Harvest slowly underway in Ohio

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Soybean harvest 2017
Harvesting soybeans in Madison County, Ohio.

Harvest has started in Ohio, but only just started. Soybeans are trickling into northeastern Ohio elevators.

Even our location in Wayne Township received beans on Monday. Beautiful, late weather has pushed the soybeans to quickly drop leaves and dry out. Those on light soils that actually grew in the cold and damp weather of May are now mature.

Those on the heavier soils are not far behind. The beans had a wonderful growing season, once the month of May was past.

Precipitation

Beans do not need as much sun as corn, and the rains were steady. Consequently, the beans are on time.

The corn is late, and the ninety-degree temperatures of the last couple of days are helping maturity, but come too late to catch up growth and yields. A look at USDA Crop Conditions, released every Monday afternoon, reveals that the soybean harvest in the U.S. is now at ten percent.

That is up from four percent last week, and nearly up to the average of 12 percent. The Ohio crop is actually ahead of normal.

We now have five percent off, and that is where we were this time last year. The average is only three percent. Last week we had just started, at one percent.

At the same time, the corn harvest lags in Ohio and elsewhere. Only 51 percent of the corn is rated as “mature.”

In Ohio that is only 39 percent. The average for the country is 64 percent, and for Ohio, is 54 percent. 39 percent of Ohio corn is now mature.

Harvest progress

As a result, the U.S. harvest is at 11 percent instead of the normal 17. The Ohio harvest is at just three percent instead of the average six.

This is looking to be a year when we don’t receive corn and beans at the same time. The beans will be off, then the corn. Corn harvest especially will likely drag as farmers find the hand samples will be much drier than combine samples.

There is much variation in the field given the uneven start of the crop. Farmers will be reluctant to rush wet corn to town and pay drying charges on cheap corn.

Prices continue to disappoint, and now there is no time to hope for improvement before harvest.

Now is only the fond hope that the harvest disappoints those not in our area. That is, we want good crops, but if there is disappointment elsewhere, we are willing to take the price jump that will result!

Looking at the prices is depressing until we realize it still feels like the harvest lows are in, pre-harvest.

December corn futures had that high way back on July 11 at $4.17 1⁄4. We dropped to $3.441⁄4 on Aug. 31, and that low has held.

We bounced to $3.62 on Sept. 9, then slipped back near the low on Sept. 12 at $3.451⁄2. We are currently nicely above that, at $3.531⁄4.

The soybeans differ, in that we have never got back near the low and actually rallied recently. The November futures high was on that same July 11, and $10.47. We didn’t know then how good that was!

Price swings

We dropped like a rock to $9.21 on Sept. 16, but rallied to $9.87 on Sept. 22, Friday. We were nearly as high again on Monday, at $9.853⁄4. Currently, we are trading $9.68 here on Tuesday morning, Sept. 26.

December wheat prices continue to disappoint, also. After a long slide from the weather scare in the Northern Plains that gave us $5.921⁄4 on July 5, we have seen the low of $4.221⁄2 near the end of August.

Since then we have squeaked higher, but are mostly sideways. We are now trading $4.563⁄4, up two and three-quarters for the morning. Usually this is the time of year that I caution farmers to not ignore marketing while they are in the field.

This year I do not anticipate much happening for a few weeks, unless there are major surprises. The best I can come up with is the idea that we always know the cure for low prices is low prices.

Grain gets purchased in large numbers by the end users when they think it is as cheap as it is going to be.

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Marlin Clark is an associate of Russell Consulting Group, with a local office in Williamsfield, Ohio. Comments are welcome at 440-363-1803.

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