News & Events
U.S. Grains Council officials attended the International Grains Council Conference on June 10, 2014, in London. At the conference, traders, industry representatives and policy makers from around the world met to discuss the grain trade.
In June, traders received word of significant new restrictions on imports of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) into China. While a formal statement from the government in China was not forthcoming, conversations with officials in China indicated that China would begin to more strictly test incoming shipments for the presence of biotech events not yet approved in China. It was also reported that China was considering a moratorium on new DDGS import permits, although existing permits would continue to be valid.
In spite of a record corn crop, some American grain farmers are struggling to get their crops to market due to railroad delays. Farmers in states such as North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana are sitting on millions of tons of grains, waiting for rail cars that are over a month late to arrive and haul their crops to grain elevators and ports in the Pacific Northwest.
This spring, the U.S. Grains Council launched the Tanzanian Food for Progress program, building on its success in other livestock and feed improvement programs throughout the world. The program has three goals:
• Promote quality feed formulations for poultry
• Develop self-sufficient industry associations for poultry producers and feed manufacturers
• Improve broiler (poultry raised for meat) and layer (poultry raised for eggs) production through training seminars
Major North African grains buyers have begun importing U.S. corn again thanks to better prices and facilitated by strong relationships maintained through the lean years with the U.S. Grains Council. After virtually no sales in the previous year, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia purchased 2.1 million metric tons (82.7 million bushels) of corn this marketing year from September 2013 to May 2014.
Through April and early May, the United States saw planting delays in major corn-growing states because of a cool, wet spring. But, thanks to warmer weather over the last few weeks, farmers have made up for lost time and caught up to the five-year average. While a few of the northernmost states struggled with lingering weather, overall, planting progress in the United States has rebounded.
A recent loss of piglets infected with Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) has impacted U.S. hog farmers in 25 states. Globally, pork supplies are under pressure with limited production and increased prices as PEDv spreads in Mexico, Japan and South Korea. As the world’s largest producer of pork, China will not face these pressures due to sow surplus and subsequent liquidation, helping drive prices down.
A cold, wet spring delayed planting through much of the central U.S. corn production areas. However, the arrival of better weather and access to state-of-the-art planting equipment has made it possible for farmers to play “catch-up” from the late start.
It is no different for Lou Lamoreux, a farmer in northwestern Illinois who has 1,800 acres of farmland. His land, which will be planted in 1,000 acres of corn, 350 acres of soybean and 450 acres split between wheat, alfalfa and open pasture this year, continued to receive rain and chilly weather until the first week of May.
With warming surface temperatures and light winds in the Pacific Ocean, scientists are predicting a return of the weather system known as El Niño. Characterized by heavy rains in some parts of the world and drought in others, the extreme weather conditions El Niño typically delivers have a strong impact on grains market production and pricing.
As farmers in the Ukraine enter the planting season for corn and wheat, limited financing, a devalued currency and growing unrest have made buyers cautious about Ukrainian grains. In recent months, the expected prices of both corn and wheat have increased significantly reflecting risk in the market.