US corn harvest 7pc complete in week, soybeans 3 pct
Tuesday, 24 September 2013 03:42
Posted by Abdul Ahad
CHICAGO: The US corn harvest advanced in the latest week, the soybean harvest got under way, and corn condition ratings improved following rain showers in the Midwest, the US Department of Agriculture and state reports said on Monday.
The US corn harvest was 7 percent complete as of Sunday, up from 4 percent a week earlier but behind the five-year average of 16 percent.
In its first US soybean harvest figure for 2013, the USDA reported 3 percent was done, lagging the five-year average of 9 percent. The soybean harvest was 1 percent complete in both Iowa and Illinois, typically the two largest producers.
Analysts expected USDA to show the corn harvest at 11 percent complete and the soybean harvest at 3 percent complete, according to a Reuters poll.
The slow start to harvest follows widespread planting delays in the Corn Belt due to excessive rains last spring.
The USDA rated 50 percent of the soybean crop in good to excellent condition as of Sunday, unchanged from the previous week. However, 55 percent of the corn was rated good to excellent, up from 53 a week earlier.
"The corn ratings were a bit of a surprise because usually, as the crop is maturing, the condition ratings are declining. It tells you ... you have to be prepared for higher yields," said Don Roose, president of US Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.
"That's what we're hearing across the Corn Belt so far - yields better to much better in some areas than people had thought," Roose said.
Forty percent of the corn crop was mature, compared with the five-year average of 55 percent.
For soybeans, 47 percent of the crop was dropping leaves, a sign of maturity, compared with the five-year average of 56 percent.
Rains that crossed the Midwest last week were likely to help some late-planted soybeans and recharge soil moisture for farmers planting winter wheat. Nearly 57 percent of the Midw
USDA Announces Corn Sale to Mexico
September 23, 2013
By: Julianne Johnston, Pro Farmer Digital Managing Editor
Private exporters reported to USDA export sales of 197,200 metric tons of corn for delivery to Mexico during the 2013-14 marketing year, which began Sept. 1. Support from the news will be limited as traders are in the process of factoring in seasonal harvest-related pressure. But the demand news certainly serves as a reminder that current prices are helping to rebuild the export demand base.
USDA issues both daily and weekly export sales reports to the public. Exporters are required to report to USDA any export sales activity of 100,000 metric tons or more of one commodity, made in one day to one destination, by 3 p.m. Eastern time on the next business day following the sale. Export sales of less than these quantities must be reported to USDA on a weekly basis.
Reid holds the line on spending
Alexander Bolton - 09/23/13 08:12 PM ET
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will likely accept the government funding levels passed by House Republicans last week.
Reid’s expected move could pave the way for a bipartisan agreement that would avert a government shutdown. But it could also spark loud protests from House Democrats and liberal groups.
By accepting the funding number set by House Republicans, Reid has given the GOP some political cover — if they drop their ObamaCare defunding demands, that is.
Some of the left will cry foul because the funding measure passed by the GOP-led House continues the controversial sequester. Progressive groups and labor unions expressed dismay Monday over the House’s $986.3 billion funding bill.
They hope Reid and Senate Democrats will argue in the weeks ahead that federal spending levels should be increased in the next round of budget talks.
A senior Democratic aide said Reid will likely accept the funding level embraced by House Republicans, which continues spending at current levels.
“I would imagine yes,” said the aide.
Another Democratic aide said, “That seems to be almost 100 percent.”
Reid does not want to give House Republicans any additional excuse to reject the stopgap measure he plans to return to the lower chamber, stripped of language defunding the Affordable Care Act.
A Reid spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.
House defeat of any Senate-passed funding resolution passed back across the Capitol would make a government shutdown all but inevitable.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are split on how to proceed. For procedural reasons, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has urged his colleagues to filibuster the House-passed bill — even though he supports it.
On Monday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) indicated he would not block the bill from coming to a final vote.
