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Market Matters Blog           02/16 11:08
DDG Prices Remain Firm on Average 
Positive Train Control May Not Be Fully Operational by Dec. 31 Deadline 
DDG Prices Steady to Weaker
S.O.S: Locks and Dams on U.S. Rivers Falling Apart
DDG Prices Continue to Rise
Electronic Logging Device Fight Not Over; More Exemptions Sought
Icing Continues to Besiege U.S. River System 
DDG Prices Remain Strong
DDG Prices Climb Higher 
Extreme Cold Causes US Rivers to Ice Over

******************************************************************************
DDG Prices Remain Firm on Average 

   OMAHA (DTN) -- The average distillers dried grain (DDG) spot price from the 
39 locations where DTN collected bids was $148 for the week ended Feb. 15, $1 
stronger on average than a week ago.

   Based on the average of bids collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative to 
corn for the week ended Feb. 15 was at 112.68%, and the value of DDG relative 
to soybean meal was at 39.60%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG was $5.48, 
compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $7.87. The surge 
in soymeal prices the past week has kept DDG as a good value in rations.

   Domestic prices were mixed, but a few states where supplies are tight saw an 
increase in values. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) report 
Wednesday showed that ethanol production for the week ending Feb. 9 was the 
lowest production number since the start of the year, adding to the tight 
supply of DDG for some plants. Merchandisers noted that prices at the Texas 
border remain strong, indicating continued demand form Mexico.

   The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) said in its weekly price update that barge 
CIF NOLA prices are $8/metric ton (MT) higher this week while FOB Gulf DDGs 
values are up $9/MT. "Merchandisers are reporting Asian buyers are showing only 
light interest at current prices, waiting for prices to moderate somewhat. 
However, prices for 40-foot containers to Southeast Asia increased $6/MT this 
week with prices to Shanghai leading the way (up $9/MT). On average, DDGS 
destined for Southeast Asia increased $4/MT this week." 

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com 

Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn
                                          CURRENT          CURRENT         CHANGE
COMPANY                STATE                              2/14/2018       2/8/2018
Bartlett and Company, Kansas City, MO (816-753-6300)
                       Missouri       Dry                    $170           $170      $0
                                      Modified               $85             $85      $0
CHS, Minneapolis, MN (800-769-1066)
                       Illinois       Dry                    $150           $150      $0
                       Indiana        Dry                    $150           $150      $0
                       Iowa           Dry                    $140           $145      -$5
                       Michigan       Dry                    $160           $160      $0
                       Minnesota      Dry                    $135           $135      $0
                       North Dakota   Dry                    $148           $148      $0
                       New York       Dry                    $165           $165      $0
                       South Dakota   Dry                    $145           $145      $0
MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS (800-255-0302 Ext. 5253)
                       Kansas         Dry                    $155           $155      $0
POET Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD (888-327-8799)
                       Indiana        Dry                    $165           $160      $5
                       Iowa           Dry                    $138           $138      $0
                       Michigan       Dry                    $170           $165      $5
                       Minnesota      Dry                    $138           $138      $0
                       Missouri       Dry                    $160           $160      $0
                       Ohio           Dry                    $165           $160      $5
                       South Dakota   Dry                    $140           $140      $0
          `                  `
United BioEnergy, Wichita, KS (316-616-3521)
                       Kansas         Dry                    $150           $150      $0
                                      Wet                    $50             $50      $0
                       Illinois       Dry                    $155           $155      $0
                       Nebraska       Dry                    $150           $150      $0
                                      Wet                    $50             $50      $0
U.S. Commodities, Minneapolis, MN (888-293-1640)
                       Illinois       Dry                    $150           $145      $5
                       Indiana        Dry                    $145           $145      $0
                       Iowa           Dry                    $140           $140      $0
                       Michigan       Dry                    $150           $140      $10
                       Minnesota      Dry                    $135           $135      $0
                       Nebraska       Dry                    $145           $150      -$5
                       New York       Dry                    $165           $165      $0
                       North Dakota   Dry                    $150           $150      $0
                       Ohio           Dry                    $150           $150      $0
                       South Dakota   Dry                    $140           $140      $0
                       Wisconsin      Dry                    $140           $140      $0
Valero Energy Corp, San Antonio Texas                  (210-345-3362)   (210-345-3362)
                       Indiana        Dry                    $145           $145      $0
                       Iowa           Dry                    $135           $135      $0
                       Minnesota      Dry                    $135           $135      $0
                       Nebraska       Dry                    $150           $150      $0
                       Ohio           Dry                    $145           $145      $0
                       South Dakota   Dry                    $138           $128      $10
                       California                            $207           $197      $10
Western Milling, Goshen, California (559-302-1074)
                       California     Dry                    $210           $210      $0
*Prices listed per ton.
                       Weekly Average                        $148           $147      $1
The weekly average prices above reflect only those companies DTN
collects spot prices from. States include: Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska,
Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan,
Wisconsin and Indiana. Prices for Pennsylvania, New York and
California are not included in the averages.

                                    VALUE OF DDG VS. CORN & SOYBEAN MEAL
                                                         Settlement Price:  Quote Date      Bushel Short Ton
                                                                      Corn    2/15/2018    $3.6775    $131.34
                                                              Soybean Meal    2/15/2018    $373.70
                                             DDG Weekly Average Spot Price      $148.00
                                                                 DDG Value Relative to:    2/15       2/8
                                                                                   Corn    112.68%    112.53%
                                                                           Soybean Meal     39.60%     43.02%
                                                              Cost Per Unit of Protein:
                                                                                    DDG      $5.48      $5.44
                                                                           Soybean Meal      $7.87      $7.19
Notes:
Corn and soybean prices take from DTN Market Quotes. DDG price
represents the average spot price from Midwest companies
collected on Thursday afternoons. Soybean meal cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 47.5. DDG cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 27.

******************************************************************************
Positive Train Control May Not Be Fully Operational by Dec. 31 Deadline 

   The nation's railroads have a little over 10 months left to implement new 
positive train control systems meant to improve safety and security. While some 
railroads report that they expect to meet the Dec. 31 deadline to implement the 
new systems, others say they have made little progress. 

   The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released a letter on Jan. 2, 
2018, from Secretary Elaine L. Chao to the entire nation's Class I railroads, 
intercity passenger railroads and state and local transit authorities stressing 
the urgency and importance of safely implementing positive train control (PTC) 
systems in the upcoming year to meet the Dec. 31, 2018, deadline, as mandated 
by Congress.

