As I visit with farmers across the Midwest, I am left with the idea that the weather market that has helped corn and soybean prices over the past few weeks is going to end this week. We will continue to talk about the weather, but it will not matter much, the reason being that the crop is mature in much of the Midwest, either because of early planting and warm weather, or from the frost that hit much of the Dakotas Sept. 7-8 and hurried things along.
This is the earliest frost there in several years, and it has reminded us why the Dakotas used to not plant corn, but South Dakota now plants more than Ohio. With early planting and modern varieties, the damage is not expected to be large, but one local observer said, “We could have used a couple of more weeks.”
Locally, we got an inch or two of rain over the weekend, and it will still help most crops. We have shown drought stress off and on, but have had significant damage held off by timely rains, even with a very dry August.
The earliest beans in northeast Ohio have been turning color for a week, but most are still dead green and will remain so for another week or two. There are significant acres of double-crop beans out there, and they show good growth but need a lot of time yet to be mature.
Corn in the major areas of the Midwest has dried fast the last week, but ours is still green and will use the recent rains to an advantage. I have seen some corn that is losing the dark green of summer, but that is rare. So, the grain markets will start to focus more on government reports and early harvest results.
We get two sets of statistics this week. On Sept. 7 we got the holiday-delayed weekly crop progress report. The supply and demand report, which will include yield and harvested acres numbers, is to be released Sept. 11.
Last week’s crop conditions showed a 2% cut in corn condition, from a total of 64% good and excellent to a total of 62%. This gives the impression of a poor crop, but it is actually above average.
The rating is affected by the derecho disaster that was mostly in Iowa, which has dramatically cut the crop there. Last week we saw speculation that this would cut the average yield estimate in the report, but this week I have heard talk that the effect might be shown more in harvested acres. This is because of large areas of Iowa that will not be harvested at all.
Last month the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated a yield of 181.8 bpa for corn, and this is now surely too high. Still, where the corn is not blown down it is very good. Western Iowa, which avoided the worst of the storm, has been too dry, and the recent rains are too late to correct the damage there.
The recent rallies in the grains have been fueled by the crop losses from the storm and the perceived hot and dry weather that would have hurt soybean pod filling. Some agronomists have reported pod loss during the dry weather.
In the process, we saw soybeans gain almost $1.12 on the November futures. We saw a low of $8.651⁄4 Aug. 10 and a high of $9.77 on early trading Sept. 7 and 8. The soybeans charts have shown a long-term rally going back to April 21 when the November futures were $8.31.
We have seen an upturning support line that draws near the $8.31, then $8.381⁄2 May 6, then $8.403⁄4 May 22, then $8.56-3⁄4 June 29. The last few days have been steeper, to our recent high.
The corn futures, however, have shown a support line that is slightly negative. December futures were at $3.20 three days in the first half of August, which defined firm support. However, the December was $3.251⁄2 for a low April 21, then $3.22 June 26. The recent high Aug. 31 of $3.641⁄4, after the storm damage, represented a 44-cent gain in three weeks, but we were trading at $3.59 Sept. 8.
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