Senate aides say it could take the upper chamber until Sunday to overcome all the
Why Canada’s Oil Future isn’t Going South
Author: Daniel Graeber · September 23rd, 2013
Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said last week it was time to add more diversity to an energy sector that relies almost exclusively on the United States. New drilling technologies for shale have translated to major gains in U.S. oil and natural gas production, which itself translates to a U.S. economy that relies less on imports to meet its energy demands. That’s forced Oliver to stand up and take notice. He told the audience at an energy conference in New York his country has the resources necessary to help meet the growing energy demands across the world. Five years after TransCanada first proposed its Keystone XL oil pipeline, Oliver’s comments suggest North American market dynamics may be different for Canada.
“Canada has the resources in place to meet its own needs and the growing energy demands of global markets,” he said. “We are aggressively working to enhance Canada’s position as a
Malaysia launches US$100mil Clean Energy Fund
Published: Tuesday September 24, 2013 MYT 6:51:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday September 24, 2013 MYT 8:00:17 AM
LONDON: Malaysia and Japan-based Asian Energy Investments Pte Ltd. have launched a $100 million venture capital fund to invest in clean energy projects in South East Asia.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak announced the launch of the fund on Monday at a meeting of sustainable development experts in San Francisco in the United States.
Malaysian fund management company Putra Eco Ventures Inc. will channel the fund's investments into small and medium-sized companies and technologies such as wind, solar or tidal energy.
It will also help find cheaper biodiesel feedstocks for Malaysian biodiesel plants which have been idled because they rely on expensive crude palm oil.
"We hope to (..) further transform Malaysia into a knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy that is environmentally friendly while aiming to join the ranks of developed nations," Prime Minister Razak said.
Separately on Monday, General Electric, Malaysia's largest utility Tenaga Nasional Berhad and government agency GreenTech Malaysia agreed to collaborate on developing a Malaysian smart grid.
A smart grid is a modernised electricity device which uses information technology to collect data about the energy use of consumers and suppliers to improve the efficiency of electricity production and reduce energy consumption.
Malaysia aims to reduce its carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels and increase its renewable energy capacity to 4,000 megawatts by 2030.- Reuters
E85 is increasingly price competitive in areas of the Midwest
By U.S. Energy Information Administration | September 23, 2013
The retail price of E85 motor fuel, which is gasoline blended with up to 85 percent ethanol, has fallen in recent months. While ethanol has been cheaper than regular gasoline on a per-gallon basis for several years, ethanol's lower energy content often meant that consumers paid more per mile when using higher ethanol blends such as E85. However, recent declines in E85 prices at stations offering that fuel in several Midwestern states have brought E85 close to price parity with regular gasoline on an energy content basis.
Price parity on an energy content basis means that drivers with one of the more than 8 million flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) in the country (approximately 3 percemt of vehicles) capable of running on fuels with higher ethanol content can achieve the same mileage per dollar with E85 as with E10 (gasoline with up to 10 percent blended ethanol), the main blend used in vehicles now.
The lowest E85 pump prices have generally been in the Midwest, where most U.S. ethanol is produced and which, consequently, has relatively low wholesale ethanol prices. Nationwide, approximately 2,350 service stations—or 2 percent of all retail stations—offer E85 motor fuel, with the overwhelming majority located in the Midwest.
Because E85 is less energy dense than standard E10 gasoline, consumers using E85 will need to refuel more often. In addition, they may need to travel farther to reach a station that offers E85, because they are less widespread. For these reasons, some consumers may not be willing to switch from E10 to E85 until the latter is discounted below its energy parity price. Important questions include how many consumers would not consider switching without such a discount and the size of the discount that may be required.
The pricing of E85 relative to gasoline depends on both ethanol production costs, which are primarily
USDA offers additional sugar to bioenergy producers under FFP
By Erin Voegele | September 23, 2013
The USDA’s Farm Service Agency has made a second solicitation under the Feedstock Flexibility Program for Bioenergy Producers. Approximately 830 million pounds of sugar are being offered for sale under the program. Bids are due Sept. 26.
