Farmers Scramble To Finish Harvest From Hell

Farmers reports that farmers scramble to finish harvest from hell.

(emphasis mine) [my comment]

Farmers scramble to finish harvest from hell
Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:07pm EST
By Julie Ingwersen

MARENGO, Illinois (Reuters) - Brothers Steve and Ron Pierce spent most of an hour in a chilly northern Illinois field last week clearing a clog of soybean chaff from the guts of their combine, using a mix of tools and their bare hands.

"The beans get tough when they pick up moisture," Steve Pierce said.

The clog had idled the $260,000 harvester, another delay in what has been the harvest from hell across the U.S. Midwest corn and soybean belt.

The clock is ticking on farmers like the Pierce brothers all across the Midwest as they scramble to bring in the largest U.S. soybean crop on record and the second-largest corn crop before winter arrives.

The United States produces 40 percent of the global corn crop and 35 percent of all soybeans,
and is the leading exporter of both commodities.
[This should make clear why the USDA's estimates have such a big impact on the market]


Despite the delays, yields have been strong, and the U.S. Agriculture Department this week projected the largest U.S. soy crop on record, at 3.3 billion bushels, and the second-largest corn crop at 12.9 billion bushels.
[Pure propaganda with no basis in reality]

Livestock producers and other grain end-users may face higher-than-normal costs as the harvest drags on, but U.S. food costs probably won't be affected.

"It was probably reassuring from a consumer standpoint that yesterday's USDA reports did not really change the size of the crop from previous estimates," Westhoff said.

Still, all the wet weather has caused widespread quality problems including mold and diseases. Also, crops all across the Midwest are higher in moisture than normal, creating harvest glitches like the Pierce brothers' clogged combine.

"I've been doing this for 30 years and I've never seen a year like this," said Ron Waldschmidt, a vice president with farm equipment dealer A.C. McCartney in Wataga, Illinois.

"It's not unusual in any given year to have wet conditions, or maybe a variety that tends to mold, or maybe the moisture is a little bit high. But this year, you've got it all," he said.

The 2009 harvest is the slowest in past 25 years

The Cattle Network asks that has it stopped raining yet?

Has It Stopped Raining Yet? [Answer: No. see story below]
11/12/2009 10:31AM

Weather has been the big story for October.
Between the freezing temperatures, early snow, and the steady flow of storms across the state, Iowa crop producers have not enjoyed the last month. The late maturing crop faced a freeze that was about a week earlier than average. Areas of the state were blanketed by the 1st measurable snowfall of the season, well before average. Typically in October, Iowa receives on average 2.5 inches of precipitation. In 2009, precipitation levels ranged from 4 to 8 inches in the month. This combination of weather has brought production expectations and delayed harvest progress. Figure 1 shows harvest progress for U.S. and Iowa corn and soybeans and compares this year's progress with the year of the slowest harvest between 1985 and 2008. As the graphs show, the 2009 harvest in the U.S. is the slowest of the past 25 years. The story is similar for Iowa crops. The corn harvest is behind the previous slowest year (2008), while the soybean harvest is just ahead of the pace in 1985. Hopefully, conditions will improve, allowing fields and crops to dry out and combines to roll.


More Wet Weather for Midwest.

Martell Crop Projections reports that wetter forecast for Midwest.

Wetter Forecast for Midwest
Update Wednesday noon November 11

The latest GFS model run looks wetter and more threatening for harvesting delays in the heart of the Midwest Corn Belt beginning Saturday and continuing through Monday.

A low pressure trough developing in the Central Plains Saturday will spread a swath of heavy moisture into the Western Corn Belt. Rainfall was supposed to be scattered and very light with a fast moving front based on the previous guidance from the GFS model. Instead, a broad area of rain will develop from Kansas and Nebraska into Iowa, Missouri and Illinois. Moderate rainfall .25 to .75 inch is possible by Sunday morning.

A large, slow moving storm will develop in the US midsection producing heavy rain on Sunday and Monday on Midwest corn and soybean farms. As the storm creeps eastward, i t taps into a rich supply of Gulf moisture producing heavy rain potential in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Illinois. Indiana and Ohio are expecting moderate rainfall as the storm churns west of the Mississippi Valley.

Originally the Mid South was targeted for the heaviest rainfall but the storm track has been adjusted northward, affecting more corn and soybean farms in the Midwest. Below is a look at 4-week rainfall accumulations ending November 7. The same states that were very wet in the recent 4 weeks also stand to get heavy rainfall on the weekend, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois and Missouri.


Iowa farmers are questioning USDA's estimates. reports that some Iowa farmers are questioning USDA's estimates.

With the growing season so poor and the harvest coming so late, some farmers are questioning whether this year's corn and soybean crops will meet the USDA's estimates. [The USDA's estimates are pure fiction]
Mueller said he questions whether the 2009 estimates can be achieved.

"The problem is with the quality," he said.
Miller said that based on what he sees in the field, beans are slightly below expectations, but corn will be well below expectations.

Corn is already indicating a low test weight,
he said, because the actual kernel of corn did not finish correctly because of the cool summer and fall.

