In order to better plan strategic moves to grow the state’s agricultural interests, the Kansas Department of Agriculture commissioned a Kansas Agribusiness Commodity Flow Study, analyzing the movement of crops, livestock and other agricultural products within and from the state of Kansas.
The study was a need identified through KDA’s Ag Growth Strategy project which indicated that multiple sectors across Kansas agriculture would benefit from a thorough understanding of commodity flow, both intra and interstate.
Flow studies like this one identify key value-added processing, market and demand points while assessing the role and use of infrastructure essential to commodity movement. Results from this report include information about net outflows of feed ingredients, the role played by road and rail infrastructure in the agriculture supply chain, and how Kansas leverages strong local synergies to add value in livestock production and processing.
“We look forward to seeing how this information will benefit our partners across the Kansas agriculture industry as the study provides detailed analysis of the movement of agricultural products,” said Mike Beam, Kansas secretary of agriculture. “It will help identify where opportunities exist to enhance commodity flow and improve market efficiency and competitiveness of Kansas agriculture, both domestically and globally.”
Some key points identified by the study include:
- Kansas grain and oilseed production is increasing, with the greatest increases in corn and soybean production.
- Even with robust ethanol production, Kansas has net inflows of dried distillers grains (DDGs). Kansas has net outflows of corn, grain sorghum, wheat, soybean meal, meat and bonemeal, and wheat midds.
- The bulk of these outflows are to demand points within the 11-state region (Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico), with the exception of hard red winter wheat, for which 51% of outflows are outside the region.
- Finding ways to add more value to Kansas grains within Kansas is a way to increase revenues, decrease transportation costs and reduce associated greenhouse gas emissions. Pathways for adding value to grains can include expanded livestock feeding and processing; increased biofuels production; and value-added grain processing such as protein extraction, synthetic amino acid production and production of other grain-based nutritional derivatives.
- Kansas has net outflows of biofuels, with about 20% of biofuels moving outside the 11-state region. This implies that rail transport is an essential component of competitive biofuels production in Kansas. On a similar note, rail infrastructure is an essential part of moving the Kansas wheat crop to markets outside of Kansas and outside the 11-state region.
- Kansas fed cattle processing facilities draw a significant share of their slaughter supply from outside the 11-state region. This suggests there may be an opportunity for more fed cattle feedlot production in Kansas; however, the Kansas-based supply shortage of DDGs would need to be addressed for more fed cattle feedlot production to be strongly competitive.
- Kansas ships a substantial amount of soybean meal to poultry-producing areas in Oklahoma and Texas. Additionally, when the announced soybean processing facility in Montgomery County, Kan., begins operation, there will be more soybean meal available that could be the basis for more value-added production via broiler production in southeastern Kansas.
- Kansas has a substantial amount of on-farm storage, and a strong country elevator and terminal elevator network. In addition, Kansas is well-positioned with rail shuttle-loading facilities within reasonable distances of the major crop-growing areas (especially wheat).
- Overall, the counties producing most of the truck traffic are in the western part of the state. This is more evident when all flows — inbound, outbound, domestic — and exports are combined. Particularly, the Southwest Crop Reporting District (CRD) and the Northwest CRD handled a combined 44% of the agricultural truck traffic, as measured by ton-miles.
The study was conducted by Decision Innovative Solutions with input from the Kansas Department of Transportation, agricultural commodity organizations and several industry partners. Results from the study are now available to the public, and will be used by policymakers, stakeholders and other members of the Kansas agriculture industry as they make decisions in the future about infrastructure investments and new market development.
To view the full study, visit the KDA website at agriculture.ks.gov/commodityflow.
Kansas Department of Agriculture contributed to this article.