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News Flash: April 10, 2014


Producing more oil from oilseeds

In the UK oilseed rape is the third largest crop after wheat and barley. Around 700,000 hectares are planted each year, producing seed with a value of more than £500 million. In the last decade rapid progress has been made in understanding the metabolic pathway that converts imported sugars into oil within the seed and this is beginning to enable scientists to make small improvements in oil content ‘by design’. Up until now only single genes have been altered, despite knowledge from modeling studies that multiple steps in the pathway contribute to the overall control of oil production. A team of researchers from Rothamsted Research has now published the first study to target multiple genes that control a series of important steps in the pathway for seed oil production. The research was carried out using the model oilseed plant Arabidopsis thaliana, which is related to oilseed rape. The study establishes that ‘stacking’ the right combination of genes can have an additive effect on seed oil content and oil yield, thus enhancing the oil yield of oilseed crops. Farming Life


WASDE: Soybean Stocks Up 30 Million Bushels on Increased Imports

U.S. soybean supplies for 2013/14 are projected at 3.49 billion bushels, up 30 million on increased imports. Imports are projected at a record 65 million bushels based on trade reported through February and prospective large shipments from South America during the second half of the marketing year. Soybean exports for 2013/14 are increased 50 million bushels to 1.58 billion reflecting record year-to-date shipments and large outstanding sales. Despite relatively high prices and record harvests in South America, U.S. exports have remained strong, especially to China, where imports from the United States have already exceeded the previous marketing-year record. Soybean crush is reduced 5 million bushels to 1.685 billion with lower domestic soybean meal consumption more than offsetting a small increase in projected soybean meal exports. Seed use is raised in line with the record plantings reported in the March 31 Prospective Plantings report, while residual use is reduced based on indications from the March 31 Grain Stocks report. U.S. soybean ending stocks are projected at 135 million bushels, down 10 million from last month. Projected prices for soybeans and soybean products are all raised this month. The projected range for the season-average soybean price is raised 5 cents at the midpoint to 12.50 to $13.50 per bushel. Soybean oil prices are projected at 38 to 40 cents per pound, up 1.5 cents at the midpoint. Soybean meal prices are projected at $460 to $490 per short ton, up 5 dollars at the midpoint. Global oilseed production for 2013/14 is projected at 504.5 million tons, up 0.2 million from last month with lower soybean production mostly offsetting increases for other crops. Global soybean production is projected at 284.0 million tons, down 1.4 million from last month but still a record. Brazil soybean production is forecast at 87.5 million tons, down 1.0 million from last month with higher harvested area more than offset by lower yields. Lower yields primarily

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reflect the effect of warm temperatures and limited rainfall through mid-February in the south. India soybean production is reduced 0.8 million tons to 11.0 million reflecting lower-than-average yields resulting from excessive rainfall during much of the growing season. Changes for other crops include higher rapeseed production for India and the European Union, increased sunflowerseed production for Russia, and increased peanut production for Argentina, Brazil, and India. Global oilseed supplies, exports, and crush for 2013/14 are projected higher this month while ending stocks are projected lower. Higher rapeseed crush in China and higher sunflowerseed crush in Argentina and Russia more than offset reduced soybean crush in the United States, Brazil, and India. Global oilseed stocks are projected at 82.6 million tons, down 1.4 million. AgWeb

Soybeans Climb to 10-Month High on U.S. Inventory Outlook

Soybean futures rose to a 10-month high after a report showed inventories trailed analyst forecasts for the U.S. Corn fell from an eight-month high as well. Reserves of soybeans at the end of August will be 135 million bushels, compared with 145 million (3.95 million metric tons) estimated in March, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg forecast 138.5 million. A year earlier, stockpiles were 141 million. Exports were projected at a record 1.58 billion bushels. “Soybean supplies are going to be tight, and that increases the importance of producing a big crop this year,” Mark Schultz, the chief analyst for Northstar Commodity Investment Co. in Minneapolis, said in a telephone interview. “The market will continue to go up until we halt exports.” On the Chicago Board of Trade, soybean futures for May delivery climbed 0.9 percent to settle at $14.9525 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. Earlier, the price reached $15.12, the highest for a most-active contract since June 6. U.S. imports will surge 81 percent to a record 65 million bushels this year from 2013, the government said. Export sales in the marketing year that ends Aug. 31 were 44.51 million tons as of March 27, 3.5 percent more than the USDA forecast today. “There’s a possibility that the USDA has underestimated exports with five months left to go in the marketing year,” said Jerry Gidel, the chief feed-grain analyst at Rice Dairy LLC in Chicago. “The supply tightness has not been resolved, so the surprise today is the market’s reaction is not more bullish.” Corn futures for May delivery fell 0.9 percent to $5.0225 a bushel. Earlier, the price reached $5.19, the highest since July 12. The government cut its U.S. estimate for inventories more than analysts predicted with the export projection increasing 7.7 percent from a month earlier. The agency raised its forecast for Brazil production to 72 million tons from 70 million. “People are scared that the bigger Brazilian crop may reduce demand for U.S. exports,” Gidel said. Bloomberg News


