Grains & Oilseeds and Marine Transport Thereof: Definitions, Terms and Terminology

Updated: Oct 14


Terms, Terminology and Glossary for agricultural terms and marine inland barge transportation along the river-way system in the US.


1976 Benchmark Tariff Rates—The grain industry uses weekly barge rate quotes for southbound freight, based on the of the 1976 benchmark tariff rates per short ton at 7 locations on the inland waterway system. To calculate the barge rate per short ton, multiply the rate quote by the 1976 benchmark tariff rate per short ton for a point on the inland waterway system and divide by 100. Example: $3.99 (St. Louis 1976 benchmark tariff rate) times 200 percent (a sample rate quote), divided by 100 equals $7.98 per short ton. The 1976 benchmark tariff rates are from the Bulk Grain and Grain Products Freight Tariff No. 7, issued by the Waterways Freight Bureau (WFB) of the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). In 1976, the United States Department of Justice entered into an agreement with the ICC and made Tariff No. 7 no longer applicable, but the industry continues to use the 1976 tariff rates as a benchmark. The WFB no longer exists and the ICC has become the Surface Transportation Board of the United States Department of Transportation.

30-day to Arrive—Bids for grain for 30-day delivery to U.S. export ports in dollars per bushel. Also known as export bid.

AAR—Association of American Railroads

Ad libitum (feeding)—Unlimited access to feed or water.


AMS —Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)—administers programs that create domestic and international marketing opportunities for U.S. producers of food, fiber, and specialty crops. AMS also provides the agriculture industry with valuable services to ensure the quality and availability of wholesome food for consumers across the country and around the world.

Arkansas River Lock and Dam 1— Located in Tichnor, AR at mile 10 on the Arkansas River. This is a single chamber lock that is 600 ft. by 110 ft. in dimension (also called Norrell Lock).

As fed—As consumed by the animal.

Atlantic—A grain export region that includes export elevators in Brunswick, GA, Albany, NY, and Chesapeake, VA.

Auxiliary Lock—The smaller chamber of a double lock that transfer vessels from one water level to another water level. The advantage of this two-lock facility is that both chambers can be working at the same time, and more importantly while one chamber is closed for repairs, the other chamber can handle the traffic. See Main Chamber Lock.

Barge—A general name given to flat-bottomed, rigged or unrigged, craft of full body and heavy construction, specially adapted for the transportation of bulk freight such as grain, ethanol, fertilizer, coal, lumber, oil etc. A barge load of grain, as a unit of measure is 52,500 bushels, or 1,500 short tons, equivalent to 15 jumbo hopper railcars or 58 large grain hopper semi-trailers. A jumbo covered hopper barge is the type of barge most frequently used for moving grain on the rivers.

Barge Grain Movements and YTD—USDA's weekly recording of grain tonnage moving through the following strategically located locks: Arkansas Lock and Dam 1 (Norrell Lock), Ohio River Locks 52, Mississippi River Locks 15, 25, 26 (Melvin Price Locks) and 27. The year-to-date (YTD) figure is the accumulation of barge grain movements through the Mississippi River Lock 27, Arkansas Lock and Dam 1, and Ohio River Locks and Dam 52.

Barge Rate Index—A percent of tariff used for southbound barge freight, based on the 1976 benchmark tariff rates per short ton for seven locations on the inland waterway system.

Barge Rate Quote—A barge freight rate as a percent of the 1976 benchmark tariff rate offered to move grain from a specific origin to a specific destination. On the Mississippi River system, the destination is usually not specified and refers to the area between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, LA.

Barges Unloaded—The number of barges of grain unloaded in the area between Baton Rouge New Orleans, LA.

Basis—The difference between the current spot price (or cash price) of a commodity and the price of the nearest futures contract for the same or a related commodity. Basis is usually computed in relation to the futures contract next to expire.

Bid—Price offered by a buyer or seller for a commodity or service. Also referred to as an

Offer.

Bushel—A unit of measure containing 2,150.42 cubic inches, 56 pounds of corn, or 60 pounds of wheat or soybeans.

Cairo-Memphis 1976 Benchmark Tariff Rate—The 1976 benchmark tariff rate is $3.14 per short ton and includes origins in Birds Point, Linda, and New Madrid, MO; Hickman, KY; and Cairo, IL.

Cash Price—The price in the marketplace for actual cash or spot commodities to be delivered via customary market channels.

Cereals—Defined as wheat, coarse grains and rice. Cereals are plants which yield edible grains and includes rice, wheat, corn, barley, and oats. Cereal grains are the fruit of plants belonging to the grass family (Gramineae). Cereal grains provide the world with majority of its food calories and about half of its protein.

Chain of Rocks Locks—Located in Granite City, IL at mile 186 on the Upper Mississippi River. This double lock includes a 1200 ft. by 110 ft. main lock chamber and 600 ft. by 110 ft. auxiliary lock (also called Mississippi River Locks 27).

Cincinnati 1976 Benchmark Tariff Rate—The 1976 benchmark rate is $4.69 per short ton and is for Cincinnati, OH.

Class I Railroad—A freight railroad with annual gross operating revenues of $319.3 million or more.

