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 [email protected]. 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:

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

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.       

Market Update: Corn and Bean Strength Leading to Support in Wheat

By Mark Hanson, Vice President of Merchandising


Wheat has largely been caught in the lower-end range for much of 2016 due to building ending stocks and an overall bearish commodity environment. Since mid-2014, the U.S. dollar index rose from .80 to the current .94. Along with worldwide wheat ending stocks rising 21 percent during the same period, the market has seen little concern about having adequate supplies. Wheat harvest has begun in the Southern Plains, and early consensus is that the crop will be very large. In the June WASDE report, the USDA has increased their U.S. yield estimate by 2.1 bushels per acre to 48.6. While they increased export projections by 25 million bushels to 900 million bushels and increased feed-use volumes by 30 million bushels to 200 million bushels, they are projecting ending stocks to reach 1.050 billion bushels. This is an increase of 39 percent from just two years ago. With projected stocks-to-use to reach 49 percent, any purchasing excitement in wheat has been limited.

Since late May, wheat has seen some changes. While some concerns have built up about the excessive rains in the EU, as well as lower production in India and fewer plantings in Canada, the wheat market has seen more support building up due to some concerns in the corn and soybean markets. While the recent buildup of wheat has started to raise concerns, demand for both corn and beans has picked up as well. The USDA lowered the 2016/17 corn ending stocks from 145 million bushels to 2.008 billion for next year. This was due to a 50-million-bushel increase to exports and a 95-million-bushel decrease to the current year’s ending stocks. Soybeans now see a pretty sizable 7.9 percent increase in exports, which leads to a 110-million-bushel decrease of ending stocks year-on-year to 260 million bushels. Since no adjustments were made to the yields for corn and beans, the recent weather issues are now beginning to be more relevant to the market.

June typically is a difficult month for rallies. With wheat harvest just beginning, and corn and beans growing, there normally is more selling pressure as farmers are more comfortable selling out stocks and locking in some of their new crop supplies. Below shows a 30-year seasonal pattern for December Chicago wheat:


This pattern is consistent with corn and soybeans as well. Once the harvest lows are established on wheat, and corn reaches the key pollination period, weather typically gains more relevance for market support. This year support showed up much sooner, most likely due to the market being overly bearish for so long. When the market wanted to cover their short positions, few fresh sellers were willing to come back in. This allowed corn, beans and wheat to make some impressive rallies. There is a bias building that a developing La Nina pattern will lead to hot and dry conditions later in the key July/August pollination and pod set period.

Technically, the recovery defined key support and resistance levels. The continuous Chicago wheat market established a well-defined peak in July 2015 and a key low in March 2016. The 50 percent Fibonacci retracement is at $5.26, which also showed strong resistance last fall. The recent rally made another attempt on testing this resistance point. While time will tell whether this will hold, currently, it appears that it will hold until some more material happens fundamentally to warrant a move through that key level. Below is the Chicago wheat continuous chart:


Over the next couple of months, the market will define itself further as clarity develops around true production and the impacts of actual demand. Weather will be one key factor through August, but U.S. Dollar strength and overall economic data will also factor in. Once the actual production is known, demand will again be the major factor for the market direction. Until then, it appears to be a technically driven market.

Cover Crops: A Underrated Necessity

The number of cover-crop acres planted in the U.S. continues to rise. 2013 USDA National Ag Statistics Survey (NASS) data suggests 10.3 million acres of cover crops were planted in 2012, a significant increase over the previous yea.  Current trends continue to suggest growth in cover-crop , with predictions of 40 million acres planted by 2020.

Why have cover crops become so important in agriculture?

Increasing cover-crop acreage is the the result of many factors, most notably:

  • Higher land values
  • Increased awareness in nutrient management and water quality
  • Upswing in environmental awareness and protection
  • Availability of government funding
  • Changes in weather patterns

In addition, retailers are taking more steps to ensure their food is safe and produced in a sustainable manner including cash crops.

Will the increase in importance continue?

Recently, there have been significant increases in attention given to water quality initiatives in the U.S. This attention includes nutrient reduction strategies across the country and the recent Clean Water Rule release (Clean Water Act in the 2014 Farm Bill). For example, all 12 states along the Mississippi River have drafted nutrient reduction strategies. Cover crops are a major factor on all of these initiatives.

Why are cover crops beneficial?

