Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
Cyber Monday SALE: Up to 54% OFF InvestingPro+ CLAIM OFFER

U.S. railways to halt grain shipments ahead of potential shutdown -agriculture sources

Stock Markets Sep 13, 2022 05:31PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Don Nething, 62, radios to say he is having mechanical problems with his harvester while being used to harvest corn in Ravenna, Ohio, U.S., Oct 11, 2021. REUTERS/Dane Rhys/File Photo 2/2
 
UNP
+0.38%
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
 
SPGI
+0.14%
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
 
AIR
+0.19%
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
 
CP
+0.92%
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
 

By P.J. Huffstutter and Tom Polansek

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Some U.S. railroads will start halting crop shipments on Thursday, a day ahead of a potential work stoppage, an agricultural association and sources at two grain cooperatives said on Tuesday, threatening exports and feed deliveries for livestock.

With farmers starting to harvest autumn crops that are shipped to meat and biofuels producers, the shipping disruptions could add to already high inflation. Farmers also plan to add fertilizer to fields after the harvest, and shipments of fertilizer are being delayed.

Max Fisher, chief economist at the National Grain and Feed Association, which represents most U.S. grain handlers, said rail customers reported at least one railway would stop taking grain shipments on Thursday morning.

Most major U.S. railways have already stopped accepting new shipments of ammonia fertilizer and other potentially hazardous materials, said Justin Louchheim, senior government affairs director at The Fertilizer Institute, an industry group.

Louchheim said fertilizer producers are now evaluating how much storage they have for ammonia that cannot move by rail, and whether some can move by truck.

The potential rail shutdown looms just six weeks before most Midwest farmers would begin applying fertilizer, said Josh Linville, fertilizer director at StoneX Group. About 40% of the U.S. fertilizer supply is on a rail car at some point before arriving on a farm, he said.

Railroads have until a minute after midnight on Friday to reach tentative deals with holdout unions representing about 60,000 workers.

Worries about service interruptions boosted prices for corn-based ethanol at several hubs and kept sellers out of the market, said Josh Pedrick, a managing editor for S&P Global (NYSE:SPGI) Commodity Insights.

The Association of American Railways (AAR (NYSE:AIR)), which represents railroad companies, did not immediately respond to request for comment on grain transportation.

The work stoppage would be keenly felt in states like North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Nebraska, from which grain is hauled via rail to ports in the Pacific Northwest for export, said Thomas Lahey, domestic freight manager at grain merchandiser Columbia Grain International. Grain elevators in the upper Midwest move soybeans to the PNW mostly via BNSF Railway, Canadian Pacific (NYSE:CP) Railway and Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP), he said.

U.S. Class 1 railroads transported nearly 1.5 million carloads of grain in 2020, including 691,000 carloads of corn, 340,000 carloads of soybeans and 248,000 carloads of processed soybeans like soymeal and soyoil, AAR said.

ENOUGH ANIMAL FEED? 

U.S. chicken producers rely on about 27 million bushels of corn and 11 million bushels of soymeal every week to feed their birds, the National Chicken Council said. Much is moved by rail.

"Any disruption of service could negatively impact the welfare of the birds, and ultimately impact production at a time when Americans are already dealing with record food inflation," council spokesman Tom Super said.

In North Carolina, a pork and poultry producer, local grain growers do not produce enough corn to feed all the farm animals, said Bob Ford, executive director of the North Carolina Poultry Federation.

"We'd be in trouble if they went on strike for very long," Ford said. "We'd run out of corn."

Wayne-Sanderson Farms, a Georgia-based chicken company owned by Cargill Inc and Continental Grain, is working with local corn producers to augment feed supplies if needed during rail disruptions, spokesman Frank Singleton said.

The beginning of corn harvesting in the southern United States, a main poultry region, "will relieve some of the pressure" on feed supplies, he said.

Some rail customers that feed livestock do not have enough soymeal, said Fisher, of the National Grain and Feed Association. In a worst case scenario, that could force some producers to cull animals.

Railroads also ship hexane, a chemical solvent that crushers use to extract oil from soybeans, said Mike Steenhoek, executive director of Soy Transportation Coalition.

"Any slowdown or stoppage of rail service – especially on the eve of harvest – would significantly impact farmers' ability to meet customer demand – both domestically and internationally," Steenhoek said.

U.S. railways to halt grain shipments ahead of potential shutdown -agriculture sources
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email