Sunoil’s discount to soyoil hits 9-month high, lures buyers

By Rajendra Jadhav

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Sunflower oil’s discount to rival soyoil has widened this week to the highest level in more than 9 months as leading exporters Ukraine and Russia were aggressively offering the oil to bring down their stocks, industry officials told Reuters.

The discount could prompt buyers such as India and European countries to increase purchases of sunflower oil in the coming months and reduce buying of soyoil, which could weigh on its prices.

“Sunflower oil sales are picking up since prices are competitive. Instead of the usual premium, now it is available at a discount to soyoil,” said Sandeep Bajoria, president of the International Sunflower Oil Association.

Sunoil was trading at a premium over soyoil for most of 2022 after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted supplies from the Black Sea region.

Earlier this week, sunoil’s discount to soyoil widened to around $100 per tonne, the highest since February 2022. Sunoil’s premium over palm oil has also come down to around $250 per tonne from around $500 a month ago.

Currently, crude sunflower oil is being offered in India at about $1,300 a tonne, including cost, insurance and freight (CIF) for December shipments, compared with $1,320 for crude soybean oil.

Sunflower seeds crushing has gained momentum in Russia, which is offering the oil at competitive prices to bring down inventories, while sellers in Ukraine are trying to take advantage of safe passage to export stuck inventories, said a Singapore-based dealer with a global trading firm.

Stocks from the last season’s harvest were also available in Russia and Ukraine, which will put pressure on prices in the next few months, he said.

The Black Sea accounts for 60% of world sunoil output and 76% of exports.

India, the world’s biggest importer of sunflower oil, could import 230,000 tonnes in December, up from an estimated 180,000 tonnes in November and 144,934 tonnes in October, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading firm.

“A few months back supplies were limited. Now along with Russia and Ukraine, Turkey and Argentina are also offering the oil,” he said.

(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Janane Venkatraman)

Lula proposes pact to curb Brazilian soy linked to savanna deforestation

By Ricardo Brito and Jake Spring

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s transition team has held meetings with the soy industry to discuss a new pact to stop deforestation in the Cerrado savanna, modeled on an agreement for the Amazon, a Lula adviser said on Wednesday.

The Cerrado, the world’s most species-rich savanna, borders the Amazon and is called an upside-down forest because of its deep carbon-rich roots. Deforestation there is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change.

In 2006, soy traders voluntarily agreed to stop buying soy from areas deforested in the Amazon after a certain date. Since then, soy farming has expanded rapidly in the Cerrado, where environmental advocates have lobbied for a similar pact.

“There are all the pacts that were done in the past – the soy moratorium, the legal wood pact, legal minerals. This needs to be redone, including yesterday and the day before we spoke to the soy sector about making a pact for sustainable soy in the Cerrado,” said former Environment Minister Carlos Minc in a news conference alongside Lula’s top environmental advisers.

“We have had this in the Amazon and it is functioning well and should be an example.”

Minc did not give further details, and the transition team said it was still finalizing its first report to detail Lula’s likely future environmental policy.

Brazil’s farm industry and global commodities traders have previously resisted attempts to forge such a Cerrado pact, although in recent years major firms have laid out goals to eliminate deforestation in their supply chains everywhere by 2025.

Deforestation in the Cerrado increased 8% to a six-year high in 2021, according to government data.

(Reporting by Ricardo Brito in Brasilia and Jake Spring in Sao Paulo; Editing by Brad Haynes and Lisa Shumaker)

Rare China protests roil global commodities markets

By Noah Browning, Pratima Desai and Michael Hogan

LONDON (Reuters) – Global commodities markets were hit on Monday by worries over rare demonstrations in China against COVID-19 curbs, with oil and grains hitting significant multi-month lows and safe-haven gold rising.

The protests added a new political dimension to investor concerns after months of stringent measures to curb the virus in one of the world’s largest importers of raw materials just as global economic headwinds mount and recession fears grow.

International benchmark Brent crude erased nearly all the gains seen in 2022 on the back of the invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions on Russia, to hit a low of $80.61 a barrel earlier in the session, its lowest since Jan. 4.

Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) most-active wheat hit $7.82 earlier on Monday, its lowest since Aug. 22.

“The long-standing COVID restrictions in China have been extremely restrictive to its growth. As the world’s second largest economy, having civil unrest added to this backdrop is bound to create immense uncertainty,” Craig Erlam, senior markets analyst at OANDA in London, told Reuters.

“It remains to be seen whether the leadership listens and look into loosening its zero-COVID policy or it tries to double down on its policy and suffers the economic consequences.”

China has stuck with President Xi Jinping’s signature zero-COVID policy even as much of the world has lifted most restrictions.

Hundreds of demonstrators and police clashed in Shanghai on Sunday night as protests over the restrictions flared for a third day and spread to several cities, with police on Monday stopping and searching people at the sites of weekend protests in Shanghai and Beijing.

Gold prices rose to more than one-week high on Monday, boosted by diminished investor appetite while copper prices fell on the China demand worries but a weaker dollar helped to support sentiment.

The impact on energy has been especially sharp, as markets brace for a meeting by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) over the weekend which could rein in supply just as economic woes hit demand.

“A meltdown in energy markets continues to gather steam amid a money manager exodus. Concern for Chinese oil demand is adding to downside pressures on the complex as demand fears weigh,” analysts at Canadian bank TD Securities said.

Meanwhile traders await Beijing’s next move.

“CBOT futures are lower amid China’s rising daily Covid infections and the weekend protest of the government’s lockdown policy,” according to Chicago-based consultancy AgResource Co.

“There is a risk of social instability as traders await the reaction of President Xi.”

(Reporting By Noah Browning; Editing by Conor Humphries)

Bolivia’s key farming hub ends strike as lawmakers back census

LA PAZ (Reuters) – A 36-day general strike in Bolivia’s key farming region of Santa Cruz came to an end on Saturday, as lawmakers approved a guarantee to hold a population census in 2024, which will likely hand the region more tax revenues and seats in Congress.