Oilseed rape variety leads charge for bigger yields

Growers should be picking the highest-yielding oilseed rape varieties to increase yields, and one new addition to the portfolio might help them do just that. Conventional open-pollinated variety Charger has the highest seed yield of any variety on the list and is on par with the best hybrid for gross output. Growers are doing just what NIAB TAG oilseed rape expert Simon Kightly believes all growers should do – selecting varieties from the very top of the tree. Charger has stood out for him so far in trials, currently sitting joint top of the East/West HGCA Recommended List with a gross output, or yield adjusted for oil content, of 105%. “It is easy to manage and in the high lodging year of 2012 it was head and shoulders above the rest in trials, so gives good insurance against lodging pressure,” he said. Charger’s main weakness is disease resistance, with lowly scores of 4 for the main threats of phoma stem canker and light leaf spot. The variety is exclusive to farmer co-operative United Oilseeds, which supplies 30% of rapeseed planted on British farms, and managing director Chris Baldwin says Charger has great potential for growers of oilseed rape. Farmers Weekly (UK)

EU Rapeseed Harvest Seen by Oil World Second-Highest on Record

European Union rapeseed production will climb 1.8 percent to the second-highest on record, with winter crops already flowering two to three weeks early, Oil World said. Farmers in the 28-nation EU will harvest 21.4 million metric tons of the oilseed this year, compared with 21.02 million tons a year earlier and just below the record 21.8 million tons in 2009, the Hamburg-based researcher said in a report. Germany, the biggest EU producer, will harvest a crop that’s 2.2 percent smaller than the previous year. “With very little winter-killing and generally nicely developed plants, current production prospects are very promising in most countries,” Oil World said. “Timing, distribution and magnitude of rainfall will have to be watched closely.” Rapeseed futures traded on NYSE Liffe in Paris climbed 12 percent this year. Soybeans rose 13 percent on the Chicago Board of Trade. Germany will remain the EU’s largest rapeseed producer, harvesting 5.65 million tons in the 2014-15 marketing year. French output will jump 17 percent from the prior season to 5.1 million tons, according to the report. In Ukraine, farmers prefer to plant sunflowers, with a return on investment at 29 percent last year compared with 1.7 percent for grains and legumes, Oil World said, citing State Statistics Service data. Oil World pegged Ukraine’s rapeseed crop at 2 million to 2.2 million tons, down from 2.4 million tons last year, and the soybean crop at a record 3 million to 3.2 million tons. Its sunflower seed harvest was estimated at 10 million to 10.5 million tons, down from last year’s all-time high of 11 million tons. The EU is the world’s largest grower of rapeseed followed by Canada, which grows the canola variety, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Rapeseed is used to make cooking oil and animal feed and can be processed into biodiesel. Bloomberg


Ethanol, Railroad Groups Clash Over Shipment Snarls

U.S. ethanol and railroad industry groups clashed Thursday over transportation constraints that have led to increased biofuel pricesl in recent weeks. Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen said in a letter to the Association of American Railroads that the “sheer chaos” of the rail system has pushed up prices for ethanol—a corn-based biofuel that is blended into gasoline—and caused consumers to pay more at the pump. The higher costs, he argued, have damaged the image of the ethanol industry. Ethanol prices have jumped in recent weeks as supplies have declined amid transportation snarls. A bitterly cold winter and rising crude-oil shipments have slowed rail traffic in the Midwest. Most ethanol is made from corn grown in that region. The backup of railcars has prevented ethanol from making it to coastal refineries that blend ethanol into gasoline, analysts say. Wall Street Journal


Sunflower oil may turn dearer if Ukraine crisis continues: Ruchi Soya

Sunflower oil prices, which have been tracing a downward course in the last few months, could increase if the crisis continues for the next few months in Ukraine, the world’s leading producer of sunflower seeds. Sunflower oil prices are currently ranged between $930-$940 a tonne, while