Commodities Futures—Contracted price to purchase/sell commodities at a given rate and to be delivered at some point in the future.

Co-products in ethanol dry-grind—The water and solids remaining after distillation of ethanol is called whole stillage, comprised primarily of water, fiber, protein and fat. This mixture is centrifuged to separate coarse solids from liquid. The coarse solids are also called wet cake and contain about 35 percent dry matter. Wet cake can be sold to local cattle feeders without drying, or dried to produce dried distiller’s grains (DDG). The liquid, now called as thin stillage, goes through an evaporator to remove additional moisture and the resulting co-product is called condensed distiller’s solubles which contains approximately 30 percent dry matter. Condensed distiller’s solubles can be sold locally to cattle feeders. Alternatively, the wet cake can be mixed with condensed distiller’s solubles and dried to produce distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) which has 88 percent dry matter.

Container—An intermodal uniform, sealed, reusable metal “box” (generally 40 feet in length, able to hold about 40,000 pounds) in which merchandise can be moved by either, rail, barge, truck or vessel. The use of containers (or containerization) in trade is generally thought to require less labor and reduce losses due to breakage, spoilage, and pilferage, compared to more traditional methods of shipment. Containers come in 53, 48, 45, 40 and 20 foot lengths, and are anywhere between 8, 8.5, 9 and 9.5 feet in height. Width is eight foot.

Container Load—A load sufficient in size to fill a container either by cubic measurement or by weight.

Containerizable Cargo—Cargo that will fit into a container and result in an economical shipment.

Containerization—Stowage of cargo in a container for transport in the various modes. See Container.

Contract Rate—Rate and services that are specified in a shipper’s contract. A service premium and penalty may be assessed for non--performance by either the shipper or carrier.

Corn—Corn varieties include: U.S. No. 1-5 and Sample Grade, Yellow, White, and Mixed

Corn as defined by USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration.

Corn #1—The highest grade of corn, distinguished by the highest minimum test weight, lowest moisture and foreign material, and the fewest damaged kernels. Marketed primarily as food.

Corn #2—Most frequently traded of all grades (about 60 percent of all corn sold), and the grade on which the traded price is based. It is used primarily for animal feed. Grades 3, 4, 5, and Sample are lower grades than #2. Sample Grade is the lowest grade available.

COT (Certificate of Transportation)—BNSF Railway’s program for offering guaranteed delivery of rail cars during specific periods.

Cover Crops—Grasses, legumes, and other forbs that are planted for erosion control, improving soil structure, moisture, and nutrient content, increasing beneficial soil biota, suppressing weeds, providing habitat for beneficial predatory insects, facilitating crop pollinators, providing wildlife habitat, and as forage for farm animals. Cover crops can provide energy savings both by adding nitrogen to the soil and making more soil nutrients available, thereby reducing the need to apply fertilizer.

Crop Year (CY)—Year in which a crop is harvested, as opposed to a marketing year, which refers to the 12-month period following harvest. See marketing year (MY).

Cross-border—Refers to land based movements of grain from the United States to Mexico or Canada.

Cumulative Exports (shipped)—Quantity of grain shipped as reported in the FAS Weekly Export Sales Report.

CWAD—Canada western amber durum wheat. See Wheat.

CWRS—Canada western red spring wheat. See Wheat.

Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGS)—In dry-grind ethanol production, it is Wet Distillers Grains (WDG) that has been dried with the concentrated thin stillage to 10–12% moisture. DDGS have an almost indefinite shelf life and may be shipped to any market regardless of its proximity to an ethanol plant. Drying is costly, as it requires further energy input. In the US, it is packaged and traded as a commodity product.

Deadweight Capacity—Capacity in metric tons is determined by deducting from total deadweight the weight of fuel, water, stores, dunnage, crew, passengers, and other items necessary for use on a voyage.

Deadweight Cargo—Cargo which measures one cubic meter or less per metric ton. Also known as weight cargo.

Double Lock—See Lock.

Dry Cargo—Cargo, packed or unpacked, carried in non-liquid bulk form which normally does not require temperature control.

Dry Bulk Container—A container constructed to carry grain, powder and other free-flowing solids in bulk.

DUR—Durum wheat

Durum (DUR)—A spring-seeded wheat that is very hard, a high-protein wheat used to make pasta products. See Wheat.

dwt (deadweight tons)—The carrying capacity of a ship in metric tons, including the weight of fuel and stores as well as the cargo. The cargo capacity of a ship is generally estimated as 95 percent of deadweight capacity for large tankers and 85 percent of deadweight capacity for dry cargo container ships.

East Gulf—A grain export region, which includes the export elevator in Mobile, AL.

EIA—Energy Information Administration

Elevator Bid—The inland bid for grain delivered to the grain elevator.

Export Bid— Bid for grain for 30-day delivery to a U.S. export port in dollars per bushel. Also known as 30-day to arrive.

Export Sales Report—A weekly FAS report that provides reported sales by private U.S. exporters for select agricultural commodities.

Exports—Goods produced in one country and sold and shipped to another country.

