Harvest creeps closer, but will weather hit crops first?


Time flies. The earth spins, the days come and go, and inexorably we creep toward harvest.

Many questions remain as we approach the end of the crop year. Not the least of these is: What size crop do we have?

The government says it is huge, and recent revised USDA reports have traders back on their heels, trying to support prices.

The Aug. 12 USDA Crop Production Report put the corn at 12.761 bushels of estimated production this year. This is up a half-million bushels since the July report, and two-thirds of a million higher than last year. It is also a coupla hundred thousand more bushels than the traders expected.

USDA now puts the soybeans at 3.199 billion bushels, a little less than the traders thought, and down 51 million from the July report. But, try to find someone locally who believes these numbers!

What summer?

This has been the summer without summer.

By my count, in Ashtabula County we had one day in August of 90 degrees, and that was for about 20 minutes before it slipped back into the 80s.

The coffee break on the balcony in the morning requires a sweater. It just seems like we are 10 degrees too cool on most days. It was 43 degrees when I walked the dogs this morning. That seems a little cool for the first day of September, and it gets me thinking what a lot of farmers are thinking: Should we worry about an early frost?

I am not walking the fields, so I am not sure just how far along the corn is, but it seems like we are late. A morning this cool makes me think that we are not that far from too cool, and it is only the start of September.

Down again

Now, farmers like to worry, and nothing will likely happen. Still, is seems like maybe the market should be building a little fear into prices. So far that is not happening.

Overnight, we were down again, and prices are terrible compared to the cost of inputs. Of course, historically these are still good prices, and the market does not care what your cost of production is.

December corn futures dropped to 3.11-1/2 on Aug. 17, then gained 26 cents by the 25th; 17 cents were gone again in the next week. We closed the month of August at 3.20-1/4, about $2.70 new crop cash.

Beans had a high in the middle of the month at 10.66 November futures, but were only 9.40-1/2 by Aug. 19. Monday beans had a 51-1/2-cent range, and closed at 9.67-1/4. That is up off the low, but not what we would like.

The Chicago wheat futures have exhibited a steady downtrend, losing nearly $2.50 since June. We closed December futures Monday at 4.98-3/4, 18 cents better than the low during the day.

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