The Feedstock Flexibility Program was created by the 2008 Farm Bill. The program requires the USDA to purchase sugar and sell it as feedstock for bioenergy producers in order to avoid forfeiture of sugar pledged as collateral by processors when securing nonrecourse community loans for them Commodity Credit Corp. Sugar purchased by the CCC under the program is sold on a competitive basis to bioenergy producers. The regulation establishing the program requires that purchasers use the sugar to produce biofuel, including ethanol, butanol or other marketable biofuels as CCD determines.
In August, the FSA issued a first solicitation for bids under the program. Approximately 189.75 pounds of sugar was offered for sale to bioenergy producers. Front Range Energy LLC submitted a winning bid for 14.2 million pounds of sugar, which was purchased for a price of 6 cents per pound. At that time, the USDA said in a press release that interest in the program from sugar mills was encouraging. However, transportation and other concerns appear to have limited bioenergy company participation.
The 830 million pounds of sugar being offered through the second solicitation includes feedstock from sugarcane and sugar beet sources. The sugar is currently being stored in a wide variety of locations, including storage facilities in Louisiana, Michigan, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Iowa. A full catalog of offerings was published by the FSA on Sept. 23.
Biofuel producers interested in purchasing sugar through the Feedstock Flexibility Program must submit offers by 1:30 p.m. CT on Sept. 26. Successful bidde
Mitch McConnell Rejects Ted Cruz Push To Filibuster Bill Defunding Obamacare
Posted: 09/23/2013 5:29 pm EDT | Updated: 09/23/2013 6:15 pm EDT
WASHINGTON -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) doesn't back the push by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to vote against bringing up a bill to defund Obamacare, a McConnell aide told The Huffington Post.
"Senator McConnell supports the House Republicans' bill and will not vote to block it, since it defunds Obamacare and funds the government without increasing spending by a penny," McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said.
Until now, McConnell has been largely quiet as Cruz has been ramping up his calls on Senate Republicans to filibuster the funding bill when it comes up for a vote this week. The measure, passed by the House Thursday, would do two things: fund the government past Oct. 1 and defund President Obama's health care law. Since Democrats control the Senate, and since they've already vowed to strip out the Obamacare provision and only hold a clean vote on funding the government, Cruz is urging Republicans to vote against bringing up the bill at all -- and be willing to risk a government shutdown. On top of that, Cruz has argued that anyone who even votes to bring up the bill is, in effect, voting for Obamacare.
Stewart said McConnell is far more interested in voting directly on the bill to defund Obamacare.
"He will also vote against any amendment that attempts to add Obamacare funding back into the House Republicans' bill," Stewart said. "If and when the Majority Leader goes down that path, Washington Democrats will have to decide -- without hiding behind a procedural vote -- whether or not to split with their leadership and join Republicans and their constituents in opposing the re-insertion of Obamacare funding into the House-passed bill."
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the senior senator from Cruz's home state and the number-two Republican in the Senate, also doesn't support Cruz's filibuster st
Clinton predicts public will accept ObamaCare 'when it works'
Elise Viebeck - 09/23/13 05:10 PM ET
Former President Clinton predicted the public will embrace ObamaCare when the law is fully implemented and lowers health insurance costs.
Clinton blamed Republicans for the law's unpopularity in an interview set to air Monday, arguing that the GOP doesn't want to "help make healthcare both available and more affordable."
"The only thing that will change public opinion is when it works," Clinton told PBS Newshour, referring to the healthcare law.
"And we do know, from what we've seen so far, that the cost of insurance for modest income people might be as little as a hundred dollars a month."
Clinton has emerged of one of the most effective spokesmen for ObamaCare as federal health officials prepare to launch the new insurance exchanges.
The former president won praise from the left for a speech touting the Affordable Care Act earlier this month.
He'll appear with President Obama at the Clinton Global Initiative to discuss the reform again this week.
In the interview, Clinton compared ObamaCare's rollout to the implementation of Medicare Part D, the popular prescription drug benefit for seniors.
"We also know that for all of the attacks on health care, it is less unpopular than President Bush’s Medicare drug program was when it started, and there were horrible problems with the implementation," Clinton said.
