Market Update by Mark Hanson, VP Merchandising

Market Update August 2, 2017

The market will decipher corn, beans and wheat production as July has come to a close and we continue into August. Analysts are becoming less enthused about the yield prospects for corn after much of the western belt experienced limited rain and warmer temperatures during the key pollination period. Ahead of the August crop report, FC Stone lowered their estimates to 162.8 bu/acre from the current USDA estimate of 170.7. With the USDA currently projecting a comfortable 16.2 percent stocks to use, the market has had limited ability to draw in support given that the potential lowering of yields could decrease the ending stocks by as much as 661 million bushels. This decline would cause the stocks-to-use ratio to reach a much more bullish level of 11.5 percent.

In considering wheat, it is important to understand the corn dynamics as much of the lower protein HRW and SWW wheat has competed against corn in the feed markets recently. If the corn tightens up, the feed wheat markets should begin to see more life after two tough years. With the strong dollar resulting in a poor export market, the domestic feed market has been the main outlet for much of the SWW and lower protein HRW in PNW region.

Mills have loaded up on the cheap SWW supplies with the HRW harvest across the southern plains; farmers in that region are estimated to be selling 70 to 75 percent. This is a large percentage sold relative to this time of year. The DNS market led the drive upward due to the drought that hit much of the northern plains. Production is estimated to be half of last year as the market rallied over $2/bushel. Given the DNS/HRW spread that is currently $2.50/bu, many mixes are switching to cheaper HRW wheat. That coupled with a flush of old crop supplies that hit the market during the rally has oversaturated the DNS market. While the production issues are still a concern and likely will have longer-term effects to the markets, the short term appears bleak at this time.

Given current supplies, mills and feed sectors will continue to keep themselves full at lower price levels. The pipeline is expected to tighten slightly, which could yield a potential upside later in the crop year. It is currently uncertain if this could happen in 2017 or in the first or second quarter of 2018, but it appears there may be some additional excitement in store for wheat. While this is supportive, the balance sheets for wheat still show comfortable stocks and the upside may be a bit more tempered than past years, but at least it appears that we finally may have seen the end of two years of a bear market.

Seasonally, KC wheat tends to gain on Minneapolis as we get into August. Below is a chart showing that seasonal trend:

August wheat market graph

While the wheat charts are still evolving, we may be reaching a near-term bottom. So much can happen, but looking at seasonal trends, we suspect we will remain rangebound until we get through harvest.

Grower Software on iPad

New Grower Software Helps Increase Operation Results: Industry reports, sustainability data, weather condition updates and more

Agrible® and Thresher Artisan Wheat are teaming up to help growers make more informed decisions to drive results for their operations. Thresher is offering Agrible’s value-added tools for southeast Idaho producers through Agrible’s Morning Farm Report® software. With many Idaho wheat producers curious about how the long heat snap affected the crop this year, it’s important to have access to tools like Yield Engine within the Morning Farm Report Software.

“Top yield will be taken off but producers don’t know by how much,” says Todd Weitekamp, Product Line Manager for Agrible. “Our wheat modeling takes into account both water and temperature stress which can give growers an idea of what impact it might have on their final yield.”

As part of the suite of tools, growers with Thresher Artisan Wheat get access to Agrible’s Sustainable Sourcing feature.

Thresher grower Nick Benson says, “Sustainability is going to play a major role in my son’s generation. I try to teach him sustainable practices now because it is going to be a much bigger deal when he is my age.”

The software helps growers measure their sustainability impact with industry-approved metrics and, together with Agrible’s agronomic insights, gives growers the ability to farm even smarter. Agrible’s tools help growers tell their sustainability story by ensuring consumers have more information about how their food is grown.

Benson also uses Agrible’s Morning Farm Report technology to help him save money. “The most useful information for me from Morning Farm Report is water availability. I can save about $1,500 a day by shutting off all six of my irrigation pumps,” he says.

Agrible’s Morning Farm Report software delivers field-specific information on weather forecasts, soil conditions, nutrient availability forecasts, yield forecasts, and much more. Using the best science available, Morning Farm Report gives growers easy access to record keeping, predictive analytics, scouting, and sustainability metrics through laptop and mobile devices.

To learn more about the program and how to sign up from your local Thresher team, contact Brett Wilkins at bwilken@thresherwheat.com.