The benefits of cover crops are numerous. Reducing erosion, sequestering nutrients, building organic matter and soil tilth, and improving nutrient cycling are just a few. They also suppress weeds, insects and pests and break up soil hard-pan layers. They increase soil moisture by converting energy to organic matter, which reduces runoff and evaporation by increasing soil moisture capacity.

How do cover crops work? 

Cover crops (and their roots) keep the microbials that restore organic matter and nutrient levels in the soil active for a longer period of time. This is especially important when soil is covered for the entire season. With live roots in the soil, important fungus like Mycorrhizae hyphae help build aggregate stability, which leads to better soil structure. Live roots start the process of building soil aggregates or soil peds, which leads to better soil structure, which leads to better movement of air, water, and nutrients.

How Thresher can help

Thresher offers cover crop mixes specially formulated for the region and for the traditional small grain/potato rotation. The mixes offered (through a partnership with La Crosse Seed) include species that offer multiple benefits, both in the short term and with an eye towards improving soil health for years to come. These cover-crop mixes advance the opportunity for growers to improve soil structure and resilience, enhance nutrient availability and suppress harmful pests while slowing the effects of erosion and soil compaction that often result from today’s farming practices. Read more about our cover crop mixes here.

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Win in this year’s National Wheat Yield Contest! Click here to learn how.



2016 National Wheat Yield Contest

We’re pleased to present Thresher growers with a great opportunity. If you’re having a great yield year, pay close attention because you could win big for doing what you do so well. We encourage all Thresher growers to read on, participate and have fun.

Your yield could yield big prizes

Monsanto and the WestBred brand are the proud exclusive sponsors of the National Wheat Foundation’s inaugural National Wheat Yield Contest (NWYC).  Contest winners are determined by the increase in yield above the most recent USDA-NASS published county average, so we’re excited for some Thresher growers to get involved. The grower who wins the NWYC receives a free trip to Commodity Classic 2017 for themselves and a spouse or adult guest. The trip will be provided by WestBred.

We’re looking for the best of the best to enter the contest, so WestBred has offered to pay for membership to the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) for contestants who are not already NAWG members or members of their state wheat growers association.

Contest Guidelines

  • The NWYC has one category — spring wheat — and one subcategory — dryland.
  • The top five winners from both categories will be recognized, totaling 10 winners.
  • Winners will be determined by the percentage increase in yield above their most recent USDA/NASS-published county average. Highest actual yield will be used in the case of a tie.
  • Entries must use a certified or branded wheat seed variety on a minimum contest plot of five acres. No bin-run seed will be accepted.

Spring wheat entries are due June 15, 2016.

Ready to win?

Contact your Thresher sales manager for more information about the contest and how to enter.


4-day/3-night trip for 2 to San Antonio includes (i) round-trip coach air transportation for 2 people from a major airport in the U.S. nearest the winner’s home to San Antonio — – the winner and all guests must travel from one departure location and must travel on the same itinerary; (ii) standard hotel accommodations, double occupancy, for 3 nights; (iii) ground transfers to/from the airport, hotel while in San Antonio.  All travel arrangements must be made by travel agent designated by Sponsor the sponsor and travel must take place on dates specified by Sponsor the sponsor which are subject to change at the Sponsor’s sponsor’s sole discretion. If winner and guests are unable or unwilling to travel on the dates specified, the Prize may be forfeited and awarded to an alternate winner. Travel prizes are subject to terms and conditions of travel service providers. Certain restrictions and black-out dates may apply. Approximate Retail Valueretail value (“ARV”) of the Prizeprize: $2,500, and is subject to fluctuations in airfare and the location of the departure city. Any difference in the stated ARV and the actual value of the Prize prize will not be awarded. All other expenses not specified herein, including flight insurance, travel insurance, meals and personal expenses are the sole responsibility of the winner.

In the case of a tie, a winner will be chosen via random drawing.

Winners of prizes from WestBred: (i) may be required to complete a Liability/Publicity Releaseliability/publicity release; (ii) are responsible for all applicable local, state and federal   taxes; and (iii) may be required to complete, sign and return to WestBred an IRS Form W-9 prior to receiving a prize.

Thresher Offers Cover Crop Mixes

To keep up with the rising prevalence of cover crops and, more importantly, the needs of our producers, Thresher offers an array of cover crop mixes that are specially formulated for the region and for the traditional small grain/potato rotation.

Today, through a partnership with La Crosse Seed, three Thresher mixes are available.  These mixes offer many benefits to producers, including improved soil structure and resilience, enhanced nutrient availability and suppression of harmful pests. These mixes also slow the effects of erosion and soil compaction that often result from today’s farming practices.