"The Democrats didn’t try to repeal it, even though most of them voted against it. Instead they tried to make it work. That’s what you do with the law. We tried to help."
Republicans are unified in their opposition to the Affordable Care Act, and some are refusing to avert a government shutdown unless the law's funding is taken away.
In total, the House has voted more than 40 times to defund, dismantle or repeal the healthcare law.
McConnell won’t block government funding bill like Cruz wants
By Sean Sullivan, Published: September 23 at 5:47 pm
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will not try to block the Senate from moving ahead on a House-passed bill that would keep the government running and defund Obamacare, putting him at odds with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.).
"Senator McConnell supports the House Republicans’ bill and will not vote to block it, since it defunds Obamacare and funds the government without increasing spending by a penny," said McConnell spokesman Don Stewart on Monday afternoon.
While the House-passed plan is exactly what Cruz has been calling for, the Texas conservative wants his colleagues to join him to in an effort keep the Senate from moving ahead on the measure. Why? Because once the bill clears a procedural vote requiring the support of 60 senators, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) intends to strip out the portion that would defund Obamcare. Then, because of Senate rules, the new measure could pass the Democratic-controlled Senate with a simple majority.
Stewart said McConnell would vote against any amendments that add funding for Obamacare back into the House-passed bill.
"If and when the Majority Leader goes down that path, Washington Democrats will have to decide — without hiding behind a procedural vote — whether or not to split with their leadership and join Republicans and their constituents in opposing the re-insertion of Obamacare funding into the House-passed bill," Stewart said.
Fuel with 15 percent ethanol available in ND
Published September 23, 2013, 01:00 PM
By: Associated Press, The Jamestown Sun
BISMARCK (AP) — A new blend of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol is available in North Dakota.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple and members of the state's agriculture and ethanol industries announced the introduction of E15 blended gasoline on Monday in Bismarck. The fuel is available at six Petro Serve USA locations in Bismarck, Mandan, West Fargo and Fargo, officials said.
Most ethanol fuel sold for passenger vehicles is 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol. The Environmental Protection Agency recently approved the use of E15 in vehicles made since 2001.
The North Dakota Ethanol Council said E15 costs 3 percent to 5 percent less than unleaded gasoline. Motorists using E15 may see a loss of less than 2 percent in miles per gallon, the Bismarck-based trade group said.
Pumps dispensing E15 must be clearly labeled. The fuel is not approved for older vehicles, boats, lawnmowers and other small engines.
Dalrymple said North Dakota is the ninth state to offer E15.
North Dakota has four ethanol plants that employ about 200 people. Dalrymple said the ethanol industry contributes more than $640 million annually to North Dakota's economy.
"Ethanol creates North Dakota jobs," Dalrymple said in a statement. "It's good for the environment, it's good for our farmers and it's good for the country.
North Dakota's ethanol production has risen from about 30 million gallons annually in 2005 to more than 377 million gallons at present, state records show.
Analysis shows ethanol cuts gas prices by up to $1.50 per gallon
Brett Wessler, Staff Writer | Updated: 09/23/2013
An analysis released Monday credits the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and increased ethanol production for saving consumers as much as $1.50 per gallon on gasoline.
Ethanol In his commentary, Energy economist Philip K. Verleger says the renewable fuels program has reduced annual consumer expenditures in 2013 by somewhere between $700 billion and $2.6 trillion. Based on that estimate, he says the RFS saves consumers between $0.50 and $1.50 per gallon.
Verleger's analysis shows crude oil prices are between $15 and $40 per barrel lower than they would be without the RFS. Price estimates are based on oil demand in addition to the energy created by the increased ethanol production.
According to Verleger, “Had Congress not raised the renewable fuels requirement, commercial crude oil inventories at the end of August would have dropped to 5.2 million barrels, a level two hundred million barrels lower than at any time since 1990.”
Some tests show last month’s crude oil prices could have sold for $150 per barrel without the program.
