40
            DDG Weekly Average Spot Price        $160.00
                                  DDG Value Relative to:    6/7        5/31
                                                    Corn   119.07%      121.52%
                                            Soybean Meal    44.64%       45.56%
                               Cost Per Unit of Protein:
                                                     DDG     $5.93        $6.33
                                            Soybean Meal     $7.55        $7.90
Notes:
Corn and soybean prices take from DTN Market Quotes. DDG price
represents the average spot price from Midwest companies
collected on Thursday afternoons. Soybean meal cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 47.5. DDG cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 27.

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com 

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

******************************************************************************
Time Running Out for Agriculture ELD Exemption

   While the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Administration's (FMCSA) 90-day electronic logging device (ELD) waiver for 
agriculture truckers expires June 18, one group has already been granted an 
extension until fall. When President Donald Trump signed the $1.3 trillion 
spending bill in March 2018, it also passed an extension on the ELD 
implementation for livestock haulers. The bill, passed on March 23, included a 
mandate for livestock and insect haulers to have an exemption through September 
30, 2018. 

   However, drivers hauling non-livestock ag commodities, such as produce, feed 
and fertilizer, must begin using an ELD by June 19, the date that enforcers 
will begin issuing citations and out-of-service orders for non-compliance, 
according to the FMCSA. Drivers who haul agricultural commodities within a 
"150-air mile radius of the farmer's farm or ranch," are exempt from hours of 
service regulations, meaning they will not have to adopt an ELD before the June 
19 enforcement date. Only drivers required to keep records of driving status 
will need to comply with the ELD mandate. 

   For Agricultural Exceptions and Exemptions updated through May 31, 2018, go 
here: 
https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/agricultural-exceptions-and-exempti
ons-federal-motor-carrier-safety

   On May 22, 2018, Senators Ben Sasse (R-NE), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Jerry 
Moran (R-KS), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Jon Tester (D), John Hoeven (R-ND), Tina Smith 
(D-MN), Pat Roberts (R-Ks), Rand Paul (R-KY), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Doug 
Jones (D-AL) introduced the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act 
(TLAAS). This bill seeks to ease the burden of "far-reaching" Hours-of-Service 
(HOS) and Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) regulations for haulers of livestock 
and insects. 

   United States Cattlemen's Association (USCA) Transportation Committee 
Chairman Steve Hilker issued the following statement about the bill: "We asked, 
and Congress answered. This is a historic moment for livestock and insect 
haulers to finally be afforded needed flexibility in the restrictive 
Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules. We commend this bipartisan group of Senators, led 
by Sen. Sasse, for working with the industry towards a common-sense solution."

   USCA provided the following "fast facts" of the Transporting Livestock 
Across America Safely Act: 

   -- Providing that HOS and ELD requirements are inapplicable until after a 
driver travels more than 300-air miles from their source. Drive time for HOS 
purposes does not start until after the 300-air mile threshold. 

   -- Exempts loading and unloading times from the HOS calculation of driving 
time.

   -- Extends the HOS on-duty time maximum hour requirement from 11 hours to a 
minimum of 15 hours and a maximum of 18 hours of on-duty time.

   -- Grants flexibility for drivers to rest at any point during their trip 
without counting against HOS time.

   -- Allows drivers to complete their trip -- regardless of HOS requirements 
-- if they come within 150-air miles of their delivery point. 

   -- After the driver completes his delivery and the truck is unloaded, the 
driver will take a break for a period that is five hours less than the maximum 
on-duty time (10 hours if a 15-hour drive time). 

   It is important to note that the ELD and HOS actually intertwine, and thus 
are mentioned together when the ELD exemption is requested. Basically the ELD 
mandate requires all commercial drivers who prepare HOS records to connect an 
ELD to a vehicle's engine to record driving hours. Once the time expires, the 
ELD doesn't shut the truck down, but it alerts the driver that they are 
violating the rule if they continue to drive. Hilker pointed out on the USCA 
website that under the current HOS rules, livestock haulers are allocated 11 
hours of drive time and 14 hours of on-duty time. 

   "Once they've hit their hours, the ELD will force drivers off the road to 
take their mandatory 10-hour break. This leaves cattle potentially stranded 
roadside on the truck. The list of poor outcomes begins to grow exponentially, 
almost immediately," said Hilker. "Not to mention, the financial hit the driver 
will take as precious time ticks away will push small and mid-sized trucking 
companies immediately out of business. It will also put more pressure on an 
already very thinly populated driver pool."

   Opponents of the bill, like the American Trucking Associations (ATA), 
cautions that the "lives of livestock should not be a priority over the lives 
of people." 

   Bill Sullivan, leader of advocacy for ATA, advised against the legislation. 
On May 31, he told Transport Topics, the nation's logistics and trucking news 
leader, that such a law would be dangerous for truck drivers and all motorists. 
"This bill would allow truck drivers to stay behind the wheel for almost twice 
as long as they're permitted under the current hours-of-service rules," 
Sullivan said. "It needlessly and recklessly jeopardizes the safety of people 
who travel our highways. We should not prioritize livestock over people's 
lives, and ATA urges Congress to reject this misguided legislation."

   As for small businesses, legislation was recently introduced to exempt them 
and all agriculture sectors. In a press release on May 23, 2018, Montana 
Congressman Greg Gianforte said that he and Representative Collin Peterson 
(D-Minn.) have introduced two pieces of bipartisan legislation to relieve 
certain sectors of the trucking industry from the Federal Motor Carrier 
Association's ELD mandate.