“We are lifting the strike and the blockades,” local civic leader Romulo Calvo told reporters. Bolivia’s economy ministry estimates the strike has cost the country over $1 billion.

The census law, which Bolivia’s Chamber of Deputies passed early Saturday morning with over two-thirds of votes, has been sent to the Senate for review before it is enacted by President Luis Arce.

Regional leaders in soy-rich Santa Cruz said they would remain on standby until the law is approved.

While the government called for a return to normality, regional and opposition groups had said La Paz’s socialist government was delaying the census as it could be disadvantaged by recent years of migration from rural areas to Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s largest city.

The census, which will allow the redistribution of seats ahead of the country’s 2025 general elections, will mark its first in more than a decade.

Under the new law, the census will be held on March 23, 2024, and the results will be delivered the following September, so they can be used to redistribute the region’s political representatives and economic allotments.

(Reporting by Daniel Ramos; Writing by Sarah Morland; Editing by Leslie Adler)

End of cheap money for U.S. farmers plows trouble into food production

By P.J. Huffstutter and Bianca Flowers

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Montana farmer Sarah Degn had big plans to invest the healthy profits she gleaned for her soybeans and wheat this year into upgrading her planter or buying a new storage bin.

But those plans have gone by the wayside. Everything Degn needs to farm is more expensive – and for the first time in her five-year career, so is the interest rate on the short-term debt she and nearly every other U.S. farmer relies upon to grow their crops and raise their livestock.

“We might have made more money this year, but we spent just as much as we made,” said Degn, a fourth-generation farmer in Sidney, Montana. The interest rate on her operating note doubled this year and will be higher in 2023. “We can’t get ahead.”

Most U.S. farmers depend on short-term, variable-rate loans they take out after fall harvest and before spring planting to pay for everything from seeds and fertilizer to livestock and machinery.

Farmers repay these loans after harvest with cash from their crops before repeating the process. Often, farmers seek to secure loans by year-end or early January to take advantage of suppliers’ early-pay discounts and to ensure they won’t be caught short as global supplies of fertilizers and chemicals remain tight.

Now, producers are wrestling with how to pay for that debt as interest rates rise headed into the next planting season, according to interviews with two dozen farmers and bankers, as well as data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Kansas City Federal Reserve.

This rising cost of credit is straining some producers’ liquidity and prompting them to look at reducing fertilizer or chemical use, or plant fewer seeds next spring. That, in turn, could reduce crop yields, and place upward pressure on the cost of producing that food.

All this comes as crop prices and global demand are strong. U.S. grain and oilseed producers reaped a boon this year when crop prices hit decade- or all-time highs, as the conflict in Ukraine disrupted grain exports from the Black Sea region.

But that financial windfall came as widespread drought hobbled crops in the U.S. Plains and caused cattle slaughter rates in Texas to soar. Fertilizer and fuel costs have risen, as have farmland prices and cash rents.

“[Farming] is a highly leveraged business, so about everything is financed,” said Casey Seymour, who manages a farm equipment dealership in Scottsbluff, Nebraska and runs the Moving Iron podcast. “There’s a lot of money out there being paid in interest.”

The U.S. farm sector’s total interest expense – the cost of debt carried – is forecast to hit $26.45 billion this year, nearly 32% higher than last year and the highest since 1990, when adjusted for inflation, according to USDA data.

That sum is double or more the amount incurred by other U.S. industries, including the retail and pharmaceutical products sectors, where interest expense historically has been similar or higher, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

GRAPHIC: Interest expense on farm debt to soar –


Farmers are taking on bigger loans due to higher costs, despite the financial burden it puts on their operations.

The average size of bank loans for operating a farm has surged to a near five-decade high in outright dollar terms, according to Kansas City Fed data. The average interest rates of such loans are the highest since 2019, the data shows.

Most farm operating loans tend to be variable, rather than fixed. Variable-rate financing carries lower rates than fixed-rate financing, but exposes borrowers to the risk of higher costs if rates go up.

That’s exactly what happened when the U.S. Federal Reserve started raising short-term rates to quell surging inflation.

The short-term federal funds rate is now in a range of 3.75% to 4%, from a range of 0% to 0.25% in early March, just before Fed policymakers began raising rates. Inflation is still high, however, and demand is strong, and Fed policymakers have signaled they will continue raising rates until they see broader evidence of their effect.

In agriculture, the pinch is already here: The average interest rate of all farm operating loans is 4.93%, according to the latest Kansas City Fed data.

Many farmers are paying more. Ohio corn and soybean farmer Chris Gibbs signed up for a $70,000 operating loan on May 1 with a 3.3% variable interest rate with his local lender at the Farm Credit System, a government-sponsored enterprise.

Rising fertilizer and chemical prices forced him to borrow more to cover those expenses, even as Farm Credit continued to increase costs each time the Fed hiked rates. Now, his interest rate is 7.35%, and he expects it could reach 8% by year’s end – a 142% increase in eight months.

Gibbs raced to pay off the bulk of his loan by liquidating his crop, rather than store it and sell for potentially higher prices next summer. Machinery purchases are on hold, and he’s trying to pay for inputs with cash.

“I have the highest gross value for my crop in my history of farming,” said Gibbs, 64. “If I didn’t, I would have difficult decisions to make and looking at what I can sell.”

GRAPHIC: U.S. farmers take on bigger debt –


The financial hit is being felt on equipment dealers’ lots, where farmers are forgoing buying equipment on credit, according to interviews with four dealers.

Dealers said they are seeing banks tightening underwriting standards, which can be a hurdle for newer and smaller farm operators seeking capital to purchase equipment.

“It’s easier to get financing when interest rates are cheap because [banks] are willing to take more risk,” said a CNH Industrial dealer representative, who declined to be named.

Authorized dealers from equipment manufacturers Deere & Co., AGCO, and CNH Industrial told Reuters that financing rates that the machinery manufacturers themselves offer also have more than doubled in six months.

Farm equipment machinery loans currently have interest rates up to 7.65% at Deere, 7.8% at CNH Industrial, 8.14% at AGCO and 8.25% at Ag Direct, according to industry sources. The industry average nationwide is 5.86%, according to Kansas City Fed data.

