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Timely rainfall or untimely?

Agriculture.com Staff 02/10/2016 @ 4:07pm

Last week, I mentioned the concern farmers in my area had about the conditions into which soybeans were planted.

Specifically, some beans were not covered adequately and were not in contact with moist soil even though rainfall was plentiful before planting. More than a week without rain produced anxiety for those of us who had problems getting the planting depth adjusted. Frequent rainfall since May 22 was just what the crop doctor ordered to get soybeans germinated that were placed a little too shallow. Today the stand looks good with just a slight difference in size between the early and later emerging plants.

I normally figure that it takes four days for soybeans to break the surface under ideal conditions. I planted my last field on May 19. It took those beans exactly twice the usual time to see sunlight. I was just able to see a few beans cracking the soil when I checked the field on Tuesday of this week. The slowness of emergence should not be a big yield factor.

The rain we have had the last week was ideal for emergence of those beans that were planted. However, for those farmers who still have beans to plant it is not so good. About a third of the bean seed is still in the bag. It has been a frustrating season for those farmers. The time is rapidly approaching when yields will be reduced by the late season. As I write this on Thursday night, a storm is approaching that has already produced tornados further west in Nebraska. Where I live and farm, we are in a flash flood watch. My farm land is high enough that flooding is not a big issue. Our soil drains well, so we can handle a big rain without a lot of crop damage. However, I have no desire to test my theory!

This is the season when grain traders watch crop progress closely. In a normal year, crops would be planted and grain prices would be headed down. Late planting is delaying the sell off that usually comes as production risk diminishes. For the last month, it seems as if outside factors are more of a factor than grain fundamentals. Soybean prices have been especially strong in the face of conditions that may result in anticipated corn acres being planted to beans. Considering that a wash out in soybean prices is over due, I keep thinking additional new crop sales would be a good idea. Now that my crop is planted and emerged, it is difficult to see how selling new crop beans for $12 off the combine would be unprofitable.

One of the things I watch closely this time of year is the basis on old crop corn. If we are going to get a big narrowing of the basis, it should come before July 1. This week, we finally got a nickel better corn basis. My goal for this summer was basis 30 cents under July futures. This week, for the first time since last summer, the basis was less than 40 cents. I still hope that my goal will be reached. I may get impatient before the end of June and roll my July hedge into a cash sale. After waiting so long, it is gratifying to finally have some movement in the right direction.

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