   The Small Carrier Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act of 2018 will 
completely exempt businesses that operate 10 or fewer trucks from the 
requirements of the ELD mandate. The Agricultural Business Electronic Logging 
Device Exemption Act of 2018 will completely exempt agricultural businesses.

   "This legislation will eliminate costly and time-consuming regulations for 
small trucking companies and individual owner-operators, which constitute much 
of the rural trucking industry." Peterson said. "In addition, it will help 
reduce unnecessary stops and delays which threaten the quality of agricultural 
products on their way to market."

   Both the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and the 
Small Business Transportation Coalition have endorsed the Small Carrier 
Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act of 2018. However, the Trucking Alliance 
has opposed the latest proposed legislation, saying that the bill is unlikely 
to become law and sends a false message about the purpose of ELDs.

   There are many groups fighting for the use of ELD and many others fighting 
against it. Since its "official" implementation on Dec. 18, 2017, there have 
been exemptions granted and even a delay in "hard enforcement" of the mandate 
to April 1, 2018. 

   It appears the fight is not over, but in the meantime, unless something 
changes for Ag haulers, their exemption will soon run out. 

   The most recent FMCSA guidance changes on the "150-air-mile-radius" Ag hours 
of service exemption, and personal conveyance related to finding a parking 
spot, can be found at the following links:

   
http://www.dtn.com/ag/assets/agricultural-commodity-transportation-guidance.pdf

   http://www.dtn.com/ag/assets/cmv-personal-conveyance-regulatory-guidance.pdf

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com  

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

******************************************************************************
DDG Prices Lower

   OMAHA (DTN) -- The average distillers dried grains (DDG) spot price from the 
39 locations DTN contacted was $171 per ton for the week-ended May 31, $1 
weaker versus one week ago.

   Merchandisers noted that DDG trading has been quiet since the Memorial Day 
holiday weekend, and many have already sold product through June. CIF New 
Orleans, Louisiana, (NOLA) DDGS values have been flat to weaker, and overall, 
prices have been under pressure from lower soymeal and corn markets. 

   Based on the average of prices collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative 
to corn for the week-ended May 31 was at 121.52%, and the value of DDG relative 
to soybean meal was at 45.56%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG was $6.33, 
compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $7.90. On a 
protein basis, DDG prices are still a good value compared to other byproducts.

   Spot offers have become aggressive due to slow railcar logistics that are 
causing some plants to run short on storage room, noted the U.S. Grains Council 
(USGC). In their weekly price update, USGC reported that, "Barge CIF NOLA DDGS 
prices are $10/metric ton (mt) lower for June shipments because of the 
logistics constraints. On the export markets, FOB NOLA prices fell $1/mt while 
CNF Southeast Asia prices were mostly steady. June shipments to Asia (CNF 
prices) rose $1/mt while July/August shipment values were steady."


ALL PRICES SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION             CURRENT        PREVIOUS   CHANGE
COMPANY   STATE                               5/31/2018       5/24/2018
Bartlett and Company, Kansas City, MO (816-753-6300)
          Missouri            Dry                $175           $180       -$5
                              Modified           $88             $90       -$2
CHS, Minneapolis, MN (800-769-1066)
          Illinois            Dry                $180           $184       -$4
          Indiana             Dry                $174           $175       -$1
          Iowa                Dry                $170           $170       $0
          Michigan            Dry                $175           $175       $0
          Minnesota           Dry                $170           $170       $0
          North Dakota        Dry                $170           $170       $0
          New York            Dry                $175           $175       $0
          South Dakota        Dry                $165           $165       $0
MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS (800-255-0302 Ext. 5253)
          Kansas              Dry                $160           $160       $0
POET Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD (888-327-8799)
          Indiana             Dry                $180           $180       $0
          Iowa                Dry                $170           $170       $0
          Michigan            Dry                $180           $180       $0
          Minnesota           Dry                $170           $170       $0
          Missouri            Dry                $185           $185       $0
          Ohio                Dry                $180           $180       $0
          South Dakota        Dry                $170           $170       $0
    `              `
United BioEnergy, Wichita, KS (316-616-3521)
          Kansas              Dry                $162           $162       $0
                              Wet                $50             $50       $0
          Illinois            Dry                $181           $181       $0
          Nebraska            Dry                $162           $162       $0
                              Wet                $50             $50       $0
U.S. Commodities, Minneapolis, MN (888-293-1640)
          Illinois            Dry                $175           $175       $0
          Indiana             Dry                $175           $175       $0
          Iowa                Dry                $160           $170      -$10
          Michigan            Dry                $170           $170       $0
          Minnesota           Dry                $165           $170       -$5
          Nebraska            Dry                $150           $155       -$5
          New York            Dry                $180           $180       $0
          North Dakota        Dry                $165           $170       -$5
          Ohio                Dry                $170           $170       $0
          South Dakota        Dry                $160           $165       -$5
          Wisconsin           Dry                $170           $170       $0
Valero Energy Corp, San Antonio Texas     (210-345-3362)     (210-345-3362)
          Indiana             Dry                $180           $180       $0
          Iowa                Dry                $170           $170       $0
          Minnesota           Dry                $170           $170       $0
          Nebraska            Dry                $170           $170       $0
          Ohio                Dry                $180           $180       $0
          South Dakota        Dry                $165           $165       $0
          California                             $234           $234       $0
Western Milling, Goshen, California (559-302-1074)
          California          Dry                $238           $243       -$5
*Prices listed per ton.
          Weekly Average                         $171           $172       $1
The weekly average prices above reflect only those companies DTN
collects spot prices from. States include: Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska,
Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan,
Wisconsin and Indiana. Prices for Pennsylvania, New York and
California are not included in the averages.