In separate statements, Deere and AGCO said interest rates they offer depend on loan terms, borrower creditworthiness and equipment type. CNH Industrial said interest rates for larger equipment are lower than rates for smaller machinery.

GRAPHIC: Financing the farm Financing the farm –

(Reporting By P.J. Huffstutter and Bianca Flowers in Chicago; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

Pro-Bolsonaro demonstrations slow corn transport in Brazil’s Mato Grosso

By Ana Mano

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Truckers and other demonstrators protesting the electoral defeat of President Jair Bolsonaro are hampering the transport of corn in Mato Grasso state, the heart of Brazil’s farm country, two farmers said on Monday.

Mato Grosso highway police reported 11 demonstrations on Monday morning, with roads blocked or partially blocked on four federal highways near farmers and grain processing facilities.

Brazil’s top public prosecutor authorized the governor of Mato Grosso to mobilize police to clear highways of protesters.

The protests have hampered transport of some corn from farmers to ports and storage facilities, but the quantities could not be determined. The slowdown could have knock-on effects as warehouses need to be emptied ahead of a January soy harvest.

“It’s actually a race against time. Clean the corn warehouses so you can start reaping soybeans,” Mato Grasso farmer Evandro Lermen told Reuters.

The blockades are also delaying deliveries of farm inputs needed for planting of Brazil’s second corn crop early next year, he added.

While farmer Cayron Giacomelli supports the protesters’ cause, he said the blockades have prevented him from moving his corn, and he will not receive payment until he delivers it.

“We give full support to protesters, but we are being harmed,” Giacomelli said.

Demonstrations by truckers and other Bolsonaro supporters started after leftist President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva won the Oct. 30 election. He takes office on Jan. 1.

Brazil’s farmers have been a key constituency for Bolsonaro, but not all back continued demonstrations.

Global companies like Cargill, Bunge and Cofco operate in Mato Grosso.

At the southern port of Paranagua in Parana state, a blockade on an access road that backed up trucks on Sunday night was lifted on Monday, according to a port agent and an association representing firms that operate at Paranagua.

They said the there was little disruption to the flow of goods. Authorities are also trying to curtail demonstrations in the states of Santa Catarina, Para and Rondonia.

Farmer Endrigo Dalcin said there was little corn and soybeans left to move in Mato Grosso but said storage of the next soy crop may be complicated if protests continue.

(Reporting by Ana Mano in São Paulo; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Power struggle divides Bolivia as soy-rich Santa Cruz demands more clout

By Andrea Martinez, Monica Machicao and Daniel Ramos

SANTA CRUZ/LA PAZ, Bolivia (Reuters) – Tropical, sunny and relatively wealthy, Bolivia’s farming region of Santa Cruz has long butted heads with the arid highland political capital La Paz. Now, buttressed by rising soy and beef exports, it is in a power struggle for greater political and financial clout.

In Santa Cruz, the country’s largest city, protesters have blocked streets for weeks in a battle over the timing of a population census that would likely hand the region more tax revenues and seats in Congress. Some have voiced calls for more autonomy or even independence.

The protests have brought the city to a standstill and jammed transport of goods from the region, costing hundreds of millions of dollars in economic damage, officials say. There have been violent clashes with groups allied to the government.

But beneath the fiery surface is some cold hard economics.

Santa Cruz, one of the most affluent and populous regions of the landlocked country, has seen its proportion of Bolivia’s exports balloon in recent years. This year to date, it is the country’s top export hub – ahead of metal-producing Potosi or La Paz.

“Santa Cruz is Bolivia’s economic stronghold, it’s the economic locomotive of the country,” said Gary Rodríguez, general manager of the Bolivian Institute of Foreign Trade.

(Graphic: Bolivia exports:


Bolivia’s economy has shifted over the years. Exports used to be dominated by natural gas, found principally in Tarija to the south. Metals including gold, scattered through the Andean highland regions, remain important.

But agriculture has been the big winner in recent years, driving Santa Cruz’s rise. China has been gobbling up beef from cattle ranches around the region, while exports of soy and its byproducts have soared.

That has fed popular demand for more state resources in the conservative and strongly Catholic region, where many say they feel overlooked by the government in far-off La Paz, controlled for most of the last 15 years by the socialist MAS party.

“The state doesn’t respect Santa Cruz for what it does, for what it has been generating and for what it contributes to society,” said Edwin Soria Prado, a university worker in Santa Cruz, who had been protesting at a roundabout for 25 days.

The government of leftist President Luis Arce says the protesters are being led by the Santa Cruz elite and are damaging the economy, already hit by global uncertainty due to the war in Ukraine and rising food and fuel costs worldwide.

“The strike has generated a loss of more than $700 million,” Economy Minister Marcelo Montenegro recently told reporters.

(Graphic: Bolivia’s farm hub:


The recent clashes have been sparked by government delays over the production of the national census, which demonstrators say must be carried out in time for the country’s next general election in 2025.

They argue the census will impact the electoral map, giving Santa Cruz more prominence and eventually more seats in the country’s legislature. It will also feed back into how much state budget is directed towards the province.

Last carried out in 2012, the census was originally slated to be held this month. But, without giving a reason, the government pushed it back by two years, before changing gears and saying it will be held in early 2024, in time to impact the 2025 ballot.

Protesters, however, remain unconvinced and are demanding the government’s promises be written into law.

On the street, Nena Arias said she had been blockading her street corner for 26 days and counting. She and others had put up a fake Christmas tree with decorations, a reflection of how people in the city are entrenched in their protest positions.

“If we have to spend Christmas here, we will do it,” she said.

(Graphic: Farm products boom:

(Reporting by Andrea Martinez in Santa Cruz, and Monica Machicao and Daniel Ramos in La Paz; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Brazil announces more names for govt transition in environment, agriculture

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s Vice President-elect Geraldo Alckmin, who is coordinating the government transition process on behalf of President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, announced on Wednesday more names for the team in areas including agriculture and environment.

