Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Drought made Corn Belt ethanol states import corn

Areas that were spared by this summer's drought had record corn crops, and are now sending that corn into the Corn Belt, which suffered some of the largest crop losses in decades. Ethanol producers in No. 2 corn state, Illinois, imported millions of bushels from North Dakota. Northern corn was even sent to key livestock states, including Texas and Oklahoma. Southern states shipped up the Mississippi River into the interior, reversing traditional trade patterns, Julie Ingwersen of Reuters reports. (Reuters photo)

"Atypical corn shipments are not unheard of in the agricultural market," Ingwersen writes, but "Traders say the scale of this year's upheaval is unprecedented." It's been fueled mostly by the difference in drought-hit central states and unharmed bumper harvests in bordering states, and the prevalence of a naturally occurring toxin, aflatoxin, that can harm livestock.

"The unusual grain flow could foreshadow a scramble for quality corn supplies in the months to come as end-users work through the smallest U.S. harvest in six years," Ingwersen writes. The shift of corn trade could benefit logistics firms and big merchants, including Cargill, which said "atypical trade flows" would spur more demand for trading advice, she reports. Railroad companies are also gaining from the shift. (Read more)

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