Field Days 2017

Continuing Success in the Field

Field Days 2017 Event

[Newdale, American Falls, Idaho Falls, and Blackfoot]

On July 11-14, Thresher brought together valued growers for the annual Field Days events. Each year, the Field Days events serve to keep growers updated on current market happenings and provide them the opportunity to hear from other leaders in the industry. The 2017 Field Days events had strong attendance and provided growers with several helpful resources and new ideas to help ensure their continued success in the field.

Thresher kicked off the featured presentation with a quick market update, discussed strides in safety and offered helpful tips on storing product. Thresher’s seed program will offer the same continued varieties from 2016 and is excited to announce the addition of three more to support Thresher’s dedication to providing consistent and high quality product. The following seed varieties are now available:

  • Assure – Soft White
  • LCS Jet – HRW
  • WB 4623CLP – Clearfield Hard red winter

Thresher Fall 2017 Seed Varieties:

  • SWW
  • WB 1529
  • WB 456
  • SY Ovation
  • Assure, new! Higher TW than Ovation, excellent yield potential, limited supply
  • Brundage

Blended varieties are also available. Seed Sales Manager Brett Wilken states that last year WB 1529/ SY Ovation and WB 456/ SY Ovation were popular blends among growers. The test weight and quality of WestBred wheat with the high yield potential of SY Ovation offer a blend that includes the best of both varieties. To learn more, click here.

Syngenta will be expanding their leadership in the sustainability field through the AgriEdge program. AgriEdge is linked to their Land.db technology and helps growers track and record their sustainability efforts while finding the bottom line. Syngenta offers to pay $1 per acre, for up to 1,500 acres, for sustainability data offered by growers.

One of WestBred’s growers, Terry Wilcox of Idaho, was the second-place winner of the last National Wheat Yield Contest. WestBred encourages growers to enter in contests and will pay for contest entry fees.

Grain Craft detailed their expertise in food safety. They are focused on helping growers to get their product approved and, with the help of Thresher, will check your product to see if it is subject to being rejected. Anyone concerned about COFO wheat (chemical residue) or the correct grain protectant to use for storing this year’s grain crop should contact their local Thresher manager or Heath Harrison or Brett Wilkin for further details.

Seed Days

Planting the Seeds of Success

On February 14, Thresher hosted our annual crop planning event, Seed Days, in Fort Hall. The goal for every Thresher event is to provide useful insights on the agronomic and grain market trends of most use to our growers, and Seed Days 2017 was no exception.

Bradford Warner, vice president of marketing at parent company Agspring, and Thresher CEO Don Wille opened the event. Wille encouraged growers to work with their local grain elevator managers to ensure they choose their seed varieties wisely in the current market. “We don’t take our relationships with you lightly, and we will continue to find ways to better your business,” said Wille.

The vendor portion of the event kicked off with each of the 16 vendors at Seed Days giving a brief overview of what they had to offer. Growers were encouraged to stop by the vendor booths to discuss what products and services could help their operations.

The Heart of the Event

The meat of Seed Days 2017 consisted of our informative panel discussions. The panels featured impressive lineups of experts discussing issues such as irrigation strategies, financial game plans and the current wheat market.

Panel 1: Saving Water and Improving Yields with Technology – Moderated by Bradford Warner

Presenters:

  • Bill Marek, irrigation researcher – Marek’s presentation, “Prevailing Wind and the Yield Impacts,” featured 2016 research on 33 pivots (potatoes and peas) that found that prevailing wind does impact yields. His percentile difference assessment found that growers are best served and will receive the biggest return in the shortest amount of time by extending efforts to make the poorest performing parts of the field do better.
  • Jeff Peters, director of sustainability and partnerships at Agrible – Peters spoke about the benefits of Agrible’s Morning Farm Report ®, a tool that takes field-level insights and gives you the power to make the best decisions.
  • Howard Neibling, associate professor at University of Idaho – Neibling walked through the recent LESA study on irrigation for dry bean, alfalfa, grain and potato production. The LESA work was funded by three years of grant support from Bonneville Power Administration and one year from AB.

Panel 2: Best Practices and Research Update from the 200 Bushel Club – Moderated by Brett Wilken, Founder, 200 Bushel Club & Thresher Idaho Seed Manager

Panel members included members of the 200 Bushel Club: Juliet Marshall, associate professor, plant pathologist at University of Idaho; Gary Farmer, agronomist at Bingham Co-op; Mike Erickson, seed treatment specialist at McGregor Co.; Dale Clark, director of research at Northern Seed; Kirk Jacobs, Silver K Farms; Cathy Wilson, director of research collaboration at Idaho Wheat Commission; Dr. Greg Blaser, senior agronomy professor at BYU-Idaho (retired).