As speculation mounts on who Lula will choose to form his cabinet, three former ministers in previous administrations of his Workers’ Party were announced for the environment group. Three other former ministers close to rural producers were tapped for the agriculture group.

While Lula attends the COP27 climate summit in Egypt, his first overseas trip since defeating far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in October, Alckmin announced that former environment ministers Marina Silva, Izabella Teixeira and Carlos Minc would participate in the transition process.

Silva and Teixeira are with Lula at COP27, where the president-elect seeks to deliver a message that “Brazil is back” in the fight against global warming.

As Lula also looks to re-build connections with agribusiness, a key constituency for Bolsonaro in his unsuccessful re-election bid, people close to the sector were also announced for the transition.

Former agriculture ministers Neri Geller, Katia Abreu and Luis Carlos Guedes will take part, Alckmin told reporters, as well as Senator Carlos Favaro and Evandro Gussi, the head of local sugarcane industry group Unica.

The mining and energy group will include names such as Senator Jean Paul Prates, a strong candidate to head state-run oil company Petrobras next year, and Mauricio Tolmasquim, a professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, the vice president-elect added.

(Reporting by Bernardo Caram; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Bayer estimates new GM soybean to reach 10% of Brazil’s 2022/23 planting area

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Bayer AG’s agriculture unit in Brazil expects that its new genetically modified (GM) soybean Intacta2 Xtend will account for about 10% of the country’s total soy planting area in the 2022/23 harvest, the firm told Reuters.

The Intacta2 Xtend soybean, which tolerates the Dicamba herbicide and is resistant to insects, could be sowed in an area of around 4.3 million hectares (10.6 million acres) in 2022/23, compared with 243,000 hectares in the previous crop-year.

The expected expansion of the third generation soybean seed technology will follow after the seed was “tried and tested over the past two years in more than 500 areas across Brazil,” ensuring high yields, with dozens of producers recording averages of 100 60kg-bags per hectare, according to Bayer.

Some producers have reached more than 120 bags per hectare, said Rafael Mendes, commercial director of Intacta in Brazil’s Bayer agri division.

“Three digits in soybeans has always been a desire that very few farmers achieved in very small areas … such a significant number of customers surpassing this mark is confirmation that we are on the right track,” said Mendes.

The yield would be almost double that of Brazil’s average, estimated at 59 bags per hectare, according to the country’s food supply agency Conab.

(Reporting by Roberto Samora; Writing by Peter Frontini; Editing by Brendan O’Boyle, Leslie Adler and Tomasz Janowski)

Russian wheat rises on stronger rouble, talks to prolong Black Sea export deal

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian wheat prices rose last week as the rouble strengthened [RU/RUB] and as talks about extending the Black Sea deal allowing Ukrainian shipments continued, the IKAR agriculture consultancy said on Monday.

Prices for Russian wheat with 12.5% protein content and for supply from Black Sea ports in December were at $317.5 a tonne free on board (FOB) on Friday evening, up $5.5 from a week earlier, IKAR said in a note.

Russia’s grain exports at 1.0 million tonnes last week were unchanged from the previous week, another consultancy, Sovecon said, citing port data.

“There are a lot of complaints both from exporters and domestic consumers about the lack of railcars,” it said.

Farmers have already planted winter grains on 17.5 million hectares, compared with 18.2 million hectares around the same date a year ago, the consultancy said.

Overall weather conditions remain fine for development of the winter crops, Sovecon said, adding that rains in the southern regions would improve crop conditions in this key winter wheat-producing region.

The harvesting of the current sunflower seeds crop lags badly, Sovecon said. Only 64% of the area has been harvested by now, while typically it is above 90% at this time of the year, it added.

Other Russian data provided by Sovecon and IKAR:

Product: Price at the end Change from week

of last week: earlier

– Domestic 3rd class 12,825 rbls/t +50 rbls

wheat, European part ($212.9)

of Russia, excludes

delivery (Sovecon)

– Sunflower seeds 21,050 rbls/t +75 rbls


– Domestic sunflower 73,750 rbls/t -425 rbls

oil (Sovecon)

– Domestic soybeans 30,300 rbls/t +150 rbls


– Export sunflower $1,300/t -$50

oil (Sovecon)

– Export sunflower $1,250/t +$20

oil (IKAR)

– White sugar, $767.5/t +$4.7

Russia’s south


Harvesting data provided by Sovecon as of Nov. 10:

All grains: Wheat Barley Corn Sunseeds

Crop, mln tonnes 152.4 105.0 24.4 7.8 11.6

Crop, as of same 122.5 78.1 18.8 13.0 15.1

date in 2021

Yield, 3.36 3.59 3.09 5.80 1.82


Yield, as of same 2.74 2.81 2.39 5.39 1.59

date in 2021

Harvested area, 45.3 29.2 7.9 1.4 6.4

mln hectares

Harvested area, 44.8 27.8 7.9 2.4 9.5

as of same date

in 2021

* Russia’s agriculture ministry has yet to publish detailed harvesting data for the current season.

** The harvesting data is by bunker weight, i.e. before drying and cleaning of the crop.

($1 = 60.2500 roubles)

(Reporting by Olga Popova and Polina Devitt; Editing by Susan Fenton)

New processors to reshape North Dakota’s export-focused soy sector

By Karl Plume

SPIRITWOOD, North Dakota (Reuters) – North Dakota’s soybean industry is at the forefront of what could be a once-in-a-generation transformation in coming years, with two new processing plants set to open in 2023 and 2024 to meet rising domestic biofuel production.

U.S. soybean crush capacity may swell by as much as 30% over the next four years, with more than a dozen planned new facilities or expansions that are part of a nationwide wave of investment in processing the main U.S. export crop, largely to supply vegetable oil to renewable diesel makers.

The surge would upend traditional trade flows as exports of whole soybeans to markets like China give way to more domestic demand and greater overseas shipments of soymeal, a product that China typically does not import.

Nowhere will this shift be more stark than in North Dakota, the No. 4 U.S. soy state by planted acres, which ships about 70% of its harvest of the high-protein oilseed to China annually. Instead, the new facilities will be able to process half of the state’s soy harvest into oil for biofuel and meal for livestock feed.

