Grain and Farm Supply Reports

Reports from CoBank Knowledge Exchange focusing on the grain and farm supply industries.

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Jet over corn field

5 Things to Know About the New Sustainable Aviation Fuel Credits

May 2024

The Inflation Reduction Act’s tax incentives were designed to expand production of sustainable aviation fuel and lower-carbon fuels, and the U.S. Department of Treasury is finally putting incentives into action by releasing guidance on April 30, 2024.


Rapid Expansion of Soybean Crush Capacity Risks Exceeding Growth of Renewable Diesel

March 2024

The push for renewable diesel is boosting demand for soybean oil as a feedstock.

corn soy

Slow Farmer Selling Frustrates Elevators’ Acquisition of Corn and Soybeans

November 2023

In a world market awash in grains and oilseeds, the profit outlook for storing corn and soybeans in the U.S. is much improved for the 2023-24 marketing year with buy basis for elevators falling to more normal levels and with carries returning to futures markets. 


Ag Retailers’ Future Rides on Integrating Agronomy and Autonomy

September 2023

As ag retailers continue to contend with structural and operational challenges, including higher costs for labor and insurance, their customer is also evolving. Farm operators are demanding more data-enabled agronomic tools and new ways of doing business.

Wheat Exports

Russian Wheat Exports Remain Biggest Risk to U.S. Wheat Elevators

September 2023

Following an extended period of inverted futures markets, the outlook for elevators storing wheat has improved. Carry in the futures markets has returned and the buy basis has widened after a bigger U.S. wheat harvest.

soybean crop

Tour Reveals Risk to Soybean Crop, but Greater Potential for Soybean Oil

August 2023

Results of the Pro Farmer Crop Tour project smaller corn and soybean crops in the U.S. as drought and the record heat index lower yields, especially in the western Midwest.

India Rice Ban

India Rice Ban Will Benefit U.S. Rice Exports, Increase Market Volatility

August 2023

On July 20, the Indian government banned the export of non-basmati white rice to “to allay the rise in prices in the domestic market” stemming from threats posed by Black Sea geopolitics, El Nino and extreme climatic conditions in other rice-producing countries. The ban affects 7-8 million metric tons of Indian rice exports, or 15% of global rice trade.

It Is Time for Ag Co-ops to Pay the Insurance Piper

June 2023

The increasing frequency and severity of global catastrophic events over the past decade have inflicted major financial losses on society, the insurance industry and agribusiness. U.S. losses to catastrophes totaled $170 billion in 2022, which is about triple the long-term average dating to 1980.

Grain Elevators

Rising Cost of Carry Will Force Co-op Grain Elevators to Lower Bids, Widen Basis

May 2023

Grain merchandisers have endured rising costs of storing, or carrying, grain and oilseed inventories over the past year due to rising interest rates, high crop prices and rising operating costs like transportation, insurance, fuel, electricity and labor

Ag Retailers Prepare to Navigate 3 Emerging Risks

Ag Retailers Prepare to Navigate 3 Emerging Risks

March 2023

Grain and farm supply cooperatives have delivered tremendous value to their customers over the past three years, a period that featured extreme volatility in prices for grain, fertilizer and energy as well as unpredictable economic activity stemming from COVID and the Russia/Ukraine conflict.

Fertilizer prices report

2 Reasons Why Lower Fertilizer Prices Won’t Shift Spring Planting Decisions

February 2023

To the surprise of most observers, wholesale fertilizer prices and natural gas prices have been declining since last fall, both globally and in the United States. 


Renewable Diesel Projected to Turbo Charge Biofuel Growth

September 2022

By producing fuel using sources with lower carbon intensity compared to traditional petroleum based products, the U.S. biofuels sector is well-positioned to play a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

communications farm broadband

How Co-ops Can Lead the Way for DIY On-Farm Broadband

May 2022

Although precision agriculture has been around for more than 25 years, the past decade has introduced advanced computing technologies such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, connected devices, robotics, and automation.

