Harvest From Hell VS USDA’s “Biggest Crop Ever”

The Star Tribune reports about miserable harvest.

(emphasis mine) [my comment]

Wet weather delays harvest for farmers from the Midwest to the Deep South
By BECKY BOHRER , Associated Press
Last update: November 5, 2009 - 3:03 AM

[Mississippi, Louisiana]

NEW ORLEANS - Hartwell Huddleston returned the extra combine he bought to help harvest what looked to be one of his best soybean crops ever.

After two months with little letup in rain, he figures he got five days' of work out of it, and one was spent just looking for dry ground to cut. And the quality of some of the crop he did bring in from his northwest Mississippi fields was so rough, an elevator refused truckloads.

"We've had a lot of rainy years, but this one puts those to shame," said Huddleston, who also sells crop insurance. "If a person's a farmer you start to think, 'Where am I going to sleep? How am I going to feed my children?'"

Late-season rains have delayed harvest from the Great Plains to the Deep South, frustrating farmers and raising questions about whether some in the hurricane-ravaged Gulf region would be able to stay in business after disastrous back-to-back years.

The longer the remaining U.S. cotton, corn and soybean crops stay out, the greater the potential for consumers to feel the effects and face slightly higher prices for products ranging from sodas to tofu to meat, said Chad Hart, an extension economist at Iowa State University.

One saving grace for Midwest grain farmers is their corn and soybeans were in relatively good shape heading into the recent rainy spell, and expectations remained high for a still-large production year. Farmers were taking advantage of this week's break in weather to try to make up for lost time.

For many in Louisiana and Mississippi, though, the waiting continued. In some cases, it was just too late.

Stephen Logan was weighing whether to tear up his water-logged fields to get at a cotton crop speckled in places with mold, mildew and stains. He said he got 28.1 inches of rain on his northwest Louisiana farm last month, more than he said he's seen in some entire years, and the shorter days have meant less sunlight to dry things out.

"This was shaping up to be one of the best cotton crops we ever had, but it's absolutely rotted away on the stalk," Logan said. "It's very frustrating and humbling, to say the least."

While the rains helped erase the remnant drought conditions that plagued much of the region earlier this year, their timing — at the peak of harvest in September and October — couldn't have been worse.

The wet weather is expected to cost farmers in the two states more than $120 million on their cotton, according to preliminary estimates by agricultural economists and Louisiana State and Mississippi State universities.

For all major row crops, Louisiana farmers stand to lose $275 million in revenue and Mississippi farmers, $371 million, according to the early estimates. This would further compound the losses many producers suffered last year due to hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

"This isn't a hurricane but in many cases, it's every bit as bad in terms of impact on quality and yields," said Kurt Guidry, who wrote the Louisiana State report. When you take the two years together, "most producers are going to have serious financial stress as they move from this year to next."

And most will need "significant" help, either from the government or another source, to get financing for 2010, he said.

Low-interest loans or other aid may be available to farmers in the handful of Louisiana parishes and Mississippi counties that have been declared federal disaster areas due to late spring and early summer flooding, but state officials are seeking additional help for those affected by the drought and subsequent rains.

"More than ever, Louisiana producers are in need of disaster funds," state Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain said.

Back in Mississippi, farmer Andy Clark doesn't know what he'll do. He put everything this year into sweet potatoes — an expensive-to-produce crop that in a good year can yield strong returns.

This wasn't a good year. Delays in getting into the fields meant potatoes rotting in the wet soil, and even if one were lucky to harvest some, odds were good — given all the rain — they'd rot in the storage house. And it's hard to justify the labor costs for that, he said.

Of the 82 acres he'd planted in central Mississippi, he'd harvested about four. His side business, hauling potatoes, "is shot."

"It's really going to be hard to sit down and talk with the bank. There's probably not going to be any way to persuade them to give you any more money," he said. "At this point, you're probably going to have to ask them to give you a little more time to pay them back."

"If there's any way possible, I'll still farm," he said. "But you've got to look at everything, you know? I don't know what else I'd do."

Businessinsider reports that Floods In Missouri And Illinois.

Floods In Missouri And Illinois Leave Soy And Corn Crops Sitting Idle
John Carney
Nov. 2, 2009, 3:20 PM

[Missouri, Illinois]



This is supposed to be harvest season for corn and soy beans in the midwest.
You can't harvest flooded fields. Even after the flooding recedes, the crops generally need to dry before they can be harvested. Right now there's a lot of corn and beans sitting idle in the field.

