IAG Blog Archives:   by Tag:

June 2, 2019 | |

Prevented Plant Feature Becomes DeFacto Set-Aside Program – Distorting Grain Markets, Providing Major Benefit to Non-US Producer

Normally crop insurance has a propensity for overproduction. These are not normal times. This year it is the opposite. A feature of crop insurance covering nearly 90% of Midwest farmers is creating a paid set-aside which is distorting the grain market. It is forcing the market to bid against the prevented plant (PP) payment to offset the damage created by Mother Nature. The impact is unintentional and is only exposed by the extreme delays in 2019 planting.  Those of you under the age of 40, google set-aside policy to see how US Ag programs of the 1970’s and 80’s promoted production for non-US producers. South America is a major benefactor of the recent market rally, as they were back in the 70’s and 80’s. PP forces the market to bid until enough planting is complete. Will planting proceed enough this week or will it push into July? What will Mother Nature dictate? More importantly, what happens to prices once the bidding is done? How many will suffer “Buyer’s Remorse”?

May 10, 2019 | |

Lower yields expected for May WASDE, are they right??

Look for the full report in the IAG Interactive Masters

On Friday, May 10th the World Board (WAOB) will publish the first corn and soybean balance sheets for the 2019/2020 crop year. Based on the weather model employed by the USDA, I estimate the initial USDA yield for corn will be around 173 bushels per acre, 3 bushels per acre (bpa) below the trendline yield of 176. The model calls for a reduction of around 2.89 bpa for every 10% the US planting progress lags the average on 5/15. The average planting pace for May 15th in their model is near 80%. Some interpolation/extrapolation will be required. Our analog year is 2013. Planting progress went from 28 to 71% complete from May 12th to the 19th. The corn yield in the May 2013 WASDE was 158, 5.6 bpa below the trendline of 163.6 published at the 2013 USDA Forum. The Westcott‐Jewison model is used for guidance on WASDE yields for May – August reports. The surveyed yields will not begin until September this year. The yield adjustment will likely keep USDA 19/20 corn end stocks around 2.1 billion bushels. The lower yield estimate will keep balance sheets artificially low this summer.

April 16, 2019 | |

ASF = The Biggest Threat to World Animal Agriculture in 2019, and Beyond

ASF = Bullish Pork
ASF = Bearish Soybeans
ASF = African Swine Fever

If you wanted to create the highest negative impact to world animal agriculture, with the least effort, Chinese pork would be your target. It seems African Swine Fever, knowingly or not, has made that decision.

March 4, 2019 | |

What Does $30 Billion Dollars Look Like?

China has apparently offered to purchase an additional $30 billion of US agricultural products as part of the new trade agreement. That sounds amazing! The additional purchases would apparently encompass ten commodities. I say apparently, because like much of the China trade news, it lacks any detail and substance and leaves us guessing the impact. The impact could be that China is "buying off" the US trade negotiators. "Buying off" is a term used this week by Secretary of Agriculture – Sonny Perdue. So, we ask the question: what does it look like? Would it mean China is buying US corn or wheat? Does it mean China is consuming more – that's what's important – will it be new demand?

December 16, 2018 | |

Want To Make Better Commodity Buying or Selling Decisions? Think like Ted Williams.

At the risk of wearing out sports analogies…

There is a saying in basketball: “The only important shot you take is the next one.”  The same is true when making decisions about commodity markets. Here at IAG, we know decisions about markets can be frustrating. There is always doubt when reaching a decision. There is never a black/white decision. Decisions need to be made with incomplete data.  Anyone can do it successfully if you think like a top shooter in basketball or a top hitter in baseball. Stephen Curry is one of the best shooters in basketball; he believes every shot he takes will go in – never a doubt, but he misses almost as many as he makes. What does it take to be a great shooter? A short memory and countless hours on the court. It’s the same with commodity buying and selling decisions. The decision maker must accept they will be wrong when measured against the market, but the decision maker can’t let “misses” paralyze their decision making.

December 3, 2018 | |

Farmers Need To Be Traders

Here at IAG, we know farmers wake up with a market position every day. Most traders have a choice whether to take a position. Farmers do not have that choice. They have a position that needs attention and management. It doesn’t mean they have to be active traders. It requires them to be active managers, and proactive managers.  I believe most farmers inherently understand the position, but they choose to deal with the position in a myriad of methods. That myriad creates the vast difference in marketing results experienced by the farm population. Results can be improved if they approach the position similar to a money manager or professional trader and follow these basic rules:

  1. Manage the money
  2. Design a Plan B before a Plan A
  3. Monitor continuously.
November 21, 2018 | |

Six After Harvest Finance Questions to Answer

Harvest marks the end of one season and the beginning of another. After you park the combine for the year, you should head to the office to grade your financial success and start planning for the next crop cycle.

