Grain Market Report 2Feb2011

Tanner Sheahan
CPS Tangent

Wheat has moved up again.  Prompt prices are running from $8.55-8.70 through May for rail delivery to Portland.  Jul/Aug is at $8.40.

The CPS fieldmen and management throughout the Cascade/Columbia Division had meetings in Vancouver, WA Tuesday and Wednesday.  We figured we'd make even better use of the trip up and try to tour one of the wheat exporters at the Port.  We finally ended up scheduling a tour with the Kalama Export Company at the Port of Kalama on the Washington side of the river.  Steve Harms showed us around and it was really cool to see the volume of grain that gets moved through one of these facilities.  Kalama Export doesn't take truck deliveries but has an impressive setup for receiving rail cars of wheat, soybeans, corn, etc.  We were able to watch cars of soybeans unload...very fast.  The big ships being loaded at the dock hold about 2.3mil bushels and can be loaded in about 36 hours.  A big thanks to Steve for taking the time to show us around the facility.  Kalama Export Company is in the process of expanding their storage and load-out capabilities and would like to work with rail shippers for wheat growers in the Willamette Valley.

Here's a breakdown of shipping volumes for perspective:
Ship:~2,300,000 bushels
Barge: ~100,000 bushels
Rail Car:  ~3400 bushels
Truck:     ~1000 bushels

Using these numbers it takes about 2,300 trucks to fill one ship or about 667 rail cars or about 23 barges.  So, to put it in perspective, one truck in relation to a ship is equivalent to a 24 lb bag of grass seed compared to a 55,000 lb lot.  Aren't you guys glad you don't have to buy/sell your grass seed crop 24 pounds at a time?

Here's Dan's market summary from Wednesday.

2Feb2011

Early morning puter problems has me running behind, but were up and going now. Futures are up very strong with wheats leading the way up 20-25. Corn is basically break even. Volatility is alive and well and will be with us for some time. Political / economic unrest as well. Anti government protests are spreading to Syria. Political activists in Yemen call for a ‘day of rage’. Yemen president says he will not seek re-election. Most of the protests and riots are led by young people not wanting to get left behind economically. Historically in many parts of that culture you are simply born into your ‘station’ of life, and trained to not expect nor try to improve yourself or your family. Much of that is changing. It may take some time, but longer term, if the change that comes is progressive, this will be a very positive thing longer term economically and for the grain industry. First priorities always seem to be food and shelter.
Massive blizzards/ Typhoons/ drought and bitterly cold weather are ‘hot topics’ this morning. SAM and India/ Pakistan as well as the FSU are showing what may be considered ‘normal’ weather, while pretty much everywhere else they are seeing extremes. Blizzards with winds up to 40 mph and 2’ of snow across much of the midwest has things shut down…the bitter cold particularly in the Southern plains could cause some serious winterkill issues. Record Cyclone is on track to hit NE Aussie with winds up to 186 mph…this is on scale with ‘Katrina’. Storm surge is the main concern, and a surge up to 22’ is expected…that’s A LOT of water! Cyclone is expected to last 3 days and will affect an area the size of Italy…no small deal. Light rain in China’s drought section will not be very beneficial.
Meanwhile the folks in the Midwest that are being hit by this huge blizzard will be happy to know that Punxsutawny Phil did NOT see his shadow, so winter ought to be over in less than 6 weeks!!!
***Didja Know: Woodchucks: They truly hibernate…when they do, their internal temperature drops from 99° to 37°. Their heart rate drops from about 80 beats/ min to about 5, and their breathing slows from 16 breathes/ minute to 2….They may go up to 150 days without eating…