You can pick up some of the latest chatter from farmers themselves over at the Farm Journal's message board.

One farmer from Will County, Illinois writes:

We are now very wet. Basically the last harvesting was done on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (Oct. 21-23). We received 3.1" of rain. Soybean harvest in this area still stands at 30-40% complete. Since Oct 21, no soybeans have been harvested. As of today, received 3.5" rain this week, with .7" early in week, and last night and today an additional 2.8", so far. There has been a few operators taking a little corn out before this last big rain, moisture levels still reported to be in the 30 + % range, and field conditions are muddy.
You can probably go ten miles in any direction of our farm and find less than 1 % of corn harvested. In our low spots today, we have corn standing in water, with water up to the ears, and in some places the ears are in the water. So far this month, we received 9.2", let's hope Nov. will be dry.

Here's a AP's write up of the flooding:

By JIM SALTER, Associated Press Writer

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Midwestern flooding is usually associated with the spring or summer, so even officials at the National Weather Service are perplexed about
the unusual fall flood that is causing rivers to spill over their banks in parts of Missouri and Illinois.

Heavy rain fell last week over much of the two states, causing flash flooding and rising rivers. In fact, October rainfall was at record amounts at many spots.

The autumn monsoons are hard to figure, said Benjamin Sittrell, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in suburban St. Louis.

"Typically during the late-year period, it's our driest portion of the year," Sittrell said.
"To see such astronomically high amounts of precipitation, where we got several inches above the previous record levels, is very abnormal.

"I think there's a lot of uncertainty about how this wet October unfolded."


The flooding is generally pretty minimal compared to events such as the floods of last summer and those in the summers of 1993 and 1995, but some problems exist.

Sittrell said
thousands of acres of farmland are under water, particularly in the flat areas of southern and western Illinois, where the Illinois, Ohio and Kaskaskia rivers are among several that are flooding.

The Vicksburg Post reports that Farmers look to D.C. for help.

Farmers look to D.C. for help
By Pamela Hitchins
Wednesday, November 4, 2009 1:14 PM CST

[Mississippi]



Mississippi farmers facing catastrophic crop losses after heavy fall rains hope to see extra disaster relief funded by Congress.

Dr. Lester Spell, Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, said he has asked the Mississippi congressional delegation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to go beyond normal programs to help farmers seeing double devastation in 2009 — flooding in the spring and the fall — after 2008, which was a tough year as well.

Losses are on the horizon in soybean, cotton, sweet potato, corn and rice crops. The state's pecan crop looks better than average this year, though extended periods of rain are threatening to delay that harvest, too.

Economists at Mississippi State University estimate farm losses have reached $485 million. Nearly 64 percent of the state's sweet potato crop — valued at nearly $40 million — is expected to be lost. Soybean losses could top 44 percent, or $307 million, along with half of the state's nearly $150 million cotton crop.

"Existing USDA assistance for many of these crops will not be available for up to a year or more," Spell said in a press release. "By that time, I fear many of our hardworking Mississippi farmers will no longer be able to operate due to the excessive losses faced this year which will, in turn, affect their access to financing for the future."
...
"There's a great need for additional relief for farmers," Warren County farmer Ed McKnight said this morning from the field off Chickasaw Road where he was harvesting soybeans. "But they need it like AIG got it — in a matter of weeks."

...
In addition to rainfall, Warren County farmers like McKnight with fields north of Vicksburg in the Chickasaw and Long Lake areas, also are facing an unusually high Mississippi River for this time of year, said Coccaro.
Generally measured in single digits in November, the river was at 36.6 feet Tuesday and forecast to crest at 40 feet Nov. 13.

"That's putting a lot of acres under water," Coccaro said, "and makes other farm-land a lot harder to get to."

"We're trying to get them out before the river gets them again,"
McKnight said of his soybeans. "The rainfall has delayed us from harvesting, but the quality is still good."

Deltafarmpress reports about Arkansas harvest

Soybeans: half a crop if lucky
Nov 4, 2009 11:00 AM, By Mary Hightower, University of Arkansas

[Arkansas]

The rain-shocked 2009 growing season may prove to be devastating for Chicot County, Ark., where more than 65 percent of the county is farmland.