November 21, 2018 | |


Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated in the U.S. as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest. It is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November and has historical roots dating back to the autumn of 1621.

November 12, 2018 | |

Soybean Experts Share Best Practices for Long-Term Storage

South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council

SIOUX FALLS — Current market conditions have many South Dakota soybean growers considering long-term storage solutions this harvest.

November 7, 2018 | |

The Impact of Hurricanes Florence and Michael on Agriculture

The sheer destruction hurricanes leave in their wide path certainly doesn’t go unnoticed by the news stations.

Viewers watch as devastated survivors trudge through water in their living rooms, stare blankly from a shelter or stand in front of a wall that was once part of their home. 

What viewers are less likely to see, however, is the equally devastating impact they have on farms, farmers and agriculture.


November 2, 2018 | |

What’s with the Long-Term Agricultural Projections?

USDA Office of the Chief Economist did an early release today of the Long-Term Agricultural Projections. Table below.


October 25, 2018 | |

What Is the Future of Small Farms?

It’s true that as the “bigger is better” mentality washes over the country, plenty of it has trickled down to agriculture. Or maybe flowed would be a more accurate word.

And there’s always the issue of the younger generations fleeing to urban areas to try their hand at something else.

All of this, as well as other factors, have made the future of small farms appear rather bleak.


October 18, 2018 | |

Something About Corn - Running At A Deficit

Items supporting corn prices: 

  • Shrinking stocks.
  • Demand growth in feed and biofuel.
  • Tight stocks of wheat at major exporters.

Items not supporting corn prices:

  • Soybean stocks and trade. 


October 11, 2018 | |

How High Tech Farming Is Impacting Neighboring Small Towns

Back in 1925, farming was how nearly a third of the country made its living. If you weren’t a farmer, chances were good you knew somebody who was. 

Now, not even 2% of Americans work directly in agriculture. There are a number of reasons for this.

But one of the biggest players is “smart” or high-tech farming and how it’s changed the face of the industry… right along with everyone connected with it.


October 4, 2018 | |

Are Perennial Varieties of Conventional Crops Viable?

Back in the early 1980s, a group of visionaries began pursuing what many considered a rather labor-intensive endeavor. They began working with wild plants to create perennial varieties of crops such as wheat, legumes or sorghum. 

This led to the bigger question:


September 25, 2018 | |

US Farmer About To Find Out About Life In Tariffville

The US soybean producer is about to have its first major test of life in Tariffville. Short-term prices will be impacted significantly by weekly export shipments and sales. Typically soybean export shipments peak in Oct and Nov. In the chart above, week 60 on the X axis is Oct 15th. In prior years China was the major recipient, generally taking about 2/3rds of the shipments. Current sales bookings are 16 MMT, 1 MMT less than last year. It's likely the 2018/19 shipment line will be flatter than prior years as sales go to non-Chinese destinations, but the US needs to make hay while the discounts to South American beans are the greatest - that is now. A peak weekly pace of 2 MMT is our goal to support current prices.

September 21, 2018 | |

How Is Smart Farming Reshaping Agriculture?

There’s no doubt that demands on agriculture are increasing. With the world population continually growing, farmers are faced with the challenges of producing more food without clearing forests or polluting the land and water.

For existing farms to meet these demands, they have to produce more crops. 

And smart farming techniques that include things like GPS-guided drones, high-tech equipment, smart algorithms and genetic engineering are proving hugely beneficial.


September 6, 2018 | |

Is There a Future in Industrial Hemp Farming?

The speculative answer is a resounding yes.

This movement toward industrial hemp farming was awakened back in 2014 when the Farm Bill included a provision that allowed states to initiate research programs on hemp cultivation. 

Of course, at that time, the federal ban on commercial cultivation was still intact. But the provision was taken as an indication that the federal government would ease up on these restrictions. 

This assumption birthed a wave of activity at the state level to legalize industrial hemp and to start promoting it as a viable crop. 

And that’s what’s happened.


August 28, 2018 | |

6 Ways to Diversify Your Farm

 When we say “diversify your farm,” do you feel resistant?

“Farmers like to stick with things they are doing,” says John Rigdon, an 11th generation family farmer from Maryland. “I don’t know how many times I’ve heard farmers say, ‘that’s the way Daddy did it.’ Well, that was probably a really good idea at the time, but that was 50 years ago, and it may not be such a great idea now.”

After a particularly rough spell in the early 1980s, Rigdon decided he needed to find a way to make more money from his farm. So he attended an ADAPT (Ag Diversification Adds Profit Today) conference in Des Moines in 1986. Feeling energized and renewed, he decided to add pick-your-own pumpkins and fall ornamentals to his corn and cattle farm.

It was a wildly successful venture. Halloween is now a huge holiday and every year for over 30 years, Rigdon has reaped the fruits (and vegetables) of his labor.


