Unsteady prices as harvest winds down


Brace yourselves, young bucks! I am having a geezer moment.

I am remembering the traditional harvest schedule of my youth, when we hoped to have the crop in by Thanksgiving Day.

That was the traditional goal. If we hadn’t met it, and the weather was good, we girded our loins with Carhartts and went out to pick another 10 acres after our Thanksgiving meal.

The hope, in the frozen north of Ashtabula County, was really to get done before we had enough snow to stop us.

Finishing on frozen ground in February, on open tractors, was frequent, and unwelcome.

I shiver in my warm office, just thinking about it.

Sunday, the Miller crew hit what they call the old Clark farm and we used to call the Howard farm with the full fury of 21st century equipment.

They were just starting 135 acres of corn with two 12-row combines, two tracked tractors, two tracked grain carts, and two semis when I drove by on my way to church.

There were probably more trucks in rotation, but that was enough to impress me. By the time I lazed through lunch and a NASCAR nap in the car while Squeeze shopped, they were well along.

By the time I drove back by, they were on the last 20 acres. Their progress is just a little ahead of the official progress reported by USDA for Sunday night.


In that report, released Nov. 17, Ohio was reported to be just ahead of average, with 81 percent of the corn harvested.

The U.S. as a whole is at 89 percent, versus 80 at this time last week. The 5-year average is 88 percent.

Ohio officially has 93 percent of the soybean crop harvested. That is close to the U.S. progress of 94 percent.

The U.S. was up from 90 percent last week, but 96 is the average. So, we are just behind the average, even though it seems like we are late.

Ohio is now fighting off snow, from Mansfield to Ashtabula. We had several inches of wet snow hanging on everything Nov. 17 and stopping harvest.

Nov. 18, we have bitter cold and high winds. The snow is back off the corn, but the field conditions are tough for any harvest. Any beans left are buried.

The latest surge of harvest progress has hurt the price rebound we had seen for several weeks.

The December corn futures are currently at 3.75 3/4, which is up nearly 2 cents for the day Nov. 18.

We are now about 13 cents off the high made Nov. 13 at 3.89. The contract low was back on Oct. 1, at 3.18 1/4. The good news is that we gained 70 cents and have held onto most of the gain.


The November soybeans futures have had a similar recent past, with maybe a little more fall-back.

We are at 10.37 1/2 this morning, which is up one and a quarter cents. That is 49 cents off the high of 10.86- 1/4 put in Nov. 12. The low was Oct. 1, at 9.12 1/4. So, we gained 1.74 and gave back 49 cents.


The wheat has been in a strong uptrend since the 4.66 1/4 low Sept. 25. I am trying to correlate that with planting progress, but I cannot find a connection.

The wheat for the country is now 95 percent planted, just off the 97 percent average.

Exports are actually very poor. This week we did not even have half of the exports needed to meet the pace for projections.

We moved 5.1 million bushels, but needed to export 16.5.

Locally, we have low wheat planted acres once again.

The beans came off late, and most farmers are trying to plant after the beans. Now we come to the part of fall and winter where we hope prices move seasonally higher, even while we have to recognize the huge size of corn and bean crops.

I am not bullish, and I think the recent gains are move a reflection of the slow, late harvest.

However, statistically the harvest is not that late.


Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!



We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment policy.

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.