SUNKEN SOYBEANS — This Chicot County, Ark., soybean field seems equal parts water to soy. Farmers in the southeasternmost county of Arkansas may wait days or weeks to be able to get back into their fields. (University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture photo by Gus Wilson)

On Monday and Tuesday, Gus Wilson, Chicot County Extension staff chairman for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, made the rounds, visiting farmers and getting a first-hand look at what record rain has left of crops in the state's southeasternmost county.

He said on Tuesday that he believed Chicot and neighboring Ashley and Desha counties were the hardest hit by the 2009 rain.

"It's bleak," Wilson said. "It's going to really hurt these poor Delta counties because here, agriculture is all that we've got."

Earlier this season, the harvest outlook was promising.

"In September, I was pretty happy with what I was seeing in the fields," he said. "Now we are going to be lucky to make half a crop compared to the last couple of years, all because of the weather."

"Seven or eight weeks ago, we were looking at 1,100- to 1,200-pound cotton" lint yield per acre, Wilson said. "Now we're 500 to 600 pounds."

The soybeans are just as bad. Back in September, "we had a good soybean crop. The yield was there," he said. "We have lost at least 60 percent to 80 percent due to the weather."

"Our rice is going to be half," Wilson said.

Wes Kirkpatrick, Desha County, Ark., staff chair for the U of A Division of Agriculture, said, "I have heard instances where producers had fields that traditionally yielded 1,200 to 1,400 pounds per acre are yielding 700 to 800 pounds per acre this year."

Soybean quality is also an issue, and the quality issues vary widely from field to field, he said. "Some fields have no damage and other fields have nearly 100 percent damage."
...

"Dryers in Chicot are rejecting beans because their quality had deteriorated so much," Wilson said. Beans that are being taken are so deeply discounted that growers are lucky to get $3 a bushel.

Non-discounted prices on Tuesday were running between $9.89 a bushel at Des Arc, Augusta and Clarendon to a high of $10.31 at Memphis, Tenn., said Scott Stiles, Extension economist-risk management, for the U of A Division of Agriculture.

"This is the worst I've ever seen and I've been a county agent for eight years and around farming all my life," Wilson said.

Last week, another county agent said that as a group, farmers tended to be optimistic people. "They have to be," he said last week while 5 inches of rain fell in 24 hours in some parts of Arkansas.

Wilson agreed, but added Tuesday that
"I have never seen such a discouraged bunch. It boils down to them saying, 'I'm not going to be able to pay my bills.'"

Kirkpatrick heard the same in his county. "Most farmers are ready to get this one behind them so they can lick their wounds and pray for a better year next year," he said.

Last month, Arkansas' governor designated 23 counties disaster areas due to flooding and rainfall, including Ashley, Chicot and Desha.

Last Thursday, the governor's office said it was working with USDA to obtain a declaration that would help farmers in Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Conway, Cross, Desha, Faulkner, Independence, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lincoln, Little River, Miller, Monroe, Perry, Phillips, Poinsett, Pope, Prairie, St. Francis, Union, White, Woodruff and Yell Counties. [Are there any counties that won't be declared disaster area?]

Ashley County Ledger reports that 'It's bad'.

'It's bad,' Agent Characterizes Crop Situation in Ashley County

[Arkansas]


A tractor leaves deep ruts in this UA Extension photo.

"It's bad," was the way Ashley County Cooperative Extension Agent-Agriculture Kevin Norton described the status of Ashley County's crops this past week.

At the point in the year when farmers should be right in the middle of the fall planting season for wheat and oats, they are still struggling to harvest some of this year's crops, particularly cotton.

The heavy and continuing rains in September and October not only hampered the harvest, but also led to extreme reductions in quality and yield. Norton said that some cotton fields which normally produce 1,200 to 1,500 pounds per acre are yielding only 500 to 800 pounds this year. "Five hundred to 800 pound cotton does not pay the bills," he said.

The county agent said that between the rains most farmers have been able to harvest most of the rice, most of the soybeans and almost all of the corn. He said that there is a little bit of corn still in the fields, "but it is not in good shape." Corn yields, Norton said, were down about 15 to 20 bushels per acre from last year. For the corn still left in the field, both the yields and quality will be greatly reduced. He said that most of the unharvested corn is laying on the ground which will mean that from 25 to 50 percent of the yield will be left in the fields.

Norton said that most of the rice crop was fair to OK, noting that one verification field cut 201 bushels per acre.