   "Advancing the implementation of Positive Train Control is among th` most 
important rail safety initiatives on the Department's agenda," said Secretary 
Chao. "The FRA leadership has been directed to work with your organization's 
leadership to help create an increased level of urgency to underscore the 
imperative of meeting existing expectations for rolling out this critical 
rail-safety technology." 

   Here is a link to a copy of her letter and more background on PTC: 
https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/ptc-letters-secretary-chao 

   The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 originally mandated that PTC systems 
be implemented across a significant portion of the nation's rail industry by 
Dec. 31, 2015. PTC is an integrated command, control, communications and 
information systems for controlling train movements with safety, security, 
precision and efficiency.

   However, following warnings by several railroad companies that they would 
not be able to meet that deadline, the House Transportation and Infrastructure 
Committee on Sept. 30, 2015, introduced bipartisan legislation to extend the 
Dec. 31, 2015, deadline for all railroads operating in the United States to be 
compliant with PTC technology.

   On Oct. 27 and 28, 2015, Congress passed the bipartisan Surface 
Transportation Extension Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-73). Section 1302 was the 
Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2015, which 
extended the deadline to Dec. 31, 2018, with the option of up to 24 months of 
"additional time." Additional time is subject to Federal Railroad 
Administration (FRA) review and approval if railroads meet certain 
implementation milestones. 

   In a Feb. 8, 2018, article, the Omaha World-Herald said officials for the 
trade associations representing the seven major freight railroads in the U.S. 
and the nation's commuter railroads now say they view Dec. 31 "as the date by 
which railroads must meet several PTC milestones to qualify for an extension, 
rather than the ultimate deadline."

   "The Transportation Department has little choice but to grant the extensions 
as long as railroads meet the milestones," Kathryn Kirmayer, the Association of 
American Railroads' general counsel, told the World-Herald. "One milestone is 
that freight railroads have PTC in operation on half their route miles where 
it's required."

   Members of Congress expressed frustration with railroads backing off this 
year's deadline, the World-Herald reported. Congress never intended the 
extensions be used "to allow railroads that have dragged their feet to just 
blow off the mandate," said Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, the House 
Transportation Committee's senior Democrat, according to the World-Herald. Sen. 
Bill Nelson of Florida, the Senate Commerce Committee's senior Democrat, said, 
"Every railroad should be taking the recent deadly train accidents seriously 
and doing everything they can to meet the 2018 deadline."

   The Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials announced 
on their website that they will meet on Thursday, Feb. 15, to receive testimony 
on the status of implementing PTC on the freight and passenger rail network by 
the Dec. 31 deadline. Here is a link to the committee's announcement: 
https://www.dtn.com/ag/assets/2018-02-15_-_rail_ssm.pdf 

   Reports filed with the FRA show some railroads are getting close to being 
mostly compliant with PTC deadline, while others show little progress. Here is 
a link to the 2017 third-quarter report of PTC implementation and status for 
each railroad:

   https://www.fra.dot.gov/app/ptc/ 

   UNION PACIFIC ON TRACK TO INSTALLING PTC BY DECEMBER 2018

   Union Pacific (UP) continues to make strides implementing positive train 
control (PTC). The company noted in a press release on Feb. 7 that it 
"anticipates it will make all required deadlines for installing PTC on its 
network." However, as allowed by federal law, Union Pacific also noted "it will 
continue to test and refine the immature technologies comprising the system in 
2019-20."

   Union Pacific's PTC footprint is the largest of all North American 
railroads, encompassing more than 17,000 route miles, roughly 55% more miles 
than the next largest railroad. Union Pacific said in the press release that it 
is in regular contact with the FRA officials regarding its PTC progress.

   Installing and implementing PTC across the U.S. rail network (passenger and 
freight) is costly and complex, noted the UP. "One of the most complex parts of 
implementing PTC is ensuring system interoperability among all U.S. rail lines 
and locomotives. Given the various readiness levels of North American freight 
and passenger railroads, it will be important that all railroads continue 
working together to ensure smooth and safe transitions as PTC is implemented."

   Here is a link to the UP press release and the progress it has made towards 
implementing PTC: https://www.up.com/media/releases/180207-ptc-progress.htm 

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com 

   Follow Mary Kennedy on Twitter @MaryCKenn 

******************************************************************************
DDG Prices Steady to Weaker

   OMAHA (DTN) -- The average distillers dried grain (DDG) spot price from the 
39 locations DTN collected bids from was $147 for the week ended Feb. 8, 1 cent 
weaker on average than a week ago.

   Based on the average of bids collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative to 
corn for the week ended Feb. 8 was at 112.53%, and the value of DDG relative to 
soybean meal was at 43.02%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG was $5.44, 
compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $7.19. DDG prices 
are still a good buy compared to soybean meal after meal futures' recent rally.

   Domestic prices were mixed as the tight supplies we have witnessed since the 
start of the year have loosened some, according to merchandisers. Winter storms 
have slowed some movement, but overall, prices remain steady for the most part. 
However, as weather warms, that may change as demand could slow.

   The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) noted in its weekly price update that FOB 
NOLA DDGS are slightly lower this week at $203/mt, following CIF NOLA prices 
which dropped to $191/mt. Merchandisers are reporting that, since CIF NOLA 
values dropped last week, prices have softened for product destined for Asia. 
However, the lower prices have increased buying activity and exporters are 
reporting large volumes sold/exported. 

   The U.S. Census Bureau said Tuesday that U.S. exports of distillers grains 
totaled 968,700 metric tons in December, up 15% from a year ago. Mexico was the 
top export destination again in December, accounting for 21% of the total and 
followed by South Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand. For all of 2017, exports of 
U.S. distillers grains were down 2% from a year ago, their second annual 
decline. DTN Market Analyst Todd Hultman noted, "It was interesting that China 
came in eleventh in December with their largest shipment of distillers grains 
since May."