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palm oil prices are ruling at about $910 a tonne.“Ukraine registered a rich crop last year. As we are still getting last year’s crop, there has not been a problem yet (from Ukraine). But if the crisis continues beyond the new crop season (July-August) and harvest period (September-October), there could be disruptions in shipments from Ukraine, which could firm up the prices about six months from now,” Satendra Aggarwal, Chief Operating Officer of Ruchi Soya Industries, said. Sunflower oil has a share of about 10 per cent of India’s edible oil imports of about 10.5 million tonnes. India imports between 1.2 and 1.4 million tonnes of sunflower oil, mostly from Ukraine and Russia. India’s sunflower oil market is expected to grow with a CAGR of 10 per cent up to 2016-17. “As sunflower oil prices fell, the price difference between this oil and soya oil narrowed, which boosted consumption of sunflower. We also saw palm oil import declining due to the price spreads in favor of soft oils. Hence we may end up importing more (sunflower) this year,” Aggarwal said.The price difference between sunflower and palm oil also similarly narrowed to about $30 a tonne currently from $100 a tonne some months earlier and $400 about a year ago. India imported about 1.45 million tonnes of sunflower oil last fiscal, up from 1.1 million tonnes in the previous year, and this year it may cross the 1.5 mt mark, if there are no breaks in shipments from Ukraine. Hindu Business Line


China, Brazil Sign Corn-Supply Deal

China said Tuesday it will allow sizable imports of Brazilian corn, marking another step in the Asian giant’s moves to lessen its dependence on the U.S. for the integral grain. The U.S. supplies more than 90% of China’s corn imports, but its share of the world’s fastest-growing corn market has been pared down as Beijing has sought in the last two years to broaden its supply. China’s shift to a protein-rich diet and its rising industrialization are changing global trade flows. China’s demand for corn rose 39-fold in volume between last year and 2009, though imports so far represent only about 2% of China’s total corn consumption. Brazil is the world’s second-largest corn exporter after the U.S., but it isn’t the first Latin American nation to score such an arrangement in the corn trade with China. Argentina, the world’s third-largest corn exporter, sent China its first large-scale corn shipment totaling 66,000 metric tons in July. Brazil is only one among at least seven other nations from which China has been trying to secure more corn. Wall Street Journal

WASDE: U.S. Corn Stocks Lowered as Exports Increase

U.S. feed grain ending stocks for 2013/14 are projected lower this month with reductions for corn. A 125-million-bushel increase in projected corn exports reduces corn ending stocks by the same amount. Continued strong export sales and a rising weekly shipment pace for U.S. corn during March support the higher expected export level as does an increase in projected global corn demand. The 2013/14 season-average farm price for corn is raised 10 cents at the midpoint with the projected range also narrowed to $4.40 to $4.80 per bushel, compared with $4.25 to $4.75 per bushel last month. The projected range for the sorghum farm price is also raised 10 cents to $4.15 to $4.55 per bushel. Global corn production is raised 6.4 million tons with a 2.0-million-ton increase for Brazil and 1.0-million-ton increases each for South Africa and Russia. For Brazil, favorable precipitation in March and early April has supported the developing safrinha corn crop with yields now expected just below last year’s levels in the areas where this second-season corn crop is grown. For South Africa, improved rains in late February and March have boosted yield prospects for corn grown in the normally lower-yielding western areas. Corn production is raised for Russia based on recent revisions to official production statistics. Corn production is also raised 0.2 million tons for Mexico, in line with the latest government estimates. Global coarse grain trade for 2013/14 is raised with higher corn and sorghum imports. Corn imports are increased for the European Union, Algeria, Iran, Egypt, and Vietnam. In addition to the United States, corn exports are increased for South Africa, Ukraine, Mexico, Russia, and Vietnam. Sorghum imports are raised for China. Global corn consumption is higher with increases in feeding for Argentina, Russia, and Algeria. A reduction in European Union corn feeding is more than offset by an increase in food, seed, and industrial use. Corn use is also raised for several of the Sub-Saharan Africa countries led by increases of 1.0 million tons for Uganda and 0.9 million tons for Ethiopia. World corn ending stocks for 2013/14 are lowered 0.5 million tons with reductions for the United States and Ukraine outweighing increases for Brazil, Russia, and several other countries. AgWeb