The crop harvest that just never ends


USDA released the weekly Crop Progress Report Monday, maybe just to make those of us in Ohio feel bad.

Yes, it is now November, and, no, we are not making much progress in Ohio.

The trend for drier weather the farther west and north one goes has continued, with Minnesota done with beans and 86 percent done corn. Illinois is 98 percent done corn. Meanwhile, we got another 4 percent harvested this week to get us all the way to 18 percent!

So, if it feels like you are really behind, take heart. You really are behind.

Last year at this time we were on a record pace, at 89 percent harvested. The five-year average is 56 percent for Ohio, 55 percent for the U.S.

This week, the U.S. is now at 65 percent, with Ohio doing the most to pull the average down.

It may surprise you that the U.S. average for soybean harvest is only 79 percent at this time. Of course, that includes a lot of southern and double crop beans. This week we are only at 80 percent as a nation, with the Ohio progress of 42 percent pulling down the average.

All in your perspective

Part of the problem with crop progress is perspective. We have gotten used to early planting, fast dry-down, and big planting and harvesting equipment.

I remember growing up raising ear corn when it was a big deal to finish planting in May, and the target to finish harvest was Thanksgiving. Year after year, we got up from the turkey feast, put on the Carhartts and went out to do the last 10 acres, if we were lucky.

Most years, we still had that odd field to do when the ground froze. The trick was to get down to 15 degrees or so without having too much snow. If it was really cold, you could get some snow to go through the rolls without freezing everything up.

Now we plant in April, whether the corn comes up right away or not. Harvest in November is a no-no, and there is a sense of failure if we are still doing it. (And doing it and doing it and doing it…)

Rainy days and Mondays

The rainy days provide more time to check markets, but the time available does not help make them better to understand.

Prices have been volatile and erratic. It has been hard to make sense of the up and down.

Once again this morning, the notes on the screen are all about outside markets. It used to be that prices moved around because of supply, demand, weather, harvest or planting progress — things like that. Today, our first look is at the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the value of the U.S. dollar versus the Euro.

About more than grain

This morning is no different. We were sharply lower on the electronic markets overnight Monday into Tuesday, and the reasons given were all about things other than grain.

The Dow was down 276 Monday, getting us below 12,000 again. Early trading Tuesday has it down 150 points. Meanwhile the dollar is up a whole point. So, use that for the excuse that corn was at 6 a.m. down a dozen, beans down 19, and wheat off a dime.

The January soybeans made the recent high back in the middle of the month at 12.82 The low came Monday, at 12.04, then again on the overnight, at 11.92 3/4, with an 11.95 morning close. That was down 21 1/2 cents. The December corn futures finished the overnight session at 6.33 3/4 after a 6.32 low. The recent high was 6.64 on Oct. 21.

So, whatever the reason you want to find, we are back toward the bottom of the recent rebound on corn and beans, with much of the harvest to come.

At this point, we will stop talking about harvest pressure because the slow harvest is not exerting much pressure any more.


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