                              CURRENT    CURRENT     CHANGE
COMPANY   STATE                          2/8/2018   2/1/2018
Bartlett and Company, Kansas City, MO (816-753-6300)
          Missouri           Dry           $170       $170      $0
                             Modified      $85        $85       $0
CHS, Minneapolis, MN (800-769-1066)
          Illinois           Dry           $150       $160     -$10
          Indiana            Dry           $150       $150      $0
          Iowa               Dry           $145       $140      $5
          Michigan           Dry           $160       $160      $0
          Minnesota          Dry           $135       $140     -$5
          North Dakota       Dry           $148       $150     -$2
          New York           Dry           $165       $170     -$5
          South Dakota       Dry           $145       $145      $0
MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS (800-255-0302 Ext. 5253)
          Kansas             Dry           $155       $155      $0
POET Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD (888-327-8799)
          Indiana            Dry           $160       $158      $2
          Iowa               Dry           $138       $138      $0
          Michigan           Dry           $165       $156      $9
          Minnesota          Dry           $138       $138      $0
          Missouri           Dry           $160       $158      $2
          Ohio               Dry           $160       $156      $4
          South Dakota       Dry           $140       $143     -$3
    `             `
United BioEnergy, Wichita, KS (316-616-3521)
          Kansas             Dry           $150       $150      $0
                             Wet           $50        $60      -$10
          Illinois           Dry           $155       $155      $0
          Nebraska           Dry           $150       $150      $0
                             Wet           $50        $60      -$10
U.S. Commodities, Minneapolis, MN (888-293-1640)
          Illinois           Dry           $145       $150     -$5
          Indiana            Dry           $145       $145      $0
          Iowa               Dry           $140       $145     -$5
          Michigan           Dry           $140       $140      $0
          Minnesota          Dry           $135       $140     -$5
          Nebraska           Dry           $150       $155     -$5
          New York           Dry           $165       $165      $0
          North Dakota       Dry           $150       $155     -$5
          Ohio               Dry           $150       $150      $0
          South Dakota       Dry           $140       $140      $0
          Wisconsin          Dry           $140       $140      $0
Valero Energy Corp, San Antonio Texas   (210-345-3362)
          Indiana            Dry           $145       $145      $0
          Iowa               Dry           $135       $135      $0
          Minnesota          Dry           $135       $135      $0
          Nebraska           Dry           $150       $150      $0
          Ohio               Dry           $145       $145      $0
          South Dakota       Dry           $128       $128      $0
          California                       $197       $208     -$11
Western Milling, Goshen, California (559-302-1074)
          California         Dry           $210       $212     -$2
*Prices listed per ton.
          Weekly Average                   $147       $148     -$1
The weekly average prices above reflect only those companies DTN
collects spot prices from. States include: Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska,
Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan,
Wisconsin and Indiana. Prices for Pennsylvania, New York and
California are not included in the averages.

             VALUE OF DDG VS. CORN & SOYBEAN MEAL
               Settlement Price: Quote Date   Bushel Short Ton
                            Corn    2/8/2018 $3.6575   $130.63
                    Soybean Meal    2/8/2018 $341.70
   DDG Weekly Average Spot Price     $147.00
                      DDG Value Relative to:   2/8      2/1
                                        Corn 112.53%   115.32%
                                Soybean Meal  43.02%    44.61%
                   Cost Per Unit of Protein:
                                         DDG   $5.44     $5.52
                                Soybean Meal   $7.19     $7.03
Notes:
Corn and soybean prices take from DTN Market Quotes. DDG price
represents the average spot price from Midwest companies
collected on Thursday afternoons. Soybean meal cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 47.5. DDG cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 27.

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

******************************************************************************
S.O.S: Locks and Dams on U.S. Rivers Falling Apart

   According to a recent press release from the Soy Transportation Coalition 
(STC), they noted there is "widespread agreement that it is not a matter of if 
there will be a failure at one or more of our key lock and dam sites, it is a 
matter of when." 

   "A failure of significant duration -- particularly during and subsequent to 
harvest -- would severely impact the competitiveness of the soybean and grain 
industries and diminish the profitability of the individual farmer. This 
increasingly likely scenario must be avoided. As a result, an enhanced focus on 
operations and maintenance to increase the reliability of resiliency of the 
nation's locks and dams should be adopted."

   "Maintenance and rehabilitation of locks and dams to significantly reduce 
the potential for unexpected, widespread and prolonged failure," was 
recommended by the STC. "Priority should be devoted to ensuring the reliability 
of locks and dams along the nation's inland waterways. Available funding for 
new construction of locks and dams should be directed first to locks and dams 
20 to 25 on the Mississippi River," said the STC.

   There are currently 28 locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi River system. 
This series of locks and dams is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
and maintains a 9-foot channel on the Mississippi from St. Paul, Minnesota, to 
St. Louis, Missouri. As the aging locks and dams continue to deteriorate, 
especially when damaged by floods, the Corps has to make costly repairs, and in 
some cases, can only make a temporary fix.

   The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has said in the past that it is 
"unable to adequately fund maintenance activities to ensure the navigation 
system operates at an acceptable level of performance." 

   The most notable disruption last fall was the multiple closures between 
September and October at locks and dams 52 and 53 on the Ohio River. These 
disruptions occurred at the worst time for farmers who were hauling their fall 
harvest to the river for shipment to the Gulf. Even though the river finally 
reopened there on Oct. 19, the backlog of tows remained an issue well into 
November, slowing traffic anxious to get the Gulf for export. Problems 
continued into January 2018, stalling barges at times from getting up and down 
river.

   In May of 2017, USACE, Rock Island District reported that there were 
structural concerns on the downstream guidewall at locks and dams 52 and 53 on 
the Ohio River and Dam 15 in Rock Island, Illinois. Aaron Dunlop, Operations 
Project Manager for the Rock Island District's Mississippi River Project, said 
in a press release that four monoliths (a large single upright block of stone) 
making up a portion of the guidewall, had to be demolished as the failing 
concrete was creating risk to the navigation system. 

   "The lower 120 feet of the guidewall is structurally failing, which could 
result in it falling into the navigation channel," Dunlop said. "If it were to 
fall into the channel, this would block navigation for nearly a month as crews 
would need to respond to remove the broken concrete blocking access to the lock 
chamber."

   The section of guidewall that was demolished was original to the project. 
Locks and Dam 15 was the first lock completed on the Upper Mississippi River as 
part of the 9-foot navigation system. Construction at Lock and Dam 15 finished 
in 1934, and the intended design life of the lock was about 50 years, according 
to the USACE. 

   According to Mike Cox, chief of the Rock Island District's Operations 
Division, locks such as those at Lock and Dam 15 have outlived their design 
life due in most part to adaptive maintenance and periodic major 
rehabilitation. "The concrete issue on the lock's lower guidewall is indicative 
of infrastructure that is well past its prime," said Cox.