Propel, Solazyme Seen as Future of Algae Biodiesel
September 23, 2013 by John Davis
A couple of companies familiar to Domestic Fuel readers are being mentioned as the future of algae-based biodiesel. This article from the Voice of America (VOA) talks about how the partnership between renewable fuel marketer Propel Fuels and algae-biodiesel maker Solazyme, both based in Northern California, is advancing the role algae-based biodiesel is having.
“It all starts in the lab where what we do is we grow a proprietary strain of algae that are actually optimized to produce an oil that is a perfect oil, an algae oil, to make into fuel,” [Bob Ames, Solazyme’s vice president in charge of fuels] said.
To test its marketability, Propel installed algae-based fuel pumps at four of its seven stations in the San Francisco Bay area. It was the first time Solazyne’s new biodiesel was offered to the public. The companies were pleased to see a 35 percent increase in biodiesel sales over the month-long test-run.
“Basically, it was offered at exactly the same price as the competing fuel, and what consumers told us by buying more of it is that they were willing to buy it because of the better environmental benefits,” Ames said.
The article goes on to talk about the economies of scale algae-based biodiesel must reach to be profitable. The companies seem to be on the right track, as Solazyme has a plant in Illinois and another smaller one in California (plus a third even larger plant to be opened in Brazil) that are producing large quantities of algae oil, while Propel seems to have the best means of marketing this particular niche of the green fuel.
Analysis: Biodiesel Still Profitable Despite Price Drop
September 23, 2013 by John Davis
Biodiesel producers remain profitable despite a recent drop in prices for the green fuel. An analysis from Scott Irwin and Darrel Good with the University of Illinois shows that several factors, including an uncertain future of federal tax credits and a drop in soybean oil prices.
There are likely two explanations for the current spike [in profits]. First, diesel blenders once again are motivated to incentivize an increase in the production of biodiesel during 2013 to take advantage of the blenders tax credit that was reinstated for this year only. It is uncertain whether it will be extended for 2014. Second, the biodiesel mandate under the RFS was expanded by the EPA from 1 billion gallons in 2012 to 1.28 billion gallons in 2013 and there may be a need for additional production above the mandate in 2013 in order to meet parts of the advanced and renewable mandates.
Figure 3 … helps to explain why biodiesel production profits have only dropped slightly since mid-July in the face of falling biodiesel prices. The sharp drop in soybean oil prices has more than offset the decline in biodiesel prices, thus propping up margins.
The analysis goes on to say that the biodiesel market is playing a big role in Renewable Identification Number (RIN) prices, as blenders have bid up the price of biodiesel since the beginning of this year compared to soybean oil prices.
EPA won't require carbon trapping for existing power plants
Julian Hattem - 09/23/13 10:16 AM ET
The Environmental Protection Agency will not call for existing coal plants to install carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology next year, the head of the agency said Monday.
By ruling out the requirement, the EPA avoids a major fight over its upcoming rules to reduce carbon emissions.
Energy companies have long warned that the capture technology is too expensive, not yet ready for commercial scale and might not even work as intended. They said requiring its use would amount to a de facto ban on new coal plants.
Gina McCarthy, the head of the EPA, said Monday officials agree that the technology cannot yet be used as an "add-on" to coal-fired plants that already exist.
“CCS is really effective as a tool to reduce emissions when it’s designed with the facility itself,” McCarthy said at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor Monday.
“It is not seen, at least at this stage, as an add-on that could be used to put on an existing conventional coal facility. In those applications, it doesn’t seem that it’s appropriate at this stage.”
But the administration has rejected the industry argument that requiring the sequestration technology would make it impossible to build new coal-fired plants.
Rules that the EPA unveiled on Friday for new power plants require the use of carbon capture and sequestration. EPA officials argue the requirement would yield technologic advancements that will make it cheaper and easier to deploy.
“It does create a path forward, and the administration is going to continue to invest in CCS and other clean coal technologies and help support that reduction in cost over time so that it becomes a viable path forward,” McCarthy said Monday.