   **


                     VALUE OF DDG VS. CORN & SOYBEAN MEAL
                        Settlement Price:   Quote Date      Bushel  Short Ton
                                     Corn      5/31/2018   $3.9400      $140.71
                             Soybean Meal      5/31/2018                $375.30
            DDG Weekly Average Spot Price                               $171.00
                                  DDG Value Relative to:   5/31        5/24
                                                    Corn   121.52%      119.13%
                                            Soybean Meal    45.56%       45.59%
                               Cost Per Unit of Protein:
                                                     DDG     $6.33        $6.37
                                            Soybean Meal     $7.90        $7.94
Notes:
Corn and soybean prices take from DTN Market Quotes. DDG price
represents the average spot price from Midwest companies
collected on Thursday afternoons. Soybean meal cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 47.5. DDG cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 27.

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com 

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

******************************************************************************
DDG Prices Steady 

   OMAHA (DTN) -- The average distillers dried grains (DDG) spot price from the 
39 locations DTN contacted was $172 per ton for the week-ended May 24, 
unchanged versus two weeks ago.

   Merchandisers noted that, overall, DDGS export prices were supported by good 
demand and increased buyer interest. On the domestic front, DDG prices were 
mixed with some lowering prices in spots, partially in sympathy with lower 
soybean meal prices. 

   There seems to be no supply issues at this point, according to 
merchandisers, and the Memorial Day long weekend will likely not make a 
difference. DDG prices seasonally flatten out once weather warms, along with 
pastures greening up which means feeders can lighten feed by-product usage in 
rations. USDA NASS noted Monday that pasture and range conditions in the 48 
states average 5% very poor, 14% poor, 35% fair, 39% good and 7% very good; a 
slight increase in conditions from one week ago.

   Kansas is only 23% good, 2% excellent and North Dakota conditions are only 
at 24% good, 2% excellent due to drought. These two states are showing the 
worst conditions at this time with Texas not far off at 25% good, and 5% 
excellent. If drought persists, that could spell trouble for livestock owners 
in those states.

   Based on the average of prices collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative 
to corn for the week-ended May 24 was at 119.13%, and the value of DDG relative 
to soybean meal was at 45.39%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG was $6.37, 
compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $7.94.

   The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) noted in its weekly market price update, "On 
the export side, barge CIF NOLA DDGS values are higher while FOB NOLA values 
gained as well. Netbacks to merchandisers with river access have been higher 
than average in recent weeks, and the latest prices appear to be a reversion 
back to 'normal.' Prices for DDGS CIF Southeast Asia increased $5/metric ton as 
buyers expand their interest in covering forward needs. Prices for product 
destined for Indonesia gained $8/mt, while product for Japan and Taiwan 
increased $7/mt. Notably, there were not Asian destinations quoted where prices 
were lower than last week."


ALL PRICES SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION             CURRENT        PREVIOUS   CHANGE
COMPANY   STATE                               5/24/2018       5/10/2018
Bartlett and Company, Kansas City, MO (816-753-6300)
          Missouri            Dry                $180           $180       $0
                              Modified           $90             $90       $0
CHS, Minneapolis, MN (800-769-1066)
          Illinois            Dry                $180           $180       $0
          Indiana             Dry                $175           $175       $0
          Iowa                Dry                $175           $175       $0
          Michigan            Dry                $175           $175       $0
          Minnesota           Dry                $170           $170       $0
          North Dakota        Dry                $170           $170       $0
          New York            Dry                $175           $175       $0
          South Dakota        Dry                $170           $170       $0
MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS (800-255-0302 Ext. 5253)
          Kansas              Dry                $160           $165       -$5
POET Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD (888-327-8799)
          Indiana             Dry                $180           $175       $5
          Iowa                Dry                $170           $165       $5
          Michigan            Dry                $180           $180       $0
          Minnesota           Dry                $170           $170       $0
          Missouri            Dry                $185           $185       $0
          Ohio                Dry                $180           $175       $5
          South Dakota        Dry                $170           $165       $5
    `              `
United BioEnergy, Wichita, KS (316-616-3521)
          Kansas              Dry                $162           $168       -$6
                              Wet                $50             $55       -$5
          Illinois            Dry                $181           $178       $3
          Nebraska            Dry                $162           $168       -$6
                              Wet                $50             $55       -$5
U.S. Commodities, Minneapolis, MN (888-293-1640)
          Illinois            Dry                $175           $175       $0
          Indiana             Dry                $175           $175       $0
          Iowa                Dry                $170           $165       $5
          Michigan            Dry                $170           $170       $0
          Minnesota           Dry                $170           $170       $0
          Nebraska            Dry                $155           $165      -$10
          New York            Dry                $180           $180       $0
          North Dakota        Dry                $170           $170       $0
          Ohio                Dry                $170           $170       $0
          South Dakota        Dry                $165           $165       $0
          Wisconsin           Dry                $170           $170       $0
Valero Energy Corp, San Antonio Texas     (210-345-3362)     (210-345-3362)
          Indiana             Dry                $180           $178       $2
          Iowa                Dry                $170           $170       $0
          Minnesota           Dry                $170           $175       -$5
          Nebraska            Dry                $170           $170       $0
          Ohio                Dry                $180           $180       $0
          South Dakota        Dry                $165           $165       $0
          California                             $234           $238       -$4
Western Milling, Goshen, California (559-302-1074)
          California          Dry                $243           $245       -$2
*Prices listed per ton.
          Weekly Average                         $172           $172       $0
The weekly average prices above reflect only those companies DTN
collects spot prices from. States include: Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska,
Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan,
Wisconsin and Indiana. Prices for Pennsylvania, New York and
California are not included in the averages.