   Guidewalls are integral to each of the Mississippi River Locks and Dams 2 
through 10, says the USACE. Guidewalls are long extensions of the lock walls, 
in either the upstream or downstream direction, that are parallel to the lock 
wall. These walls serve primarily to guide the long tows into the lock and to 
provide mooring facilities for tows too long to be accommodated in a single 
lockage.

   "Almost all of the locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi River System, 
including the Illinois Waterway, are experiencing varying levels of problems 
due do the age of the infrastructure," Cox said. The teams do a great job of 
ensuring that critical maintenance is performed, which they have to this point, 
preventing a catastrophic failure of the system." The locks and dams are 
critical to the nation's economy as they provide the most efficient method to 
transport goods and commodities." 

   President Trump noted in his State of the Union address that he will approve 
funding of $1.5 trillion for the rebuilding of bridges, highways, locks and 
dams, airports and other projects. 

   Yet, as Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the STC told DTN, "We are 
still anxious to see greater specificity -- particularly regarding funding -- 
from the White House and Congress on an infrastructure strategy. Funding 
remains the main obstacle to seeing an infrastructure package transition from 
an intention to an outcome. As the weeks progress, we anticipate a more 
specific set of recommendations from the White House and Congress. We look 
forward to being engaged in this process."

   A Jan. 3, 2018, Washington Post article quoted President Trump: 
"Infrastructure is by far the easiest," the president said Dec. 22, during the 
bill signing for the tax overhaul. "People want it -- Republicans and 
Democrats. We're going to have tremendous Democrat support on infrastructure as 
you know. I could've started with infrastructure -- I actually wanted to save 
the easy one for the one down the road. So we'll be having that done pretty 
quickly."

   Well then, if it is such an easy fix, the government best hurry up and get 
something done. "Most of our system represents a single point of failure, 
because there is only one lock chamber at most sites. So, if one lock 
experiences a failure, the whole navigation system would likely shut down, 
which would come with a high cost," said Cox.

   In other words, the time bomb continues to tick on our aging locks and dams.

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com

   Follow Mary Kennedy on Twitter @MaryCKenn

    

******************************************************************************
DDG Prices Continue to Rise

   OMAHA (DTN) -- The DTN average distillers dried grain (DDG) spot price from 
the 33 locations DTN collected bids from (missing one company this week) was 
$149 for the week ended Feb. 1, 6 cents higher on average than two weeks ago.

   Based on the average of bids collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative to 
corn for the week ended Feb. 1 was at 115.32%, and the value of DDG relative to 
soybean meal was at 44.61%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG was $5.52, 
compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $7.03. DDG prices 
continue to be well below soymeal prices, fueling demand from feeders.

   A merchandiser told DTN that with ethanol production slightly lower, DDG 
supplies may get tighter at plants, keeping prices firm. The U.S. Energy 
Information Administration (EIA) noted a 3.4% inventory drop to 23.0 million 
barrels during the week ended Jan. 26, the first draw after four straight 
weekly stock builds. Plant production rate fell 2.1% to 1.04 million barrels 
per day (bpd) while down 2.0% year-over-year. While some merchandisers 
mentioned a slight decline in inclusion rates, they still remain strong as DDG 
remains competitively priced among the products feeders can choose from for 
protein intake.

   The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) noted in its weekly price update that barge 
CIF NOLA and FOB NOLA DDGS values were lower this week as river logistics 
improve. American Commercial Barge Line (ACBL) reported in their daily river 
update that Mel Price Lock (UM 201) main chamber will remain closed until March 
8, but the auxiliary chamber will be available. "Beginning to see more activity 
to and from the Illinois River," noted ACBL. "The volume is starting to level 
out and delay at Mel Price is expected to be more manageable moving forward. 
Friday morning there were six boats in queue; total delay is around 6 to 9 
hours."

   USGC also noted that DDGS prices were lower for rail-delivered product to 
the PNW. However, on the international front, prices for 40-foot containers to 
Southeast Asia increased $7/metric tons on average as demand remains robust, 
especially in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan. Prices for product destined for 
Japan increased $20/MT this week while product for Indonesia and Malaysia rose 
$11/MT.


                             CURRENT     CURRENT       CHANGE
COMPANY  STATE                          2/01/2018    1/25/2018
Bartlett and Company, Kansas City, MO (816-753-6300)
         Missouri           Dry            $170         $160     $10
                            Modified       $85          $80      $5
CHS, Minneapolis, MN (800-769-1066)
         Illinois           Dry            $160         $150     $10
         Indiana            Dry            $150         $150     $0
         Iowa               Dry            $140         $135     $5
         Michigan           Dry            $160         $155     $5
         Minnesota          Dry            $140         $140     $0
         North Dakota       Dry            $150         $150     $0
         New York           Dry            $170         $170     $0
         South Dakota       Dry            $145         $140     $5
MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS (800-255-0302 Ext. 5253)
         Kansas             Dry            $155         $150     $5
POET Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD (888-327-8799)
         Indiana            Dry            $158         $150     $8
         Iowa               Dry            $138         $130     $8
         Michigan           Dry            $156         $148     $8
         Minnesota          Dry            $138         $130     $8
         Missouri           Dry            $158         $150     $8
         Ohio               Dry            $156         $148     $8
         South Dakota       Dry            $143         $135     $8
   `             `
United BioEnergy, Wichita, KS (316-616-3521)
         Kansas             Dry            $150         $150     $0
                            Wet            $60          $60      $0
         Illinois           Dry            $155         $155     $0
         Nebraska           Dry            $150         $150     $0
                            Wet            $60          $60      $0
U.S. Commodities, Minneapolis, MN (888-293-1640)
         Illinois           Dry            $150         $150     $0
         Indiana            Dry            $145         $140     $5
         Iowa               Dry            $145         $135     $10
         Michigan           Dry            $140         $140     $0
         Minnesota          Dry            $140         $130     $10
         Nebraska           Dry            $155         $150     $5
         New York           Dry            $165         $155     $10
         North Dakota       Dry            $155         $145     $10
         Ohio               Dry            $150         $145     $5
         South Dakota       Dry            $140         $135     $5
         Wisconsin          Dry            $140         $140     $0
Valero Energy Corp, San Antonio Texas
         Indiana            Dry             $0           $0      $0
         Iowa               Dry             $0           $0      $0
         Minnesota          Dry             $0           $0      $0
         Nebraska           Dry             $0           $0      $0
         Ohio               Dry             $0           $0      $0
         South Dakota       Dry             $0           $0      $0
         California                         $0           $0      $0
Western Milling, Goshen, California (559-302-1074)
         California         Dry            $212         $212     $0
*Prices listed per ton.
         Weekly Average                    $149         $143     $6
The weekly average prices above reflect only those companies DTN
collects spot prices from. States include: Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska,
Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan,
Wisconsin and Indiana. Prices for Pennsylvania, New York and
California are not included in the averages.