The same is not true for soybeans and cotton. Norton said that the soybeans which were ready to cut when the rains began "really took a beating" with both the yields and quality very low. He said that yields were down across the board, depending on the timing. The location also plays a role in yields. Norton said that normally in wet weather, soybeans on the prairie areas do better than those in the Delta.

He estimated that 80 percent of the soybeans have been harvested. For the remaining soybeans, some of which will have extremely low grades, he is concerned that granaries may not want to take them because of the quality.

With the continuing rains, "It is possible that there will be cotton out there at Christmas," Norton said, "but I am not sure how much will be left on the plant."

...
Overall, Norton said, he expects farmers to carry over a lot of debt this year. "I am afraid we will see a shakeup," he said. "It will be months before we see the full magnitude of how bad this fall has been."

Conditions Bad Statewide

Statewide, conditions were deteriorating rapidly as continued drenching rains wreaked havoc on the fall harvest. Yield potential and quality decreases the longer finished crops remain in the field.

"At this stage, yield and quality losses for Arkansas' major row crops could easily exceed $650 million," said Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach Thursday. "Presently, the bulk of the state's fall harvested crops are rated only fair in their quality. With additional delays, a growing percentage of the crop will move to a poor rating."

Veach says already 40 percent of the cotton and a third of the state's soybean crop have a poor rating. Seven consecutive weeks with at least one day of measurable rainfall, statewide, have prevented crops from drying out.

The cotton harvest is at only 15 percent complete, compared to nearly 75 percent by this time normally.

The soybean harvest is nearly 40 percent complete, compared to a normal harvest rate at this time of 60-70 percent.

Rice is 15 percent behind its normal harvest rate.

And the corn harvest is usually done by now, but 10 percent of the crop is still in the field.

The combination of heavy rains during this spring's planting season and now during harvest is really hurting farmers.

...
State Damage


Near constant rain has caused between 25 percent and 80 percent damage in some cotton, rice and soybean fields in Arkansas as growers struggle to harvest what's left during brief periods of dry weather, according to extension agents, agronomist and economists with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

In Phillips County, there was some good news for cotton farmers. "For sure, there is no total loss," Robert Goodson, Phillips County extension agent for the division of agriculture, said Thursday. "While we won't meet the crop average for Phillips County, it won't be as bad as everyone thought at first."

However, some soybeans in his county were fungus-fraught, rotting or splitting. "There are a lot of fields that have above 25 percent damage due to the wet weather," he said. "I have heard horror stories of damage in the 80 percent range."

Still, while the yield won't hit 2008's 50-bushel-an-acre mark, "this year, I think we'll be in the low 40-bushel range," Goodson said. "The saving grace for the soybean crop is the price. It is still strong. "Cash price at Marvell is $10.05, which makes lower yields look better," he said.

Scott Stiles, extension economist-risk management, said the moisture was chipping away at the strong prices. "Moisture discounts, foreign material, mold in the samples-- all these discounts add up to dollars," he said, adding that despite the strong prices, "the discounts are getting pretty deep on soybeans."

...
"The longer it rains, the uglier it gets," he said, adding there will be consequences for next year. "Seed quality for soybeans for planting next year's crop could get tight. There's simply no good seed."

Jackson County Extension Staff Chair Randy Chlapecka said river and stream flooding "has completely ruined some soybeans. "In regards to rice, we still have about 30 percent of our rice still in the field, which is unheard of for this time of the year," he said. "There is great concern about how much the late planting plus the wet, cool late summer and fall has impacted yields and milling of the remaining crop."

Chlapecka also said the effects of this year's rain would stretch into 2010. Jackson County had some of the state's heaviest rain this year: recording more than 19 inches from Aug. 1-Oct. 21.

"Very little wheat has been planted and we're rapidly approaching the end of the optimum planting window," he said. "We'll almost certainly end up with the smallest wheat acreage in forever.

Texarkana Gazette reports that damage to crops is 'tremendous' in Arkansas.

Agriculture: Damage to crops is 'tremendous'
By: Jim Williamson - Texarkana Gazette -
Published: 11/05/2009

[Arkansas]

Dollar amounts have yet to be placed on crop damages in Lafayette and Miller counties, but estimates by the University of Arkansas Extension Service indicate the losses will be tremendous, especially for soybeans.

The grain elevator companies are turning down soybeans because the damage is "too severe,"
said Joe Vestal, Lafayette County Extension agent, staff chair. "We can't put a dollar amount on the damage yet, but we've had lots of damage. It will be tremendous for soybeans. Most of the soybeans ready to be cut, before the rain started in September, will probably be a total loss." About 70 percent of the loads to grain elevators are damaged.