   ***********


                     VALUE OF DDG VS. CORN & SOYBEAN MEAL
                        Settlement Price:   Quote Date      Bushel  Short Ton
                                     Corn      5/24/2018   $4.0425      $144.38
                             Soybean Meal      5/24/2018   $377.30
            DDG Weekly Average Spot Price        $172.00
                                  DDG Value Relative to:   5/24        5/10
                                                    Corn   119.13%      121.01%
                                            Soybean Meal    45.59%       44.05%
                               Cost Per Unit of Protein:
                                                     DDG     $6.37        $6.37
                                            Soybean Meal     $7.94        $8.22
Notes:
Corn and soybean prices take from DTN Market Quotes. DDG price
represents the average spot price from Midwest companies
collected on Thursday afternoons. Soybean meal cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 47.5. DDG cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 27.


******************************************************************************
Export Outlook for U.S. DDGS Challenging, but Promising

   Alvaro Cordero, manager of global trade for the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), 
told attendees at the 22nd Annual Distillers Symposium on May 16 that one of 
the biggest challenges facing distillers dried grain with solubles (DDGS) has 
been China. Go back to January 2017 when China's Ministry of Commerce (in a 
final ruling following a year-long trade probe) slapped harsh anti-dumping 
duties and tariffs on U.S. DDGS imports. Anti-dumping duties were set at a 
range from 42.2% to 53.7%, while anti-subsidy tariffs will be between 11.2% and 
12%.

   Preliminary penalties assessed in late September 2016 of an anti-dumping 
penalty of 33.8% and an anti-subsidy tariff of 10% to 10.7% had already shut 
off most DDGS exports to China. However, the final ruling of an increase to 
those penalties pretty much signaled an end to DDGS heading to China. Those 
penalties, applied to both U.S. distillers dried grains with or without 
solubles, caused U.S. exports to China to fall from 5.4 million metric tons 
(mmt) in 2015 to 3.3 mmt in 2016.

   On November 9, 2017, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced it would 
allow U.S. DDGS to be imported without charging an 11% value-added tax (VAT). 
However, the fact that penalties imposed earlier in the year remained in force, 
dampened any prospect of increased exports to China. At the time the VAT was 
removed, DDGS exports to China totaled a mere 739,000 metric tons (mt) for 2017.

   The U.S. Census Bureau said on May 3, 2018, that U.S. exports of DDGS 
totaled 905,558 mt in March, down 12% from a year ago. Mexico was the top 
export destination again in March, accounting for 17% of the total, followed by 
Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia. The first three months of the 
year, DDGS exports were down 13% in 2018 from a year ago. As you can see, 
China's absence is obvious.

   Cordero said there is still uncertainty facing U.S. DDGS exports. "In 2018, 
the U.S. faces additional challenges both on tariff and non-tariff barriers," 
said Cordero. Another challenge he noted are restrictive government policies 
abroad such as fumigation, GMO and other trade barriers that affect both bulk 
and container exports. However, Codero noted that domestic consumption is 
higher and that has kept prices firm for quite some time.

   USGC has been tireless in its pursuit of other buyers for U.S. DDGS and has 
been successful in educating other countries as to the value of U.S. DDGS in 
their feed rations. USGC has said that the success of their efforts is the 
result of identifying leading companies in the market, learning the unique 
concerns and barriers to greater DDGS use, extensive technical preparation, and 
effective communication with existing and potential customers all over the 
world. 

   One example is the increase of DDGS to South Korea. South Korea currently 
ranks as the second largest market for U.S. DDGS in the current marketing year 
(September 2017-March 2018), purchasing 639,000 mt, a 6% increase 
year-over-year, according to a recent report by USGC. South Korea was the third 
largest market for U.S. DDGS in 2016-17, setting a new record for the fifth 
year in a row at 979,000 mt. Following significant work by USGC to introduce 
and advocate for it in South Korea, DDGS is now considered an established and 
superior feed ingredient there, with 96% of local feed producers using it in 
their rations.

   USGC has said it will continue working to increase U.S. DDGS exports to 
South Korea and other countries through additional educational programs aimed 
at protecting existing market share, increasing the inclusion rates in animal 
diets, and expanding business opportunities between U.S. suppliers and other 
buyers.

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com   

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

******************************************************************************
High Water Temporarily Closes Two Mississippi River Locks

   Above average precipitation in the south and the Ohio River Valley have kept 
the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) at high water levels for an unprecedented 
period of over 60 days. Tom Russell, Russell Marine Group said that, "High 
water safety protocols have slowed barge traffic movements from St. Louis to 
New Orleans. The system has been stressed due to delayed logistics."

   Farther north, as the record spring snows melted, filling the Mississippi 
River in St. Paul, Minnesota, river terminals there were unable to load barges 
until recently when the water finally started to recede. High water and minor 
flooding on the UMR and Middle Mississippi River (MMR) caused transit delays 
and tow sizes to be reduced out of St Paul.

   As the water flowed south, flooding caused the closure of Locks 16 
(Muscatine, Iowa) and Lock 17 (New Boston, Illinois) on Friday, May 11, and 
were expected to remain closed until Monday, May 14, causing major delays to 
barge traffic in the area. Until floodwaters recede below 18 feet, lock 17 will 
remained closed.

