Herald Review reports about the nightmare in the cornfield.
Nightmare in the cornfield
By Stu Ellis - October 11, 2009 at 5:30 am
Ah, the bucolic visions of a fall harvest! Right out of a Norman Rockwell painting there are shocks of corn stalks, pumpkins, pheasants, and sky colors at dusk that only exist on God's paint palette. But, ooops! That certainly does not describe 2009, the year that is only found in a Stephen King novel.
Just as harvest is getting underway flood watches abound and Central Illinois ponded corn and soybean fields more closely resemble Arkansas rice plantations. And on top of that, a band of snow is forecast from Kansas to Michigan that may leave several inches of snow where combines now fear to tread.
While mature crops will be harvestable when the ground dries out and combines can return to the fields, the freezer door that will be left open the next couple mornings will signal an end to the growing season for millions of Cornbelt acres of corn and soybeans. Ironically on Friday USDA issued its latest crop forecast, and basing it on normal weather predicted a corn crop just under 13 billion bushels and soybeans at three and a quarter billion bushels. But [KEY POINT] because USDA's crop forecast protocol requires that normal growing weather be assumed, it could not adjust the statistics collected about Oct 1 to reflect the freight train full of problems that are besetting Cornbelt crops. [KEY POINT]
Although most corn and soybean fields in Central Illinois are mature, or nearly so, there are many acres that will not survive the low temperatures forecast for Monday morning. Commodity Weather Group estimates that 60% of North Dakota's corn will still be immature and vulnerable. The same is true for 50% of Wisconsin's corn, 40% of Minnesota and Michigan corn, 35% of Illinois corn, 30% of Indiana and Ohio corn, 20% of the corn in South Dakota and Nebraska and 10 % of the corn in Iowa and Missouri. The late planting and the cool summer just did not give crops enough time to grow, and now the price is being paid.
While 60% of North Dakota corn will be affected, that is not a big amount. However, the Cornbelt totals were computed by Iowa commodity brokerage R. J. O'Brien, which reports a potential for 232 million bushels of corn to be lost because of immaturity out of the 13 billion bushel crop. That represents 10% of the national crop due to the 2.3 billion bushels at risk in the northern sector of the Midwest where the cold air will kill immature plants.
In Illinois only 42% of the corn crop would have been at the mature stage by this weekend, versus 84% for Iowa. And yes, there are farmers reading this today whose crops will be killed by the cold air, halting the maturation process. The National Corn Production Handbook published by university agronomists. It says the key factors include the length of time the plant is exposed to the cold air and how mature the plant may be. There are very few fields which are still in the milk stage, but those would only be good as chopped silage after a freeze. Corn in the dough stage will suffer a 50% yield loss, and corn in the dent stage will also have a yield loss after field dry down. Mature corn will not be hurt, but husks will loosen and that will enhance field drying.
While most soybeans have begun to drop their leaves and dry out, they will not be hurt by temperature, but a prolonged period of wet fields that delay harvest will allow pods to shatter and soybeans to be lost. The latest report on crop conditions indicated 10% of Illinois soybeans had not begun to drop their leaves, and any of those in the northern quarter of the state will turn black from the freezing temperatures and their growing season will be terminated on Monday. That will lead to high price discounts when they are sold because of immaturity.
2009 has brought one nightmare after another. But didn't Stephen King write something about a cornfield?
Hard Frost Hits the Midwest
Agweb reports that hard frost hits the Midwest.
Hard Frost Hits the Midwest, Grains Surge...
Grains surged overnight after freezing temperatures hit much of the northern Midwest over the weekend. Hard frost was seen over the weekend throughout MN, WI, Northern IA, Northern IL, NE, SD and ND. Temps in parts of NW Iowa, NE and SD. fell into the teens. Snow is expected in several of these areas early this week. It is unclear as to what kind of yield loss will be seen as a result of the freeze. Forecasters look for rain/snow to fall this week with nearly 70% coverage over most of the Midwest. The USDA's estimates on Friday mean very little relative to current weather issues. Some analysts believe corn loss from the frost will be as little as a couple hundred million bushels while others see losses being much more significant. Soybeans have rallied over $1 since last Monday on weather concerns and a slightly bullish report from the USDA on Friday. Most Midwestern producers look for little to no damage to hit the bean crop as a result of the frost. Outside markets have clearly been a positive factor as of late. Crude is exploring the top end of the recent trading range as the stock indices make new highs this morning. The US$ has actually held together [for now] since rebounding from new lows on Thursday last week.