Friday’s rule on new plants was the first part in a twin set of regulations to clamp down on carbon pollution from power plants, the source of about 40 percent of the country’s greenh
An inexpensive surplus of corn is driving e10, e15 and e85 pump prices to lower levels. And the greatest American corn harvest has only just begun.
Futures & Commodities - Inside FUTURES
Pump prices are falling
September 23, 2013 at 11:28 am by Zain Shauk
Gasoline prices are at their lowest level since early July and are expected to fall further, according to an analysis from GasBuddy.
The national average for a gallon of regular is $3.47, down 34 cents from a year ago, according to AAA.
The average price for a gallon of regular in Houston is $3.23, down 37 cents from a year ago, according to AAA data.
Pump prices: US gasoline prices reach milestone
Because refineries are running at high rates and consumer demand likely will be down from last year, prices will continue a gradual decline,
Imagine, all those solar panels insulating the rooftop from direct solar radiation and saving $$$$$$$$$ in air conditioning expenses while reaping the benefits of solar energy. Wal-Mart SuperCenters have massive rooftops!
Largest Solar Rooftop In Europe Complete, In Germany!
The largest self-consumption rooftop solar array in Europe has been completed, and it is of course located in Germany. It is eleven hectares in size, consists of 33,000 solar panels, and has a generation capacity of 8.1 MW (which could power up to about 1,846 homes).
The record-breaking solar roof is on top of the Pfenning Logistics distribution centre named multicube rhein-neckar, which is located in the Heddesheim municipality, a bit south of Frankfurt. The building was recently constructed and has been owned by Union Investment as of 2012.
Dennis Seiberth, president of international large-scale projects at the project development company Wirsol, said: “In this size we usually build solar parks.” He added that Wirsol was ambitious in its aims to build the plant in four weeks.
Largest solar rooftop in Europe. Image Credit: Wirsol.
The power plant was connected to the grid in July.
“We are happy that we can now partially generate electricity by ourselves,” said Karl-Martin Pfenning, owner and managing partner of the Pfenning group. “With the photovoltaic installation we can annually save up to 5, 171 tons of CO2.”
Germany has one of the most successful solar markets in the world, and while many now know that, it is still quite impressive that a cloudy country could have such a successful solar market. It also makes one rethink the misconception that solar panels only work in direct sunlight.
I own a solar panel, which I have been running numerous tests on for over a year. It works in all weather. However, power production does decrease to an extent when the weather is cloudy. The darker the sky is, the less power the solar panel generates. The results of some of my tests can be found here.
Utilities Want Solar Customers to Pay More
Their argument: The few (homes with solar power) are being subsidized by the many (everyone else).
Utilities argue that the few (solar homes) are being subsidized by the many (everyone else).
By Cassandra Sweet
People with solar panels on their roofs often get a pretty good price break on their energy bills.
Too good, some utilities say.
Now, utilities in several states—including the country’s sunniest, California and Arizona—are trying to do something about it.
Here’s the issue: For most homes, solar panels don’t generate all the power the residents use. At night and on cloudy days, and sometimes even on sunny days, these homes draw power from the grid that serves all a utility’s customers. But at other times, the panels generate more power than the home is using, and that surplus power flows into the grid.
Under state rules known as net metering, customers are credited on their bills for any power that flows from their homes to the grid, usually at the same rate they pay when they draw power from the grid.
So, customers with solar panels not only are buying less electricity from their utilities, but also are able to offset much of the cost of what they do buy.
The utilities say solar customers are paying so little that they don’t cover their share of the cost of maintaining the grid, which they still rely on. That drives up costs for nonsolar customers, utilities say, and they warn that the burden will grow as the number of solar customers continues to swell.
Solar companies and their customers deny that people with solar panels aren’t paying their share of utility costs, and argue that rooftop solar systems benefit utility grids by relieving demand and providing extra power. Cutting incentives would reduce the appeal of solar energy, they say, depriving the grid of some of that additional power, blunting the environmental benefits of solar power and hurting the young, fast-growing industry.
One change utilit