   The National Weather Service Quad Cites noted May 14 that, "With the recent 
rainfall on top of the progressing routed snow melt water, river crests may 
again be approaching major flood category. The Mississippi River at Muscatine 
was at 18.27 feet and steady; flood stage is 16.0 feet. The Mississippi River 
at New Boston was at 17.99 feet and receding; flood stage is 15.0 feet." 

   On top of those closures, high water safety protocols have slowed barge 
traffic movements from St. Louis to New Orleans. Russell said that, "As long as 
there are no extreme rain events, water levels will fall enough to allow safety 
protocols to be lifted by the second or third week of May. When safety 
protocols are lifted, logistics from Cairo to the Baton Rouge/New Orleans 
Harbors will improve. Barge deliveries to terminals in the Port will be faster 
and daylight-only docking and undocking of vessels loading midstream will be 
lifted." 

   FLOODING CONTINUES TO PUT STRAIN ON AGING LOCK AND DAMS

   Every time parts of the U.S. river system floods, more pressure is placed on 
the already aging locks and dams. Mike Cox, chief of the U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers (USACE) Rock Island District's Operations Division, has said in the 
past that nearly all of the locks and dams on the UMR, including the Illinois 
Waterway, are experiencing varying levels of problems due do the age of the 
infrastructure. 

   As those locks and dams continue to deteriorate, especially when damaged by 
floods, the USACE has made it clear that it is "unable to adequately fund 
maintenance activities to ensure the navigation system operates at an 
acceptable level of performance." 

   Many times, only temporary repairs can be made, prolonging the possibility 
that a lock and dam could fail completely, shutting down the river for an 
extended period of time. When that happens, especially during harvest, farmers 
end up bearing the losses that would come from the inability of river terminals 
to load and transport their corn and soybeans to the Gulf for export.

   The most recent "temporary fix" was made at Lock and Dam No. 11 in Dubuque, 
Iowa, on April 24, when cracks were discovered at a mitre gate connection point 
during a routine inspection. Aaron Dunlop, USACE operations manager for the 
Mississippi River Project, said that inspectors preparing for an upcoming mitre 
gate change found the crack. Fortunately, there were already plans for new 
mitre gates to be installed. 

   This closure came less than two weeks after the first tow finally reached 
St. Paul, Minnesota, to open the 2018 shipping season, already well behind 
schedule. The 24-hour closure caused a backlog of barges that had been working 
their way north.

   On May 1, for the first time in 80 years, new permanent gates were finally 
installed by the USACE. All four mitre gates were originally installed in late 
1930 when Lock and Dam 11 was built. There have been intermittent closures as 
crews work to replace the four 110-ton gates and American Commercial Barge Line 
(ACBL reported that the lock would closed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 11 to 
install the gates. 

   A study funded by the Mid-America Freight Coalition noted that the USACE 
estimated that backlogged maintenance costs for locks and dams on the 
Mississippi and Illinois rivers total more than $1 billion. The study concluded 
that, "Given the age and maintenance backlog, a failure at any of these 
facilities, especially the southernmost, would divert some of the transport of 
agricultural products to trucks, which in turn, would add more stress on the 
nation's highways, many of which are also in need of repair." 

   Here is a link to the entire study:

   
http://midamericafreight.org/2017/10/mafc-releases-report-looking-at-the-impact-
of-upper-mississippi-river-lock-and-dam-shutdowns-on-state-highway-infrastructur
e/ 

   President Trump noted in his January 30 State of the Union address that he 
was approving funding of $1.5 trillion for the rebuilding of bridges, highways, 
locks and dams, airports and other projects. In Trump's "Legislative Outline 
For Rebuilding America" posted on the White House website on Feb. 12, 2018, he 
said that, "My administration is committed to working with the Congress to 
enact a law that will enable America's builders to construct new, modern, and 
efficient infrastructure throughout our beautiful land." 

   Here is the link to the February 12 release of Trump's infrastructure plan: 

   https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/INFRASTRUCTURE-211.pdf 

   Fast forward to May 10 when CNBC reported that White House Press Secretary, 
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, told reporters that all of President Donald Trump's 
talk of a massive, trillion-dollar upgrade to America's infrastructure, from 
"Infrastructure Week" declarations to a 53-page plan unveiled three months ago, 
won't produce "a specific piece of legislation" in 2018.

   It goes without saying that this news is devastating for not only our 
waterways, but also to roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, railways and 
subways, airports, and harbors -- all of which are in some need of repair.

   In fact, in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2017 
Infrastructure Report Card, the nation's infrastructure received an average 
grade of D+. The report is an assessment of the conditions of the nation's 
infrastructure across 16 categories and is done every four years. 

   Here is a link to the 2017 report card: 
https://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/making-the-grade/report-card-history/ 

   Of the 16 categories graded by the ASCE, six of those are essential to the 
success of agriculture shipments. Those categories are bridges, which were 
graded C+, ports C+, railroads B, roads D-, levees D and inland waterways D. 
Without any specific financial help from the government, it may not be long 
before we see the "D" grade become an "F," and should that happen, the 
consequences could be devastating to the agriculture community -- especially to 
farmers whose prices and livelihood rely on timely movement of their grain.

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com 

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

******************************************************************************
DDG Prices Steady

   OMAHA (DTN) -- The average distillers dried grains (DDG) spot price from the 
39 locations DTN contacted was $172 per ton for the week-ended May 10, up 5 
cents versus two weeks ago. Merchandisers noted that, overall, prices were 
supported by tight supplies in some areas. A California merchandiser said 
prices were strong there thanks to Mexico being a large buyer recently.