FAS—Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)—A USDA agency that is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating information about global supply and demand, trade trends, and market opportunities. FAS links U.S. agriculture to the world to enhance export opportunities and global food security. In addition to its Washington, D.C. staff, FAS has a global network of 98 offices covering 177 countries with a four-fold agenda:


a) Trade Policy - FAS expands and maintains access to foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products by removing trade barriers and enforcing U.S. rights under existing trade agreements


b) Market Development and Export Assistance - FAS partners with 75 cooperator groups representing a cross-section of the U.S. food and agricultural industry and manages a toolkit of market development programs to help U.S. exporters develop and maintain markets for hundreds of products.


c) Data and Analysis - FAS’s network of global contacts and long-standing relationships with international groups contribute to the agency’s unique market intelligence capacity.

d) Food Security - FAS leads USDA’s efforts to help developing countries improve their agricultural systems and build their trade capacity.

FEU (40-foot-equivalent unit) —A 40-foot container.

FOB (Free On Board)—A term of sale meaning that the shipper will pay all costs to deliver and load the cargo at a specified place, usually a ship, and then the receiver pays the costs from there on—normally the ocean freight and all subsequent costs of unloading and delivery. The term is sometimes used for delivery to a truck or rail car.

Farm Value—The average price received by agricultural producers in a particular state for a specified crop. These values are obtained from Agricultural Prices, which is published by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Flowability—The ability of a mass of feed particles or grains to move by gravity out of storage or transport containers.

Fodder Crops—Crops harvested green for forage, silage or grazing are classified as. Fodder Crops are crops that are cultivated primarily for animal feed. By extension, natural grasslands and pastures are included whether they are cultivated or not.

Fuel Surcharge—Surcharge imposed by carriers when fuel prices reach certain levels.

Fumonisin—A mycotoxin produced by specific molds that can be present in feed ingredients and reduce animal health and performance.

Futures Contract — A standardized agreement calling for deferred delivery of a commodity, or its equivalent, entered through organized futures exchanges. Most agricultural futures contracts (except feeder cattle) call for physical delivery, but are usually liquidated before delivery.

Futures Freight Rate—Contracted dollar value to purchase transportation services at a given rate and to be delivered at some point in the future.

Futures—See Commodities Futures

GCAS (Grain Car Allocation System)—Union Pacific’s program for offering guaranteed delivery of rail cars during specific periods.

GEAPS (Grain Elevator and Processing Society)—An international professional association that supports its members and the industry by serving as The Knowledge Resource for the world of grain handling and processing industry operations.

GF—Guaranteed-Freight

GIPSA (Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration)—USDA agency that is responsible for facilitating the marketing of livestock, poultry, meat, cereals, oilseeds, and related agricultural products. It also promotes fair and competitive trading practices for the overall benefit of consumers and American agriculture. GIPSA ensures open and competitive markets for livestock, poultry, and meat by investigating and monitoring industry trade practices.

Grain Export Regions—Pacific Northwest, Mississippi River, Texas Gulf, East Gulf, Great

Lakes, and Atlantic.

Grain Inspections for Export—Grain that has been sold, and is inspected as it is being loaded at export locations for shipment overseas.

Grain Transport Cost Indicator—Used to compare truck, rail, barge, and ocean weekly indicators with the baseline year which is equal to 100.

Grain—Unspecified type of grain (may include soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, etc.). Grains are identified as cereals suitable as food for human beings. Oilseeds are those grains that are also valuable for the oil content they produce.

Coarse Grains—Generally refers to cereal grains other than wheat and rice — in the OECD countries, those used primarily for animal feed or brewing.

Wet Distillers Grains (WDG)—Primarily unfermented grain residues (protein, fiber, fat and up to 70% moisture). WDG has a shelf life of four to five days. Due to the water content, WDG transport is usually economically viable within 200 km of the ethanol production facility.

Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGS)—WDG that has been dried with the concentrated thin stillage to 10–12% moisture. DDGS have an almost indefinite shelf life and may be shipped to any market regardless of its proximity to an ethanol plant. Drying is costly, as it requires further energy input. In the US, it is packaged and traded as a commodity product.

Great Lakes—A grain export region that includes U.S. export elevators in Duluth, MN; Milwaukee and Superior, WI; Chicago, IL; Portage, IN; Huron, Maumee, and Toledo, OH. The region also includes Canadian elevators in Windsor, in the Province of Ontario; and Baie Comeau, Montreal, Port-Cartier, Quebec City, Sorel-Tracey, Trois Riveieres, in the Province of Quebec.

Ground / Grinding—Mechanical process to reduce particle size by impact, shearing or attrition.

Guaranteed Freight—A bid for delivery of a unit train of empty railcars during a specific period for BNSF.

Guaranteed Pool—A bid for delivery of a unit train of empty railcars during a specific period for Union Pacific.

Hard Red Spring Wheat (HRS)—A common spring-seeded wheat high in protein and used primarily to produce bread and blending with lower protein wheat. See Wheat.

Hard Red Winter Wheat (HRW)—A common fall-seeded wheat that may be either dark hard or yellow hard; medium to high-protein wheat used primarily to produce bread flour. See Wheat.

Heavy Grain—Soybeans, corn, and sorghum.

