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Variability reigns as harvest winds down
It was another week of brisk harvest activity, though that looks to be slowing this week, experts say. Still, the fall harvest finish line is now well within sight.
Corn harvest was just shy of 80% complete earlier this week, more than twice the normal pace. Soybean harvest, though not quite as far beyond the normal time window, has also moved rapidly on dry weather and mostly shorter-than-normal crops.
That blistering pace is cooling off quickly, though, as rains move through the nation's center. They won't put much of a dent in the drought pressure in the Plains and Midwest. And, warmer temperatures after the wet spell will allow harvest to resume quickly.
Harvest is wrapping up the most variable year of corn and soybean yields and production ever, some farmers say. Variability's ruled this year, in more ways than one. See how some farmers have fared as they start to close out their crop year.
Despite it all, though, a lot of farmers are still bullish corn and soybeans, some to the extent that they think they'll be "throwing away the keys to the bin" and hold off on any sales in the coming weeks and longer.
For those farmers who have made a lot of sales, there's an important date coming up. The final fall harvest prices for revenue protection crop insurance policies will be set in a couple of weeks, and those prices will go a long way to determining the replacement value of lost bushels.
Where are cash land rents headed? Obviously it all depends on grain prices moving forward. But, how much could they change? One economist ran the numbers this week for a range of prices in Illinois. It all boils down to projected per-acre crop returns.
Though corn prices have fallen since shooting higher last week after USDA's latest production and supply/demand reports, they haven't fallen enough to encourage more purchases on the export market, a report out Wednesday shows. Why not?
But, there's still demand out there, especially for U.S. soybeans. So, what's the best way to "sell beans on the bounce?" Market analyst and "Dead Cat Bounce" theory originator Roy Smith chats soybean sales this week.
All the demand for corn and soybeans is having one unintended consequence to the landscape. More farmers, looking to capture more profit on their farms, are putting more acres into crop production that haven't been in the past. But, it may not always pay off, farmers say.
On the business side of the industry this week, one change may affect your grain marketing in the future. CME Group agreed to purchase the Kansas City Board of Trade Wednesday, ushering in what some say will be big change in how wheat futures contracts are used in hedging and risk management strategies.
A few key themes are emerging as the 2012 crop year winds down.