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Talk of the town: yields!

09/07/2012 @ 1:33pm

One of the joys of living and working in small town America is that most towns, no matter how small, have a festival some time during the year. My home town of Plattsmouth Nebraska is especially proud of theirs. The “Kass Kounty King Korn Karnival” was an annual event for 79 years. It was the longest running such celebration in the country. Then the thought police decided that stringing that special group of letters together was not politically correct. For the past two years the event has been called simply “ Plattsmouth Harvest Festival."  

The new name lacks the catchiness of the earlier title. However, the show goes on!

In most years the talk of the town is how soon harvest will begin and what yields of corn and soybeans will be. Some years we are even hoping for dry weather so that harvest will be easy and quick. This year a lot of the corn has already been harvested.

The talk is about yields which are considerably below average but better than most folks thought they would be. One farmer in this end of the county said that his yield monitor showed yields of 80 to 200 bushels per acre going through the field.

Another from the west end of the county reported that his ran from 20 to 80. Much of the corn is down from stalks that died prematurely and a bad wind storm on August 8. Corn heads seem to be picking it up well. Test weight has been running around 54 pounds. Moisture content has ranged from 11 to 17. We have to search from field to field to find most of the corn having moisture below 16.

THERE WILL BE SOME BEANS

No soybeans have been harvested yet. That is probably a week away. I scouted one of my soybean fields this morning. It is planted to a 3.7 maturity variety. I observed that there will be some soybeans. Plants are very short but the pods are filling. I will guess that if we do not get the rain that was promised for today that the beans will be very small. I never attempt to estimate soybean yields until the combine rolls in the field.

A government crop report will be released next Wednesday morning. I normally favor making some sales prior to that report. It frequently triggers a bearish surprise when government numbers come in larger than anticipated. Selling soybeans the day or two before the report has a high probability of being a profitable strategy. I thought that this year might be different.

However, looking at the charts makes me think that the strategy might work again this year as it has in the past, but from a higher level. Soybean futures set an all-time record this week. Cash corn at my location was over $8 for three days before falling back toward the end of the week. It is hard to see how making sales at these levels could be a mistake. Months from now we might look back at prices this week and wonder how we could have missed such an opportunity to pass up profitable prices on a small crop!   

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Before Harvest Begins