The corn/soybean markets will maintain weather premium until we know the extent of the frost damage. Wheat should continue to go along for the ride on any major move. We will see crop progress numbers from the USDA tomorrow due to today's holiday. Corn/soybean harvest are the slowest since the early 90s. Look for harvest to drag out much longer than normal due to adverse weather.
Nogger reports about last weekend's weather.
Friday, 9 October 2009
US Weekend Weather: 28F Or Lower
With the USDA report quickly being assigned to the History folder, what the weekend weather has in store might become the dominant issue soon after the opening of CBOT this afternoon.
Half of the corn and soybean crop
will [did] experience a hard freeze over the next few days as temperatures drop to 28F or lower from the Dakotas to Missouri, says Allen Motew of QT Weather. Readings will be an unseasonable -35 degrees F below normal over the High Plains and -16 to -24 F below in the Western Corn Belt luckily never reaching these critically cold levels in the Eastern Corn Belt, he says.
Sunday looks like being a pivotal day with snow of up to four inches possible over large parts of South Dakota, edging into northern Kansas. Meanwhile flood concerns are expanding eastward with Flood Watch in effect for SE Illinois and S Indiana, with 6-inch rain totals possible in parts of the Central Corn Belt, he adds.
The Chicago Tribune reports that last weekend's freeze putting a hurt on crops.
This weekend's freeze
will [did] put a hurt on crops
This weekend's frigid temperatures are expected to put a hurt on Corn Belt crops, with potentially significant damage west of the Mississippi, as well as in Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
Late planting in the spring and cool weather over the summer has left much of the crop immature for this time of year.
How much damage will come of it is anyone's guess, and commodity prices haven't soared largely because of expectations for a bumper crop regardless of the harvest weather [who created these "for a bumper crop regardless of the harvest weather"? Answer: the USDA with its bogus estimates].
[Keep the USDA's predictions for a bumper harvest in mind as you read the news stories below]
Agricultural news from around the US
Agfax reports about Natural selection in Mississippi.
Field Notes: October 12, 2009
Natural selection is happening in our fields.
By: Ernie Flint, Ph.D., CCA, Area Agronomist
Mississippi State University Extension Service
The idea of "natural selection" may sound odd to some who have heard it used in other subject areas; but this year we may see some fields tolerate the stresses of unusual weather while others will be severely damaged. There will likely be a gradation among crop varieties, showing a wide range in their levels of stress tolerance.
It's difficult to accept the idea that some good may come from all this trouble; but we will at least have a chance to see which varieties are most stable under conditions of alternating drought, high temperature, high humidity, diseases, insects, and excessive rainfall. Those varieties (if any) that survive this gauntlet will almost certainly be chosen by seed companies for production in the coming years and by farmers for planting. These varieties will also supply the genetics for future breeding programs as breeders prepare for the crops of the future. We have experienced most of this in the past, as many of our older producers can attest. The soybean varieties that were popular in the past were produced from genetic lines that had proven their hardiness. Varieties like Bragg, Lee, Pickett, Forrest, and others were subjected to long periods of field testing prior to release. These varieties were named for Confederate Army generals by Dr. Edgar Hartwig, and released for distribution to growers only after having been proven under the widest possible range of conditions.
Following the release and widespread use of Dr. Hartwig's varieties, breeders began striving for the highest possible yields, setting aside some of the stress and disease tolerance considerations that were paramount for him. Today, we have a string of "racehorse" varieties that are capable of greater yields than those of the past; but many of them are not capable of withstanding stress and disease as well as their predecessors. The conditions we have experienced this year will likely show us which genetic lines still have the best tolerance to adversity. It is likely that we will find the lineage of our most "stable" varieties tied directly to the sturdy lines of the past. That's the way nature has of reminding of who is really in charge.
The Journal Star reports about miserable harvest in Illinois.
Cold slows harvest
First it was rain. Now frost piles on against farmers
By Steve Tarter (email@example.com)
of the Journal Star
Posted Oct 12, 2009 @ 10:45 PM
PEORIA — Unseasonably cold weather is the latest challenge to harvest for central Illinois farmers in a year one producer described as "miserable."
Frost that hit central Illinois this past weekend will have an impact on corn and soybean yields, said Patrick Kirchhofer, manager of the Peoria County Farm Bureau.
"Frost killed some soybeans that were green in northern Peoria County. There's also a lot of corn out there that hasn't fully developed," he said.
The cold weather is likely to mean yield reductions
Getting the crop in is proving to be a struggle. "The last two weeks were zeros," said Mike Schachtrup, referring to less-than-ideal weather conditions that are slowing the harvest of this year's crop.