             VALUE OF DDG VS. CORN & SOYBEAN MEAL
               Settlement Price: Quote Date   Bushel Short Ton
                            Corn    2/1/2018 $3.6175   $129.20
                    Soybean Meal    2/1/2018 $334.00
   DDG Weekly Average Spot Price     $149.00
                      DDG Value Relative to:   2/1     1/18
                                        Corn 115.32%   113.91%
                                Soybean Meal  44.61%    43.54%
                   Cost Per Unit of Protein:
                                         DDG   $5.52     $5.30
                                Soybean Meal   $7.03     $6.91
Notes:
Corn and soybean prices take from DTN Market Quotes. DDG price
represents the average spot price from Midwest companies
collected on Thursday afternoons. Soybean meal cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 47.5. DDG cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 27.

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

******************************************************************************
Electronic Logging Device Fight Not Over; More Exemptions Sought

   Earlier this month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 
announced that the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association Inc. (OOIDA) 
has requested an exemption from the electronic logging device (ELD) 
requirements for motor carriers considered to be a small transportation 
trucking business. The OODIA has long contended that smaller, safer carriers 
should be completely exempt from what the organization contends is a "costly, 
unproven" regulation.

   According to Federal Register documents, OOIDA requested the exemption to 
allow small trucking businesses that do not have a carrier safety rating of 
"unsatisfactory" and can document a proven history of safety performance with 
"no attributable at-fault crashes" to complete paper records of duty status 
(RODS) instead of using an ELD device. 

   OOIDA believes that the exemption would not have any adverse impacts on 
operational safety as motor carriers and drivers would remain subject to the 
hours-of-service (HOS) regulations as well as the requirements to maintain 
paper RODS. 

   The request by OOIDA was on top of a Nov. 20, 2017, announcement by the 
FMCSA placing a 90-day exemption for truckers hauling agriculture loads and 
livestock to comply with the ELD mandate that went in to effect Dec. 18, 2017. 

   Click here to read the FMCSA waiver: https://goo.gl/CCg34o 

   Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition, told 
DTN after that announcement that, "Many agricultural haulers are concerned due 
to the cost of purchasing the equipment. Many who transport agricultural 
products are small trucking firms or owner-operators who are less able to 
absorb such an expense in such a tight-margin industry." 

   "Many are arguing that those small businesses who have a track record of 
safety, who maintain a paper record of their operations should not have to 
incur such a cost," Steenhoek said. "There is a concern that this mandate could 
drive certain small trucking firms out of business, which will reduce the 
capacity and amount of competition within agricultural shipping."

   Prior to the Nov. 20 announcement, Texas Congressman Brian Babin introduced 
HR 3282, "The Electronic Logging Device Extension Act of 2017." The bill sought 
to amend the current ELD implementation date by two years until December 2019, 
allowing more time to further evaluate the readiness of the mandate. According 
to OOIDA, a separate amendment that would have cut off funding to implement, 
administer or enforce the ELD mandate until Sept. 30, 2018, was defeated in the 
U.S. House of Representatives. However, HR 3282 is still active legislation and 
continues to gather support and now has a total of 55 Congressional cosponsors. 

   Click here to read about HR 3282: https://goo.gl/SdLTXb 

   According to a recent Transport Topics article, some trucking companies have 
said they are dealing with defective devices and software integration issues, 
"while some drivers and safety enforcement personnel are still learning how to 
handle new paperless systems. Plus, a contingent of truck operators appear to 
be holding out until the end of a soft enforcement period to decide whether to 
quit the business or to comply with the ELD rule." 

   The "soft enforcement" means that while the mandate went into effect on Dec. 
18, 2017, it will not be strictly enforced until April 1, 2018. 

   To say that this new rule continues to be contentious would be an 
understatement. 

   Here is a link to the FMCSA FAQ's about the ELD mandate: 
https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/faqs 

   If you have any questions, be sure to call or contact the FMSCA.

   FMCSA has requested public comment on OOIDA's Jan. 2 application for 
exemption with a deadline of Feb. 1. To date, there have been 1,482 comments 
registered -- some in favor, others opposed. The link to view and/or add 
comments can be accessed here: 
https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FMCSA-2017-0356-0002 

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com 

   Follow Mary Kennedy on Twitter @MaryCKenn

******************************************************************************
Icing Continues to Besiege U.S. River System 

   Severe icing has wreaked havoc on the U.S River system for weeks now and 
there is hope that forecasts for a warm-up the next few days may help alleviate 
some of that. Still, even if there is a slight meltdown, that ice needs to work 
its way down river and through locks, which could cause ice jams along their 
path.

   Since my story on January 8 about the extreme cold weather causing icing 
throughout the U.S. river system, conditions have worsened; particularly on the 
Upper Ohio River. 

   Over the weekend of Jan. 12, ice and high water caused a 27-barge breakaway 
at the Jack's Run fleeting area at MM 4 on the Ohio River near Pittsburgh, 
while another 34 barges were carried away from a fleeting area at MM 94 near 
Moundsville, West Virginia, according to the U.S Army Corps of Engineers 
(USACE). As of Jan. 19, 25 of the 27 barges at MM 4 have been accounted for and 
all 34 barges at MM 94 have been accounted for.

   At the USACE Pittsburg District, John Dilla, Chief at Locks and Dams Branch, 
provided an update Friday morning Jan. 19, via their Facebook page, on the 
unified effort to recover breakaway barges lodged at Emsworth Lock and Dam on 
the Ohio River near Pittsburgh. Dilla noted that the USACE, U.S Coast Guard 
(USCG) and navigation industry partners are working together and making 
progress on restoring navigation under challenging conditions. In the video 
update, he pointed out how they were digging ice out of the lock and nearby 
area on the river in order to restore navigation to the Region, a high priority 
for this group. 

   The entire video can be seen via this link: https://goo.gl/vbjJZR 

   Late Friday evening, Jan. 19, the USCG in a press release noted that 
"Industry partners successfully conducted a barge test run at MM 95.7, and a 
queue is now forming with transit granted on a case-by-case basis." However, 
salvage operations are still pending as there are two unaccounted-for barges 
reported to be located above the dam. 