August 20, 2018 | |

SPECIAL 2018 Crop Tour FINAL Wrap up

IAG Crop Tour – Wrap up.                                                                                    

By Ben Fisher

First, additional links to more information, including the YouTube video addendum. This year’s footage is in 4k and we got some great views of corn and soybean fields. Some issues were only apparent from the sky, but the bulk of the videos show a well- developed, even crop.


YouTube site: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhNjmHKRC_I&list=PLnBorAJnI_izfTKUC3uHUjwogizr2UL2T 

IAG Website: https://iag-group.com/ 

Crop Tour Blog: https://iag-group.com/blog/iag-2018-crop-tour-update 


2,000 miles
22 stops, 7 states visited
200 ear samples taken, 66 population measurements, 112k kernels counted 35 soybean plants pulled, 1,459 pods counted
1 John Deere hat acquired

August 17, 2018 | | soybean sales market

US Soybean and Corn Sales Well Ahead of Last Year


US soybean and corn sales for the 18/19 crop year are nearly double last year’s pace, despite export blocking tariffs, thank you very much. Corn bookings are almost 8.9 million tonnes (MMT) versus 4.4 year ago. Soybeans sales are at 11.5 MMT versus 6.4 last year. (Graph below)


August 7, 2018 | |

IAG 2018 Crop Tour Update

What follows are our notes from the full day of our annual Crop Tour.

You can find additional videos on our YouTube site and our website linked below when we can upload them.

YouTube site:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0hTUY24cxDtmdB_B-82DnQ/videos?shelf_id=0&view=0&sort=dd IAG

August 2, 2018 | |

There's No Such Thing As Too Much Information

That’s our belief when it comes to making informed supply and demand decisions.

But, come on. Cultivating and harvesting all of that data involves a serious amount of time and energy. So who can possibly take the time to get access to all that crucial information?

You can. 

At IAG, we’ve simplified the whole process. We’ve taken our combined 80 years of global agricultural commodity market and research experience to develop one-of-a-kind agribusiness interactive marketing (AIM) reports.

Just for you.

So take AIM! 


June 21, 2018 | |

Soybean Trade X China - What Moves If the Tariff Remains

  1. The US takes the Brazilian share of the non-Chinese imports.
  2. The US takes a portion of the soybean crush from Brazil. 
  3. Miscellaneous.


    April 18, 2018 | | crops riskmanagement HRW

    IAG 2018 HRW Tour

    Approximate Route:

    Day 1 - Wichita, KS to Stratford, TX

    Day 2 - Stratford, TX to Liberal, KS

    Day 3 - Liberal, KS to Hays, KS through Wichita to Oklahoma City.

    April 9, 2018 | |

    In These Trying Trying Times You DO Have Options

    Just as with regular climate, the financial climate is never easy to forecast. It’s tenuous and uncertain - at best. And just when you think the storms have settled, things can shift quickly.

    For instance, after Donald Trump imposed tariffs of $50 billion on imported Chinese goods, the Chinese government retaliated by announcing plans to match those tariffs with import levies on a number of U.S. products. Among these products are U.S. soybeans.

    With the uncertainty of global events that are beyond your control, it is becoming increasingly important to find alternatives to protect your income. Implementation of a strategy that incorporates options is a great way to hedge against these risks.


    April 4, 2018 | |

    Soybeans - Tariff Response

    Two types of market responses:


    Emotional – Market has a large spec soy long. Response is negative – easy to say today.



    1. First: China does not trade corn or wheat – direct impact is none. Only impact to grains is indirectly from soybean values.
    2. Think of this as an additional freight charge.
    3. Freight differentials are absorbed in basis not futures.


    Old Crop US soy impact:

    1. US has shipped 25 MMT of 36 MMT we expected to sell to China.
    2. Balance (11 MMT) can be filled by Brazil and other SA suppliers. Not Argentina this year.
    3. Brazil has 20 MMT of exports to Non-Chinese destinations that can be shifted to China.
    4. US will move 11 MMT more soybeans to Non-Chinese destinations.


    March 28, 2018 | | crops farm riskmanagement

    What Is the Future of Ag Robots?

    New robotics are already transforming several aspects of agriculture. While the market is small, it’s burgeoning. And it’s expected to keep growing. 

    Will Robotics Eliminate Large Ag Machinery? 

    March 7, 2018 | |

    Why China Is Buying Australian Farmland... and Its Impact

    In the world of agribusiness investing, it’s crucial to keep up with the newest data and information.

    So here’s an interesting fact:

    Back in 2013, the biggest importers of Australian wines were the U.K. and the U.S.


    February 8, 2018 | | corn usda outlook

    Could USDA Outlook Forum Take 2 Million Acres Off US Corn?

