Farmers fighting for crops in Ohio


It is no news to anyone reading this that the farmers of Ohio are fighting for their crops and their livelihoods.


The hardy farmers of northeast Ohio got parts of two days this weekend to run beans on squishy ground.

In some cases, they have been rained out and have switched to corn.

Farmers I talked to Monday had given up for the day on the beans when we had light showers Monday morning. Since then, we have had some sunshine, so the bean heads may stay on or get switched back over.

Drive the highways and byways of Ohio and one sees field after field of good looking beans that are still standing. Once again, I have to emphasize that this is an Ohio problem.

It is easy to think that the market is going to rally to reflect corn lost in Ohio, but we are not the norm. The farther west and north one goes, the better the harvest progress.

Just look at the USDA numbers from Monday’s Crop Progress Report. Our maturity is lagging the norm, with the country as a whole at 94 percent mature in the corn crop instead of the normal 97.

Not the norm

Ohio is normally close to the U.S. average, at 96 percent. Instead we are at 76 percent mature, up from 61.

That does not mean that the corn is dried down enough that we really want to harvest, just that it is physically mature and done growing.

So, even if we had good field conditions, the corn is not all ready.

The report shows that Ohio is the problem state for harvest, with only 14 percent of the corn off, up from a miserable 8 percent last week, but only a third of the 41 percent average.

What makes it seem worse is the fast harvest of last year. At this time last year we were 75 percent done. Meanwhile the country as a whole is at 81 percent harvested.

The weather pattern makes sense if you look at Minnesota, which is now 79 percent done. Add to that Iowa at 71 percent, Illinois at 79 percent, and Indiana at 42 percent, and things become clear.

Come east, come under the dome of rain.

A report I saw on a national website this week pretty well describes our year. Cleveland is now officially over 58 inches of rain, a new record for the year.

With two and a half months to go in the year, what will the new record end up being?

We had the rain in the spring, most of the summer, and all fall.

For the nation, the bean harvest is similar — we are at 80 percent, faster than the 71 percent average. Ohio, however, is at 41 percent, with northeast Ohio at less than that, I believe.


A lot was done in the mud last week to bring us up from 23 percent. We are still less than half of the 88 percent five-year average.

While our harvest has been struggling, the markets have been volatile.

For corn, that means we have been higher on most of the last 14 sessions. The low was back on Oct. 4, at 5.77, and the high was on the 21st at 6.64.

That represents an 87-cent gain, nearly unheard of for this time of year. After nearly a nickel up overnight, we are 6.55 3/4 going into the day session here on Tuesday.

This can be seen as a contra-seasonal rally because of delayed harvest, but for the nation we are not that delayed now.

It might just be the bounce off a $2 break which the traders now view as excessive. Or, it might just be the current reading of the chicken entrails that we refer to as the outside markets.

That would be economic problems here and abroad, war news, changes in dollar exchange rates, and any other news stirred into the mess.

The soybeans have been more volatile, with only six of the last 11 sessions being higher. The low was on Oct. 7 at 11.55 November futures. The high was on the 14th at 12.75 1/2. That is a gain of $1.20, but a loss of nearly 40 cents to the overnight close of 12.30 3/4.

(Marlin Clark trades producer and elevator grain from an office near Andover, Ohio, for Town and Country Co-op of Ashland, Ohio.)


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Marlin Clark is an associate of Russell Consulting Group, with a local office in Williamsfield, Ohio. Comments are welcome at 440-363-1803.



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