   The press release noted that the USACE is continuing ice-breaking and 
removal operations at Emsworth Lock and Dam. "The main chamber is now open and 
ice is beginning to flow through. However, there is still heavy ice stretching 
nearly 1 mile above the lock, which continues to impact operations. There are 
no reports of significant damage to Emsworth Lock and Dam and no environmental 
concerns from pollution. 

   USCG reported two safety zones, full waterway closures, which have been 
established from MM 95 to MM 105 and MM 2 to MM 20 on the Ohio River due to 
risk of channel obstructions.

   American Commercial Barge Line (ACBL) in their daily river condition update 
Jan. 19 noted that on the ice-ravaged Illinois River, there is limited movement 
with significant tow size reduction. The maximum tow size is nine barges below 
Hennepin and four barges above. A major trouble spot has been Marseilles Lock, 
from miles 240 to 247 due to significant ice buildup in this area, making it 
difficult to transit. ACBL noted that based on the current forecast, they do 
not anticipate returning to normal tow size for another one to two weeks. 

   According to the USDA weekly Grain Transportation Report, weekly grain 
tonnages along the inland waterway system have been significantly reduced since 
late December due to icing. For the first two weeks of January, grain barge 
tonnages were 496,000 tons; 63% lower than the same period last year. Ice 
accumulation on the Illinois River has reduced the number of up-bound empty 
barges to 10 for the week of Jan. 13. During the same period last year, 180 
up-bound empty barges were shipped on the Illinois River. A number of barge 
lines have continued to suspend operations on the Illinois River and portions 
of the Ohio River until conditions improve. Low water and ice are slowing 
traffic on the Mississippi River in the St. Louis, Missouri, area, especially 
where heavy ice buildup around locks are not allowing lock gates to fully open.

   Mike Steenhoek, Executive Director of the Soy Transportation Coalition, told 
DTN via email that "Ice accumulation can present a number of adverse impacts on 
navigation. The entire channel can be closed entirely. The channel width can be 
reduced, and therefore, the size of barge flotillas will need to be reduced. 
There are numerous reports of normal 15-barge flotillas being reduced to 
six-to-nine-barge flotillas. A 15-barge flotilla can transport up to 855,000 
bushels of soybeans (57,000 bushels per barge). A six-barge flotilla will only 
be able to transport 342,000 bushels of soybeans. A nine-barge flotilla will 
transport 513,000 bushels of soybeans. Ice accumulation can also impede the 
ability of lock gates from opening and closing." 

   Whenever barge transportation faces slowdowns, due to weather or constant 
repairs, the results are always passed onto farmers in the form of higher barge 
freight costs, and at times, their inability to haul grain to a river terminal. 
"If there is a supply chain disruption and logjam along the river, soybean and 
grain shippers that utilize the inland waterway system are less able to move 
product via their back door," said Steenhoek.

   "If a soybean and grain shipper cannot move product via their back door, 
they are less able to accept product via their front door. As a result, soybean 
and grain shippers will drop the price offered (i.e. basis will be widened/more 
negative) to farmers. Therefore, farmer profitability will be impacted not 
because they did anything wrong, but simply because the supply chain is not 
operating as expected."

   "Given that 80% of soybean exports depart from the U.S. between September 
and February, this is a critical period for our supply chain to be operating as 
normal. Any impediment, like the ice accumulations impacting areas of the 
inland waterway system that normally are operating at this time of the year, 
have a negative impact," concluded Steenhoek. 

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com 

   Follow Mary Kennedy on Twitter @MaryCKenn

******************************************************************************
DDG Prices Remain Strong

   OMAHA (DTN) -- The DTN average distillers dried grain (DDG) spot price from 
the 39 locations DTN collects bids from was $143 for the week ended Jan. 18, 1 
cent higher than the prior week.

   Based on the average of bids collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative to 
corn for the week ended Jan. 18 was at 113.91%, and the value of DDG relative 
to soybean meal was at 43.54%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG was $5.30, 
compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $6.91, 39 cents 
higher versus last week (see chart below) as soymeal prices saw strong gains 
all week. The higher soybean meal price is causing more DDG demand for 
livestock feed rations, further adding support to prices.

   A merchandiser out west told DTN that slow loadings of corn from the Midwest 
and strong values in the Midwest for modified DDG is keeping supplies out to 
the West Coast rather tight. Overall, supplies have been tight due to cold 
weather and plant slowdowns. That may change going forward as the recent EIA 
report showing ethanol plant output topped 1.0 million barrels per day (bpd) 
again after briefly dipping below the mark the week prior and for the first 
time since early October. For the week ending Jan. 12, EIA reported plant 
output up 65,000 bpd to 1.061 million bpd last week. 

   The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) noted in its weekly price update that trade 
volume has been reported as "light" with sellers defending asking prices and 
buyers somewhat unwilling to chase prices higher. Prices for 40-foot containers 
to Southeast Asia are higher again this week, gaining $5 per metric ton (mt) on 
average. February shipments to Myanmar increased the most of any Asian 
destination this week, gaining $7/mt, while shipments to Indonesia and China 
increased $6/mt each, according to USGC.

   CIF (cost, insurance and freight) NOLA (News Orleans, Louisiana) prices were 
stronger from one week ago, but January prices this week have backed off a 
little. This could partially be due to tight supplies as well as the U.S. river 
system still under siege from ice. 

   The Upper Ohio River was closed earlier in the week due to barge breakaways 
over the weekend in that area caused by heavy ice movement. There is still 
limited movement due to ice above the Hannibal Lock, but in the Lower Ohio 
River, Lock 52 and 53 are now open for traffic. The Illinois River is also 
plagued with floating ice, which is causing "significant tow size reduction" 
according to American Commercial Barge Line (ACBL). Also, conditions have 
deteriorated above Hennepin, (MM207) due to low temperatures and ice gorging. 
There is hope a warming trend over the weekend will bring some relief. ACBL 
also noted that there is a reduction in tow size in the Lower Mississippi River 
at MM483-487 due to low water and "lack of a defined channel."