Agfax reports that 24/7 Harvest in Arkansas.

Arkansas: Harvest is a 24/7 Affair
AgFax.Com - Your Online Ag News Source
By Mary Hightower

[Arkansas]

HARRISBURG (November 4) — After a month of watching promising crops succumb to fungus and other ills caused by record rainfall, Arkansas farmers were running combines and pickers full tilt this week to reap what's left in the fields before the next rain falls.

"As long as the weather holds, guys will be going 24/7," Jeremy Ross, extension soybean agronomist for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, said Wednesday. "They were harvesting around my house last night 'til around 9 p.m.".

...
For all their effort, some growers may see precious little. Cotton growers have seen hard-locked bolls, sprouts in the bolls, boll rot, discoloration and other conditions that, in some cases, have nearly halved their yields to 700 or 800 pounds of lint per acre..

Soybean growers who had great stands in September, are now harvesting beans damaged by fungus, germination, split pods and other problems that will cut deeply into the per-bushel price. In southeastern Arkansas, some growers were lucky to get $3 a bushel when non-discounted prices were running around $10..

...
Beyond the harvest, there is anxiety about the future for some farmers.


"Some growers expect to go out of business in this region, based on the heavy damage to their soybean and cotton crops," Ross said..

THV reports that underwater soybeans in Arkansas.

White, Ouachita Rivers Still Rising From Heavy Rain
Ashley Blackstone Mike Duncan http://www.todaysthv.com/graphics/bullet1.gif 11/4/2009

[Arkansas]
...
And further downstream in near Des Arc, the crest is not expected until Saturday or Sunday. Farmers there are paying the big price. Five-hundred acres of Doyle Burnett's soybeans are already underwater.

THV's Mike Duncan asked Burnett, "What are you going to do with that? Just let it go I guess", Burnett replied. "It will be gone. I don't see any chance of the river coming back down anytime soon. So I think they're totally gone."

The Forest City Summit reports that rain causing a crisis for area farmers.

Rain causing a crisis for area farmers
By Chris Todd, For the News-Tribune
Nov 03, 2009 - 17:07:38 CST.

[Iowa]

Farmer's Coop Association General Manager Randy Broesder has been involved in farming for a long time, but
he can't remember a harvest season that's been as scary as this one.

An inch to two inches of rain fell on the Britt and north Iowa area early Thursday morning and most of the day, making a tough situation in the already saturated fields even tougher.

"Some of the guys have told me that harvest hasn't been this late since 1962, and that's a long time ago," Broesder said.

Darwin Luedtke, a grain merchandiser for the North Central Cooperative office in Woden, said this harvest has been a major battle for farmers.

"I haven't seen anything like this in 37 years," Luedtke said. "The fields are wet, beans and corn aren't as mature as they should be because of the cooler weather this summer, and it's going to cost farmers money to dry the crop. It's been a very difficult harvest."
...
"But the weather is critical at this point.
We'll need about six more weeks of dry weather to get this harvest done."

At the Coop,
farmers will be bringing in a lot of wet corn and it may be harvested faster than it can be dried by the elevator.

"There's going to be some lines, and guys are just going to have to be patient,"
Broesder said.

The Gothenburg Times reports that farmers challenged by shrinking corn.

Farmers challenged by shrinking corn
Written by Elizabeth Barrett Thursday, 05 November 2009 16:22

[Nebraska]


SNOW SHROUDS: Corn throughout the area received a heavy blanket of the white stuff Friday morning—up to 18 inches south of Brady. Snow fell three times in October. That coupled with plentiful rain has delayed harvest as much as three weeks.

Agriculture.com reports about The Harvest From Hades.

The harvest from hades
By Ray Grabanski
Market Analyst
11/04/2009, 10:18 AM CST

This year's harvest has been an extremely trying time for corn and soybean producers who have struggled through perhaps the worst October ever for harvesting grain. As we enter November, only 25% of the corn and 51% of the soybeans are harvested - woefully behind the normal pace of 71% corn and 87% soybeans. This could be a disaster in waiting, and the market is starting to treat this serious threat to the 2009 crop with more and more price premium as time clicks on. The one thing that can seal the nail in this coffin is an early arrival of winter, effectively socki ng in a good share of the 2009 crop in the fields.

