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3 Big Things Today, October 19

Corn, Soybeans Fall as Harvest Progresses

Corn and soybean futures declined overnight as the U.S. harvest progresses.

About 42% of corn was harvested as of last week, and 62% of soybeans were collected. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will update those figures in today’s weekly Crop Progress report.

Cold weather that prompted the National Weather Service to issue frost and freeze warnings in much of the Midwest seems to have been a nonevent over the weekend. Freezing weather can hurt soybeans that haven’t yet reached maturity, but it seems most of the oilseeds were either harvested or advanced enough to avoid damage, according to analysts (http://community.agriculture.com/t5/Marketing/Floor-Talk-October-16/td-p/609879).

Corn futures for December delivery fell 2 ¾ cents to $3.74 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

November soybean futures fell ¼ cent to $8.98 a bushel overnight in Chicago. December soymeal futures declined 20 cents to $311.80 per short ton. December soyoil futures dropped 0.26 cent to 28.34 cents a pound.

Wheat for December delivery declined 5 ½ cents to $4.86 ¾ a bushel on the CBOT.

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Harvest Speed Likely Helped Beans Avoid Freeze Trouble

It’s not a secret that U.S. farmers can harvest the heck out of some fields in no time flat these days.

This year, however, it may have been their ability to get their beans out of the ground in a hurry that saved some from frost or freeze damage.

A cold front that moved into the U.S. Midwest starting Friday left many fields exposed to freeze or frost loss. The good news: Most of the beans that would in years past have been subject to damage were already collected when the cold weather moved in.

The U.S. soybean harvest as of last week was 62% complete. If farmers continued collecting beans at a rapid pace in the week through yesterday – and nothing would indicate they didn’t, considering the weather was mostly dry – then that figure should jump to 75% to 80% in today’s USDA Crop Progress report. 

That compares to last year, when only 31% had been harvested at this time. 

Had this freeze and frost hit a year ago, it’s likely much more of the U.S. crop would’ve been exposed to temperatures that make you want to grab another jacket before heading out the door.

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Dry Weather Prompts 'Red Flag Warning’ From National Weather Service

Speaking of cold, dry weather, it’s much of the same for the Midwest for at least the next 48 hours.    (http://www.agriculture.com/weather)

It’s going to be so dry, in fact, that the National Weather Service has issued a so-called Red Flag Warning for a swath of the U.S. that stretches from central Kansas, up through most of Iowa, and into northern Illinois. (www.weather.gov)

A Red Flag Warning means the danger for wildfires is extremely high. Much of the area where the warning has been issued has only seen limited rain in the past 60 days. Parts of Missouri, in fact, haven’t gotten any precipitation whatsoever, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. (http://water.weather.gov/precip/)

While wildfires seem like a foreign concept, thousands of acres have burned outside of Bastrop, Texas, creating a days-long smoky haze over the state’s capital city of Austin for the past several days. Dry weather combined with an unknown source of ignition has burned almost 5,000 acres and razed nearly 50 homes.

Some rain is possible in areas of the northern Midwest, according to the NWS. Parts of Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota have a chance of precipitation in the next two days. The agency wouldn’t go so far as to say that rain is likely, however, meaning showers will probably be scattered, at best.

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