Although China has imported more U.S. soybeans this year after a smaller-than-expected 2022 South American crop, the world’s biggest soy buyer has been relying increasingly on Brazil in recent years for its soybean needs.

Meanwhile, U.S. biofuel makers are seeking more plant oils like soyoil to produce renewable diesel as demand for lower carbon fuels surges.

But soymeal demand growth has lagged, foreshadowing a glut of the feed ingredient unless markets are expanded.


Weather-beaten concrete grain silos tower over the tiny town of Spiritwood, located along BNSF Railway’s main line that links North Dakota’s farms to export terminals in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

Here, global crop merchant Archer-Daniels-Midland and Marathon Oil are building a $350 million crush plant where a barley malting plant once stood. The Green Bison Soy Processing LLC facility is slated to open in late 2023.

The crush plant will draw soybeans from farmers 60 miles in each direction, said Mike Keller, vice president with ADM.

It may also prompt growers to plant more of the oilseed instead of crops like wheat and barley, and transform crop marketing plans and grain flows in the state, farmers and analysts said.

Monte Peterson, a farmer in Valley City about 25 miles from Spiritwood, expects to store more soybeans on-farm once the plant opens while timing sales selectively instead of shipping them all at harvest time when prices are normally lower.

“With crush capacity building here, farmers are going to be storing more soybeans to ship 12 months out of the year,” said Peterson.

All of the soyoil produced in Spiritwood will be shipped to a Marathon plant in Dickinson 200 miles west to produce renewable diesel, a lower-carbon biofuel that can be used interchangeably with petroleum-based diesel.

The final destination for soymeal is less certain. ADM said this summer that it is initially targeting livestock and poultry producers around the region, and expects exports to ramp up in coming years. U.S. Department of Agriculture trade missions and industry groups have targeted some buyers, but growing markets will take time.

Exporters will look to increase sales to southeast Asia and Europe, and possibly displace shipments from top supplier Argentina in markets such as Australia and New Zealand, said John Baize, president of consultancy John C. Baize & Associates.


U.S. grain exports have been reaching global buyers for decades via Gulf Coast and Pacific Northwest terminals.

But most existing export facilities there were built to move dry whole grain, not processed products like soymeal, which can clog grain handling equipment.

Some Gulf Coast exporters employ smaller mid-river rigs that unload barges directly onto ocean-going ships.

One meal-focused terminal at the Port of Grays Harbor in Aberdeen, Washington, owned by farm cooperative AG Processing Inc (AGP) is working to double its export capacity to 6 million tonnes annually by 2025.

The U.S. Maritime Administration approved a $25.5 million infrastructure grant last month for export terminal expansion. U.S. soybean farmers and industry groups pledged an additional $1.3 million to help offset design and development costs.

“AGP’s expansion project at the Port of Grays Harbor is arguably the most immediate opportunity for soybean farmers to assist with the need for increased soybean meal export capacity,” said Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition.

(Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

COP27: Major food firms detail plans to eliminate deforestation by 2025

By Jake Spring and Simon Jessop

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (Reuters) – The world’s largest food trading companies detailed a plan on Monday to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains for soy, beef and palm oil by 2025, a step seen as essential to averting catastrophic climate change.

Destruction of forests – like the Amazon rainforest to make way for farm fields and ranches or Indonesian jungle for palm oil – emits huge amounts of greenhouse gas each year, helping to drive climate change.

The roadmap, launched at the COP27 United Nations climate summit in Egypt, comprises 14 firms including Cargill, Bunge, Archer Daniels Midland, Louis Dreyfus Company, Brazil’s JBS and China’s COFCO International.

The firms said the plan helps put the world on track to limit global warming to an increase of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the threshold beyond which scientists say climate change risks spinning out of control.

The roadmap “represents a significant sector milestone in eliminating commodity-driven deforestation in line with a 1.5°C pathway,” COFCO International CEO Wei Dong said in a statement.

Many of the firms had previously committed to eliminating deforestation by 2025, with the plan establishing milestones along the way that vary slightly by sector.

The environmental advocacy group Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz said that 2025 was not soon enough, calling for all deforestation to be ended immediately.

“The roadmap’s insistence that individual companies undertake best efforts to establish individual cut-off dates for deforestation no later than 2025 means the bulldozers will keep running and the destruction will continue,” he said in a statement.

The industry has a spotty record of meeting past deforestation commitments.

In 2010, hundreds of the world’s largest consumer brands as part of the Consumer Goods Forum pledged to reach “net zero” deforestation by 2020. But as the deadline approached, Cargill said that the food industry would fail to meet the goal.

The plan also calls on firms to establish targets for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and to begin disclosing their emissions from land use change in 2024.

Read more:

EXPLAINER-A field guide to climate jargon

FACTBOX-COP27 Major players at the U.N. climate talks in Egypt

COP27-Countries band together to keep forest promise

For daily comprehensive coverage on COP27 in your inbox, sign up for the Reuters Sustainable Switch newsletter here

(Reporting by Jake Spring in Sao Paulo and Simon Jessop in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Analysis-Brazil’s Lula hopes to unite rainforest nations, tap funding at COP27

By Michael Taylor

KUALA LUMPUR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A new alliance of rainforest nations – sought by Brazil’s President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – could be key to unlocking conservation funding and bolstering a flagging global forest pact at the COP27 climate summit, environmentalists say.

Before narrowly winning Brazil’s run-off election vote on Oct. 30, Lula began reaching out to Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) about forming a united front of tropical forest countries, according to a top aide of the leftist leader.

In the run-up to the COP27 U.N. climate summit, taking place in Egypt from Nov. 6-18, green groups urged Brazil and other forest nations to team up to increase their bargaining power during talks with potential donors over rainforest protection.

“An alliance of countries such as Brazil, Indonesia and the DRC – who all face similar threats – can put pressure on richer countries to accelerate efforts to stop deforestation,” said Annisa Rahmawati, head of Indonesian conservation group Satya Bumi, noting Lula’s pledge to put forest protection at the heart of his economic plans and policies.