200 Bushel Club Findings – In 2016, the 200 Bushel Club examined five field sites. Using Lemken and John Deere drilling implements, the club came to some unusual conclusions considering the variability of the field and in-season visual differences. The club determined that the unusual results were due to:

  • Seeds being planted into a dry seed bed
  • Spring rains missed the fields
  • There were seven weeks between planting and the first irrigation
  • Water was the limiting factor and restricted the crop’s production capabilities

Panel 3: Impact of the Markets and Managing Your P&L

Presenters:

  • Warren Preston, deputy chief economist at USDA – Preston previewed the 2017 agricultural outlook. The USDA has projected a flat farm income and a competitive trading environment.
  • Mike O’Dea, risk management consultant, INTL FCStone – O’Dea gave growers a forward look on wheat. According to FCStone, the U.S. will continue to be the residual supplier to the world since the U.S. has the capacity to store the world’s surplus supply.
  • Jennifer Shaw, Ph.D., head of sustainability North America at Syngenta – Shaw discussed the importance of knowing your bottom line. Shaw says that farm management software is the foundation so growers can visualize the operation and easily determine their break-even points.

Panel 4: Seed Performance and the Best Varieties for 2017
Presenters:

  • Trenton Stanger, WestBred representative – Stanger gave comparative information about WestBred’s leading seed varieties for all the wheat classes, including hard red, hard white, soft white wheat and Alzada durum.
  • Tony Severa, Syngenta – Severa discussed Syngenta’s industry-leading hard white wheat varieties, “Bullseye” hard red spring and two new varieties for 2018.
  • Mike Erickson, McGregor Co. – Erickson presented some compelling research supporting the class-leading seed treatments offered by Thresher. For instance, Cruisermaxx .33 showed three-bushel yield gains over the next closest rival in the McGregor 2016 seed treatment trials.
  • Ryan Webber, WestBred – Webber announced the National Wheat Yield winners who grew Thresher seed. Terry Wilcox took second place nationally, growing WB 9668. Brad Parks placed second in Idaho, growing WB 9411. Both used WestBred hard red spring wheats.

Grand Prize Winners

Seed Days 2017 attendees received some wonderful prizes thanks to key sponsors like Agrible, AquaSpy, McGregor, WestBred, Syngenta, Wilbur-Ellis, Lemken and Rain for Rent.
2017 grand prize winners:

  • Brad Baker won a drone kit donated by Agrible
  • Jeff VanOrden won the AquaSpy Probe Kit donated by AquaSpy
  • Chevy Bingham won an Old Town Canoe donated by McGregor
  • Brad Reed won a Milwaukee drill set donated by WestBred

We want to thank everyone for coming to this year’s Seed Days! To download the panel presentations, click here. For more information on Thresher events, please call the Blackfoot office at (208) 785-4460, or contact your local grain elevator manager.
Click HERE to download all the 2017 Seed Days presentations.

 

Questioning the Right Date: Collaborating to influence the best RMA Wheat planting date change

Thresher Seed Manager Brett Wilken has led the charge to help get the fall planting date for wheat moved back in the interest of our producers. Wilken started the process back in July by requesting the Idaho Wheat Commission look into extending the fall-planted wheat insurance cutoff dates in Idaho.

A combination of climate factors affect fall-planted wheat and other crops in diverse ways. Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) is one disease that is beginning to thrive in fall-planted winter wheat because of the later arrival of cooler weather. As our scientific advisers have shown, BYDV reduces yields and quality of the crop.

The Thresher team believed the company should take a proactive stance and not ignore the problem. Wilken had asked about changing the winter wheat cutoff dates in past years because of the local demand for hard red winter wheat (HRW) by important customers. It is preferred to plant HRW following potato harvest because potato fields need the most fertile ground and will generally get a better protein level when planted earlier than when they follow other crops. Wilken was told that changing the date would very difficult, but that did not deter him.

Currently the insurance cutoff date for Bingham County is October 15; however, the Thresher team has seen producers plant successfully until November 1 for more than a decade. With our changing climate and disease threat, planting too early appears to be a larger insurance/farm risk than planting late or after the current cutoff date and not being covered under federal crop insurance.

