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Big crops, good prices

Agriculture.com Staff 11/13/2009 @ 7:00am

In my forty years of farming, I think I have seen just about everything. To find harvest experiences like this year requires digging deep into the depths of my memory. In fact, I do not remember any fall that had such bad weather in October and such good weather, at least the first 13 days, in November. In my small operation, two weeks ago all of my beans were still in the field. The forty percent of the corn that was harvested had moisture content too high to store.

Today my soybean harvest is finished and the corn will be nearly done by night fall. The corn that was harvested at 18% took some patience and a lot of air, but with a little blending it is finally dry. I am able to blend because the corn coming out of the field now is right at 15%. Tables I got from the University of Nebraska indicate that it is safe to keep through the winter.

I am quite sure that there are no analog years for the soybean and corn markets. In previous years, when the crop was big and wet, storage was almost mandatory because prices were so depressed at harvest time. Those of us who went through those experiences find it difficult to comprehend a crop so large that there is no place to store it, but prices continue to rally in the face of harvest pressure.

My old strategy of the 'dead cat bounce' in the soybean market had served well in the market this fall. I was reluctant to sell into the highs of early last week because I did not have any beans harvested yet. My harvest began the day of the price peak on November 3. By the time the beans were in the elevator, the price had dropped 50 cents. Given the speed of getting harvest wrapped up and the good harvesting weather, I thought I had missed a great selling opportunity.

My disappointment did not last long. By Monday of this week, the rally was on again. I sold the first increment Monday on the open. My next target is a retracement back to the level of a dollar over the October 5 low. Action in the market on Thursday was only six cents short of that goal.

Even the corn market has failed to succumb to the huge crop that is out there. Word has it that the strength of the grain markets is due in large part to outside money coming into the commodities. If speculators want to be long the grains, that is fine with me as long as they play by the rules. I am wondering if there is any possibility they could take delivery of some corn next week so that my neighbors would have a place to go with their grain before the snow flies!

In my forty years of farming, I think I have seen just about everything. To find harvest experiences like this year requires digging deep into the depths of my memory. In fact, I do not remember any fall that had such bad weather in October and such good weather, at least the first 13 days, in November. In my small operation, two weeks ago all of my beans were still in the field. The forty percent of the corn that was harvested had moisture content too high to store.

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