Soybeans could be more devastating than corn in this regard, as snow would shatter soybeans certainly more easily than causing losses in corn. But even corn could be affected, as corn needs time to dry down and also to get picked and dried in grain dryers. We already are getting well behind normal so that drying needs to occur at cooler temps in November instead of October - slowing the whole process down. The seriousness is even more evident when you consider that problem areas will take a while to dry down soils before being able to tackle the harvest. The time needed to do that will be frustratingly long, as the whole process of drying out soils takes longer in November under cooler conditions and shorter days than in September or October.

So, the whole process of dealing with this harvest has been more than trying. For some areas, it actually gets even worse. In many ND, MN, and other fields down into Ill, corn is molding in the cob.
The mold can be a potential problem down the road, as buyers are being very particular about not accepting this questionable quality grain at harvest. Buyers simply don't have time to blend this 'off' grade grain off at this time, and therefore some farmers are finding they don't have a market for this grain at harvest.

Pro Ag has researched the mold problem and found that crop insurance considers it kernel damage, and is not treated like mycotoxins. Instead, the kernel damage is considered a loss but it takes over 35% of kernel damage (corn and soybeans) to qualify for a price comparison method of adjustment (Reduction in Value or RIV treatment), where the big insurance checks can come. Otherwise kernel damage for both corn and soybeans up to 35% is basically a one-for-one deal (slightly more in corn but less in soybeans) - based on a table in RMA special provisions. For example, 22.5% molded corn is adjusted at 22.5% less than total production (our 200 bu example would be 200 x .775 = 155 bu corn). The elevator may say the corn is worthless today, but crop insurance says its worth the same as 155 bu corn. Therein lies the rub. Of course, after harvest this corn might be worth a whole lot more as competition to blend the corn for cattle feed might make it more marketable.

For farmers with less than 35% mold (which includes most corn with mold problems), there is an unpleasant surprise! Many elevators say over 10% mold is unmarketable, so farmers are finding that crop insurance will give only a 5.9% adjustment for 10.5% mold. If you have a 200 bu crop, 94.1% of it still counts as production so essentially this is no loss for most producers. Quite a catch to find a large crop that is unmarketable, and then find no loss for crop insurance. The table ratchets up to 41.1% adjustment at 34-35% mold, and over 35% goes to a price comparison method, or RIV.

Below are the comments made during the last few days from Agweb's November Crop Comments in which some farmers express skepticism about the USDA's bumper harvest.

November Crop Comments
11/5/2009

Here's a sampling of what some folks are saying:

...
11/4 - Franklin Country, North-Central Iowa: Corn at 28%, we have maybe 10% harvested in this area. The last load of beans I took in was 14.2%, we have around 33% harvested around here. Yields for beans going low-50's to low-60's. Corn yields- only God knows. I would say we will be down around 25 bu from 2004 record yields; probably 190-195 will catch it this year. Certainly no record yield in my part of Iowa as the USDA is saying. Quality will be a big issue this year; I see a lot of corn getting dumped, rather than stored. The old-timers are saying they have not seen a harvest like this for many years and I hope we never see another one like this one for 30 years.
...
11/3 - St. Clair County, Southwestern Illinois: We picked up a mere 14 inches of rain in October. Not only was this the wettest October on record, it was the fourth wettest month ever recorded in our area. Saturday brought about panic for guys farming in the bottoms along the rivers. Many were doing anything possible to get their crops out before any of the rivers crested. It is slow going for everyone as you cannot bring any trucks, wagons, or grain carts into any fields for fear of burying them. The neighbor down the road buried his combine and it took two Caterpillars to get him out. I would put corn harvest at maybe 8 percent complete as some folks have never started due to high moisture and no on the farm drying. Beans are maybe 30 percent complete. I guess we will see how much the beans rotted in the next few days. We are hoping for beans to go on Wednesday or Thursday in this area. It was 70 degrees today and we could use another six weeks of this weather. Many nervous folks around here and who can blame them. Corn yields are running anywhere from 170-240 and beans are running 35-54. Be safe everyone and best of luck with your harvest.