"I'd love to get the soybeans harvested by October but we need some warm, sunny days," said Schachtrup.
The problem is that with every passing day, the days get shorter and the sun's impact gets weaker, he said.
Schachtrup recalled other "miserable years."
"I remember 1974 when we were combining beans in February," he said.
Other Illinois farmers report barely getting a start on harvesting this year's crop. On his farm near New Berlin in Sangamon County, John Olsson has managed to reap only 20 of his 650 acres of soybeans and 30 of his 650 acres of corn. Most years, he'd be half done with both harvests, he said.
Much of the region's corn remains at a 30 percent moisture level when 15 percent is what's required for storage, said Kirchhofer.
Wet fields do more than just delay the harvest. Iowa farmer Don Kleckner said he's beginning to see stalk deterioration because of corn root worm, other diseases and fungus.
Yields in Illinois are expected to be 179 bushels an acre for corn and 44 bushels an acre for soybeans, both unchanged from last year.
Agfax reports that higher corn and soybean prices in the face of larger USDA crop forecasts.
OCTOBER 12, 2009
CROP CONCERNS, STRONG DEMAND SUPPORT CORN AND SOYBEAN PRICES
December 2009 corn futures have increased by about $.65 per bushel form the early September low. November 2009 soybean futures have rallied more than $1.00 per bushel from the low of earlier this month.
Higher corn and soybean prices have come in the face of larger USDA crop forecasts. In the Crop Production report released on October 9, the USDA forecast the 2009 corn harvest at 13.018 billion bushels, based on conditions around the first of October. That forecast is 63 million bushels larger than the September forecast, reflecting the potential for a record U.S. average yield of 164.2 bushels per acre. The yield forecast is 2.3 bushels above the September forecast, but the projection of harvested acreage was reduced by 713,000 acres. Acreage forecasts were reduced for a number of states, but the largest reductions were for Illinois (300,000) and Nebraska (250,000). The forecast of harvested acreage was increased for Kansas (270,000) and Texas (150,000). The largest month-over-month increase in state average yield forecasts was for Nebraska, up 9 bushels.
For soybeans, the 2009 harvest is now forecast at 3.25 billion bushels, about 5 million larger than the September forecast. The U.S. average yield is forecast at 42.4 bushels, 0.1 bushel above the September forecast. The projection of harvested acreage was reduced by 148,000 acres. The largest changes were in Illinois (up 300,000 acres) and Iowa (down 200,000 acres).
The U.S. corn yield forecast is about equal to the average of a forecast based on crop condition ratings and a forecast based on growing season weather. The U.S. soybean yield forecast is still lower than the forecast based on crop condition ratings and the forecast based on growing season weather. In a more "typical" year, yield forecasts of both corn and soybeans might be expected to increase in November. This, however, is not a typical year. Freezing temperatures this past weekend likely ended the growing season for late maturing crops in northern and western growing areas before full yield potential was reached. In addition, more widespread incidence of disease in both crops may reduce yield and quality potential. The November forecasts of yields are now more likely to decline rather than increase.
Birmingham reports that Alabama farmers have not been able to harvest crops due to rain.
Alabama farmers have not been able to harvest crops due to rain
By Kent Faulk -- The Birmingham News
October 10, 2009, 5:45AM
Alabama farmers were hoping that the abundance of rain early in the planting season would help produce a bumper crop, but soakings during the harvest have dashed dreams of high yields. ( The Birmingham News \ Frank Couch )
Three weeks ago Jamie Tate thought his 200-acre cotton crop would be the best he's ever harvested from his family's Shelby County farm.
Then near-constant rains fell across the area in September and early this month, dashing his hope for a bumper crop.
"It went from being the best cotton crop I've ever harvested to one of the worst in three weeks," Tate said. "I'm in shock."
Many Alabama farmers are up to a month behind schedule in getting their cotton, corn, soybeans or peanuts harvested due to a seemingly daily rain that has soaked crops. The soaking not only keeps farmers from getting harvest equipment into their fields, it also has damaged the quality of their crops, cutting the amount of money they can get for them.
Usually by the first week of October, state farmers have harvested 89 percent of their corn, 19 percent of their cotton, 28 percent of their soybeans and 37 percent of their peanuts, according to a state five-year average from the National Agricultural Statistics Service's Alabama field office.
But according to a survey of farmers released Monday, that agency says 49 percent of the corn, no cotton, 10 percent of the soybeans, and 9 percent of peanuts had been harvested.
