DDGS price drops as percentage of corn

DDGS Report
By Sean Broderick | May 15, 2013

April 29—As May begins, the DDGS market is paying close attention to planting delays and the impact on corn availability for the rest of the summer, until harvest. The rapid futures price drops, as seen after last month’s report, enabled ethanol plants to lock in margins through May, and ensured sufficient DDGS supplies through the month. Since then, announcements of restarting idled ethanol plants pushed the DDGS-as-a-percentage of corn number from 99 percent down into the low 90s, as buyers assumed more production coming.

Demand, which traditionally starts to drop off with the warmer spring weather, has been steady, but prices have dropped since the end of March. Wet/modified distillers grains demand has started to drop off and plants that shipped their product locally for the winter are now loading cars and pressuring the destination markets. Export container demand from the Chicago area, which is usually the premium market, has seen product being shipped into it from as far away as western Iowa. Barge shipments, which were dicey because of low water in March, were being shelved because of high water. That tonnage is needed in other destinations, namely trucks into Chicago. 

Looking ahead, plant margins are going to be affected by the availability of old crop corn, which will influence their production, and the DDGS supply. As of late April, it was still profitable to make ethanol and the resulting DDGS supply is expected to depress the percentage of corn calculation. A spike in corn prices will reverse that process.