11/3 - Central Nebraska: 12 in snow just melted. Fields a saturated and corm is wet with little hope of drying down because of freeze before maturity. The USDA needs to wake up and smell the roses.
...
11/2 - Winnebago County, North Iowa: 9.8 inches of rain last 35 days -Winnebago River is bank-full slowing drainage-beans 40% harvested -corn -5% at most. Corn running from 24-30%. Won't turn a wheel here to at least Wednesday/Thursday on sandy ground. Local elevator can dry only 25,000 bu daily of 25% corn. Almost all reporting points in Iowa are showing from 2x to 3x normal rainfall from history in past 30 days. Tow ropes are sold out. Fields will look like war zones before this December harvest is over!
...
11/2 - Houston County, Minn.: Help me out here. I am confused. Just finished reading the crop comments. No harvest progress, beans to wet to combine or frosted while green. Corn molding, too wet to combine and many reports of very low test weight. Snow burying corn in Colorado and Nebraska. Flooding burying crops in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, etc., etc. Was at the local elevator yesterday. They are in a bind because they have contracts to fill but either no beans are coming in or they have to reject them because of high moisture. Biggest crop ever coming in??? Where?

USDA's "Biggest Crop Ever"

Agrimoney reports that USDA believes the crops have suffered minimal damage.

18:20 UK, 4th November 2009, by Agrimoney.com
Informa cuts crop guesses - but not by much

Informa Economics has cut its estimate for US corn and soybean production - but not by much,
signalling that it [and the USDA] believes the crops have suffered minimal damage from a delayed harvest and October frost.

The analysis group trimmed its forecast for US the corn harvest by 63m bushels to 13.06bn bushels.

The estimate for soybeans was trimmed by 50m bushels to 3.333bn bushels.

Many analysts have forecast losses of 100m-200m bushels [it will be much, much more] for a harvest which is the slowest since records began in 1985 thanks to rain both in the spring, which delayed planting, and in recent weeks, which has hampered field work.

'Good indicator'

The Informa data, which will be followed by forecasts from FC Stone later on Wednesday, is viewed by many investors as a reliable indicator of Washington thinking. [Not the reality]

The US Department of Agriculture will on Tuesday release its next monthly global crop supply and demand report, which are seen as highlights of the commodities calendar.

"Historically, Informa has been very close to the USDA," Iowa broker US Commodities said.

"In the last seven years... Informa has been within 20m bushels of the USDA November estimate [for soybeans]. The bottom line is that the trade should respect Informa's numbers [as if they were the USDA's numbers themselves, and give them the respect the USDA is due—which is none at all]."

Informa's estimates leave it more optimistic on both corn and soybean than the USDA, whose latest forecasts were made nearly a month ago, before harvest delays and frost kicked in.

What The USDA Is Saying About 2009 Fall Harvest

Speaking of USDA numbers, below is a comparison between the USDA's September and October estimates.

Soybeans for Beans: Area Harvested, Yield, and Production by State

and United States, 2008 and Forecasted September 1 and October 1, 2009

Yield

Production

(Bushels per acre)

1000 bushels

Sep

Oct

Sep

Oct

Alabama

37

37

16,280

15,910

Arkansas

38

39

127,300

131,430

Delaware

36

36

6,768

6,588

Georgia

34

34

16,320

15,300

Illinois

44

44

398,200

411,400

Indiana

43

43

235,640

233,490

Iowa

52

52

505,960

495,560

Kansas

40

40

140,000

146,000

Kentucky

42

44

60,060

62,040

Louisiana

35

37

35,000

35,890

Maryland

39

40

18,720

19,000

Michigan

38

37

75,620

73,630

Minnesota

40

40

284,000

284,000

Mississippi

41

39

88,970

83,460

Missouri

42

42

224,700

222,600

Nebraska

51

52

237,150

247,000

New Jersey

35

38

3,150

3,306

New York

43

42

10,836

10,584

North Carolina

34

34

59,840

59,840

North Dakota

30

30

120,000

115,500

Ohio

47

46

215,260

210,680

Oklahoma

26

28

8,580

10,360

Pennsylvania

45

46

20,025

20,470

South Carolina

27

27

15,930

15,120

South Dakota

39

40

167,700

168,000

Tennessee

40

40

62,400

61,200

Texas

25

25

5,250

4,875

Virginia

35

37

20,650

21,460

Wisconsin

39

39

63,570

63,570

Other

33.6

35.6

1,413

1,850

Total

3,229,012

3,234,203


Why did production estimates get bigger in October for Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Nebraska???