"We don't need a single drop of rain -- not for these crops," said Bill Weaver, director of the state statistics field office.
'Just stayed damp'
September was one of the wettest on record in central Alabama. At Shelby County's airport, measurable rainfall was recorded about two of every three days since mid-September.
John DeLoach, a farmer from Vincent, said the large number of days without sunshine has hurt his crop more than the excessive rain. Many of his soybeans were hit by rot and mold because they couldn't dry out.
"They just stayed damp," DeLoach said.
DeLoach recently harvested 90 of his 500 acres in soybeans. About 55 percent of them were classified as damaged. That cost him about $7,000 or more, he said.
DeLoach said he should have started harvesting the remainder last week, but it may be the middle of next week before he can begin -- if it doesn't rain again after this weekend. "It's depressing sitting here watching it rain," he said.
State extension agents said there's also been a problem with the maturity of the plants. The wet spring caused many farmers to plant late. June was very hot and dry. Then the rest of the summer there was cooler and wetter than normal, and many plants didn't get the required sunlight.
The heavy rains have also triggered some early sprouting of new growth in cotton, soybeans and corn at a time when the plant's physiology should be shutting them down, extension agents and farmers said. New growth can wreak havoc with harvesting equipment or cut the quality and price for what is harvested.
Whotv reports that Iowa farmers say wet weather is delaying crops.
October 9, 2009
CROP CONCERNS: Iowa farmers say wet weather is delaying crops
Rain and snow are slowing down the harvest by weeks
Emily Carlson Reporter
A cool, wet summer and late start to planting have farmers concerned about their crops. According to the State Department of Agriculture, the corn harvest is on par with last year's, but soybeans are falling behind. They say only 20% of the soybean crop is out of the ground, that's 13% behind last year.
The corn sits lonely and wet in the fields, abandoned by frustrated farmers in yet another delay for this year's harvest.
"I had a grand plan but the weather is not keeping in line with my grand plan," says Central Iowa farmer Dan Golightly.
Farmers wanted to harvest this weekend, but snow ruined their plans. That snow, coupled with weeks of wet weather has farmers a month behind schedule.
"It's just enough make my harvest not work."
Soybeans moisture levels are at 16% right now, but farmers say they need to dry out to 13% before harvest. Corn is at 25%; however, it needs to be at 15% before harvest.
"I'm nervous about getting done. We could lose some of that if the weather doesn't change and get better," says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.
Every day, Central Iowa farmers anxiously turn on the TV to get the forecast. However, they say, if your livelihood depended on Mother Nature; you'd be obsessed with the weather as well.
"I would love to see temperatures in the 50's, sunshine, and a little bit of air moving with light breezes. That that would be fine," says Gollightly.
Farmers would like to get into the fields by next weekend. Until then, they'll be secretly doing a little sun dance.
Despite the weather, the corn crop here in Iowa is expected [by the USDA, not me] to be larger than last year by about 20%, but that's actually not good news for farmers [of course it isn't, expectations of a huge crop are artificially holding prices down]. Reports that corn is mature and ready for harvest pushed down prices this week, but farmers point out that even though its' ready, that doesn't mean they can harvest it. [or will ever harvest it...]
Desmoines Register reports that frost damages late-planted corn in Iowa.
Frost damages late-planted corn
By DAN PILLER — firstname.lastname@example.org — October 13, 2009
Iowa farmers said their
corn and soybean fields came through the weekend freeze basically intact, but some damage was reported. [IF damage was reported, THEN corn and soybean fields DID NOT come through the weekend freeze basically intact.]
Gary Edwards of Anamosa said about 40 percent of his corn crop was immature, and the cold snap ended its growth.
"The corn basically died," Edwards said, adding that the underweight kernels would be hard-pressed to make the 54-pounds-per-bushel requirement for No. 2 corn that brings the market price.
"We're seeing white mold in the soybeans here, and it could cut the yields down into about 40 bushels per acre," Burrack said. "The farmers here were expecting soybean yields in the mid-50s, maybe 60 bushels per acre."
"We're in pretty good shape on our corn," said Andy Fehr, who farms near Rodman in Palo Alto County. But Fehr added that some losses are expected in the soybean crop because the delays in harvesting will cause too many plant pods to open and spill the bean s on the ground.
"A lot of farmers were out in the fields Sunday trying to get as many acres of soybeans harvested as possible," Fehr said. "But it snowed and rained again on Monday, and we couldn't get into the fields."
The St. Louis Post-dispatch reports that frost and rain pose twin threats to crops in Missouri.
