Spot corn basis held steady this week, up just 1/10th of a cent on average across the country. Once again ethanol plants have been a source of strength in the cash corn market, with changes at ethanol facilities firming ½ a cent over the week. Ethanol crush margins in Iowa have approached $4.00 per bushel in recent days, the highest level since November 2011. Strong crush margins and production remain an important story for cash marketing decisions, with ethanol plants aggressively bidding spot and January deliveries. Corn basis along the major river systems backed off 1 ½ cent over the week as weak export sales and concerns about Chinese grain deliveries pressured basis.
Soybean moved slightly lower over the week, down ½ penny on average. Soybean crushing facilities have been a source of strength in the cash market to start the marketing year, but this week we saw basis down 2 cents at crush plants on average. The river system remains strong for soybeans (map below), with strength seen across the southern Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Weakness in soybean basis along northern river systems was once again observed this week as river freeze up nears.
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