   The U.S. Census Bureau said on May 3 that U.S. exports of distillers dried 
grains with solubles (DDGS) totaled 905,558 metric tons (mt) in March, down 12% 
from a year ago. Mexico was the top export destination again in March, 
accounting for 17% of the total and followed by Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand 
and Indonesia. The first three months of the year, DDGS exports were down 13% 
in 2018 from a year ago.

   Based on the average of bids collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative to 
corn for the week-ended May 10 was at 121.01%, and the value of DDG relative to 
soybean meal was at 44.05%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG was $6.37, 
compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $8.22. Soymeal 
prices moved lower this past week, causing DDG per-protein unit cost to lose 
some advantage, but DDG still remains a better value.

   The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) noted in its weekly market price update, 
"Barge CIF NOLA values are lower this week, giving back only some of last 
week's $13/mt gain. FOB Gulf values followed a similar pattern this week, 
dropping after last week's $8/mt gain. Netbacks for those with river access 
remain near two-year highs."

   River conditions were expected to get messy once again starting Friday. 
American Commercial Barge Line noted that Upper Mississippi River Locks 16 (UM 
457) and Lock 17 (UM 437) were expected to close on Friday, May 11, and were 
expected to remain closed until the middle of next week due to already high 
water issues. An additional 2 to 3 inches of rain was expected over the 
weekend, which could push the closure back to late next week. This would be a 
complete closure; major delays are expected to develop in both directions.   

   On the international front, USGC noted that exporters are reporting that 
prices remain firm in Asia. "Buyers are calling frequently, hoping for lower 
prices that simply aren't coming yet. Merchandisers suggest that eventually 
buyers will be forced to cover their position/needs, and hint that this will 
occur at higher prices. Prices for 40-foot containers CNF Southeast Asia are 
presently valued at $242.50/mt."


ALL PRICES SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION             CURRENT        PREVIOUS   CHANGE
COMPANY   STATE                               5/10/2018       4/26/2018
Bartlett and Company, Kansas City, MO (816-753-6300)

          Missouri            Dry                $180           $170       $10
                              Modified           $90             $85       $5
CHS, Minneapolis, MN (800-769-1066)

          Illinois            Dry                $180           $175       $5
          Indiana             Dry                $175           $170       $5
          Iowa                Dry                $175           $170       $5
          Michigan            Dry                $175           $170       $5
          Minnesota           Dry                $170           $160       $10
          North Dakota        Dry                $170           $165       $5
          New York            Dry                $175           $170       $5
          South Dakota        Dry                $170           $160       $10
MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS (800-255-0302 Ext. 5253)

          Kansas              Dry                $165           $163       $2
POET Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD (888-327-8799)

          Indiana             Dry                $175           $170       $5
          Iowa                Dry                $165           $160       $5
          Michigan            Dry                $180           $175       $5
          Minnesota           Dry                $170           $165       $5
          Missouri            Dry                $185           $180       $5
          Ohio                Dry                $175           $170       $5
          South Dakota        Dry                $165           $155       $10
    `              `
United BioEnergy, Wichita, KS (316-616-3521)
          Kansas              Dry                $168           $168       $0
                              Wet                $55             $55       $0
          Illinois            Dry                $178           $175       $3
          Nebraska            Dry                $168           $168       $0
                              Wet                $55             $55       $0
U.S. Commodities, Minneapolis, MN (888-293-1640)

          Illinois            Dry                $175           $175       $0
          Indiana             Dry                $175           $175       $0
          Iowa                Dry                $165           $160       $5
          Michigan            Dry                $170           $170       $0
          Minnesota           Dry                $170           $160       $10
          Nebraska            Dry                $165           $170       -$5
          New York            Dry                $180           $180       $0
          North Dakota        Dry                $170           $170       $0
          Ohio                Dry                $170           $170       $0
          South Dakota        Dry                $165           $155       $10
          Wisconsin           Dry                $170           $160       $10
Valero Energy Corp, San Antonio Texas
                                          (210-345-3362)     (210-345-3362)
          Indiana             Dry                $178           $170       $8
          Iowa                Dry                $170           $155       $15
          Minnesota           Dry                $175           $160       $15
          Nebraska            Dry                $170           $170       $0
          Ohio                Dry                $180           $170       $10
          South Dakota        Dry                $165           $165       $0
          California                             $238           $235       $3
Western Milling, Goshen, California (559-302-1074)

          California          Dry                $245           $234       $11
*Prices listed per ton.

          Weekly Average                         $172           $167       $5
The weekly average prices above reflect only those companies DTN

collects spot prices from. States include: Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska,
Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan,
Wisconsin and Indiana. Prices for Pennsylvania, New York and
California are not included in the averages.

   **


                     VALUE OF DDG VS. CORN & SOYBEAN MEAL
                        Settlement Price:   Quote Date      Bushel  Short Ton
                                     Corn      5/10/2018   $3.9475      $140.98
                             Soybean Meal      5/10/2018   $390.50
            DDG Weekly Average Spot Price        $172.00
                                  DDG Value Relative to:
                                                           5/10        4/26
                                                    Corn   121.01%      121.14%
                                            Soybean Meal    44.05%       44.04%
                               Cost Per Unit of Protein:

                                                     DDG     $6.37        $6.19
                                            Soybean Meal     $8.22        $7.98
Notes:

Corn and soybean prices take from DTN Market Quotes. DDG price
represents the average spot price from Midwest companies
collected on Thursday afternoons. Soybean meal cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 47.5. DDG cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 27.