Frost and rain pose twin threats to crops
by Georgina Gustin
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
A possible early freeze and heavy rains are dampening farmers' hopes for a predicted near-record grain crop and adding more challenges to an already tricky growing season.
"We had a wet spring and that meant crops were planted later than normal," said Bill Wiebold, a corn and soybean specialist with the University of Missouri Extension. "That pushes things back later into the fall when they're going to mature. It was cool in August and September, and that slowed development and that makes the crop vulnerable to an early frost. Our crops are in a pretty vulnerable position."
Heavy, record rains in recent days are making matters worse, with storms dumping more than three inches of rain from Wednesday to Friday. This weekend forecasters are predicting an early, crop-killing freeze, which means farmers, kept out of their fields by the rains, may not get the chance to harvest in time.
"It's an unfortunate series of events," Wiebold added. "Farmers would like to be out in their fields harvesting and they can't."
Farmers are especially concerned that their soybeans won't mature in time. Green, or immature, soybeans produce undesirable green oil and don't fetch premium prices on the market. An early freeze also can damage the beans so badly that they receive a low grade and an even lower price.
Corn crops could suffer from recent rains as well. "They get weak and they fall over," Wiebold explained, "and they can't be used or marketed in the same way."
Forecasts are calling for a freeze Sunday, and parts of northern Missouri
could [did] even see snow this weekend. The typical freeze period for most of the state is between October 16 and 21.
Despite the challenges this year, [USDA] predictions called for a near-record crop.
"We were on track to have a very good yield," Wiebold said.
"My personal concern is this wet weather. Frost is going to affect some fields, but rain is going to affect them all."
Connect Tristates reports that harvest falling behind in Missouri.
Farmers #1 enemy: more rain
Harvest falling behind
By Jarod Wells
Monday, October 12, 2009 at 1:01 p.m.
It's no secret that mother nature has not been cooperating with farmers across the Tri-States. [if "mother nature has not been cooperating with farmers", why is the USDA predicting a record crop?]
University of Illinois Extension crop systems educator Mike Roegge says in a good year some farmers would already be done harvesting, but this year many have not even been able to start.
"It looks like, from early reports, we've got a pretty good harvest set up, we've just got to be able to harvest it. When will that happen? Well it's the middle of October, not much has happened yet. We'll have to wait and see what the weather forecast holds, but for all purposes, it doesn't look all that good, so it's going to be a lengthy harvest, it's going to be a frustrating harvest," said Roegge.
Roegge says Missouri and Iowa are just as wet as Illinois and are dealing with the same problems.
But an AP news wire says it's been a bumper year for nearly every crop in Missouri [Propaganda]. The federal Agricultural Statistics office says that corn, soybeans, rice, cotton and hay all have abundant yields this year. [Farmers report a "miserable harvest", USDA reports a "bumper harvest"]
The News Star reports that rain wreaks havoc on Louisiana crops.
Rain wreaks havoc on crops
Farmer: 'We are absolutely waterlogged'
By Greg Hilburn — email@example.com — October 8, 2009
Three weeks of heavy rains are threatening northeastern Louisiana's soybean, sweet potato and cotton crops, some of which have already shown significant deterioration in the fields.
"It's killing us," said Ouachita Parish producer Gary Mathes. "We cut some beans a week ago that we had to sell at a salvage price of $3 a bushel."
Soybean prices have been hovering near $9 a bushel.
"We fought a short corn crop, but we had one heck of a bean crop and the rain is taking it away from us," Mathes said.
Venoy Kinnaird said his farm has been drenched by about 20 inches of rain since Sept. 12.
"I've got some beans that I won't cut; they're not salvageable," Kinnaird said. "And I've got some sweet potatoes that are halfway out of the ground. Cotton has taken a terrible hit, too, even though we don't have that much planted around here this year.
"We're absolutely waterlogged. What's really bad is we're coming off of a disaster last fall."
Farmers were desperate for a good harvest this year after Hurricane Gustav caused $1 billion in agriculture losses last fall.
Agfax reports that Louisiana harvest.
A.M.S. AG REPORT October 11, 2009
AGRICULTURAL MANAGEMENT SERVICES, INC.
Tim White, Walter Myers, Wil Miller, Matt Myers, Lydia Ellett, Roger Carter, & Chase Skipper
WEATHER — Rained most of the week, but a few folks harvested towards the end of the week. Rain arrived again on Friday and is expected for most of this week. No doubt that this is harming crops remaining in the field. Too early to tell to what degree quality and/or yields have been affected.
SOYBEANS - Most soybeans remaining in the field will have a quality issue after this extended rainy period. Some may be harvestable, some may not. Too early to tell until we get several loads cut.
