Soybean yields all across the board
After this summer's generally parched conditions in the nation's midsection, it's been difficult to conjure much optimism heading into soybean harvest in a lot of areas. And, for some farmers, that outlook's being realized as farmers get deeper into harvest. But, there have been a few surprises out there.
"I've heard a 7 in front of some bean yields," says Rod Klingenberg, grain merchandiser for Sands of Iowa Ag Services in Marcus, Iowa. "Sounds like the county over from us, they've had some awesome bean yields."
But, other soybean yield reports highlight the variability that's characterized this fall's harvest for both corn and beans. In his fields in west-central Indiana, Agriculture.com Marketing Talk member bullrider685114 says his bean yields will end up anywhere from 10 to 30 bushels/acre below normal.
"Soybeans are 25-55 [bushels/acre], same field. Five-year average for this farm for soybeans is 61," he says. "As you can see, we have taken a hit. This is out my backdoor, of course. But it gets no better east, west, north or south."
Back in Iowa, Marketing Talk contributor nwiafmr says his yields have been disappointing, but considering the late-summer weather, it could be worse.
"Moisture was a little high yet at 13.5%, yielded 46 bushels/acre over the scale. A little disappointing; this 10 acres 2 years ago in soybeans yielded in the low 60s," he said this week. "If weather forecast for the rest of September is accurate we will have the third-driest September on record. Precipitation for August totaled .35 in 4 rain events."
While some farmers are moving on to soybeans -- be it because they're done with corn or still waiting on their corn to dry down -- there's still corn to be picked. Kelly Robertson and Paul Butler, both Illinois farmers, are battling corn that's been awfully slow to dry in the field.
"Working on odds and ends between trying to haul some corn out and it doesn't seem like I am getting much accomplished," says Robertson, who farms near Benton, Illinois. "Corn is not drying down very fast, if at all, it seems."
Butler, who farms near Macon, Illinois, isn't waiting around much longer. "About 40% done with corn, just not drying," he said Friday. "Next week, we are going to hit it and just pay the drying cost. Stalk strength is awful. Beans are going to be ready next week."
Will these crop difficulties translate to a higher market? Thus far, it seems the grains are more in-tune to world economic indicators, namely the prospect of the U.S. economy needing another round of federal intervention -- be it through quantitative easing or an interest rate "twist."
"We're probably a little ahead on corn forward-contracting than a typical year. Soybeans are a little less than a typical year," he said Friday. "Corn was at a pretty good price -- I think it was kind of a cash flow thing for them, a 'bird in the hand' kind of thing. We had some nice prices on beans, but the bean prices haven't been as stellar as corn was."
But, the market's not exactly totally in the tank just yet, adds Cargill senior grain merchandiser Ray Jenkins. So, if you need to lock in some profits, that's likely still in the cards. "All I would ask you to do is consider if $6.50 corn will still make things work in your operation," he says.
And, look for some selling opportunities in the soybean market, too, between now and the end of the year, says soybean market analyst Roy Smith.
"My strategy for selling new crop soybeans since is to forward price a portion before harvest and sell the remainder on the 'Dead Cat Bounce' by the end of December. The increment that I currently have forward priced was done at $13.75 basis January futures," Smith says. "This allows time for the basis to improve following the completion of harvest. The current basis is -1.11 below January futures. By the end of December the basis should improve by at least 40 cents if it follows the usual pattern."