Stop-and-go Corn Harvest Continues; Cattle, Hog Optimism

  • 01

    Though conditions have improved as the week's progressed, it started out as a slow, damp time to pick corn and harvest soybeans, putting overall progress -- at least for corn -- well behind normal. See what else you need to know this week in agriculture.

  • 02

    Cool temperatures -- some of which dipped below the freezing mark in northern parts of the Midwest and Plains -- slowed harvest early this week, but more importantly may have halted crop development early. Corn harvest was, as of Monday, at just about half its normal completion.

  • 03

    While drier, more seasonably mild air has settled back in over much of the Corn Belt, the harvest weather window could be closing again soon, forecasters said this week. Harvest delays are most likely in the southern Midwest and Delta in the coming week, though Plains rain will help winter wheat establishment.

  • 04

    These conditions generally have harvest moving, at least in Iowa, at a "snail's pace," farmers say. Check in on harvest in eastern Iowa here, where one farmer says he's got 20% of his soybeans out of the field, with corn harvest still in the single-digits.

  • 05

    Despite the lackluster harvest conditions this week, the grain markets still haven't managed much upside. Improving harvest weather and the likelihood of accelerated progress in the next 2 weeks still has market analyst Ray Grabanski "100% hedged." See what else is behind his approach.

  • 06

    Though the crop in the field may be big, it's likely pretty damp at this point, making mechanical drying critical. But, do you have the gas to get your crop dried? If you haven't nailed down propane supplies, now's a good time to do it, energy market-watchers say.

  • 07

    More ethanol was produced in the U.S. last month than in the same month a year ago. Does that mean production's going up and will chew through what's expected to be a huge corn crop this fall? "Growth in ethanol production alone will not be sufficient to prevent a substantial build-up in corn inventories, but may be helpful in limiting the magnitude of the build-up," one economist says. What do you think?

  • 08

    A couple of farm policy stories popped this week: The EPA on Monday extended the comment period on its clean water proposal — known as the Waters of the United States — until Nov 14. There were 217,134 comments on the proposal as of Monday. See how you can add your 2 cents' worth.

  • 09

    About a decade ago, the phrase "Brazilian WTO cotton case" was an earthquake shaking under a lot of global ag trade talks. But now, it's all done. Officials announced recently that Brazil has "agreed not to bring new WTO actions against U.S. cotton support programs while the current U.S. farm bill is in force."

  • 10

    Ebola and ISIS may seem worlds away from the corn and soybean fields of the Midwestern U.S. That's not to say those issues aren't critical to the sustenance of agriculture at home and around the world. These issues and what they mean to the world's agriculture will take center-stage soon when the 2014 Borlaug Dialogue lands in Des Moines, Iowa, next week.

  • 11

    Low grain prices make up the main reason behind a potential new 'animal age,' or time of prosperity in the livestock sector. Beef cattle opportunities are ample right now, given the right steps are taken. Check out these 9 tips to help build up your beef herd.

  • 12

    There's just as much optimism in the hog sector, but if it signals too much expansion in the next year, per-head profits -- which are at record levels right now -- could drop sharply. See where one respected livestock economist thinks the hog sector's headed in 2015.

  • 13

    Just how good is the hog business right now? Profits of more than $80/head have the Pork Powerhouses wrapping up what's been one of the biggest years for the industry in decades, one that has producers 'smiling ear to ear.'

The winding road of fall harvest heads around the next corner.

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