High-Capacity—A term for a railroad grain car in which up to 112 tons of grain can be loaded.

HRS—See Hard Red Spring wheat


HSS (Heavy Grains, Sorghum and Soybeans)—Term used in chartering and in grain trading to mean any type of grain coming Within a variety of descriptions, and having an average Stowage Factor (S.F.). Wheat is a heavy grain, having a S.F. of from 44 to 49. Soya beans have a S.F. of from 48 to 52 and . Sorghums also from 44 to 49. The lower the S.F. the higher the density of the grain, so these cargoes are generally heavier than the lighter grains such as barley and oats. HSS cargoes are exported mainly from the U.S. Gulf and North American Pacific ports and from the River Plate ports.

HRW—See Hard Red Winter wheat

Illinois Barge 1976 Benchmark Tariff Rate—The 1976 benchmark tariff rate is $4.64 per short ton and includes Beardstown, Florence, Hardin, Havana, and Meredosia, IL.

Illinois River Lock 8—Located in Versailles, IL at mile 80 on the Illinois River. This is a single chamber lock that is 600 ft by 110 ft in dimension (also called LaGrange Lock).

Inland Bids—A bid for grain that is not for export, but for domestic use.

IWUB (The Inland Waterways Users Board)—An advisory board established to monitor the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (Fund) and to make recommendations to the Army and to Congress on investment priorities using resources from the Fund. The IWUB is a critical activity for the Corps. The Director of Civil Works (CW) serves as the IWUB Executive Director and the Assistant Secretary of the Army (CW) serves as an Inter-Agency Observer, along with representatives of the Maritime Administration, NOAA and the Department of Agriculture.


Jones Act—The term refers to several U.S. laws that govern the domestic transportation of merchandise and passengers by water. Strictly speaking, it applies only to Section 27 of the Merchant Marine of 1920 [46 U.S.C. 883; 19 CFR 4.80 and 4.80(b)] which has come to bear the name of its sponsor, Senator Wesley L. Jones. Section 27 provides that merchandise transported entirely or partly by water between U.S. points—either directly or via a foreign point—must travel in U.S.-built, U.S.-citizen owned and operated U.S.-flag vessels that are U.S.-documented by the Coast Guard for such carriage.

Jumbo Covered Hopper Barge—Type of barge most frequently used for moving grain on the rivers. Older barges held 52,500 bushels, but some newer barges have larger capacities.

Jumbo Hopper Car—A rail car with a 3,500-bushel capacity, and a 100 ton grain capacity.

LaGrange Lock—Located in Versailles, IL, at mile 80 on the Illinois River. This is a 600 ft by 110 ft single lock chamber (also called Illinois River Lock 8).

Landed Cost—The farm value of a commodity plus the cost of transportation from the farm to the final destination point. The transportation cost includes trucking, rail, barge, and ocean freight rates.

Lock—A structure on the river that facilitates the transfer of vessels from one water level to another water level. There are two lock configurations - a single lock or a double lock. The latter can be defined as the main lock and an auxiliary lock.

Long Ton—A measure of weight equal to 2,240 pounds or 1,016 kilograms; used to measure petroleum products. See also metric ton and short ton.

Low-Capacity—A term for a railroad grain car in which up to 100 tons of grain can be loaded.

Lower Ohio 1976 Benchmark Tariff Rate—The 1976 benchmark tariff rate is $4.46 per short ton and is for Louisville, KY.

Main Lock—The larger chamber of a double lock that transfers vessels from one water level to another water level. The advantage of this double lock facility is that both chambers can be working at the same time, and more importantly, while one chamber is closed for repairs, the other chamber can handle the traffic. See Auxiliary Lock Chamber.

Marketing Year (MY)—The 12-month period beginning just after the harvest during which a commodity may be sold domestically, exported, or put into reserve stocks. Varies by country and commodity, and differs from crop year, which is the year in which a crop is harvested. The MY for corn and soybeans is September 1 to August 31. The MY for wheat is June 1 to May 31.

mbu—million bushels

Measurement Cargo—Cargo on which transportation charges are calculated on the basis of volume per metric ton, since the cargo exceeds one cubic meter per metric ton. Freight generally will move on a weight cargo basis versus a measurement cargo basis.

Melvin Price Locks—Alton, IL at mile 201 on the Upper Mississippi River. This double lock has a 1,200 ft. by 110 ft. main lock chamber and a 600 ft. by 110 ft. auxiliary lock (also called Mississippi River Lock 26).

Metric Ton—A measure of weight equal to 2,204.6 pounds or 1,000 kilograms. There are 39.3 bushels of corn per metric ton, and 36.7 bushels of soybeans or wheat per metric ton. See also long ton and short ton.

Mid-Miss Barge 1976 Benchmark Tariff Rate—The 1976 benchmark tariff rate is $5.32 per short ton and includes Albany, Keithsburg, New Boston, Rock Island, IL, and Clinton, Davenport, Muscatine, IA.

Mississippi River—A grain export region that includes export elevators along the Mississippi River at Ama, Belle Chasse, Convent, Darrow, Destrehan, Paulina, Port Allen, Reserve, and Westwego, LA.

