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Livestock, trade dominate talk

The panel at Tuesday's CIFN Ag Outlook Meeting in Fairbury / CIFN photo.

FAIRBURY – Topics ranging from livestock to a China trade deal were addressed during the Central Illinois Farm Network’s 2019 Ag Outlook Meeting in Fairbury Tuesday night.

African Swine Fever has ramped-up in China but the exact numbers are uncertain. Many hope a trade deal would allow China to buy more of our pork. Demand for corn and soybean meal and distillers grain is strongly impacted by the situation.

“The numbers we get from them are very questionable,” said Roy Plote of L&M Commodities. “We know they own half of the hogs in the world.”

Plote also spoke of river transportation issues looming for northern Illinois producers as the Army Corps of Engineers plans to work on the Illinois River in the summer of 2020. The closure could last for a few months in an area of heavy delivery for ag products.

“Many in our area are thinking the container markets will pick up to take some of our products away, but how many containers are there to make up the difference?” Plote asked.

Shalene Reeves of MIDCO discussed recent basis improvement, which she attributes to logistics.

“We have cold weather in the west and we’ve got issues on the river with barge movement,” Reeves explained.

Reeves believes corn basis is friendly but soybean basis is a different story. Carryout numbers indicate we have more than enough soybeans currently.

“I think it’s going to be hard for soybean basis to reach historical values.”

There is plenty going on from a trade standpoint and several notes worth keeping an eye on – not only with the U.S. and China – but with the European Union and Mexico too.

Merrill Crowley of Midwest Market Solutions in Watseka acknowledged the subdued crop prices. He said the only way to solidly improve our corn market is increased demand from a Chinese deal or if there is a supply problem here.

“Just like all of you, we are a little worried about what’s going on with the market,” Crowley said during his opening comments. “It’s way too early to count out a weather problem.”

Tuesday’s meeting in the banquet room of Gig’s Place in downtown Fairbury was co-sponsored by Bank of Pontiac and Prairie Central Cooperative. Those attending enjoyed a pizza buffet and won door prizes courtesy of the bank.

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