Basic N Mix

Winter Peas 84%   +   Thresher Select Daikon Radish 16%

Basic N Mix is a practical option for fixing Nitrogen before grass cash crops. The winter peas should overwinter, maximizing N and biomass production. The daikon radish will hold and sequester any leftover nutrients and also break up compaction left from the preceding crop harvest or other less-than-ideal field conditions.

Scavenger Mix

Winter Triticale   +   Winter Peas 23%   +   Thresher Select Daikon Radish 6%

This mix of winter triticale, winter peas and radish works as an all-purpose mix, combining maximum biomass potential while scavenging leftover nitrogen and other nutrients left from the previous crop.  Winter peas provide spring nitrogen and encourage more growth from the triticale and radish.  Scavenger Mix offers superior ground cover, the ideal combination for reducing wind and water erosion.

Fumigator Mix

Crimson Clover + Brown Mustard + Thresher Select Daikon Radish + Purple Top Turnips + Rapeseed

Fumigator Mix is a grouping of brassicas species aimed at bio-fumigation and overall pest suppression. The combination of crimson clover and brassicas will not only break up compaction and add biomass, but will also supply nitrogen and scavenge any leftover nutrients left from the previous crop, all while protecting the soil from damaging wind erosion.

For more information on cover crops and Thresher’s three mixes, contact your local Thresher representative.

Certified Seed and Why it’s the Way of the Future

Certified seed is essential to producers. The certification process provides confidence when it comes to purity and germination, and it actually saves more money than it costs.

A recent “drill-box” survey conducted in Cache County, Utah proves our points. The survey included 42 spring small-grain samples and 46 fall-planted small-grain samples from Cache County. Clark Israelsen, USU Extension Agent, Cache County, explains the key findings:

“For each sample collected, we conducted a germination test, assessed seed purity, identified percent and identity of weed seeds, inert matter and other crop seeds (such as wheat seeds mixed with barley seed). The typical analysis on certified seed was 99.09% purity, 98% germination, 0% weeds, 0% other crops and 0.01% inert matter. By comparison, farmer saved seed was 98.34% pure, but only an average of 87% of the seed germinated.  A germination test 12% lower than certified is reason enough to only plant certified.  Even more alarming was the fact that germination from some of the farmer saved seed was as low as 48%.  Another real concern from non-certified seed came from the detection of 0.32% weeds, 0.26% other crop seed and 1.13% inert matter.  Much of the weed seed was barnyard grass, green foxtail, goosefoot, wild mustard, pigweed, witchgrass, wild buckwheat, quack grass, lambs quarter and field bindweed. Most of these seeds are tiny, so on a percentage basis, a multitude of weeds were being planted for each cultivated crop such as wheat or barley. Anything saved on the initial cost of the seed was soon lost to reduced yield or additional herbicide costs from attempting to control weeds that the grower actually planted…it is amazing that someone would consider planting such seed.

Certified seed is typically grown by local farmers in cooperation with local seed companies. It is also inspected several times throughout the growing and conditioning process by accredited, third-party inspectors before it qualifies as certified seed and is sold to the farmer. The drill-box survey demonstrates that certified seed is actually a savings instead of an expense.”

For more details regarding this survey and ideas for planting successful crops, click here to read A Good Start, by seed treatment specialist Mike Erickson of the McGregor Company.

How Thresher can help. 

Thresher is dedicated to providing the highest-quality seed. Now that we’ve discussed why certified seed is important and beneficial to the future of your crops, let’s take a look at how you can ensure that you consistently create the best seed options:

  1. Draw upon a variety of seed that is inspected locally and tested for purity and germination.
  2. Plant high-quality milling wheat varieties to increase the marketability of your grain and generate a better bottom line.
  3. Find a sourcing and production expert that provides seed treatment with choices that meet your specific grower needs. Make sure you have access to the most up-to-date seed genetics available in your area.
  4. Remember, on the farm, portable seed treatment application does not get each seed coated which increases the risk of disease. Find the right seed treatment that prevents disease and good management to mitigate these risks.

Thresher’s proven Certified Seed program provides benefits that help producers follow the four tips listed above explicitly. The Identity Preservation (IP) program ensures only high-quality, approved varieties such as select hard whites, hard reds and soft whites are produced with improved milling and baking traits.

To learn more about the Thresher Seed Program, visit

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Should You Cut Seed Treatment? Industry expert, Darren Hefty, explains the importance of seed treatment. Read more on how to make your investments matter. Click here to read more.