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Roy SmithPrice rally hard to come by

Agriculture.com Staff 07/21/2009 @ 1:00pm

I had no column Friday because Sharon and I took a few days off for a vacation when neither of us had any responsibilities. Most of the time when I travel I am either doing a marketing meeting or are in some way involved in planning or organizing. It is a real treat when we can just get away. From July 15 through July 20 we traveled in a part of South Dakota that was new territory for us.

Out travels took us through most of the Southeast and part of the central part of the state. The weather was delightfully cool. I assume that is unusual for South Dakota for the middle of July. The crops appeared to have had enough rain. In many cases there were yellow spots on the fields from excessive precipitation. I think that is also unusual for that state. The land in most areas is flat. When too much rain falls drainage is a problem, as it seems to be this year.

Traveling outside of my home territory it is difficult to judge the maturity of the crops. However, from the time we passed the Nebraska-South Dakota border I saw no corn that was tasseling. The corn here in Cass County, Nebraska has been pollinating for more than two weeks. My perception is that the corn in South Dakota needs some hot, dry weather to avoid the risk of early frost.

Development of no-till techniques in the past few years has resulted in the Dakotas being major producers of soybeans and corn. This fact is usually overlooked by traders in Chicago. However, in a year of tight supplies, late planting and possible damage from early frost could become a factor in the overall supplies of these grains. Any price action resulting from reduced supplies is probably a month in the future.

I drove home from Sioux Falls, South Dakota through Missouri Valley, Iowa in a very hard rain yesterday afternoon. It appeared from radar last night that Pierre got more rain from that storm. The area around my home looks like a garden spot compared to anywhere else I have been. We had two inches of rain July 3 and another two on July 8. While we were gone another inch accumulated in my gauge.

There is still a lot of time for production problems to develop. Personally, I am concerned about diseases on both corn and soybeans. Conditions are almost perfect for any number of viruses or bacteria to attack the growing crops. I keep thinking that this could be the year when the Asian Soybean Rust that we were all so scared of a few year back would finally show up in time to hurt yields. I hope that the heat and dryness in Texas will hold off that possibility until the crop is mature.

Considering the way the crop is currently developing, my experience tells me that the any threat to the crop that might hurt yields will have to be real before prices will rally. Meanwhile, it was nice to come home from vacation to cool weather and fields of green!

I had no column Friday because Sharon and I took a few days off for a vacation when neither of us had any responsibilities. Most of the time when I travel I am either doing a marketing meeting or are in some way involved in planning or organizing. It is a real treat when we can just get away. From July 15 through July 20 we traveled in a part of South Dakota that was new territory for us.

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