Some of the latest planted soybeans are just beginning to turn; some of the late planted soybeans will not turn without a freeze. Green Bean Effect or Syndrome is causing bud proliferation and, therefore, non-maturing features. We think this latest round of green beans was caused by disease and stinkbugs that were left untreated for several weeks during the previous rain event (although it is hard to distinguish different rain events when we have had only a limited number of "clear" days).
CORN — Still some corn remaining in the fields. It may not be harvestable or farmers may be waiting for a frost or freeze to kill the morningglory.
WHEAT — No wheat planted yet. Wheat acres will be down substantially this year due to economics. Wheat followed by beans is less attractive than soybeans alone.
Farmforum reports that South Dakota crops freeze.
Published: Oct 12, 2009 10:00 am -
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Freezing temperatures across much of South Dakota are marking the end of the 2009 growing season, leaving many farmers with crops that haven't reached full maturity because of the cool, wet summer.
Temperatures in many parts of South Dakota dropped into hard-freeze territory and stayed low for hours early Friday.
It was 21 degrees in Brookings, 22 in Aberdeen, Watertown and Custer, 23 in Huron and Madison, according to the National Weather Service. Both Sioux Falls and Rapid City dropped to 25.
Temperatures were forecast to drop even lower overnight into Saturday, with lows from around 10 above in the west to the mid-20s in the southeast. The weather service said lows could drop to around zero in parts of the Black Hills.
Yields will be down in some areas, and there probably will be some lightweight crops, according to Hall. He said he wouldn't be surprised to see more corn harvested for silage.
The Journal Star reports that snow will dampen soybean harvest.
Snow may dampen soybean harvest
By ART HOVEY / Lincoln Journal Star Posted: Monday, October 12, 2009 8:00 pm
Weekend snow may have dealt a heavy blow to prospects for soybean harvest in Nebraska and other nearby states.
Weather adversity could shave as much as 200 million to 300 million bushels from expectations for a 3.25 billion bushel crop nationally, a Nebraska soybean official said Monday.
"Our part of the country got snow," said Victor Bohuslavsky of the Nebraska Soybean Board Monday. "And I talked to people in Minnesota this morning and they hadn't hardly started harvest and they were blasted with snow."
In areas of the heaviest snowfall, including around North Platte, part of the trouble is that the plant structure that holds the soybeans up in the air -- and in the normal reach of harvesting equipment -- will collapse under the snow's weight.
"I think the bigger problem with that is that the snow is very, very wet," Bohuslavsky said. "And if the beans are very dry, it's going to cause some shelling problems."
The concern is beans swelling so much with moisture that they pop open pods and fall to the ground.
Sargent soybean producer Loyd Pointer said snowfall in his part of Custer County was in the 2-inch range. That's much less than fell closer to Broken Bow.
That doesn't mean Pointer is breathing a sigh of relief. "The thing I'm most worried about, because we're getting later in the season, these moisture storms could keep coming in and delay harvest.
"The longer we stay out there, the greater the risk of something bad happening. But we just need to get them out," he said of soybeans.
"I've got a lot more soybeans already sold than I've got harvested, that's for sure." [VERY BULLISH]
Still, the slow harvest pace is stressful for corn producers, too. "I think it's bothering everyone in the back of their minds, because normally we get weather like this when we get into November -- cloudy, no sun.
"So days in October, when we normally make some good progress, are not looking so good."
Albert Lea Tribune reports about lousy October weather.
Published Saturday, October 10, 2009
DOWN—To lousy October weather.
Residents haven't even had a chance to enjoy fall colors and it has snowed already. Farmers haven't even had a chance to harvest their soybeans, let alone corn, and it has snowed already. Snow! C'mon. When is Indian summer going to get here? What happened to "football weather"? We need the precipitation to stop. We want to see the sun. We want to shuffle our feet in the leaves, not the mud.
What's in the forecast? Rain. Snow. Bummer.
Bullish outlook soybeans and other agricultural commodities
Agweek reports that it's not the time to be bearish on soybeans.
It's not the time to be bearish
Sue Martin, Agweek
As the week passed, many traders and farmers were dismayed by the strength exhibited by the corn market. And, by Oct. 8, even soybeans may have had the bear sitting up and scratching their head. Very few want to believe the harvest low is in for corn [and that they were duped by USDA propaganda]. But we need to recall that at the end of September, the corn futures closed higher for the month. So what did that mean for the month of October? A higher high or a lower low from September? The odds favored the highs.