    The USDA Outlook Forum is February 22-23. The crop acreage math points to 1.4 million less corn acres in 2018 vs. 2017. The USDA Long Term Projections had US corn and soybean acres at 91 million each. Leaving wheat acres unchanged YOY, adding 600k acres to cotton, moving soy to 91 from 90.2 last year, leaves only 89 million acres for corn – down 2mm from the Long Term Projections. 89 million puts total area for the four crops at 239 million. 239 million would be the largest Forum number since 239.8 in 2013.  239 is equal to the final planted area last year.

    Corn area will be challenged and the IAG Models indicate 91 million acres of soybeans will prove to be just adequate for growing demand. It is likely soybean acreage in the USDA March 30 Planting Intentions Report will be above 91 million.

    February 5, 2018 | | soybeans usa

    The World Will Need More Soybeans From the U.S.

    The US has become the crucial supplier of soybeans to the world. World soybean usage has grown from 277mmt in 2013 to 345mmt in 2017. IAG is projecting usage to grow to 359mmt for the 2018 crop year. That’s over 15mmt growth per year.  The US has supplied the largest portion of that growth since 2013. (see chart) Since 2013 the US production has grown 33% faster than Brazil.

    November 20, 2017 | | soybean russia wheat

    US Expansion of Soybean Area Leaves the Wheat Market More Reliant on Russia

    US Expansion of Soybean Area Leaves the Wheat Market More Reliant on Russia.

    How did we get record inventories of grains and vegoils? World wheat yields at or above trend five years in a row, record US corn and soy yields 3 of the last 4 years, record Brazilian corn and soy yields in 2016, and expanded wheat area and record wheat yields in Russia two years in a row.

    August 21, 2017 | | USDA soybean demand waob

    Why Does WAOB (USDA) Perennially Miss Soybean Demand

    Every year for the last four, 2013-2016, WAOB has underestimated the world soybean demand by an average 11 mmt or 10%. Why is it so hard to get the demand side right? All that is needed is to guess China, right? Well, that’s the problem. Much of the growth is outside of China, Europe, and the US. Over 40% of the growth in meal usage in the last 10 years has come from places like Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, and Mexico – see chart above. This is not good news for meat exporting countries like Brazil, the EU, and the US. Tracking all those pieces is a difficult task. The other factor making the guess difficult is estimating supply. Available supplies have grown at higher than trend rates the last three years. There seems to be an unquenchable thirst for soybeans. “Grow them and they will get eaten”. As a side note, WAOB has already raised the 17/18 usage after only three months of estimates.

    Here’s a simple solution: first, assume we will produce more because we usually do; second, take the first estimate and add 10%, or use an average demand growth of the prior years. The average demand growth for the last four years is 26mmt.  The WAOB estimate for 17/18 has demand growing 18mmt. Look for more upward revisions and lower ending stocks.

    View an interactive version of the chart above.


    Better Demand Clouded by Weather

     The graphic above illustrates another strong ending for the US summer soybean shipping season. (say that fast 5 times) If you have read any of my soybean analyses, you know I don’t believe the US soybean balance sheet is a good indicator of market value. The graph above is a good lead-in to the real story below.

    While weather has been the major market factor and will continue to be for at least the next 2 to 4 weeks, by Sep 1 we will start to focus on demand.

    WAOB (USDA) has underestimated world soybean imports by an average of 10% (11 mmt) for the last four years. This includes 16/17 as a partial year. Why have they missed it? That’s one of the next stories.  One would expect most of the increase or estimate miss to be attributed to China – not true. The increase for China accounts for 36% of the change. The majority of the increase is coming from South Korea, Japan, Mexico, along with many others. To be clear, increase means the amount of change in the WAOB estimate from the beginning of the crop year to the end. The USDA miss may not be a major factor this year when there have been record crops in both North and South America. It could be a major factor for the 17/18 crop. It appears the world soy production for 17/18 will come in below last year by 5 mmt. If imports are underestimated by 10%, or 15 mmt, world carry out goes to 77 mmt vs. the current estimate of 93 mmt. 2015 carry out was 77 mmt, leaving very little margin for error. At the very least, the growing world demand will continue the acreage shift to soybeans, away from grains. My advice: don’t get too bearish on grains and oilseeds. 

    May 26, 2017 | | ag_commodities soybeans wheat corn

    Spec Funds Still Like Ag Commodities

    The volatility in agricultural commodities has disappeared – kind of. Ag commodities are back in their “happy place” of abundance and oversupply, waiting for a weather event. One might expect that the spec funds, aka Managed Money (MM), have left for greener ($) pastures. This is not the case. The data shows they never left. They have however, changed the way they bet.

    The change over the last five years has been their propensity to bet on the short side. Take a look at the data – graphs below – the growth in the short side bet is obvious. The graphs show the combined open interest for managed money long and short. The first graph totals all open interest for CME corn, soybeans, soy meal, soy oil, wheat, and KC wheat.


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