Mississippi River Lock 25—Located in Winfield, MO., at mile 242 on the Upper Mississippi River. This lock is a 600 ft. by 110 ft. single lock chamber.

Mississippi River Lock 26— Alton, IL. at mile 201 on the Upper Mississippi River. This is a double lock with a 1,200 ft. by 110 ft. main lock chamber and a 600 ft. by 110 ft. auxiliary (also called Melvin Price Locks).

Mississippi River Lock 27—Located in Granite City, IL. at mile 186 on the Upper Mississippi River. This is a double lock with a 1,200 ft. by 110 ft. main lock chamber and a 600 ft. by 110 ft. auxiliary (also called Chain of Rocks Locks).

Mississippi River Locks 15—Located in Rock Island, IL. at mile 482 on the Upper Mississippi River. This is a double lock with a 600 ft. by 110 ft. main lock chamber and a 360 ft. by 110 ft. auxiliary lock chamber.

Mixed Soybeans—These soybeans do not meet the requirements for a yellow. See Soybeans.

mmt—million metric tons

mt—metric tons

Mycotoxicosis—Poisoning of an animal that occurs when consuming significant quantities of mycotoxins.

Mycotoxins—Toxic substances produced by specific types of molds under specific types of climatic and environmental conditions.

n/a—not available

NASS—National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS)—A USDA agency responsible for conducting monthly and annual surveys and preparing official USDA data and estimates of production, supply, prices, and other information necessary to maintain orderly agricultural operations. NASS also conducts the census of agriculture which is currently conducted every 5 years.

NGFA—National Grain and Feed Association

NGFA Trade Rules—The five sets of the NGFA Trade Rules facilitate the purchase and sale of grain and feed products. They provide a framework for the trade and a foundation for resolution of disputes under the NGFA Arbitration System. The NGFA Trade Rules Committee formulates and recommends rule changes to the membership. Rules are proposed that reflect trade practice and facilitate trade between NGFA members specifically as well as between all firms in the grain, feed and processing industry generally.

No Bid (demand side)—A situation in which the supply of rail cars is so great relative to the demand for guaranteed delivery that shippers believe rail cars may be obtained without paying a premium, so they do not bid at auctions.

No Offer (supply side)—A situation in which rail service problems results from guaranteed rail cars not being available for a delivery period, or guaranteed rail cars have already been sold out at previous auctions.

Non-shuttle—Railroad movements consisting of single-car shipments of less than 25 grain cars or shipments of unit train size.

Norrell Lock—Located in Tichnor, AR., at mile 10 on the Arkansas River. This lock is a 600 ft. by 110 ft. single lock chamber (also called Arkansas River Lock and Dam 1).

nq—no quote

Offer—See Bid

Ohio River Locks 52—Located in Brookport, IL. at mile 939 on the Ohio River. This is a double lock with a 1,200 ft. by 110 ft. main lock chamber and a 600 ft. by 110 ft. auxiliary chamber.

Oilseeds (in French: Oléagineux)—Grains that are valuable for the edible (i.e. cooking) oil content they produce. Major oilseeds grown are groundnut, cottonseed, mustard, rapeseed (colza), soybean, sunflower, sesame seed and coconut (copra). Linseed and safflower seed are not included in the definition of oilseeds used for Producer Support Estimates (PSE) and Consumer Support Estimates (CSE) purposes, except in a few cases where statistical difficulties prevent the separating of data on these crops from those for other oilseeds. Cotton seed, grape seed, olives and groundnuts (peanuts), from which edible oils are produced as by-products, are excluded from the PSE and CSE composites. Oilseeds have become an increasingly important agriculture commodity, with a steady increase in annual production worldwide.

op—option

Others—Barge grain category that refers to oats, barley, sorghum, and rye.

Outstanding Sales (unshipped) —Grain exports that have been reported to FAS as sold, but have not been shipped.

PIERS—Port Import Export Reporting Service, product of the Journal of Commerce. PIERS provides waterborne shipments transaction level transportation data taken directly from the shippers bills of lading. Some of the data elements include U.S. ports, destination country, container indications, and shipping lines that moved the cargo. PIERS data is not to be used as trade data. For official trade data please refer to the Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Trade Data, http://www.fas.usda.gov/ustrade/.

PNW (Pacific Northwest)—A grain export region that includes Portland, OR; Kalama, Seattle Tacoma, and Vancouver, WA; Stockton and West Sacramento, CA.

Pool—See Guaranteed-pool.

Pool Return Outlook (PRO)—The Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) monthly price Pool Return Outlook (PRO) for farmers provides forecasts of crop year returns (revenues) for various grades/classes of Canadian wheat, durum wheat, feed barley, and designated barley “in store in Vancouver or St. Lawrence”, in Canadian dollars per tonne (36.74371 bushels) and Canadian dollars per bushel. These commodities must be delivered to the CWB under the monopoly “single-desk” marketing system for 75,000 farmers who grow wheat, durum wheat, and barley in western Canada. Price pooling and single-desk selling by the CWB is intended to share risk and increase returns to farmers. Farmers receive initial payments and additional returns during the crop year based on the grade delivered, less marketing costs.

p—Preliminary data

Price Spread—The difference in price between two different locations using the same transportation mode. May also refer to the difference in price for ocean shipments from the U.S. Gulf to Japan and the Pacific Northwest region to Japan. Although U.S. Gulf to Japan rates are usually higher due to the greater distance, a comparison of the rates between these two origin points helps shippers to determine the most economical route.