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com 

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

******************************************************************************
Will a Late Start to Planting Affect Expected Spring Wheat Planted Acres?

   Spring came late this year as snow and cold temperatures stalled planting of 
the wheat that bears its name. Farmers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana 
and northwest Minnesota had no choice but to wait for the snow to melt and the 
ground to thaw, as the calendar days for planting slipped away. 

   During the past week, I reached out to farmers and elevator managers in 
South Dakota, Minnesota and North Dakota, asking if they have started planting 
and if the late start may change spring wheat planting intentions in their area.

   In its March 29 Planting Intentions report, USDA forecast that spring wheat 
acres would increase 15%. But as of April 30, spring wheat planted in North 
Dakota was at 3%, behind 17% last year and 22% for the five-year average, 
according to NASS. Minnesota spring wheat planted was reported as only 2% 
complete, compared with 20% last year, and the five-year average of 34%. In 
South Dakota, the state furthest behind, spring wheat planted was 12%, well 
behind 83% last year and 63% for the five-year average.

   SOUTH DAKOTA UP AGAINST INSURANCE FINAL PLANT DATES

   Jerry Cope, who does the grain marketing for Dakota Mill and Grain Inc. in 
Rapid City, South Dakota, told me that, "Six months ago, spring wheat 
intentions were low in western South Dakota with projected year-over-year 
declines. Intentions spiked along with the price spike to over $6.00 on the 
board. The late spring had many nervous that they would not get all the spring 
wheat planted as wanted. 

   "A late warmer and drier trend, along with fields working well over the last 
10 days, has been accompanied by a late surge of spring wheat plantings ahead 
of the May 5 insurance cutoff in South Dakota. Four out of five farmers I talk 
to indicate they got all the spring wheat planted that they wanted, and seed 
sellers said they also saw a late surge in calls for seed wheat. The insurance 
cutoff date for spring wheat is May 5 in southern South Dakota and May 15 to 
the north."

   On May 3, Ryan Wagner of Wagner Farms in Roslyn, South Dakota, said, "Corn 
acres planted might be more than wheat acres seeded by the end of the day. 
Wheat is on hold because the soybean stubble is too wet with frost still coming 
out. Wheat stubble with grazed cover crop is nice and dry, mellow and warm 
enough to plant."

   Wagner went on to say, "It looks like we're on hold on wheat for a few days 
and will work on corn on this wheat stubble/cover crop tomorrow. Very little 
activity in my immediate area so far this week, but plenty of fieldwork being 
done in the James River valley to my west and the Minnesota River valley to my 
east. I'm guessing things will really start to ramp up this weekend, though; 
the forecast looks good for a solid week out, so we should be in good shape."

   Wagner reported back on Saturday, May 5, and said he was back to wheat while 
the corn planter sits. "Monday we will get both rigs going and try to spray 
some burndown as well. Next week will be a very busy week around here."

   Tim Luken, manager Oahe Grain in Onida, South Dakota, told me that his 
farmers started planting spring wheat there on April 27. "Warm 80-degree, windy 
weather has helped dry things out this past weekend, and it will be balls to 
the wall, go, go, go from here out," said Luken. "I have not heard of any 
spring wheat abandonment due to late spring yet, because it doesn't take long 
to plant with the equipment they have these days. I would say, weather 
permitting, in the next 10 days, spring wheat will be in. Farmers will go right 
into corn followed by beans and sunflowers. 

   "The winter wheat is greening up very nicely, and I do not see any winter 
kill in the area this year. Should be a year of no issues for crop adjusters to 
zero-out fields this year. Both topsoil and subsoil moisture has been 
recharged, and as of now, looks to be in good shape. I did talk to a famer on 
Tuesday and he said he was done with spring wheat (1,900 acres) and is now 
planting corn." 

   Insurance final plant dates in South Dakota are May 5 for the southern part 
of the state and May 15 for the northern area. Dates are specific to the 
location of each county in the state.

   MINNESOTA FINALLY THAWS OUT

   Tim Dufault, who farms in Crookston, Minnesota, told me on May 2 that spring 
planting had finally begun in the Red River Valley. "It is a later-than-usual 
starting date after the eighth coldest April on record, according to the 
National Weather Service in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Once the snow finally 
went away, the ground has dried up quickly and allowed field work to begin just 
about everywhere in eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota. We started 
seeding April 28, about seven days later than normal. With cooperative weather 
and no more breakdowns, we could finish spring wheat seeding by May 8. This 
would still be a favorable planting window to achieve good wheat yields. 

   "As of right now, I don't know of any acres switching crops. If we should 
get a prolonged weather delay in the first week or two of May, I think wheat 
and corn acres would quickly switch to soybeans," Dufault said.

   Brian Kjesbo, who farms in Wendell, Minnesota, in the west-central part of 
the state told me on May 4 that, "For spring wheat, I'd say seedings are over 
50% complete in our area with many now transitioning into corn and sugar beet 
planting. There have been a number of positive factors supporting spring wheat 
acres thru the winter. Sugar beet cooperatives are pushing for a return to 
spring wheat prior to beets for quality, weed and disease management. In 
addition, the combination of really strong yields, quality, and price last year 
for eastern spring wheat growers encouraged folks to look at a return to wheat. 
However, the later-than-ideal spring has pulled some intended acres back away 
from wheat in recent weeks." 

