Jay O’Neil is a senior agricultural economist and instructor with the International Grains Program (IGP) at Kansas State University. With 43 years of experience in the grain business, he has traveled to more than 45 different countries on grains market projects. While attending the International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE), the world’s largest annual poultry, feed and meat technology exposition, O’Neil talked about the benefits of American transportation infrastructure he has studied throughout his career.
“Logistically speaking, U.S. soy has a very distinct advantage in the efficiency of our transportation network,” says O’Neil. “We have shuttle trains that move grain from the interior of the United States to the port in as little as three to four days. We have barge systems that move large quantities of soybeans and soybean meal down the river and it creates a mass movement of good quality soy in a very efficient way so that our buyers receive that product quickly and in good condition.”
This sentiment is echoed in the 2016 Farm to Market Report, demonstrating that the average transportation route of soybeans from farm to finaldestination in the U.S. requires 74 miles (119.1 km) by truck, 377 miles (606.72 km) by rail and 217 miles (349.23) by barge.
O’Neil adds that South American soy has challenges logistically with infrastructure, quality and amounts being delivered to ports. “I definitely think the U.S.is much more efficient in the way they handle that logistical network to supply soybeans and soybean meal quickly and efficiently.”
O’Neil explains that most buyers only buy a 60-day supply of soybeans, so confidence in a regular, trustworthy supply is critically important. “Any disruption to that supply disrupts what they are receiving.”
How does the U.S. provide superior uninterrupted service? “The logistical advantages we have are that shuttle train system and the rail system that runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Everything is a pretty smooth, efficient, quick operating system and that is a great benefit to the customer.”
See below for the full interview.