Test weights have been around 54 pounds of corn per bushel, Miller said, adding that 60 pounds per bushel is good.

"You need a lot more bushels to get the same amount of corn," he said, adding that he thinks the USDA estimates will change. "If we had gotten the heat units we needed, it would have been a giant harvest."

Catastrophic crop losses in Mississippi and Arkansas

Reuters reports that Mississippi sees "catastrophic" crop losses.

Mississippi sees "catastrophic" crop losses
Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:00pm EST

MIAMI (Reuters) - Rain from Tropical Storm Ida further slowed the cotton, soybean and sweet potato harvest in Mississippi, where crop losses were devastating even before the storm hit, a state agriculture official said on Thursday.

"We're seeing catastrophic losses," Andy Prosser, a spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, said in a phone interview.

Ida swept in from the Gulf of Mexico into neighboring Alabama on Tuesday. Mississippi was spared a direct hit but still got an unwelcome soaking.

"We got a few counties in east Mississippi that did get a lot of rain. Of course any more rain at this point is not good in terms of crop harvest," Prosser said.

At the start of the month, state economists estimated Mississippi's crop losses at $485 million. The southern U.S. state expected to lose two-thirds of its sweet potato crop, half its cotton and 44 percent of its soybeans.

Spring rains delayed planting, while record rainfall in September and October cut yields and quality, the agriculture department said.

Mississippi cotton growers traditionally harvest 95 percent of their crop by November 1 but this year the month started with only 14 percent harvested.

"A lot of the cotton producers, before this last rain, were trying to get their crop out of the field at any cost but the quality is still not very good," Prosser said.

Texas is the top cotton producing U.S. state, while Georgia and Mississippi alternate for second place.

Mississippi's sweet potatoes, a tradition at Thanksgiving holiday meals, were heavily damaged.

About 25 percent of Mississippi's soybeans are still in the field, Prosser said.

"In terms of yield, those soybeans have been average to good yields, however the quality of the beans has turned out to be very bad," he said.

Delta Farm Press reports that Arkansas would be lucky to make 'half the crop'.

Soybeans: 'half the crop'
Nov 12, 2009 10:37 AM, By David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial Staff

On Nov. 4, Gus Wilson took a sample of soybeans with 100 percent damage.

"It was the first time I've seen that," says the Chicot County, Ark., Extension staff chair. "The situation here is bad, bleak. We'll be lucky to make half the crop we've made in the last three to four years. That's strictly due to the weather."

Chicot County in extreme southeast Arkansas has caught huge rains all fall. Now, watching crops deteriorate, Wilson says he's not seen "a group of growers who've been more discouraged. Those who were planning to plant wheat may be out of luck. If there's wheat planted and emerged in Chicot County, I don't know where it's at."

As in the rest of the Mid-South, the county has had several good days of weather. But fields "are rutting up big-time. The cost to our farmers for field preparation next year is going to be high. Rice ground will definitely have be disked a couple of times and landplaned — we've got major ruts. The lower ends of fields are horrible.

"People are getting stuck, left and right. This heavy buckshot is just at the right doughy stage where it wants to stick and not shed.

"We have lost some crops already and there's still water backed up. There will be parts of fields abandoned."
Plunkett says area elevators are "looking closely at what they accept. Around here, I think they'll go up to about 20 percent dockage. So far, the bad bean situations have been running in the 15 percent dockage range. Some may be a little higher than that."
Back in Chicot County, Wilson says the early corn harvested "was okay. I'd estimate that, compared to the last two years, we were down to 35 to 45 bushels per acre
[for corn]. That was because of the spring rains."

Faced with a seemingly unceasing deluge in 2009, veteran farmers are struggling to come up with a similar year in the past.

"My father is 82 years old and he's farmed 55 to 60 years," says Wilson. "He says this is the worst harvest season he's ever seen. Out of his career, he said only one year comes close — he can't remember if it was in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

"It's awful. I'm hearing, 'I won't be able to pay my bills.' I hope that doesn't mean there will be any bankruptcies. Hopefully, there will be a disaster payment, a direct payment from the feds."

Soybeans production for Arkansas and Mississippi

Anyone who can't see what is wrong with the numbers below is blind.

Soybean Production

1000 bushels

Prior Years

USDA 2009 Estimates















My reaction: Farmers are scrambling to finish harvest from hell as more wet weather approaches.

At this point, is there anyone reading this blog that still believes in the USDA? Do I really need to explain how insane the USDA's estimate for Arkansas and Mississippi are?


As I have stated before, gold and agricultural land/commodities will be the best performers over the next year. This is why I am starting a fund to invest in Russian agricultural land.

I am organizing a trip to visit Black Earth farmland in Russia. Please email me for more information.

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2 Responses to Farmers Scramble To Finish Harvest From Hell

  1. riteturn says:

    Well if after all is done the government is found to have been either lying or totally incompetent then likely people will simply start ignoring them just like they do the unemployment numbers. We'll still have to pay for the crap but we don't have to believe it.

  2. Trader says:

    Beside your Rusia investment, what other investment will you advise to people Eric?

    What would you do in a more affordable transaction? (For people with below $5k or $10k)


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