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Eastern Corn Belt farm talk

11/02/2011 @ 7:55am

LEXINGTON, Ohio (Agriculture.com)--For weeks, market participants have been wondering what kind of yields eastern Corn Belt farmers would be recording, due to less than ideal growing conditions for crops planted months late in 2011. 

On Monday, USDA reported the U.S. soybean harvest advanced only 7% to 87% vs. a five-year average of 79%.  U.S. corn harvest advances 13% to 78% vs. 62% average. 

Specifically, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania stand out as states with the slowest corn harvest. 

Wearing a seed cap with sunglasses over the bill, and a green t-shirt, Justin Barnes, a Pickaway County, Ohio farmer, climbed out of his combine Sunday to report that his county will live up to its Top-5 highest corn yield state ranking.

"We've harvested 400 of our 1,700 corn acres and 200 bushel yields are common. We're surprised," Barnes says. 

On soybeans, the central Ohio farmer is seeing 49 bu./acre with about 800 of 1,000 acres harvested. 

"We're very fortunate we received timely rains in late July and again in late August," Barnes says. "We're thankful."

Making this year even better, the local cash basis levels are considerably stronger than previous harvest-time prices. "We're delivering corn, today, that was sold with a positive basis of 30-cents over the Chicago Mercantile Exchange December futures contract. And, other farmers in the area are enjoying the firm basis as well," Barnes says.

With their two combine bean heads sitting idle on their trailers, Richland County, Ohio farmers Marc and Josh Haring, are waiting for a drier weather pattern to finish up harvesting. 

Nonetheless, the Haring brothers, with a little over half of their 800 corn and soybeans out of the fields, believe they will have better-than-expected yield averages. 

"Already, we have seen 49 bushel beans cut, and we're hoping the next field will cut around 50 bu./acre," Marc Haring says.

Like Barnes, the Haring's plan to take advantage of a firm local basis. "In the past, most of our corn would go to the chicken producers in the U.S. Southeast. But, we now have nearby ethanol plants that offer competitive bids," Haring says.

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