Primary Market—A period when shippers bid for guaranteed delivery of empty grain cars for loading during a particular period from a railroad.

Protein Content—The usual percentage of protein for varieties of wheat. Wheat protein content affects the processing quality of wheat and price received by seller.

Rail Car Auction Offerings—Auction offering are for single-car and unit train shipments only.

Rail Car Auction—The primary market in which Class 1 Railroads offers rail cars to shippers for guaranteed delivery during a specific period. Shippers bid for the right to use these cars.

Rail Deliveries to Port—The number of grain cars delivered to export ports for shipment to international markets.

Rail Rate—The rate provided to a shipper for shipment of a commodity by rail from origin to destination. Rail rates are dependent on the number of available cars and usually decrease (improve) as the number of cars increases. Shuttle train rates are lower than unit train rates, and unit train rates are lower than single car rates.

Railcar Loadings—The number of loaded railcars with grain at any location within the United States and Canada. Freight may be destined for domestic or international markets.

Railcar Origination—See Railcar Loadings.

Rapeseed— Rapeseed is the traditional name for the group of oilseed crops in the Brassicaceae family (Brassica napus subspecies) and related to mustard, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and turnip. Rapeseed can be divided into two types — industrial rapeseed (or rapeseed) and canola. “Industrial rapeseed” refers to any rapeseed with a high content (at least 45 percent) of erucic acid in the oil; the name ‘Canola’ was registered in 1979 in Canada and refers to the edible oil crop that is characterized by low erucic acid (less than 2 percent) and low levels of glucosinolates.

As rapeseed may contain more than 40 percent oil, it can be more profitable than soybeans, which contain 18 percent oil. Rapeseed is also beneficial as a cover crop and for annual forage, as it provides good soil cover over winter to prevent soil erosion, produces large amounts of biomass, suppresses weeds, and can improve soil tilth with its root system. Rapeseed can also be grazed by livestock during the fall growth period.

Region 1 (UP rail only)—AR, IL, LA, MO, NM, OK, TX, WI and Duluth, MN

Region 2 (UP rail only)—CO, IA, KS, MN, NE, WY, and Kansas City and St. Joseph, MO.

Regional Railroad—A line haul railroad operating at least 350 route miles and or with annual operating revenue between $40 and $319 million.

Ruminant—Any group of hoofed mammals that have a four compartment, complex stomach and that chew their cud while ruminating.

r—Revised data

Secondary Rail Market—The secondary market where shippers trade the rights to guaranteed delivery of rail cars from a specific railroad for specific delivery periods. These rights to the delivery of guaranteed railcars consist of rail cars that were purchased in the primary market or as a result of a contract guaranteeing delivery of railcars in return for placing privately owned rail cars in the railroad’s car fleet.

Shipper—The supplier or owner of commodities named in a contract as the one from whom the goods have been received for shipment.

Short Line Railroad—A railroad company having freight revenues less than $25.5 million. In common usage, it may also include regional railroads, which have freight revenues less than $319 million.

Short Ton—A measure of weight equal to 2,000 pounds, or 907 kilograms used in to measure barge capacity. The tonnage figures provided throughout the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Waterborne Commerce of the United States, WCUS, Parts 1-5 represent short tons. See also long ton and metric ton.

Shuttle Train—A train that operates on a regular route, often serving one shipper and one receiver and fulfilling loading and unloading efficiency requirements. A shuttle train is usually comprised of more than 100 rail cars, which are not disassembled anywhere en route and does not make any stops, meeting railroad efficiency requirements. Because the train is never split, and does not make stops, it is the most efficient form of rail movement.

Silage—Any crop that is harvested green and preserved in a succulent condition by partial fermentation in a more-or-less airtight container such as a silo.

Single Lock—A lock that only has one transfer chamber for vessel or vessels from one water level to another water level.

Single-Car Bids—A railcar bid for guaranteed delivery of 1 to 24 empty grain cars for loading during a particular period.

Soft Red Wheat (SRW)—A common fall-seeded wheat, low to medium protein, used primarily for making cakes and other pastries. See Wheat.

Soft White Wheat (SWW)—All soft white wheat varieties consisting of three subclasses: soft white wheat, white club wheat, and western white wheat. A low-protein wheat used principally for pastry flours and shredded and puffed breakfast foods. See Wheat.

Sorghum—Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) or milo, is a versatile plant because it can tolerate drought, soil toxicities, a wide range of temperatures and high altitudes. Sorghum can be used for feed grain for livestock, for industrial applications such as ethanol production, and as food for human consumption.

Sorghum is primarily used as a livestock feed in the United States; however, as it has a higher feed-to-weight-gain ratio and results in lower average daily gain for livestock) than corn, its price is lower. Accordingly, sorghum is increasingly being used in ethanol production. Currently, most human consumption of sorghum occurs in low-income countries. The area planted to sorghum worldwide has increased by 66 percent over the past 50 years, while yield has increased by 244 percent.