                                               CURRENT      CURRENT     CHANGE
COMPANY    STATE                              1/18/2018    1/11/2018
Bartlett and Company, Kansas City, MO (816-753-6300)
           Missouri             Dry             $160          $160        $0
                                Modified         $80          $80         $0
CHS, Minneapolis, MN (800-769-1066)
           Illinois             Dry             $150          $144        $6
           Indiana              Dry             $150          $145        $5
           Iowa                 Dry             $135          $133        $2
           Michigan             Dry             $155          $150        $5
           Minnesota            Dry             $140          $135        $5
           North Dakota         Dry             $150          $145        $5
           New York             Dry             $170          $160       $10
           South Dakota         Dry             $140          $140        $0
MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS (800-255-0302 Ext. 5253)
           Kansas               Dry             $150          $150        $0
POET Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD (888-327-8799)
           Indiana              Dry             $150          $150        $0
           Iowa                 Dry             $130          $130        $0
           Michigan             Dry             $148          $148        $0
           Minnesota            Dry             $130          $130        $0
           Missouri             Dry             $150          $150        $0
           Ohio                 Dry             $148          $148        $0
           South Dakota         Dry             $135          $135        $0
    `               `
United BioEnergy, Wichita, KS (316-616-3521)
           Kansas               Dry             $150          $145        $5
                                Wet              $60          $60         $0
           Illinois             Dry             $155          $150        $5
           Nebraska             Dry             $150          $145        $5
                                Wet              $60          $60         $0
U.S. Commodities, Minneapolis, MN (888-293-1640)
           Illinois             Dry             $150          $150        $0
           Indiana              Dry             $140          $140        $0
           Iowa                 Dry             $135          $135        $0
           Michigan             Dry             $140          $140        $0
           Minnesota            Dry             $130          $130        $0
           Nebraska             Dry             $150          $150        $0
           New York             Dry             $155          $155        $0
           North Dakota         Dry             $145          $145        $0
           Ohio                 Dry             $145          $145        $0
           South Dakota         Dry             $135          $135        $0
           Wisconsin            Dry             $140          $140        $0
Valero Energy Corp, San Antonio, TX (402-932- 5299)
           Indiana              Dry             $140          $140        $0
           Iowa                 Dry             $135          $135        $0
           Minnesota            Dry             $130          $130        $0
           Nebraska             Dry             $145          $145        $0
           Ohio                 Dry             $140          $140        $0
           South Dakota         Dry             $125          $125        $0
           California                           $202          $202        $0
Western Milling, Goshen, California (559-302-1074)
           California           Dry             $212          $212        $0
*Prices listed per ton.
           Weekly Average                       $143          $142        $1
The weekly average prices above reflect only those companies DTN
collects spot prices from. States include: Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska,
Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan,
Wisconsin and Indiana. Prices for Pennsylvania, New York and
California are not included in the averages.

   **


                     VALUE OF DDG VS. CORN & SOYBEAN MEAL
                        Settlement Price:   Quote Date      Bushel  Short Ton
                                     Corn      1/18/2018   $3.5150      $125.54
                             Soybean Meal      1/18/2018   $328.40
            DDG Weekly Average Spot Price        $143.00
                                  DDG Value Relative to:   1/18        1/12
                                                    Corn   113.91%      114.00%
                                            Soybean Meal    43.54%       45.87%
                               Cost Per Unit of Protein:
                                                     DDG     $5.30        $5.26
                                            Soybean Meal     $6.91        $6.52
Notes:
Corn and soybean prices take from DTN Market Quotes. DDG price
represents the average spot price from Midwest companies
collected on Thursday afternoons. Soybean meal cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 47.5. DDG cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 27.

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com  

   Follow Mary Kennedy on Twitter @MaryCKenn

******************************************************************************
DDG Prices Climb Higher 

   OMAHA (DTN) -- The DTN average distillers dried grain (DDG) spot price from 
the 39 locations DTN collects bids from was $142 for the week ended Jan. 11, 4 
cents higher than two weeks ago.

   Based on the average of bids collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative to 
corn for the week ended Jan. 11 was at 114.00%, and the value of DDG relative 
to soybean meal was at 45.87%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG was $5.26, 
compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $6.52.

   Merchandisers noted that the market is higher in part due to tight supplies 
as ethanol plants have been running at a slower pace than normal. The EIA 
reported ethanol plant production in the United States fell 36,000 barrels per 
day (bpd) to a 996,000 bpd three-month low for the week ending Jan. 5. Higher 
drying costs and tight margins have been contributing factors to the slowdown. 

   Merchandisers told me that containers destined for Vietnam in the Midwest 
are still waiting to be fumigated but can't be because of the cold weather. As 
discussed last week, Vietnam requires temperatures (for this time of year) to 
be 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit for a minimum exposure period of five days. Also 
extreme ice conditions continue to plague the Illinois River where traffic is 
all but shut down.

   American Commercial Barge Line noted Thursday that limited movement remains 
on the Illinois River with significant tow-size reduction. "The max tow size is 
nine barges below Hennepin and four barges above. One major trouble spot is the 
Marseilles Canal, around mile 245. There is significant ice buildup in this 
area, making it difficult to transit. The Marseilles Lock queue is building, 
currently 12 boats. Based on the current forecast, we don't anticipate 
returning to normal tow size for another 30 days." On top of these issues on 
the Illinois River, tow size southbound from St. Louis to Cairo on the 
Mississippi River has been reduced due to ice and low water conditions.

   The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) said in its weekly price update that barge 
CIF NOLA prices are steady this week while FOB NOLA prices are $2/metric ton 
(MT) lower on light trading volume. "FOB NOLA prices are 124% of FOB NOLA corn 
values, which is at the upper end of the ratio's two-year trading range. Prices 
for 40-foot containers destined for Southeast Asia are $1/MT higher on average, 
but with light trading volume."


