The market is focused on the harvest progress as traders seek to confirm current assumptions about the size and condition of the grain crops. Meanwhile, the wheat country is fast at finishing winter wheat planting.
Traders are disappointed at corn harvest progress, although Ohio is right on the average pace. Ohio farmers have cut 18 percent of the corn against an average of 17 percent.
The U.S. as a whole, however, lags the 32 percent average for this date. We are now at 27 percent as of Oct. 4.
Last week, Ohio farmers were at ten percent and the U.S. was at 18. With the crop maturity pushed by dry weather in August, Ohio is farther ahead with the soybean harvest.
We have 45 percent of the beans off, against a 23 percent average. The U.S. is similarly at 42 percent harvested, but there the average is 32 percent.
Last week, Ohio was at 25 percent, the U.S. at 21. It seems that locally we are ahead of that, at least for the beans.
I suspect northeast Ohio is more like 75 percent harvested on the beans, although the corn has mostly been left in the field so far. We worry about the beans going down in snowy weather, although our harvest is the earliest ever for this area, so worries are limited.
Corn progress is mostly coming on days following rain, but that is beginning to change as more farmers are getting to an end to the beans. Of course, the talk in this region is of disappointing yields, even as the nation is having a big crop.
That talk maybe overdone, and the last few days have seen corn particularly drifting higher. We have been modestly higher for most of the last ten days on the corn charts, and are currently trading near the recent high.
This Tuesday morning (Oct. 6) we are trading December futures at $3.93-1/4. Which is down a quarter, but close to the recent high on the fifteenth of $3.95. The recent low was on the fourth, at $3.60-1/2.
That means we have seen a good bounce, and we may have already had the harvest low. The November soybeans have been more choppy, with little direction noted.
This morning we are at $8.83, down one and a quarter cents. The recent low was $8.53-1/4 on Sept. 11, but the high was on the 30th at $9.02-1/4.
So, we had a 50-cent bounce, but we are now in the middle, having lost 20 cents. It is hard to have firm prices with the cop only a third off, so this is probably good news, or as good as we will get for awhile.
We have had enough harvest to have a feel for the volume being harvested. There is apparently no real surprise to come in the beans. The support in the markets seems to come more from a disappointing harvest pace than any other factor.
The weather is seen as good for gaining ground on the harvest pace for the coming ten days. Needless to say, that does not apply to our friends anywhere near the East Coast.
Certainly there will be no harvest on the Shore for some time to come. The heaviest rains are in the Carolinas, and the corn crop is off there. We are delaying the bean harvest, which comes later the way they do it.
The cotton harvest across the South is being delayed.
Fundamental news this week comes in the form of the USDA Supply and Demand Report out Oct. 9 at noon. This is not a year when we expect anything in this report to move the market, but that means we are susceptible to a surprise.
My biggest surprise would be if this report amounted to anything in terms of market reaction.
In other weather news, weather gurus are watching the current El Nino as a global weather event with local impact. There are differing opinions what that impact is. This one is thought to be the largest since the 1997-1998 event.
Normally, the result is favorable weather in the Southern Hemisphere. Some are predicting fewer corn acres there, and larger bean acres.
In the U.S., we sometimes see wetter weather in the West, and hotter, dryer weather in the Midwest. When the effect is mild it tends to be good for crops.
When it is extreme, it is bad for crops. The largest market effect may actually be a reaction to a change in acres in the Southern Hemisphere, which will be planted in what is their fall in November and December.
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