Solubles (syrup)—In drymill ethanol production, the liquid portion of stillage separated from the coarse grain by centrifugation and concentrated to about 30 percent solids by evaporation. See Co-products, ethanol dry milling.

Soybeans—U.S. No. 1-4 and Sample Grade, Yellow soybeans and Mixed soybeans. See

Soybeans#1, Mixed soybeans and Yellow soybeans.

Soybeans #1—The highest grade available, based on test weight, heat damage, foreign material, splits, and color. It is a food--quality grade, but comprises only a small percent of the market. Most soybeans are of a lower grade and are sold as feed. See Soybeans.

Spot Commodity—The actual commodity as distinguished from a futures contract. Sometimes used to refer to cash commodities available for immediate delivery.

Spot price—The price at which a physical commodity for immediate delivery is selling at a given time and place. See cash price.

Spread—The price variation between two connected commodities or markets.

SRW—See Soft Red Wheat

ST—Short ton, 2,000 pounds, or 0.907 metric ton.

Starch—A white, tasteless, odorless polysaccharide carbohydrate found in large quantities in corn, sorghum, wheat and other grains that yields glucose upon hydrolysis.

St. Louis 1976 Benchmark Tariff Rate—The 1976 benchmark tariff rate is $3.99 per short ton and includes Alton, Chester, East St. Louis, Faults, IL. and Cape Girardeau, St. Louis, MO.

Steeping—In wet-mill corn processing, a process that involves soaking corn kernels under controlled conditions for temperature, time and concentration of sulfuric acid and lactic acid to soften the corn kernel before separating the germ, bran, gluten and starch in wet milling ethanol production.

Sunflowers—Oilseeds used for their cooking oil, meal and confectionary products. Oil and meal sunflowers are processed from the same varieties. Confectionary seeds have their own characteristics for their specific purposes. Premiums are offered for certain types of sunflowers for oil content and other characteristics. Sunflowers are a short-season crop that allows them to be grown over a wide range of latitudes compared to other oilseed crops. The U.S. growing season for sunflowers is from June through September, around 90 days. Sunflowers thrive in northern areas and in southern double-cropping systems. Sunflowers have a deep root system that allows them to flourish in rotations that maximize water use from the soil. A fallow period is often recommended following sunflowers to replenish depleted soil water reserves. Under irrigation, sunflowers compete with corn, silage crops, dry edible beans and wheat for acreage.

SWW—See Soft White Wheat

Tare Weight—The weight of the empty container, or conveyance of goods. Subtract tare weight from the gross weight capacity to obtain the net weight cargo capacity. Cargo weights in intermodal containers are restricted by highway weight limits and railroad safety concerns.

Tariff Rate for Containerized Cargo—The rate an ocean carrier offers a shipper for transportation services. Tariff rates do not include fuel, security, currency adjustment, or documentation surcharges. See Containerized Cargo and Tariff Rate.

Tariff Rate—The rate offered to shippers for transportation services. Guaranteed delivery of railcars, fuel surcharges, and other rail access charges are in addition to tariff rates.

Tariff—A document issued by carriers or conferences that established all rules, rates, and charges for the movement of goods.

Terminal Market—Consolidation point for grain before being shipped to a port for export. The price shown indicates terminal costs plus elevator processing costs.

TEU (20-foot equivalent unit)—A unit of measure in the maritime industry to describe containership and port capacity and movements through ports, terminals, and on trains and barges.

Texas Gulf—A grain export region including export elevators located in Beaumont, Brownsville, Channelview, Galena Park, Galveston, and Corpus Christi, TX.

Ton—A measure of weight (see long ton, metric ton, and short ton).

Total Commitments—Total of cumulative exports (shipped) + Outstanding sales (unshipped), as reported in the Export Sales report. See Export Sales Report.

Total Landed Cost—The farm value of a commodity plus the cost of transportation from the farm to the final destination point. The transportation cost includes trucking, rail, barge, and ocean freight rates.

Truck Activity (future)—The number of trucks expected to be used to haul grain to market in the upcoming three months, compared to the same quarter last year.

Truck Activity (present)—The number of trucks used for hauling grain to market in the current quarter, compared to the same quarter last year.

Truck Availability—Measures how easy or difficult it is to hire trucks to haul grain, compared to the same quarter last year.

Truck Fuel Prices—On-highway diesel fuel prices (dollars per gallon including taxes) as reported by the Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy.

Truck Rates—The average rate per mile that shippers report for hiring trucks to haul grain in the current quarter.


TSD—Transportation Services Division (TSD)—serves as the definitive source for economic analysis of agricultural transportation from farm to market. TSD experts support domestic and international agribusinesses by providing market reports, economic analysis, transportation disruption reports, technical assistance, and outreach to various industry stakeholders.

Twin Cities 1976 Benchmark Tariff Rate—The 1976 benchmark tariff rate is $6.19 per short ton and includes Minneapolis, St. Paul, Red Wing, Shakopee, and Winona, MN ports.