The corn market has some concerns. First, the maturity of the crop is such that there will be some light test weights and poor-quality corn with the weather forecast. Seasonally, it is time for an end to the growing season, too early for snow and the continuous below-average temperatures have slowed the maturing of the corn crop — whether it was planted timely or not. Moisture is still too high, and it is cost prohibitive to dry the corn down.
A drawn-out fall harvest last year had end users hand to mouth and elevators bidding down for corn because of fear of demand falling away. This year, we have an economy that the Obama administration says should see growth in the fourth quarter. So, a drawn-out fall harvest this year may see bidding for corn instead.
We have a hog industry that still is seeing numbers coming to market larger than USDA had forecast and a sugar industry that has seen world stocks tighten and demand growing so much that sugar was one of our shining stars all year as a bull. So much so, that news of Brazilian millers talking about exporting sugar so they can make more instead of sending it into the ethanol industry where the mandate of 25 percent ethanol blended into gasoline is the rule for Brazil. If so, this means that Brazil may turn in an aggressive way to corn. Brazilian production of corn is forecast to be a bit higher this year than last.
The corn market has been loaded with bears and shorts that just knew that market was going down [because of bad data from the USDA]. No one left to sell and then we get a psychological change in the environment and the market is destined for higher prices. Now, I have to say that there is no way I can, at this time, sell soybeans [Agreed]. I never thought the July low would come out, but it did by ever so little so far. We have huge front end loading of sales for export. Tell me where the world is going to go to secure soybean supplies between now and March of any size? [Exactly] The weather patterns are changed this year with the El Nino. I suspect that Brazil and Argentina have great crops this year. Parts of Brazil are seeing Asian rust earlier this year than normal.
Wouldn't it be a great year to see the stevedores strike? Wouldn't be too surprising with all that crop needing to move. Besides that, world stocks are forecast to get tight into February and no one seems to notice.
The bears are selling for only one reason: Anticipated good crops with a larger carry-out [a fool's dream]. But, even then, the U.S. carry isn't so burdensome. If it is true that the U.S. economy is getting better, then the world economies will pick up as well. Why be bearish in the face of that when the world's largest growing economy, China, had trouble with drought that downsized its corn crop. Add to that the record numbers of hogs in China (448 million head?) and there is going to be a need for soybeans, not only for soyoil but for the protein as well. The day will come to be bearish, I just can't believe it is now. The bottom line: I wouldn't sell soybeans with wooden nickels. [good advice]
Agriculture.com reports that market dynamics are driving grain prices higher.
DJ US Cash Grain Review: Prices Rally, Basis ''Remarkably Firm''
2:38 PM, October 9, 2009
By Gary Wulf
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
SUPERIOR, Neb. (Dow Jones)--The cash value of all U.S. grains appreciated by 5%-9% this week, as a weaker dollar, generally strong economic news, harvest delays and the first frost of fall sparked a sharp recovery in futures prices.
CBOT December corn futures climbed 28 3/4 cents a bushel this week, at times touching two-month highs.
"Thankfully for those who want to make a few more corn sales, the corn market is offering another opportunity," said analyst John Roach of Roach Ag. "A weather forecast that promises to keep harvest at a slow pace, is forcing users to scramble to get nearby coverage. In addition, frost worries and fear the crop
might [will] not be as big as everybody thinks is bringing buyers to the corn market."
The first killing frost of the season struck the Great Plains overnight, and is set to move into the Midwest this weekend.
Commodity Weather Group estimates that 60% of North Dakota's corn was still immature and vulnerable to frost damage. The service says the same can be said for 50% of Wisconsin's corn, 40% of all Minnesota/Michigan fields, 35% of Illinois corn, 30% of Indiana/Ohio acreage, 20% of the corn in South Dakota/Nebraska and 10% of all cornfields in Iowa/Missouri. [which means there was a LOT of frost damage last weekend]
"Yield loss will vary considerably, but we could see widespread problems with light test-weight and a crop that's very slow to dry down," said Farm Progress market analyst Arlan Suderman.
Interior corn basis weakened by an average of just 1/4 cent, while export basis closed steady to 4 cents stronger.
"Basis in the grain market held remarkably firm despite this week's futures rally [that is because the tight cash market is FORCING futures higher, against the wishes of the USDA and Goldman Sach], with values seeing only modest easing around the Midwest," said Bryce Knorr of Farm Futures. "Basis for corn remains at or above normal October levels, continuing its recovery from the weak levels seen over the past year. A surge of export shipments in the latest week helped."