Cutting down forests has major implications for global goals to curb planetary warming, as trees absorb about a third of the climate-heating carbon emissions produced worldwide, but release the carbon they store when they rot or are burned.

Forests also provide food and livelihoods, clean the air and water, support human health, are an essential habitat for wildlife, regulate rainfall and offer flood protection.

But as forest-rich countries grapple with energy and food price pressures linked to Russia’s war on Ukraine, on top of fiscal pain from the COVID-19 pandemic, tapping into natural resources is seen by many as a solution.

Last year, an area of tropical forest the size of the Netherlands was lost, according to monitoring service Global Forest Watch, with Brazil seeing the highest rates of deforestation.

Lula hopes to turn that around, promising in his election victory speech to tackle the illegal logging, mining and land-grabbing that have driven surging Amazon deforestation over the past four years under far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

“Having such a strong voice (like Lula) in any future alliance would amplify and accelerate efforts to shift to just and climate-friendly economic development, while ensuring our forests remain standing,” said Rahmawati.


Brazil, Indonesia and the DRC were among more than 140 nations that agreed to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030 at last year’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

The deal, which has seen slow progress so far, was underpinned by $19 billion in public and private funding commitments to invest in protecting and restoring forests.

Since then, Germany has pledged 1.5 billion euros ($1.5 billion) per year in international biodiversity finance, while Norway agreed a new funding pact with Indonesia to cut its carbon emissions by conserving the rainforest – potentially opening the door to more support from other donors.

Norway’s environment minister said in a social media post this week that it is also set to resume a deal to pay Brazil for results in Amazon forest protection, frozen after destruction of the world’s largest rainforest soared under Bolsonaro.

Carbon markets, meanwhile – which are another tool to slow deforestation – have been hampered by low prices, said James Deutsch, CEO at Rainforest Trust, a U.S.-based nonprofit.

If the three most important potential government sellers of forest carbon credits join forces, however, that could help boost the price paid per tonne of avoided CO2 emissions, he added.

“It is an intriguing and potentially powerful strategy to increase monetary flows, reduce deforestation, and slow climate change,” he said.

The three countries also have a tremendous amount to teach the world on forest conservation, said Amy Duchelle, a senior forestry officer at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

Brazil was the climate-change success story of the early 2000s when its government – led then by Lula – slashed deforestation rates in the Amazon, she said.

“Indonesia has (also) shown recent success in reducing deforestation,” noted Duchelle, adding that there is a huge opportunity for these countries to lead by example and demand more forest-friendly policies from other governments.


Another positive factor in forging a new rainforest alliance is that net-zero targets and climate action are far stronger than ten years ago, when a first effort to form such a partnership failed, said Rod Taylor, global director for forests at the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based think-tank.

There could now be a larger pool of finance and political momentum for the three countries to tap into “if they play their cards right”, he added.

But enforcing forest protection laws in remote areas is a problem for all three, conservationists said, while Bolsonaro’s allies form the largest bloc in Brazil’s Congress, which could hinder Lula’s policy push.

Toerris Jaeger, executive director of the Oslo-based Rainforest Foundation Norway, said the potential partners “face many of the same issues”, including how to monitor deforestation, stop illegal activity and support forest peoples.

Other forest nations – like Colombia – could also take part in talks and join any new alliance at COP27 to create a “more robust and effective” coalition, he added.

“Done right, collaboration and exchange of experience between rainforest countries can help in tackling deforestation,” Jaeger said.

($1 = 1.0227 euros)

Originally published at:

(Reporting by Michael Taylor; Editing by Megan Rowling. The Thomson Reuters Foundation is the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters. Visit

Access road to Brazil’s Paranagua port no longer blocked by pro-Bolsonaro protesters

By Ana Mano

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil’s Paranagua port authority said on Thursday the main access road to the port is no longer being blocked by demonstrators protesting the result of Sunday’s election, according to a statement.

The protests in the area began on Monday afternoon and lasted until Thursday at around 6.30 a.m.. The authority said it is extending working hours at the port’s sorting area to avoid delays to unload trucks.

On Wednesday, Brazilian authorities said they had begun making headway in efforts to clear blockades, which were set up across the country by truckers after President Jair Bolsonaro narrowly lost to leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in an Oct. 30 runoff vote.

During the protests, which are fizzling out, just 672 trucks were able to unload cargo at Paranagua – a sharp drop from the normal average of 700 trucks a day, according to the port authority.

Wednesday saw just 45 trucks arriving, Paranagua said, but about 1,200 trucks are scheduled to arrive at the port on Thursday.

(Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Steven Grattan, Kirsten Donovan)

Brazil government seeks to clear truckers’ pro-Bolsonaro blockades

By Ana Mano

SAO PAULO (Reuters) -Brazilian authorities sought on Tuesday to curtail truckers’ blockages protesting the country’s presidential election results after signs they were disrupting fuel distribution, meat production, and the ability to send grains to port.

Blockades were first reported on Sunday amid spreading demonstrations by truckers and other supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, challenging his narrow election loss to leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Truckers, one of Bolsonaro’s key constituencies and who benefited from his policies to lower fuel prices, have previously disrupted the Brazilian economy by shutting highways in recent years.

Some truckers have called for military intervention to keep Bolsonaro in power. The president gave a brief statement Tuesday afternoon, the first since the Sunday vote, and said the protests reflected dissatisfaction with the electoral process, but said he would abide by the constitution, which stipulates a transition of power of Jan. 1.

Bolsonaro did not concede defeat, but his chief of staff said their team would begin the process of transition to a Lula government.

Bolsonaro said in his speech that protesters should avoid destroying property or “impeding the right to come and go,” but did not tell them to go home.

The country’s Infrastructure Ministry said in a day-end statement that it was asking protesters’ “support” to avoid supply shortages.

“We are working for the free movement of people and vehicles to be resumed as soon as possible. In addition to ensuring the right of our population to come and go, it is essential to maintain the operation of essential services and road freight transport,” the ministry said.

