Markets struggling to hold gains

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A Trumbull County farmer I talked to yesterday summed up the attitude of many local farmers about marketing grain right now: “I’m going to wait to sell. The buyers will eventually learn that the crop is not there.”

Even as producers are digging in their marketing heels, the market today, Tuesday, July 14, is giving back some of the gains we have seen over the last month and a half as wet weather has limited crop growth.

Prices down

As I write this, corn is down almost eight cents, and soybean futures are off from two-and-a-half, to four-and-a-half. This comes after we teased the highs of corn and bean charts, then declined off the highs yesterday.

I am struggling to come up with a reason for the decline yesterday afternoon and this morning, but the reason may just be exhaustion. The traders were expecting another one percent decline in corn crop condition numbers from the USDA report out Monday afternoon. What they got was corn condition unchanged at 69 percent good and excellent.

That rating was hard for Ohio and Indiana farmers to swallow. Ohio ratings went down another four percent, and they should have. We now have just 41 percent of the acres good and excellent.

That statistic may be reflected in individual fields locally, where the corn on top of tile lines looks like the best ever, but corn between the lines is pathetic. Fourty-one percent of the field is good and excellent!

I need to stop and take a picture of a field just west of Andover where the 75-year-old tile lines run in the same direction as the corn rows. The roller coaster effect is amazing. This would have been a good year to farm that field east to west.

Different conditions

Perspective is difficult if you are the one with poor corn. Western Ohio is actually worse than Northeast Ohio, according to some people I have talked to. If you are in one of the good states, you have trouble thinking like Ohio farmers.

There must be a lot of good corn, because Wisconsin and Indiana declined two percent in corn condition this week also, but the nation is still unchanged at 69 percent good and excellent.

The national soybean ratings did decline one percent, and Ohio was off three percent. The bean fields have a little of everything. Locally I see great beans with crappy fields (that’s a technical term I learned in agronomy 101).

Just across the road on the same farm. The rains held off maturity, but there is a growth spurt going on. That spurt may be too late for some beans nearby, that were planted early, stunted, and started to prematurely flower two weeks ago. I need to get a picture of that field, also.

Wheat condition

The rains have ruined the quality of most of the Ohio wheat crop, and have delayed the harvest. We are now 38 percent harvested in Ohio, versus a normal 70. Last year we were at 55 percent right now, and even that was late.

With these things going on, we have topped out on prices for now, with new recent highs on corn futures of $4.431⁄4 for the September contract and $4.541⁄4 for the December.

After the trading break this morning we were down hard, and now we see $4.331⁄4 September, a dime off the high, and $4.44 December, just more than a dime lower.

Soybeans are off just two-and-a-half cents on the November contract, at $10.26. Overnight we touched $10.45, breaking the high of 10.40 set July 1.

September what futures made a high of $6.171⁄2 on June 30, but we are now trading $5.703⁄4, off a nickel for the day.

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