The same market dynamics that underpinned corn prices also supported soybeans, sending November CBOT soy futures soaring by 79 cents, to bounce away from 6 1/2 lows.
"The dollar is weaker, the energy complex is up, and gold is putting in all-time highs," said MaxYield commodity trade adviser Karl Setzer. "This has generated more buying interest in the grains than any other factor, including weather."
Domestic spot soybean basis edged 1/2 cent higher, although CIF export basis rose by up to 30 cents at some U.S. ports, during the week.
"Interesting to hear buyers at the Gulf are pushing basis, even though grain inventory is adequate. [KEY POINT] This is from the fact what grain there is, is in poor condition, and needs to be blended with higher quality grain to export," said Setzer. [translation: US is out of edible soybean]
Farm-gate wheat prices improved by some 5%-8% during the period - lifting winter wheat markets off of 2006 lows, with spot futures gains of about 26-27 cents.
"Money flow, money flow and money. This was the main reason prices saw an appreciable uptick," said Benson Quinn Commodities analyst Kevin Kjorsvik. "The US dollar index took another downward swing...making new lows for the year. This had the Wall Street crowd scrambling to buy commodities across the board." [This is merely the very beginning. The money going into commodities is just a trickle compared to what it will be]
Rain was falling from southern Texas to the Great Lakes Friday, halting fall harvest in much of the US grain belt.
Agfax reports about soybean futures.
Weekly Roberts Agricultural Commodity Market Report October 13, 2009
SOYBEAN futures on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) closed higher on Monday. NOV'09 soybean futures closed at $9.990/bu; up 35.0˘/bu and $1.14/bu higher than a week ago. The MAR'10 soybean contract closed at $10.004/bu; up 32.5˘/bu and $1.098/bu over last report. Weather and the same outside market influence over corn supported beans. Disease concerns regarding the quality of the U.S. soybean crop in the wet and humid south buoyed the market. Yield losses between 10-15% are being reported due to quality problems. China also announced it would withhold soybean exports while stockpiling Chinese soybeans. Reenergized speculative fund buying renewed the flow of money into commodities and is seen as a hedge by funds against inflation amid a declining U.S. dollar....
Agweb reports that how tight the cash bean situation is.
Opening Calls Mixed
The markets sold off early last night, but started trending higher this morning about 1:00 am to finish mixed. Weekly crop progress numbers will be released by the USDA later on today.
Yesterday we saw an extremely strong trade in corn, beans, and wheat. A hard freeze that hit major areas of the Midwest over the weekend most likely put an end to the growing season in most of these areas. Damage is still being assessed, but the market traded higher off the news. Along with the cold temps over the weekend, rain is forecasted in many areas for the remainder of this week, which is going to further hinder an already extremely slow harvest. The nearby cash soybean market is trading at a premium as end users and exporters scramble to try to by any available quantities of beans. With all of the rain that is falling some areas, soybean yields are also going to take a hit.
The 6-10 day forecast still looks wet for the northern Midwest with above average rainfall expected in those areas. Temperatures are expected to return normal levels for most areas during that time frame. The 11-15 day forecast looks drier, but temperatures are expected to drop. Harvest looks to continue to frustrate.
Corn is now trading nearly 80 cents off the lows we saw in early September. Beans are trading 1.30 off the lows that were just seen at the beginning of October. Wheat is trading over 50 cents off the lows we saw at the beginning of October. A lot of the gains are related to the fundamental changes we have seen which are mostly weather related. But, you also can't ignore the influence that is coming from stronger outside markets. The US$ is trading at its lowest level since August of 2008, the Dow is trading at its highest level since the collapse almost exactly a year ago, gold is trading record highs, and crude is trading at seven week highs, but is knocking on the door of the highest prices in nearly a year. Traders are convinced the $ is heading lower and are looking for any way possible to reduce their exposure. The trend is your friend and the $ trend is definitely lower. However, as the market approaches oversold territory, the trade is leaning very heavily in the same direction.
Cash corn and bean markets remain very strong as end users anxiously await a pickup in harvest [because they have no inventory. If the "pickup in harvest" never quite gets going, they will be screwed]. The bean spreads have been a strong indicator of how tight the cash bean situation is. If you have beans on hand, keep an eye on the spreads as when they start to fall apart, your local bean bid is likely to do the same. The same goes for corn. Once (if) the combines start rolling, the unusual strength we are seeing in the cash markets right now is not likely to last. p>
My reaction: The divide between USDA estimates and reality grows again. The 2009 record US crop now exists only in the figments of the USDA's imagination.
(Most of my comments are in the articles above)