Moving Grain: Corn Drives Weekly Inspections Higher

    ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

    Corn Drives Weekly Grain Inspections Higher

    For the week ending May 19, corn inspections jumped 60-percent from the previous week to about 1.7 million metric tons (mmt). Most of this activity was through the Pacific Northwest, the Mississippi Gulf, and the Texas Gulf. Inspections destined to China, Japan, and Mexico accounted for most of the increase in corn inspections.

    Corn accounted for 64 percent of total grain inspections for the week. Inspections of wheat and soybeans were down 11 percent and 23 percent, respectively, from the previous week.

    Inspections of grain (corn, wheat, and soybeans) for export from all major U.S. export regions totaled 2.6 mmt, up 18 percent from the previous week, down 13 percent from last year, and up 1 percent from the 3-year average.

    North Dakota and Minnesota Waive HOS Rules for Transporting Agricultural Inputs

    On May 10, the Governor of North Dakota issued an executive order (effective for 30 days) to waive the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for North Dakota. The waiver applies to trucks transporting dry fertilizer, liquid fertilizer, anhydrous ammonia, pesticides, seed, and other planting and fertilizer resources.

    On May 16, the Governor of Minnesota signed an analogous HOS waiver order (effective until “rescinded by proper authority” or May 31, whichever is first). The Minnesota waiver applies to drivers transporting fertilizer, anhydrous ammonia, pesticides, and seed to aid spring crop planting in the State.

    Grain News on AgFax

    Recent extreme weather in both States has resulted in a delayed and compressed spring planting season and raised demand for agricultural inputs. The waivers ensure the availability of all necessary agricultural inputs.

    Canada Proposes To Modify Data Collected from Railroads

    On May 6, Transport Canada—the department within the Canadian Government charged with developing transportation policies—proposed to modify the data it collects from Class I railroads. Currently, Transport Canada collects rail service data resembling that of the Surface Transportation Board—such as train speeds by train type, terminal dwell times, and origin dwell times.

    The Canadian agency also collects waybill data. The proposed rule would require the six major Class I railroads to provide additional service data, including first-mile/last-mile performance, route performance, and asset utilization.

    The proposal also would align the scope of the service and waybill data collected from railroads to the size of their operations in Canada (i.e., smaller Class I railroads in Canada would have reduced reporting requirements). The proposed changes are open to a 60-day public consultation period.

    Snapshots by Sector

    Export Sales

    For the week ending May 12, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans for marketing year 2021/22 totaled 28.1 million metric tons (mmt), down 3 percent from the same time last year and down 5 percent from the previous week.

    Net corn export sales were 0.435 mmt, up significantly from the previous week. Net soybean export sales were 0.753 mmt, up significantly from the previous week. Net weekly wheat export sales were 0.009 mmt, down 40 percent from the previous week.


    U.S. Class I railroads originated 21,910 grain carloads during the week ending May 14. This was a 2-percent decrease from the previous week, 14 percent fewer than last year, and 7 percent fewer than the 3-year average.

    Average June shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers (per car) were $1,256 above tariff for the week ending May 19. This was $1,181 more than last week and $1,500 more than this week last year.


    For the week ending May 21, barged grain movements totaled 711,200 tons. This was 15 percent lower than the previous week and 31 percent lower than the same period last year.

    For the week ending May 21, 449 grain barges moved down river—64 fewer barges than the previous week. There were 774 grain barges unloaded in the New Orleans region, 13 percent more than last week.


    For the week ending May 19, 31 oceangoing grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf—7 percent more than the same period last year. Within the next 10 days (starting May 20), 45 vessels were expected to be loaded—7 percent more than the same period last year.

    As of May 19, the rate for shipping a metric ton (mt) of grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $82.50. This was 1 percent more than the previous week. The rate from the Pacific Northwest to Japan was $47.00 per mt, 1 percent more than the previous week.


    For the week ending May 23, the U.S. average diesel fuel price decreased 4.2 cents from the previous week to $5.571 per gallon, 231.8 cents above the same week last year.

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