We’re entering the hope-and-change grain market

December will soon be here. A fifth of the corn crop is still in the field, and it is raining.

I haven’t had the heart to wade to the rain gauge mounted to the side of my Do-All thrower post, but I dumped three and a half inches out while my city-boy sons were playing over the holiday. They come home from the confines of town life and catch up with their handguns in the back yard. Added to the mix this week was a battlefield Lugar that Nate’s father-in-law passed down to him.

Pessimistic

It sounded like another couple of inches fell during the night, as I lay awake and listened to it. The old farmer in me has to hear the rain and decide whether to be glad for the rest it brings or complain because we didn’t need it and there is work to be done.

There is always something to be glad for or to complain about, and force of habit always brings me down on the side of complaint. In this case, the rain means that there is a fifth of the crop still to be harvested, and no progress may be made now until the ground freezes.

Not too much drying goes on in December, although the guys with tracks might be tempted on good days.

Corn still standing

Many farmers finally finished, but they have neighbors who didn’t. The farmers I talked to yesterday were a mix, with one having 300 acres to go, one having 200, and several that got done on the end of the last (sort of) dry spell last week.

Now they can go back to thinking about how to get the beans dry that are not in a drying bin and how to market this crop.

Goodbye, $7 corn

The optimistic think the crop is in the bin, and there is plenty of time to wait for the good prices to return. $7 corn came and went, and $5.75 doesn’t look good any more.

While the farmers are looking for the bounce, the market is struggling to put in a bottom on corn, beans, and wheat. The holiday trading of last week did not help.

After the holiday, Friday trading was depressing. The corn was down 8 1/2 cents. The beans were off 16. March wheat was down 5 1/4. Maybe Friday trading reflected the fact that some traders took a long weekend.

Monday gave us a rebound, and hope for some follow-through. Corn was up a dime for awhile, but finished barely even. Soybeans got back 14 1/2 cents of the Friday loss. The March wheat got back four of the five and a quarter lost Friday.

So, maybe the real tale is for Tuesday. Is this the classic “Turnaround Tuesday” that gets a trend started the other way? So far there is hope, since corn is fractionally higher, and beans and wheat are up a couple overnight. But, so far that is just wishful thinking.

Today will give us a feel for the week, but we need to trade the day session.

It is hard to get bullish when the USDA production report came with a smaller crop, but the prices went down. It is hard to be bullish when the news that get talked about has nothing to do with the actual grains, but with outside markets.

Yesterday was a good example, with the reason for better prices given was because of lack of bad economic news out of Europe, and the record Black Friday retail sales. I feel better when the market moves because of something in the actual grain crops.

Once again this morning all the talk is of the outside markets. The Dow was up 291 yesterday and 90 points overnight. Crude oil was up 63 cents. Gold is up most of $5, and the dollar is lower, helping exports.

The reality is that the next fundamental news comes with the January Inventory Reports. Is there any hope in them? Trading will now be with seasonal patterns, with nothing to spook prices until spring.

About the Author

Marlin Clark trades producer and elevator grain from an office near Andover, Ohio for Town & Country Co-op. You can reach him for comment at 440-293-4055. More Stories by Marlin Clark

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