Spotlight on Education: SDSU Extension

We are excited to share this new campaign with you, highlighting the hard work of co-op educators and researchers across the Americas. This month, we are travelling to South Dakota, where we will learn about the South Dakota State University Extension (SDSU) and it’s work in Ag Business and Ag Co-op research.

The SDSU Extension fosters a learning community environment that empowers students and co-operators to advocate for sustainable change that will strengthen agriculture and communities. To this end, the SDSU Extension provides valuable, educational resources, podcasts, webinars and well-organized datasets. For those studying Co-op Ag Business, the SDSU Extension Grain Reports are an invaluable resource that will pique your Ag Co-op curiosity.

The SDSU Extension Interactive Grain Report Tool provides a real-time and historical grain situation report for corn, soybeans, hard red spring wheat, and winter wheat. The tool gathers data on average state elevator cash bids, export cash bids, rail and barge costs, grain stock levels, rail cars loaded by state with grain, grain barge movements, and marketing year export inspections. The information provided gives a current synopsis of the supply and demand situation for corn, soybeans, and wheat in the U.S. The current situation can be compared to historical years by changing the dates in the tool.

To view the data, select the ‘Grain Report’ tab on the bottom toolbar of the tool and hover over elements on the map. A map of marketing year exports by the U.S. port of origin and the destination are available in the ‘Exports’ tab. Items in the map can be removed by selecting the item in the legend.

The data displayed in the maps consist of data closest to the chosen date in the ‘Controls’ tab. Users can also change the crop of interest in the ‘Controls’ tab. The data the tool gathers is from the USDA Ag Marketing Service, the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Surface Transportation Board, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the USDA Federal Grain Inspections Service.

As a market observer, and curious individual, I found myself spending hours going through the colourful graphics of the SDSU Extension grain report, which is updated by Dr. Matthew Elliott and his team monthly. Of note, was a dataset visually demonstrating the impact of increased demand for soybeans in China, creating a price diversion between Pacific exports and Gulf exports. The graph below demonstates that co-op farmers are currently receiving a market export price that is far above the historical average. However, the spillover effects aren’t impacting every co-op equally, as demonstrated in the SDSU Extension Soybean Basis map.

What is Basis?

Put simply, it is the difference between the price paid for soybeans now versus a contract for the purchase of soybeans a month from now, although the timframe may vary. Positive basis occurs when the future price of soybeans is lower than the current price of soybeans, and negative basis occurs when the future price of soybeans is higher than the current price of soybeans. Should you wish to learn more about Price Basis, the Iowa State University Extension has a great article here.

Looking to learn more about the SDSU Extension? Visit the SDSU Extension Website or the Grain Report for information regarding Co-op and Ag initiatives in the State of South Dakota!

We’d like to thank Dr. Matthew Elliott for sharing this invaluable resource with us, which will be indexed on our website.