   On May 3, Danny Pinske, manager of Pro-Ag Farmers' Cooperative in Hoffman, 
Minnesota, told me, "We are just starting to go in this area. Some corn planted 
and some wheat on the lighter soils. If the weather holds, it will be balls to 
the walls this weekend! Still hearing wheat acres will be up a small amount. I 
am wondering if there will be a few more corn acres at the current price level. 
Maybe taking from beans? Planting weather is the key for the upcoming week." 

   Insurance final plant dates in Minnesota are May 15 for the southern part of 
the state, May 31 for the middle, central part of the state, and June 5 for the 
northern area. Dates are specific to the location of each county in the state.

   NORTH DAKOTA FARMERS LOOKING FOR THE FINISH LINE

   Mark Rohrich of Rohrich Farms in Ashley, North Dakota, told me on April 30 
that he had just started planting. "We will plan on moving forward with the 
acres planned, and in the area, I think for now, most people are at the same 
feeling at least until May 15 or so. Chance of rain tonight, but it looks like 
decent weather in the near term, so things should move along. Still some water 
in spots that I think the frost is holding up."

   "Getting a good start on spring wheat," Keith Brandt, general manager of 
Plains Grain and Agronomy LLC in Enderlin, North Dakota, said on May 2. "Still 
dealing with frost in the ground that's preventing some field work, and I see 
that going away by early in the week. No corn or soybeans planted in our area. 
Some corn will be planted by the weekend with the big push next week."

   An elevator manager in eastern North Dakota told me on May 2 that not much 
was done the first half of this week like he thought could be. "Planting stage 
is like only 5% on grains and 10% on beets yet. Not a lot of ground is ready 
around our trade area," he said. "Fertilizer spreading is at a snail's pace and 
hoping by the weekend, a lot more will be ready to go. It's pretty hard to say 
it'll go in at Mach speed with the fertilizer spreading unable to keep up to 
it." 

   He mentioned that they had rain last Monday night through Tuesday morning 
all around his area, but amounts varied. The Fargo area only received one-tenth 
of an inch but a half-inch just north, northeast of Fargo. "West of here, like 
Clifford up through Reynolds to Grand Forks, was a swath of an inch. My area 
only saw four-tenths of an inch," he noted. "The dirt was really moving on 
Sunday night, so rain was needed. It's amazing how quickly that top inch or so 
went powder dry, yet just below that it's too wet to go on yet. It was pretty 
fortunate rain, especially for those in central North Dakota that got a good 
shot coming off the dryness last year. Frost is coming out and this rain will 
speed that up and hold the blowing dirt for a day or two." 

   The eastern North Dakota elevator manager told me that farmers will get the 
crop planted, most likely in the next 10-to-14 days. "However, due to rotations 
and which ground is ready first, they will be jumping around on what's being 
planted to start with. The concern will quickly be issues with overly dry 
topsoil. It's not all going to be planted quick enough to beat how quick the 
seed beds will get to dry. No doubt there will be some issues with germination 
in some areas and very likely dirt will continue to blow out. Up north in the 
northeast corner of North Dakota, they are about 40% done with beets with some 
having most of their wheat planted, but there is also talk of how dry the 
topsoil is. On the hill to the west in the Langdon area, they are the same 
stage as us -- barely able to start yet," he concluded.

   Over in the north-central part of the state, Jeff Kittell, merchandiser for 
Border Ag and Energy in Russell, North Dakota, told me, "Our area is just 
getting into full swing at this point, and I don't see any acres being 
switched. The biggest problem we are seeing right now is the availability of 
NH3 because everywhere in the state hit the fields at the same time and there 
are just not enough trucks and hours to keep up with demand to load farmers' 
tanks."

   Out in the northwestern part of state in Parshall, 60 miles from Minot, 
Blase Hendrickson said, "We just wrapped up this evening (May 3) with spring 
wheat. We have not changed any acres or plans for the year yet in terms of 
spring wheat. For our area, guys are just getting started in general, but no 
one seems to be in a rush; I'd swear everyone thinks it's April 3 and not May 
3. However, there are lots of wet areas still in fields and the ground is still 
quite cold, so that might have something to do with it." 

   Insurance final plant dates in North Dakota are May 31 for the southern half 
of the state and June 5 for the northern half. Dates are specific to the 
location of each county in the state.

   FINAL THOUGHTS

   "Overall, planting progress has been very uneven with some making great 
progress and others who haven't started yet," said Wendell, Minnesota, farmer 
Kjesbo. "The bottom line is less spring wheat than originally intended, but 
still up year on year. The underlying bearish nature of global wheat 
fundamentals, stronger-than-expected soybean prices, and positive outlook for 
corn prices also has tempered some wheat enthusiasm."

   "Spring wheat acres will be down from NASS numbers in March," said Brandt, 
the Plains Grain and Agronomy LLC general manager. "We could see total spring 
wheat acres down 250,000-to-300,000 acres. I'd say the biggest drop would be in 
South Dakota and the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota."

   "It's hard to believe only two weeks ago, we had blizzard conditions with 
snow from 6 inches to 19 inches. And today, May 2, it is 80 degrees. Crazy 
weather," said Oahe Grain manager Luken.

   Finally, given the severe drought conditions in North and South Dakota last 
summer, Hendrickson, the Parshall, North Dakota farmer, summed up what is most 
critical this year in those states: "We are going to need very timely and ample 
rains this year to have a good crop."

   Here is a link to USDA weekly statistics by state crop progress reports: 
https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/index.php. The next report is due 
out on Monday, May 7, and will show planting progress through Sunday, May 6. 

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com 

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

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