Conditions looking good for soybean harvest

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soybean harvesting
(Farm and Dairy file photo)

Ah, the hardy few who raise soybeans in Ashtabula County!

This year they get to see what the rest of Ohio sees — harvest in late September and early October in great conditions. The soybean harvest is well along, as late heat pushed the dry-down.

The current near-drought conditions could not have come at a better time! Most field of beans are ready to cut, or already in the bin.

A few are still dropping leaves, but will be ready by the time the combines can get to them. I told a man this morning that this might be the first time I ever saw the soybeans be harvested, then pause, then the corn harvest.

In recent years, with early corn and bean planting, it all runs together. There is a lot of variance within corn fields this year. Consequently, hand samples will be drier than combine samples.

Farmers will not want to pay to dry wet corn that is cheap.

Making progress

Just how far along is the harvest? The Ohio soybeans are now at 24 percent harvested, as of Sunday night. That is actually ahead of the 20 percent average. Last week we had only done five percent, so it has been a big week.

Last year at this time we had just 11 percent done. The U.S. harvest shows similar progress. We are at 22 percent, with 26 the average.

Last week we had only done 10 percent. This means Ohio is ahead of pace, but the country as a whole is behind.

Last year the U.S. was at 24 percent at this time. If you go south and west you find dry corn and a good start to harvest. The Ohio corn harvest is at eight percent, down from the 12 percent average. Last week we were at three percent. Last year at this time we had 12 percent off, right at the average. At the same time, the U.S. is at 17 percent of harvest this week.

The average was 26 percent, so we are well behind. Last week we were 11 percent done, so good progress was made. Last year at this time we were at 22 percent.

It is easy to understand why we are a little behind with the corn harvest if we look at USDA maturity numbers from the Monday Crop Progress Report. Ohio showed 58 percent mature, but the average is 67 percent.

The nation is at 68 percent mature, but the average is 78 percent. Expect the coming week to be one of good weather and harvest catch-up. While harvest is progressing, estimates of crop size are increasing.

Raising estimates

Remember that I anticipated that harvest would be a little disappointing, giving us a chance at modestly higher prices. In fact, two notable observers have raised yield estimates of corn and beans this week.

Each added a couple of bushels per acre to corn and one bushel to beans. We are now looking at 168-bus corn and beans near 50 bpa average. It does not sound like much, but it has impact, and the impact is in the wrong direction.

Looking at the prices is disappointing, but shows us what we should expect with worse technicals, harvest pressure, a stronger US dollar, and continued big supplies from the last crops.

December corn futures are trading this Tuesday morning, Oct. 3, at $3.503⁄4.

That is up 3⁄4 of a cent, and still nicely above the low of $3.44-1⁄4 made the last day of August. November soybean futures are trading at $9.573⁄4, which is up a half-cent. Futures were lower overnight a nickel, and came back.

The recent low was at $9.21 on the 16th of August, so we are well above that. It is just depressing to look back at the high of $9.87 on Sept. 22.

December wheat futures continue sideways to slightly higher. The current trade is at $4.493⁄4, up a nickel, which is a big change. The low was on the 29th of August, at $4.261⁄2.

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