China Trade Dispute Results in No Bids on Soybeans

Over half of All soybeans grown in the U.S. are sent overseas

FARGO, N.D. — The trade dispute with China is having an impact on North Dakota’s soybean industry.

Half of all soybeans grown in the U.S. are sent overseas. Of that 60 percent is exported to China. Now it’s all at a standstill.

“The local grain elevators have not had bids to export soybeans out of the PNW or the Pacific Northwest, which is our primary source for exports from this region,” said Frayne Olson, NDSU extension crops economist.

Seventy-five percent of soybeans from North Dakota are shipped out of the Pacific Northwest and delivered to China.
Crop economists say it’s likely that will keep farmers from selling to China through February 2019.

“Even if the tariffs disappear tomorrow, it’s going to take several months for all the changes and everything to gear back up again and for us to be able to handle soybeans like we normally do,” Olson said.

As a result, agricultural engineers say farmers should be thinking about how they’re going to store their soybeans for this extended period of time.

Because soybeans are an oil product, it makes them sensitive to temperature.

“Cool it this fall as outside temperatures cool down. Bring it down to roughly 30 degrees here in the northern region for over the winter and then keep it as cool as we can as we go into spring and summer,” Kenneth Hellevang, NDSU extension agricultural engineer.

While farmers are storing their influx of soybeans this harvest season, they’ll also have to look for alternative crops they can sell to make up for the hit to their production. Many have already started to use corn as an alternative, but even that won’t get to the purchaser right away.

“Corn exports have actually been very strong. We’ve been able to move corn through the system but there’s about a four month lead time from the time someone orders it until you actually have the grain in place to be able to deliver it,”

All of these factors are adding to the stress of that is harvesting season.

“The most important assets in any farmer operation for its functioning and its operation are the people. Good stress management is good farm management,” said Sean Brotherson, NDSU extension science specialist.

Crop economists say consumer prices will not go up right now because this is a logistical issue for the agricultural industry.

If the trade dispute continues for many more months, consumer prices will start to increase.

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