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GCC Insight: Export Markets for GCC Commodities

Apr 26, 2019


It's a topic we haven't really gone too much into detail on, but on occasion we get asked, "So what happens to the grain once it leaves the co-op?"  

From a farmer's field, the grain is brought to one of our twenty elevators.  From there, once the grain has been sold to the co-op, the co-op is able to sell it.  Our grain team works to find a shipment period and a buyer and then writes up a contract with the buyer.  

The vast majority of grain being shipped out of our elevators does so by a semi-truck with a hopper trailer, with the exception of our Dighton area, which has the ability to also ship out grain via rail hopper cars.  

The Garden City Co-op handles three main commodities.  These are corn, which is the largest commodity in volume, followed by wheat and milo, which come in tied for second and third behind corn.  Many would think wheat is our top commodity as we have been known to be the "America's bread basket" but as Wagner states, "This has not been the case since the late 1990's when corn production bypassed wheat and continues that trend to this day."


There are two major markets for corn.  This is prime cattle country and we have a lot of feedlots and dairies in the area that rely on a constant supply of corn for livestock feed.  Our local ethanol plants also utilize a good portion of our corn crop as well, so the export of the corn commodity doesn't have to travel far to reach it's final destination.  In fact, some years, we can't keep up with the demand and actually have to import corn just to supply the feedlots, dairies and ethanol plants.   


Wheat may not be the biggest commodity group on average any more but the co-op still handles a sizeable amount each year.  There are two major markets for the wheat crop.  The first would be the domestic mill market in Central Kansas.  The grain is trucked to these locations where they are ground into flour.  This flour is then sent on to companies where it is either bagged as flour, or sent to bakeries and is then sent on to your local grocery store.  

The second market is the global wheat market.  The wheat is trucked to a local shuttle loader where it is loaded on rail cars and sent to the Gulf of Mexico where it is then loaded on barges and sent all around the world.  


Milo is the one crop that Kansas has the ability to affect the markets on a national and even global scale moreso than the other two because of our market share.  Wagner explains, "The Kansas crop of Milo makes up ten percent of the world production and to sixty-five percent of the U.S. production."  

Milo essentially has three main markets to export to:  area feedlots, ethanol plants, and rail hopper cars to barges at the Gulf of Mexico for world exports.  

If you have any questions on the grain export process, grain contract options or any other grain related questions, contact our grain team at 620-275-6161.  

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