Michael's Feed
Jun 21, 2012

Insight: In “Green Wheat” drive, Wal-Mart may transform farming

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc has long used its commercial might to forge a global supply chain with ruthless efficiency. It now has a new target: U.S. wheat fields.

As part of efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and burnish its image as an environmentally responsible company, the huge retailer is sending senior employees into the fields for the first time ever, looking for ways to help farmers reduce their use of carbon-intensive fertilizer or improve logistics.

Jun 21, 2012

In ‘Green Wheat’ drive, Wal-Mart may transform farming

CHICAGO, June 21 (Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc has
long used its commercial might to forge a global supply chain
with ruthless efficiency. It now has a new target: U.S. wheat
fields.

As part of efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and
burnish its image as an environmentally responsible company, the
huge retailer is sending senior employees into the fields for
the first time ever, looking for ways to help farmers reduce
their use of carbon-intensive fertilizer or improve logistics.

Jun 19, 2012

Ethanol sector braces for bad patch as Valero idles plant

CHICAGO/KANSAS CITY, June 19 (Reuters) – The U.S. ethanol
industry is hunkering down for another spell of deep losses,
with a second producer temporarily shutting a Nebraska plant on
Tuesday as diminishing corn supplies and lackluster gasoline
demand crush profit margins.

Valero Energy Corp is idling its 110 million gallons
(500 million liters) a year plant in Albion, Nebraska, but
expects it to resume operations before the autumn corn harvest,
when prices should start to ease and supplies become more
plentiful, spokesman Bill Day said.

Jun 6, 2012

Corn rises 3 percent on weak dollar, risk-on trade

CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. grain markets rallied on Wednesday, with corn up 3.3 percent, tracking gains in other commodities as the dollar weakened and investors waded into riskier assets on growing hopes for a solution to the euro zone debt crisis.

At the Chicago Board of Trade, corn climbed to near a two-week high while soybeans hit a one-week high, rising 2.7 percent for their biggest daily gain since March 30. Wheat also rose as the greenback lost ground to the euro after the European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged, as expected.

Jun 5, 2012

Wheat falls 2.4 percent on record-fast harvest

CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. wheat fell 2.3 percent on Tuesday, declining for the sixth time in the last seven sessions, as the dollar firmed and the harvest in the United State progressed at a record pace.

Corn futures also eased, with the new-crop December contract shedding 3.0 percent, as U.S. crop conditions stabilized and the rising greenback limited demand for exports priced in the U.S. currency.

Jun 4, 2012

Rebound on dollar slump, dry weather worries

CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. grains rallied on Monday as the dollar eased, with corn jumping 3 percent and rebounding from its 1-1/2 year lows last week, as dry weather in the U.S. Midwest grain belt threatened yields.

Wheat futures rose for the first time in five sessions, but the euro zone’s debt crisis and flagging economies in the United States and China, the world’s largest importer of commodities, remained concerns for investors in risk assets.

May 30, 2012

Europe’s debt crisis sparks a tumble

CHICAGO, May 30 (Reuters) – U.S. grains fell sharply Wednesday, with wheat
dropping more than 1 percent to a two-week low, as a surging dollar and
mounting concerns over Europe’s debt crisis triggered a broad commodities
sell-off as investors fled risky assets.
Corn and wheat futures declined despite a larger-than-expected downgrade in
U.S. crop conditions, while soybeans tumbled to their lowest in a week on news
that top soy importer China was unlikely to pass a stimulus package.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the strength of the greenback
against a basket of currencies, rose to its highest since September 2010 amid
the euro zone banking crisis and slow growth in China, making dollar-priced
commodities expensive for importers.
The dollar typically has an inverse price relationship with commodities,
which are priced in dollars. So for importers a stronger U.S. currency makes
commodities cost more.
“It’s a risk-off attitude,” said Citigroup grains analyst Sterling Smith.
“Pick a country in Europe and pick a problem. The Spanish banking crisis seems
to be the most acute issue and that is creating a situation where commodities in
general are selling off along with equity markets.”
Wheat for July delivery was off 9 cents at $6.47-3/4, declining for
the second straight day at the Chicago Board of Trade, while July corn was
down 6-3/4 cents at $5.55-3/4 and July soybeans 19-1/4 cents lower at
$13.67-1/2.
Weakness in other commodities, especially crude oil and metals, also
pressured the grains complex, analysts said.
“We are seeing something of a tug-of-war each day between the depressed
micro economic environment and weather conditions especially in the Black Sea
region and the U.S.,” said Rabobank analyst Erin FitzPatrick. “A lot of the
moves today were based on the depressed macros, yesterday we saw more
fundamental influence.”
Russia’s Grain Union on Wednesday gave an upbeat picture of the country’s
upcoming crop and exports.
Traders were keeping a close eye on weather forecasts after wheat prices
came under pressure after reports of rain in dry southern Russia since the
weekend, with Russia’s state forecaster predicting more rainfall this week.

“We do have some improved weather forecasts for the U.S. this week but the
longer-range forecasts are still not very positive,” FitzPatrick said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly crop progress report on Tuesday
said that 72 percent of the crop was in good-to-excellent condition, down 5
percentage points from a week ago. Analysts polled by Reuters expected the
crop’s rating to drop 2 to 4 percentage points.
U.S. corn and soybean crops now need an urgent round of rain and there are
some forecasters calling for showers in the Midwest this week.
Rain is also seen in portions of the lower Midwest, providing critical
relief to stressed corn crops in those areas, although more will be needed to
foster development. Traders said rain was unlikely to penetrate the dry subsoils
that were slowing soybean emergence.

May 21, 2012

Michelle Obama shows South Side of Chicago to first ladies

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Michelle Obama showed off her neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago to some NATO visitors on Sunday, taking five other first ladies to a youth center for lunch and for a musical performance by the children.

The women toured the Gary Komer Youth Center, which features a gymnasium, dance studio and a theater. The center provides tutoring, college preparation, training in culinary arts and horticulture for young people in the community, 90 percent of whom come from low-income households.

May 18, 2012

Dryness drives wheat to biggest weekly gain in 16 years

WINNIPEG, Manitoba/CHICAGO, May 18 (Reuters) – U.S. wheat
surged on Friday to post its biggest weekly gain in 16 years,
adding about 17 percent to prices and notching an eight-month
high as hot and dry weather stoked fears about production losses
in the U.S. Plains and Russia.

Corn climbed to the highest level in a weak on wheat’s
coattails while soybeans shed 2 percent after three straight
sessions of gains.

May 14, 2012

Beleaguered beef purveyors carve out “pink slime” stain

WESTERN SPRINGS, Illinois (Reuters) – Behind the glass meat counter at Casey’s Market in a Chicago suburb, the butchers pick up their blades and carry on a generations-old tradition.

Piece by piece, the men use knives to cut meat and fat off beef carcasses, and grind them into mounds of hamburger.