Grain markets adjust to new crop


Fall is here. It may not feel like it, since it is the end of September and the combines are not locally running. All the signs of fall are here, though.

This year’s growth on the maple trees in my yard has turned color. Drive around the country and notice that the trees have lost the dark green, and light colors are starting to intrude. The sun has set on true west Windsor Road in Ashtabula County, although I missed it in a heavy overcast.

This is the autumnal equinox, and nothing can hold fall back now.

Harvest delay

The crops are late, though, as the cool summer has held back development. Southern states have been experiencing the harvest, but only the first fields of corn and beans are coming off in northern Ohio.

Warm weather and breezes last week helped the local soybeans along, and we now see most of the leaves dropped in some fields. The occasional fields of corn are now brown, but the dairy farmers are just now hard at the silo filling with the corn crop.

Locally, most of us had a couple of inches of rain last week, but the dry ground sucked it up, and the silage wagons are not cutting in. If this were the first week of September, we would feel pretty good.

Price reaction

What has not felt good is the price of corn.

Last year, the East had good crops, but the drought-ravaged Western crop gave us good prices. This year, Uncle Sugar is forecasting a record crop of nearly 14 billion corn bushels, and prices are several dollars lower.

Local new crop corn prices are now barely above $4, and analysts are talking about the recent low of 4.45 3/4 December futures falling with early harvest pressure. That would give us cash corn in eastern Ohio below the $4 mark.

How big is crop?

The difference this year is a crop that is forecast to be 28 percent smaller than that of last year. Very shortly we will find out if that is true.

If the harvest is disappointing, we could see a rally into the late harvest. If not, we have not yet seen the low.

Corn futures have been drifting back toward the low, which was on Aug. 13.

We had a high of 5.08 1/4 on Aug. 26, but here on Tuesday morning, Sept. 24, we are at 4.562 3/4.


Soybeans have been another story, as the market has become convinced that the USDA’s lowering condition reports each week were reality.

Each Monday afternoon, we have seen the crop condition reported as a couple of percent lower than the week before, until this week. This week the numbers stayed the same, but that would have to do with the maturity of the crop.

Even with the crop as most mature, however, the beans rallied one day last week, with reason given as late rains helping pod fill. That seemed like a market looking for a reason to go higher, and not a valid yield factor.

If that was possible, it was good for the farmers, but it likely happened because it was good for some traders.

The November futures this Tuesday morning are at 13.17 3/4. That is dramatically higher than the 11.62 1/2 low of Aug. 7, but well off the Aug. 27 high of 14.09 1/2.

We dipped to 13.05 1/2 Monday, which was 94 1/2 cents off the high in 10 days. However, we gained as much as 12 cents before the trading pause this morning.


December Chicago wheat futures are still bouncing on the bottom. They are said to be following beans, but that is only true in a modest day. When they are up a couple, it is days the soybeans are higher.

In fact, we are trading at 6.51 1/2 this morning, down two cents. The low was on the 14th, at 6.35 1/2. The high was the 26th of August at 6.76 3/4. We have had lows since of 6.37 1/2 and 6.45 1/2.

Wheat prices at this point only matter for those pricing DP, as the elevators shut off wheat receipts this time of year.


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