What Everyone Else Is Saying About 2009 Fall Harvest

(Below are quotes from the articles above)

"We've had a lot of rainy years, but this one puts those to shame,"
"If a person's a farmer you start to think, 'Where am I going to sleep? How am I going to feed my children?'"
"More than ever, Louisiana producers are in need of disaster funds"
"If there's any way possible, I'll still farm, but you've got to look at everything, you know? I don't know what else I'd do."
"I fear many of our hardworking Mississippi farmers will no longer be able to operate due to the excessive losses faced this year"
"That's putting a lot of acres under water and makes other farm-land a lot harder to get to."
"We're trying to get them out before the river gets them again,"
"It's bleak,"
"Now we are going to be lucky to make half a crop compared to the last couple of years, all because of the weather."
"we had a good soybean crop. The yield was there," he said. "We have lost at least 60 percent to 80 percent due to the weather."
"Our rice is going to be half,"
"We had a good soybean crop. The yield was there. We have lost at least 60 percent to 80 percent due to the weather."
"Dryers in Chicot are rejecting beans because their quality had deteriorated so much,"
"This is the worst I've ever seen and I've been a county agent for eight years and around farming all my life,"
"I have never seen such a discouraged bunch. It boils down to them saying, 'I'm not going to be able to pay my bills.'"
"It's bad,"
"I am afraid we will see a shakeup. It will be months before we see the full magnitude of how bad this fall has been."
"At this stage, yield and quality losses for Arkansas' major row crops could easily exceed $650 million,"
"There are a lot of fields that have above 25 percent damage due to the wet weather. I have heard horror stories of damage in the 80 percent range."
"Moisture discounts, foreign material, mold in the samples-- all these discounts add up to dollars. The discounts are getting pretty deep on soybeans."
"The longer it rains, the uglier it gets. Seed quality for soybeans for planting next year's crop could get tight. There's simply no good seed."
"[
River and stream flooding] has completely ruined some soybeans."
"Very little wheat has been planted and we're rapidly approaching the end of the optimum planting window. We'll almost certainly end up with the smallest wheat acreage in forever."
"We can't put a dollar amount on the damage yet, but we've had lots of damage. It will be tremendous for soybeans. Most of the soybeans ready to be cut, before the rain started in September, will probably be a total loss."
"Some growers expect to go out of business in this region, based on the heavy damage to their soybean and cotton crops,"
"What are you going to do with that [five-hundred acres of underwater soybeans]? Just let it go I guess. It will be gone. I don't see any chance of the river coming back down anytime soon. So I think they're totally gone."
"Some of the guys have told me that harvest hasn't been this late since 1962, and that's a long time ago,"
"I haven't seen anything like this in 37 years."

This entry was posted in Food_Crisis, Market_Skepticism, News_Developments. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Harvest From Hell VS USDA’s “Biggest Crop Ever”

  1. Matheus says:

    You are right about crops, the etanol here in brazil has rised a lot because of the demand of sugar form the internacional market,in 10 states the gas now worth more that the etanol, the principal reason it is the bad crops of india...i think you could add this news to your next post.
    Regards
    Matheus

  2. Ken says:

    Yes but..Shorted January soybeans Thursday am based upon expectation of huge bean crop, rain notwithstanding. This market was held up about $10 because of all the rain but that prop is now gone and clear weather will primarily prevail for the next couple weeks. Farmers will be flooding the market with beans putting pressure on prices. Yes, crops were hurt by all the rain but not enough to do massive damage. Beans could go to $7-$8 with this huge crop. Tuesday Crop Report will be interesting but I'm not sure how recent their field inspections are. Anyway, that's my bet.

  3. Willy2 says:

    I looked to what happened to the grains in 2007 & 2008 and I noticed that the grains "took off" in november 2007. I think we could see a repeat of that. But I think the grains will not suffer in 2010 like they did in the second half of 2008.

  4. dashxdr says:

    I guess this is a lesson in being careful in what you wish for.

    LOLAnon/Psychopath. He's the entity you love to hate.

    I feel a void in my life now. Perhaps it can be filled with beer.

  5. Willy2 says:

    The overall weather in the US seems to remain cooler in the next coming years. At least, that's my conclusion when I listen to Mrs. Evelynn Gariss, publisher of the Browning Newsletter. And that not good for foodprodution in the US.

    Source: Financial Sense.com dated oktober 24th.
    Listen to the audioclip from 00:20 to 00:32.

  6. dashxdr says:

    wait for nature to take its course.

    Yeah, they've got the same smell... but it's just not quite the same.

    Oh well. Nothing lasts forever!

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