Now with the recent emergences of BYDV, Thresher recommends farmers delay planting at least 2 weeks confirmed by research that shows it is better to plant after October 1. Logistically, the Thresher team wondered, how an average or large farm would plant winter wheat if they are only given 2 weeks, especially considering that most farmers in our area are also harvesting potatoes in that same time frame.

When producers communicated to Thresher managers that they were going to plant as they always have and hope insurance will cover them, Wilken recognized this was not a good scenario for anyone: the Idaho Wheat Commission, input retailers, Thresher, or our downstream customers.

“Working with the 200 Bushel Club, Thresher strives to help improve wheat yields through best practices and newest technology to make sure wheat stays as a viable lead crop in Eastern Idaho,” said Wilken. “Optimal planting dates remain a critical part of the yield equation and they needed to be adjusted to provide producers the best scenario for success with winter wheat.”

Over the ensuing weeks, members of the 200 Bushel Club, Idaho Wheat Commission, Barley Commission and Idaho Grain Producers Association (IGPA) responded agreeing that the date change was needed. Wilken scheduled a conference call with interested parties and discussed the best path for moving forward despite being told that there was no way to get the date change implemented for planting in the fall of 2016. Stacey Satterlee with IGPA took the lead on pushing the request through and contacted RMA about the date change. IGPA included the fall planting date cutoff discussion at the district meetings held throughout the state in October to gather feedback from their grower base. Positive input from these meetings has helped push the change closer to realization.

The RMA internal deadline to initiate the change is at the end of March, and the team worked to finalize the request at the IGPA board meeting in October so it could be shared and considered at Tri-State Grain Growers Convention in November. Thresher will strive to keep producers up-to-date on the final resolution next year.

Market Update by Mark Hanson, VP Merchandising

Generally speaking, the wheat markets have been trading range bound since the middle of September after testing the support levels in late August.  Speculators accumulated sizable short positions to reach those lows but with this pressure, it discouraged the amount of spot selling during the latter part of harvest.  Lacking that fuel, the market bounced back as the speculators evened up their positions.  While a bounce occurred, the supplies continue to be a concern.  The combination of burdensome wheat carryouts both in the US and the world, very comfortable corn stocks and no major production concerns overall have limited the upside potential for wheat.

The PNW export market for this fall continues to be focused on the corn and soybean potential since the wheat demand is still rather disappointing.  Some of the traditional users of US wheat did execute some purchases during the lows but US values continue to be priced at a premium compared to the Black Sea region and Australia.  The US Dollar continues to trade on the top side of the market since it made the surge against other currencies beginning in mid-2014.  Below is the US Dollar index chart over the past 5 years:

Now that the election is complete, the market finally has settled down.  Initially, the market was quite volatile given the surprise outcome of the election.  Optimism continues to grow for the US economy with the latest GDP growth outlook from the OECD projection growth of 2.3% in 2017 and 3.0 for 2018.  This is having a major impact on the US Dollar strength with is at a 5 year high.  This strength is making US wheat less competitive in the world marketplace so most of the demand will be centered on having the best quality wheat in the world.

Technically, there is not much to be excited about.  While the downside seems to be fortified for now at $3.62 the Chicago Wheat, we are seeing good resistance at the 38% retracement at $4.25. If that resistance does break, there is only another 20 cents of upside.  Something more fundamental needs to occur before the market can go up further than this.  Since demand is rather tempered, this likely will have to come from Southern Hemisphere weather concerns.  Below is the latest chart analysis:

Looking at the 15-seasonal, there are also some challenges for the upside potential.  With plenty of stocks at this moment and demand lagging, the remainder of the crop year could be difficult to attract support.  Below is the seasonal action.  While I feel the downside targets on these charts are too negative, I do believe these challenges are rational given the current market environment.

Welcome to the New Producer Portal

Thresher is dedicated to grower needs. Thus, we are excited to announce the new Producer Portal. It’s an all-purpose gateway for growers to easily access real-time account information including:

  • General Account
  • Information Contracts
  • Tickets
  • Payments and Invoices Settlements

In addition, valuable resources like current news, DTN feeds and market information can also be found on this site. For more information and to sign up, contact Chelsea Chavez at 208-522-2413 or email cchavez@thresherwheat.com. When signing up, please be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Farm owner’s first and last name
  • Contract email
  • Farm name to associate
  • Name of anyone who can view the account (receptionist, farm manager, etc.) Please note there will be only one account created.