                                       CURRENT  CURRENT CHANGE
                                                1/11/
COMPANY                 STATE                   2018    1/4/2018
Bartlett and Company, Kansas City, MO (816-753-6300)
                        Missouri       Dry      $160    $165     -$5
                                       Modified $80     $82      -$2
CHS, Minneapolis, MN (800-769-1066)
                        Illinois       Dry      $144    $142     $2
                        Indiana        Dry      $145    $140     $5
                        Iowa           Dry      $133    $130     $3
                        Michigan       Dry      $150    $145     $5
                        Minnesota      Dry      $135    $130     $5
                        North Dakota   Dry      $145    $145     $0
                        New York       Dry      $160    $155     $5
                        South Dakota   Dry      $140    $137     $3
MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS (800-255-0302 Ext. 5253)
                        Kansas         Dry      $150    $150     $0
POET Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD (888-327-8799)
                        Indiana        Dry      $150    $145     $5
                        Iowa           Dry      $130    $128     $2
                        Michigan       Dry      $148    $140     $8
                        Minnesota      Dry      $130    $128     $2
                        Missouri       Dry      $150    $142     $8
                        Ohio           Dry      $148    $145     $3
                        South Dakota   Dry      $135    $135     $0
`                       `
United BioEnergy, Wichita, KS (316-616-3521)
                        Kansas         Dry      $145    $140     $5
                                       Wet      $60     $65      -$5
                        Illinois       Dry      $150    $148     $2
                        Nebraska       Dry      $145    $140     $5
                                       Wet      $60     $65      -$5
U.S. Commodities, Minneapolis, MN (888-293-1640)
                        Illinois       Dry      $150    $140     $10
                        Indiana        Dry      $140    $130     $10
                        Iowa           Dry      $135    $130     $5
                        Michigan       Dry      $140    $135     $5
                        Minnesota      Dry      $130    $125     $5
                        Nebraska       Dry      $150    $145     $5
                        New York       Dry      $155    $140     $15
                        North Dakota   Dry      $145    $145     $0
                        Ohio           Dry      $145    $135     $10
                        South Dakota   Dry      $135    $135     $0
                        Wisconsin      Dry      $140    $130     $10
Valero Energy Corp., San Antonio, TX (402-932-5901)
                        Indiana        Dry      $140    $135     $5
                        Iowa           Dry      $135    $130     $5
                        Minnesota      Dry      $130    $125     $5
                        Nebraska       Dry      $145    $145     $0
                        Ohio           Dry      $140    $135     $5
                        South Dakota   Dry      $125    $125     $0
                        California              $202    $200     $2
Western Milling, Goshen, California (559-302-1074)
                        California     Dry      $212    $206     $6
*Prices listed per ton.
                        Weekly Average          $142    $138     $4
The weekly average prices above reflect only those companies DTN
collects spot prices from. States include: Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska,
Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan,
Wisconsin and Indiana. Prices for Pennsylvania, New York and
California are not included in the averages.
VALUE OF DDG VS. CORN & SOYBEAN MEAL
Settlement Price:                                                 Quote Date  Bushel        Short Ton
Corn                                                              1/11/2018   $3.4875       $124.55
Soybean Meal                                                      1/11/2018   $309.60
DDG Weekly Average Spot Price                                     $142.00
DDG Value Relative to:                                                        1/12          1/4
Corn                                                                          114.00%       110.08%
Soybean Meal                                                                  45.87%        43.70%
Cost Per Unit of Protein:
DDG                                                                           $5.26         $5.11
Soybean Meal                                                                  $6.52         $6.65
Notes:
Corn and soybean prices take from DTN Market Quotes. DDG price
represents the average spot price from Midwest companies
collected on Thursday afternoons. Soybean meal cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 47.5. DDG cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 27.

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com 

   Follow Mary Kennedy on Twitter @MaryCKenn

******************************************************************************
Extreme Cold Causes US Rivers to Ice Over

   The only place where frozen bodies of water are a good thing this time of 
year is in the Upper Midwest where many of us Northerners enjoy the winter 
ritual of ice fishing. Icing on the U.S. river system, however, is not a 
welcome sight, as it causes delays and dangerous conditions for tows pushing 
barges trying to move commodities downriver to the Gulf of Mexico for export.

   The severe cold spell that gripped most of the country the past week caused 
the Illinois River to ice over. On Jan. 5, Tom Russell, of Russell Marine 
Group, told me that barge traffic on the Illinois River is all but stopped due 
to ice. "A couple of barge lines are still trying to move without much success. 
As traffic stops, the ice gorges get worse without movement to break and push 
the ice along." 

   American Commercial Barge Line (ACBL) noted in its daily river update that, 
"Operations have ceased due to heavy ice throughout the river. Boats are moving 
to find the closest safe harbor until conditions improve. Based on the 10-day 
forecast, conditions will continue to deteriorate."

   ACBL also noted that on the Upper Ohio River, there was minimal movement due 
to ice above Montgomery Lock. On top of that, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
(USACE) closed Lock 52 on the lower Ohio to raise the wickets, noting they 
believe this process will take around four days. The river is expected to open 
Sunday or Monday. According to the USACE, during low water, "the gates must be 
raised individually to impound water, creating a navigable depth from Locks and 
Dam 52 to Smithland Locks and Dam, Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley."

   Russell also said, "Locks on the Upper Mississippi just above St. Louis are 
icing, causing locking delays. Tow size restrictions have been implemented for 
tows locking through. The Upper Mississippi River from St. Louis to Cairo is 
seeing ice flows along the corridor. Also, that stretch of river is 
experiencing low water levels. Boat traffic is moving very slowly due to ice 
and low water. 

   "A tow has gone aground at mile 47 (north of Thebes, Illinois) whereby only 
limited traffic can pass until refloated," added Russell. "Water levels from 
St. Louis to Cairo are expected to continue to drop over the next couple weeks. 
Further restrictions may have to be implemented."

   Because of the icing and low water conditions along most of the U.S. river 
system, barge freight rose mid-week, and soybean and corn basis was higher at 
the Gulf, as loaded barges have been unable to get there on time. According to 
the USDA weekly transportation report, "With the cold temperatures and icy 
conditions, grain barge rates, as of Jan. 2, rose 15% for export grain on the 
Illinois River and 9% on the Mississippi River at St. Louis compared to the 
prior week."

   Even if the ice conditions improve, which may take some time, the low water 
levels will exist until the river system can refresh. On Jan. 5, the 
Mississippi River at St. Louis was 1.73 feet below zero gauge and was not 
expected to rise above minus 1.3 feet before Jan. 18 and maybe later. At 
Memphis, the Mississippi River is currently at 4.86 feet on Jan. 5, but 
expectations from the National Weather Service (NWS) are that without any 
moisture in the next week, levels will fall to 1.5 feet below zero gauge by 
Jan. 18.

   While barge traffic is normally lighter now than it is during the summer and 
fall months, there are still commodities that need to get to the Gulf on time 
for existing contracts to be filled. Low-water conditions can cause barge 
drafts to be lightened, meaning less product can be loaded and possibly reduce 
the number of barges a tow can move. The danger of low water is grounding, as 
noted above, and when that happens, the grounded barges need to be safely 
removed before traffic can move forward.

   On top of the icing currently affecting river traffic, low-water conditions 
only exacerbate the issues for elevators trying to load out and barge lines 
trying to get empty barges upriver and full barges down to the Gulf.

   Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com

   Follow Mary Kennedy on Twitter @MaryCKenn 

******************************************************************************

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