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Dog days

Agriculture.com Staff 08/04/2006 @ 1:10pm

This a time of year when it is difficult to find anything positive to say about grain markets. My old crop soybeans have been gone since before the first of the year.

I have sales made on new crop beans. I am waiting to add to new crop sales until shortly before the September crop report. The seasonal trend is for soybean prices to rally during the month of August. Odds of that happening are about two years out of three.

I finished cleaning out the bins of all of the old crop corn yesterday. Taking a 46 cent LDP last fall and selling unpriced corn for $2.02 to $2.17 proved to be a profitable strategy. Early hedging and rolling the hedges to sell the carry also was profitable, but the profit came from the early hedges, not selling the carry. It appears that this year the opposite may be true. I am behind several cents on the December corn hedges, but the carry between December and September 2007 futures was 40 cents this week. I find it difficult to see a down side to selling a carry that big. But, I thought the same thing last year and it turned out to be the wrong thing to do.

Farming in Eastern Nebraska without irrigation, it is common to have a spell of several weeks without rain. Our soil is deep and holds a lot of water when it rains, so crops can stand an extended dry period, which is common. We are getting to the point now where bushels are starting to come off big time. Most of the land around here has been no-till for many years. Those fields are withstanding the dry conditions better than the tilled fields.

We had a rain every week since July 13. The first one was 1.5 inches and came at the ideal time for pollination. The ones since have done little more than settle the dust and increase humidity. I started seeing soybeans turning brown on the terrace tops and other stressed areas yesterday. Major damage is just a few days away if more rain doesn't come soon.

This week marks a year since health problems took me out of circulation for more than six weeks. On Monday, I got a clean bill of health from my doctor. I told him that the experience has made me paranoid. He said that I have reason to be paranoid. I wonder what he meant by that? Surviving a potentially fatal illness makes me aware of how fragile we all are and how many unknowns there are that we have no control over. I hope I get over being paranoid pretty soon!

For farmers who do not irrigate, for a few weeks there is time to get away from the farm for a short while. What better way than to attend an educational program with a group of other farmers. With that in mind, I will be speaking at the Nebraska Soybean Management Field Days on Aug 15-18. I am doing sessions on "Marketing/Management/Government Programs" with Gary Bredensteiner, retired CEO of Nebraska Farm Business Association.

There are three other hour long sessions on various production topics. The program is sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board. It begins at 9:00 A.M. and is open to all soybean growers regardless of state. There is no charge for meal or program. This is the best show of the summer with unbiased information on a wide variety of soybean production and marketing topics! Call 1-800-852-2326 for additional details or go to the website, http://ardc.unl.edu/soydays.htm.

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