Protesters were blocking highways partially or fully in about 190 locations as of Tuesday evening, according to the federal highway police, but that was down slightly from the number of blockages earlier. Police said some 419 roadblocks had been cleared.

Earlier, protesters blocked the main access road to the important grain export port of Paranagua for a second day.

Meanwhile, poultry and pork processors may have to halt slaughtering at some sites as early as Wednesday, a source said.

In Santa Catarina, one of the states hardest hit by the protests, there were disruptions to deliveries of animals for slaughter and shipment of products to markets, a local hog growers lobby said.

Fuel distribution was in “a critical situation,” said Valeria Lima, downstream director at energy lobby IBP, adding that she believed the government should form a crisis committee to tackle the protesters.

The IBP said there was a high risk of fuel shortages in Santa Catarina and Parana, and potential disruptions in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s richest state.

Rumo , a leading rail company, told Reuters the protests had lowered the number of trucks at certain of its terminals, while there were some disruptions in sections of the railroad in Morretes, Parana, and in Joinville, Santa Catarina.

Mato Grosso, Brazil’s biggest grain producer, was among the most affected by the roadblocks that started after polls closed on Sunday, police data showed, with at least 25 blockades or partial blockades on Tuesday afternoon.

The port authority at Santos, Latin America’s biggest port, reiterated in the afternoon that things remained normal as protests had not disrupted its land operations.

(Reporting by Ana Mano, André Romani, Marta Nogueira and Nayara FigueiredoEditing by Alistair Bell, Rosalba O’Brien and Leslie Adler)

Brazil’s Bolsonaro avoids concession to Lula, but transition to begin

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday avoided conceding defeat to leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in his first public remarks since Sunday’s election, saying protests since then were the fruit of “indignation and a sense of injustice” over the vote.

His chief of staff, Ciro Nogueira, speaking after Bolsonaro’s brief public address, said they would begin the process of a transition to Lula’s government.

(Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Brad Haynes)

Soybeans climb on short-covering; wheat, corn also higher

By Julie Ingwersen

CHICAGO (Reuters) -U.S. soybean futures rose about 2% on Tuesday, buoyed by short-covering as the U.S. harvest winds down, hopes for export sales to China and uncertainty about the availability of South American supplies, traders said.

Wheat futures turned higher, rallying from early declines as traders focused on uncertainty about grain shipments from the Black Sea export corridor and worries about Southern Hemisphere crops. Corn followed the firm trend.

Chicago Board of Trade January soybeans settled up 28-1/4 cents at $14.47-3/4 per bushel after reaching $14.49, the contract’s highest since Sept. 23.

CBOT December wheat ended up 20-1/4 cents at $9.02-1/2 a bushel and December corn finished up 6-1/4 cents at $6.97-3/4 a bushel.

Soybeans rose on chart-driven buying as the benchmark January contract surged above its trading range for the month of October.

“We are chasing out plenty of shorts with this move,” said Terry Linn, analyst with Linn and Associates in Chicago, adding that roadblocks by protesters in Brazil, the world’s top soy exporter, were also a worry.

The main access road to Brazil’s Paranagua port, the country’s second busiest for grain exports, remained blocked by protesters on Tuesday as supporters of outgoing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro protested against his narrow election loss to leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

“The concern was that this could drag on and be impactful in terms of disrupting ag flows and exports,” Linn said.

Soy production prospects remain strong in Brazil. StoneX commodity brokerage raised its forecast of the country’s 2022/23 soybean crop to 154.35 million tonnes, from 153.8 million previously.

The U.S. soy harvest is winding down with 88% of the crop cut as of Oct. 30, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. The corn harvest was 76% complete.

CBOT wheat notched a two-week high on uncertainty about prospects for grains shipped from war-torn Ukraine. Insurers are no longer offering new cargo insurance cover for Black Sea shipments through a U.N.-backed safe corridor after Russia suspended its participation, industry sources said.

Meanwhile, Argentina’s government is set to announce measures to allow wheat exporters to delay agreed shipments after a major drought hammered the crop.

Dry conditions have also hampered the newly seeded U.S. 2023 winter wheat crop. The USDA on Monday rated 28% of the crop in good to excellent condition, the lowest for this time of year in records dating to 1987.

(Additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; editing by Mark Potter and Jonathan Oatis)

Trucker blockades in Brazil increase in wake of Bolsonaro election defeat

By Ana Mano, Roberto Samora and Andre Romani

SAO PAULO (Reuters) -Truckers who support Brazil’s outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro escalated their protests on Monday, blocking roads throughout the country in actions that could affect exports in one of the world’s top food producers and cause wider economic chaos.

Bolsonaro lost Sunday’s election to leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, but has yet to concede defeat. He will not publicly address his defeat until Tuesday, a cabinet minister said on Monday evening, amid doubts over whether the far-right nationalist will accept Lula’s victory.

Video footage showed some truckers at roadblocks calling for a military coup to prevent Lula becoming president, as protests spread from Mato Grosso and Santa Catarina to Parana, Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Goias and Bahia.

In Brasilia, police shut off traffic access to the central government esplanade on a tip that Bolsonaro supporters were planning to occupy the square in front of the Supreme Court, which they consider has acted to favor Lula.

Brazil’s federal highway police said 321 protests had partially or fully blocked roads in 26 states. Truckers – who have benefited from Bolsonaro policies such as lowering diesel costs – are one of the president’s key constituencies, and they have been known to disrupt Brazil’s economy when they shut down highways.

The highest number of blockades was in Santa Catarina, a state where Bolsonaro has a massive support base, and Mato Grosso do Sul, an important grain-growing and cattle state, according to the highway police national branch.

Santos port, from where much of Brazil’s grains are exported, told Reuters earlier on Monday the protests had not yet affected cargo movement. Paranagua’s port authority said one of the main roads giving access to its port was being blocked by protesters, but that there was no immediate disruption to cargo movement.

However, Normando Corral, president of farm group Famato, said the roadblocks in Mato Grosso, Brazil’s biggest farm state, could disrupt agricultural shipments if they persist.