Vegetable oil

Ukraine Sunflower Oil Just the Latest Chapter in Vegetable Oil Price Rally

May 2022

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shaken up global agricultural markets, including vegetable oil. But some perspective is needed: Even before the war, global vegetable oil prices had appreciated sharply. Since 2020, vegetable oil prices are up 113% versus gains of 51% for soy meal and 71% for unprocessed oilseeds.

Ukraine Grain

Ukraine Grain: Tight Stocks, Price Volatility Likely for Years

March 2022

Global grain markets have been managing through a period of extreme price volatility following Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, a situation that has reignited the grain rally of 2020-21.

Fertilizer inflation

Fertilizer Inflation Likely to Persist into Spring Planting

December 2021

U.S. crop farmers and the farm supply cooperatives serving them are facing operational anxiety heading into 2022, driven by high fuel prices, shortages of agrochemicals (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides) due to COVID-related disruptions and, most importantly, the recent parabolic rise in fertilizer prices.

Grain Precision Ag

Precision Agronomy Services Will Factor Heavily in the Future of Ag Retailing

September 2021

Ag retailers, including farm supply cooperatives, are benefitting from crop farmers’ strong spending on inputs and agronomic services in a second year of above-average grain prices.

china grain

Feeding the Hungry Dragon: China Changes Buying Tactics in Volatile Phase of U.S. Grain Run

June 2021

China shook up the U.S. feed grain export market this past year when it nearly tripled its previous year’s purchase of soybeans, and made record purchases of sorghum and more recently, corn.


Agronomy Outlook: A Time to Plant, a Time to Prosper

March 2021

U.S. farmers are in a sound financial position heading into spring 2021 given the cyclical turn in grain prices and robust government support, both of which have driven a rise in net farm income.

U.S. Dollar

Dollar Divergence: US Dollar Index Does Not Reflect True Dollar Impact on US Ag Exports

February 2021

The U.S. Dollar Index saw rapid deflation in 2020 and has coincided with a rally in commodity prices. 

Grain elevator

Grain Elevator Outlook: Accelerated Merchandising Margins Today, Potential Volatility Tomorrow

December 2020

An explosive rally in grain prices – driven by a smaller-than-expected U.S. harvest, strong China export demand, dryness concerns due to La Niña, and resulting tight corn and soybean stocks – dramatically changed the complexion of the 2020-21 grain marketing season.

Cattle feeding

Surging Feed Prices to Test US Animal Protein’s Recovery

December 2020

Feed costs have been relatively benign since 2012, helping the beef, pork and poultry sectors to expand more from 2014 to 2019 than in any five year period in the industry’s history. But in the coming year, U.S. livestock and poultry producers will face more feed cost inflation than they have in over a decade, challenging their ability to recover after a difficult and volatile 2020.

ag outlook

Field of Agronomic Dreams: Rethinking the Farm Supply Co-op to Drive Value

November 2020

Farm supply service cooperatives remain the dominant form of input distribution in North America. 


Ethanol Sector Outlook: Readjustment Today, Rationalization Tomorrow

June 2020

The economic shock in spring 2020 resulting from COVID-19-led economic shutdowns was unprecedented, causing ethanol demand destruction. 

Spring 2020 Agronomy Outlook: Retailers Are Adequately Prepared to Ride Out the Storm

March 2020

According to an analysis of CoBank’s proprietary borrower database, ag retailers are on relatively firm footing as they prepare for spring following last year’s complicated agronomy season.

Grain Elevator Outlook: Tight Basis Squeezes Grain and Oilseed Margins

December 2019

Grain elevators face a struggle in the year ahead as they buy expensive basis on corn, soybeans, and wheat at levels not seen in years. 


Corn Crop Uncertainty Raises Volatility for Grain Elevators

August 2019

Grain elevators and end users are navigating heightened market volatility as the size of this fall’s corn harvest remains uncertain.

grain elevator

Ethanol Outlook Weak Amid Sluggish Demand

July 2019

Persistent low margins will likely drive ethanol plants to diversify revenue streams.

Gene Editing: A Potential Game Changer for Crop Agriculture

February 2019

Interest, innovation, and investment in gene editing tools like CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) and TALEN® (transcription activator-like effector nucleases) have heated up in recent years, and will only intensify in 2019.  


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