U.S. Flag Commercial Vessel—A vessel registered and operated under the laws of the United States; used in commercial trade of the United States; owned and operated by U.S. citizens, including a vessel under voyage or time charter to the Government; and a Government-owned vessel under bareboat charter to, and operated by, U.S. citizens.

U.S. Gulf—An area that includes Mississippi Gulf, Texas Gulf, and East Gulf.

Unit Train—A train with at least 52 cars, which remain as a unit between origin and destination. These rail cars may be split at the originating elevator and reassembled for delivery to the destination after loading.

Unshipped Export Balances—Grain reported to the USDA as having been sold, but which has not yet been shipped.

Upbound Empties—Barges that have been unloaded along the Mississippi, Arkansas, and Ohio rivers, which are now headed northbound, without any cargo aboard.

Vessel Sizes (Bulk Carriers)—There are several ocean bulk carriers that are reported in the Grain Transportation Report; Handysize (10,000-35,000 dwt), Handymax (35,000-50,000 dwt), Panamax (60,000-70,000 dwt), Supramax (52,000 – 65,000 dwt), and Capesize (80,000-172,000 dwt +).


WASDE—World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE)—prepared and released by the World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB). The report is released monthly, and provides annual forecasts for U.S. and world wheat, rice, coarse grains, oilseeds, and cotton. The report also covers U.S. production of sugar, meat, poultry, eggs, and milk.

WDG (Wet Distillers Grains)—It contains primarily unfermented grain residues (protein, fibre, fat and up to 70% moisture). WDG has a shelf life of four to five days. Due to the water content, WDG transport is usually economically viable within 200 km of the ethanol production facility.

Weight Cargo—Cargo on which the transportation charge is assessed on the basis of weight per metric ton (1000 kilograms/2240 lbs) and does not exceed a measurement of one cubic meter per ton, versus measurement cargo which exceeds one cubic meter per metric ton.

Wet Milling—Processes used to separate various components of the corn kernel into associated fractions including high fructose corn syrup, corn oil, starch and fiber.


Wheat—The three primary varieties of wheat that are sown domestically in the U.S. are winter wheat, spring wheat, and durum. Winter wheat varieties are sown in the fall and usually become established before going into dormancy when cold weather arrives. In the spring, plants resume growth and grow rapidly until the summertime harvest. Winter wheat production represents 70-80 percent of total U.S. production, or 1,100 million to more than 1,800 million bushels.

In the Northern Plains, where winters are harsh, winter wheat plantings are limited, and spring or durum varieties are favored. Spring and durum wheat are typically planted as soon as soil conditions permit in mid-March through April and harvested in the late summer or fall of the same year. Spring wheat typically constitutes about one-quarter of total U.S. wheat production, or 400 million to over 600 million bushels. Durum wheat is the smallest of the three major categories of wheat and typically accounts for about 75 million bushels, or 3-5 percent of total U.S. wheat production.

The three categories of wheat can be disaggregated further into five major wheat varieties in the U.S: White, Soft White Wheat (SWW), Soft Red Winter (SRW), Hard Red Spring (HRS), Hard Red Winter (HRW), Durum (DUR). For Canada: Canada Western Amber Durum (CWAD), and Canada Western Red Sprint (CWRS). Each class has a somewhat different end use, and production tends to be region-specific.

* Hard red winter (HRW) wheat accounts for about 40 percent of total production and is grown primarily in the Great Plains (northern Texas through Montana). HRW is principally used to make bread flour.

* Hard red spring (HRS) wheat accounts for about 20 percent of production and is grown primarily in the Northern Plains (North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, and South Dakota). HRS wheat is valued for its high protein levels, which make it suitable for specialty breads and blending with lower protein wheat.

* Soft red winter (SRW) wheat accounts for 15-20 percent of total production and is grown primarily in States along the Mississippi River and in eastern States. Flour produced from milling-grade SRW is used for cakes, cookies, and crackers.

* White wheat (both winter and spring) accounts for 10-15 percent of total production and is grown in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Michigan, and New York. Its flour is used for noodle products, crackers, cereals, and white crusted breads.

* Durum wheat accounts for 3-5 percent of total production and is grown primarily in North Dakota and Montana. Durum wheat is used in the production of pasta.

Whole Grains (or foods made from them)—Contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions. If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed. This definition means that 100% of the original kernel – all of the bran, germ, and endosperm – must be present to qualify as a whole grain.

List of whole grains: The following, when consumed in a form including the bran, germ and endosperm, are examples of generally accepted whole grain foods and flours: Amaranth, Barley, Buckwheat, Corn (including whole cornmeal and popcorn), Millet, Oats (including oatmeal), Quinoa, Rice (both brown rice and colored rice), Rye, Sorghum (also called milo), Teff, Triticale, Wheat (including varieties such as spelt, emmer, farro, einkorn, Kamut®, durum and forms such as bulgur, cracked wheat and wheatberries), and Wild Rice.

Yellow Soybeans—These soybeans have yellow or green seed coats, and may not include more than 10 percent of soybeans of other colors. See Soybeans.

YTD—year-to-date

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FS 668 BMK_2353 skiff ramp