Farmers Lead Conservation Efforts with No-Till Farming and Cover Crops

Soil-conservation measures to create environmentally friendly farming practices continue to gain popularity. Growers are exploring no-till farming techniques and cover crops to protect and conserve their soil. In Idaho, the Madison Soil & Water Conservation District visited farms in a tour of no-till, direct-seed farming and the use of cover crops. Click here to read the full article from the Idaho Soil and Water Conversation Commission.  

 

Thresher Safety Days a Success

“No amount of grain is worth someone’s life,” said Eric Neibaur, Thresher Artisan Wheat Safety and Preventative Maintenance Manager. His sentiment was kept prominently in mind when we planned and hosted a two-day safety event for all employees.

Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) ranks agriculture third in total number of deaths among all U.S. occupations, behind only construction and transportation (Texas A&M). The data only reinforces the Thresher belief in the value of safety and safety training. We truly believe that the only way to lower the amount of injuries or death in our industry is through training and education.

Committing to safety

We were pleased that in early June, the Idaho Falls community welcomed more than 90 Thresher employees to town to learn about safer ways to serve their communities and customers.

The two-day event included CPR and first-aid training, hearing exams, engulfment training, fall training with harnesses, training for safety in confined spaces, understanding of rail cars, hazard communications, high-voltage safety and education about dangerous occurrences such as arc flash.

“For me, the biggest takeaway from this event was seeing all of the new faces present. It is always encouraging to see more people enjoying learning the importance of safety in the agriculture industry,” said Neibaur. He was also encouraged that so many staff offered positive feedback on this event, making him optimistic about safety training geared toward growers this fall.

“People grow up on farms or in a farming community where hard work is emphasized,” Neibaur said. “That leaves people with the mentality that safety takes a backseat to production. At Thresher, productivity is important, but it takes a backseat to safety.”

Thresher reinforces a commitment to safety by hosting a variety of safety events for employees throughout the year, including monthly safety training sessions, online safety courses through Safety Made Simple, and an annual progressive safety event that focuses on eight key safety principles.

A community event

To continue our effort to prioritize safety among American farmers, we’ve organized the Thresher Safety Day event, to be held with the community this fall. Producers, families, and schools should look forward to participating in the life-saving principles that will aid in lowering the number of agriculture-related deaths and incidents across the country.

Sources/Related Links:

http://agsafety.tamu.edu/files/2011/06/US-AGRICULTURE-FATALITY-STATISTICS1.pdf

A convenient new format for Thresher Field Days

July 12 • American Falls | July 12 • Blackfoot | July 13 • Newdale

Get together. Grow together.

We at Thresher understand that every season is a busy time of year for producers. We also understand that your time is a valuable commodity, so we’re switching up our Field Days format this year to be more accommodating of your busy schedule.

The new Field Days format will take place three different times in three different places, for your convenience. We hope to see you on July 12 or 13 for one of the sessions at American Falls, Blackfoot or Newdale. Each session will feature a grower-appreciation meal and engaging discussion about the latest grain markets, seed options and harvest plans; and we’ll also give you details about our new producer portal.

Check below for the different dates, times and locations of 2016 Field Days; and RSVP for the event that suits your schedule. We also recommend checking out the Grain Craft Blackfoot Mill and Thresher Newdale tour sessions. We look forward to to getting together and growing together!

Event Details                   

American Falls
July 12 | 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
American Falls City Park
3592 North Park Lane
American Falls, ID 83211

Blackfoot
July 12 | 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Jensen’s Grove Shelter
785 Jensen’s Grove
Blackfoot, ID 83221

Newdale/Idaho Falls
July 13 | 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Teton Pavilion
126 W. Main Street
Teton, ID 83451

Facility Tours

Available to everyone.

Grain Craft Blackfoot Mill Tour and Q&A
463 West Hwy 26
Blackfoot, ID 83221
Tours start at 2:00, 2:30, 3:00,
3:30 and 4:00 p.m.

Thresher Newdale Facility Tour and Q&A
211 Truck Route
Newdale, ID 83436
Tour starts at 12:30 p.m.

To RSVP or request more information, please call your local grain elevator manager, or call the Blackfoot office at (208) 785-4460. Please RSVP by July 1.