One of the state’s main exports this time of year is Brazil’s winter corn crop, which is planted after soybeans are harvested.

“It’s too soon to say if it’s going to interfere with the flow of production, because the blockades started yesterday,” Corral said. “I don’t know how long it will last.”

Rota do Oeste, a toll road operator that administers an 850-km (530-mile) stretch of the BR 163 highway that cuts through Mato Grosso said at around 2.30pm local time there were blockages in the regions of Nova Mutum, Sorriso, Sinop, Lucas do Rio Verde and Rondonopolis.

Evandro Lermen, a member of grain cooperative Coacen in the Brazilian ‘soy capital’ Sorriso, told Reuters corn shipments were not being disrupted by the protests.

He said trucks had not been not loaded with corn over the weekend because of a Nov. 2 national holiday.

“We are not worried,” he said, adding that shipping schedules showed no delays.

Rumo, a leading rail company that operates Latin America’s biggest grain terminal in Rondonopolis, said earlier Monday that none of its operations in Brazil had been affected so far.

(Reporting by Ana Mano, Roberto Samora, Alberto Alerigi and Andre Romani; Editing by Brad Haynes, Rosalba O’Brien and Lincoln Feast)

Wheat up 6% after Russia quits Black Sea pact; corn, soy firm

By Julie Ingwersen

CHICAGO (Reuters) -U.S. wheat futures jumped 6%, hitting a two-week high, and corn rose 1.6% on Monday as Russia’s withdrawal from a Black Sea export agreement raised concerns over global supplies.

Soybeans followed the trend, with the most-active January contract setting a one-month top.

Chicago Board of Trade December wheat settled up 53 cents at $8.82-1/4 per bushel after reaching $8.93-1/4, the contract’s highest since Oct. 14.

Benchmark CBOT wheat futures hit a record high of $13.63-1/2 a bushel in March.

CBOT December corn ended up 10-3/4 cents at $6.91-1/2 a bushel and January soybeans finished up 19-1/4 cents at $14.19-1/2 a bushel.

“The grain and oilseed markets rose sharply overnight, led by wheat, as food shortage fears rise again after Russia pulls out of the Black Sea trade agreement,” StoneX chief commodities economist Arlan Suderman said in a client note.

Moscow suspended its participation in the Black Sea deal on Saturday in response to what it called a major Ukrainian drone attack on its fleet in Russia-annexed Crimea.

Ships carrying grain sailed from Ukrainian ports on Monday, suggesting Moscow had stopped short of reimposing a blockade.

But shipments could be interrupted again, not least if insurers stop underwriting them. Lloyd’s of London insurer Ascot is suspending writing cover for new shipments using the Ukrainian grains corridor in the Black Sea until it has more clarity about the situation there, a senior official said.

Russia’s moves overshadowed market pressure from a firmer dollar, which tends to make U.S. grains less competitive globally, and hedge-related pressure from the ongoing Midwest harvest.

After the close of the CBOT, the U.S. Department of Agriculture rated 28% of the newly-seeded U.S. winter wheat crop in good to excellent condition, below analyst expectations and the lowest for this time of year in USDA records dating to 1987.

The USDA said the U.S. soybean harvest was 88% complete, ahead of the five-year average of 78%, and the corn harvest was 76% complete, ahead of the five-year average of 64%.

In South America, roadblocks in at least 12 Brazilian states by truckers who support outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro could affect agricultural exports in one of the world’s top food producers, according to the head of a key state farm lobby.

(Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris; editing by David Evans and Leslie Adler)

Russian wheat prices stable amid high exports

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian wheat prices were stable last week amid high exports and risks to grain exports from Ukraine’s ports, analysts said on Monday, before Russia’s withdrawal at the weekend from a deal allowing Ukrainian shipments.

Prices for Russian wheat with 12.5% protein content and for supply from Black Sea ports were at $312 a tonne free on board (FOB) on Friday evening, unchanged from a week earlier, the IKAR agriculture consultancy said in a note.

Russia’s grain exports fell to 910,000 tonnes last week from 1.06 million tonnes a week earlier, the Sovecon consultancy said, citing port data.

Sovecon expects Russia’s grain exports to rise in October compared with the previous month.

“Despite the overall favourable market environment it is hard to expect that Russia could continue increasing exports substantially. The lack of railcars remains a substantial bottleneck,” Sovecon said.

Farmers have already planted winter grains on 16.7 million hectares, compared with 17.6 million hectares around the same date a year ago, the consultancy said.

Overall weather conditions remain fine for development of the winter crops, but the southern regions are a bit dry, Sovecon added.

Other Russian data provided by Sovecon and IKAR:

Product: Price at the end Change from week

of last week: earlier

– Domestic 3rd class 12,600 rbls/t -75 rbls

wheat, European part ($203.9)

of Russia, excludes

delivery (Sovecon)

– Sunflower seeds 21,450 rbls/t unchanged


– Domestic sunflower 73,675 rbls/t +1,000 rbls

oil (Sovecon)

– Domestic soybeans 30,150 rbls/t +250 rbls


– Export sunflower $1,320/t +$30

oil (Sovecon)

– Export sunflower $1,190/t +$20

oil (IKAR)

– White sugar, $790.4/t -$6.3

Russia’s south


Harvesting data provided by Sovecon as of October 27:

All grains: Wheat Barley Corn Sunseeds

Crop, mln tonnes 149.7 104.6 24.4 5.9 10.1

Crop, as of same 119.0 77.8 18.7 10.0 14.0

date in 2021

Yield, 3.34 3.59 3.09 5.55 1.83


Yield, as of same 2.70 2.81 2.39 5.32 1.61

date in 2021

Harvested area, 44.9 29.1 7.9 1.1 5.5

mln hectares

Harvested area, 44.1 27.7 7.8 1.9 8.7

as of same date

in 2021

* Russia’s agriculture ministry has yet to publish harvesting data in detail for the current season.

** The harvesting data is by bunker weight, i.e. before drying and cleaning of the crop.

($1 = 61.8000 roubles)

(Reporting by Olga Popova and Polina Devitt; Editing by David Goodman)