In the field with XtremeAg for October harvest
The year 2020 will be remembered as one of the most volatile years in decades between the weather, trade, and COVID-19.
Prices received for commodities is a bright spot, especially as farmers bring in the corn and soybean harvest.
In a new video feature called “In the Field, powered by XtremeAg.farm,” Bill Spiegel, crops editor with Successful Farming and Agriculture.com, caught up with three farmers from XtremeAg.farm, a community of top-notch farmers from across the U.S. who provide a mentorship experience to members of that online community.
Spiegel also spoke with grain marketing expert Al Kluis to learn how harvest and current events have impated the markets.
In the Field
Kelly Garrett, who farms near Arian, Iowa, says the summer’s derecho affected all of his corn and soybean acres. Corn yields range from 180 to 220 bushels per acre on his farm in western Iowa, Garrett says.
“If I don’t raise 65-bushel beans now, I’m disappointed. But over my farming career, a 59-bushel soybean crop is pretty good,” he explains. “And 180-bushel-per-acre corn is a bit below average.”
Near East Bend, North Carolina, Kevin Matthews has dealt with two hurricane events in 2020. He planted corn later than normal, with some replant necessary.
“It was about June 10 by the time we got done planting in our river bottoms, which is getting pretty late. But on river bottom ground that’s OK,” he explains.
“Coming off three bad years in the Carolinas, this year’s been pretty good for us, but east of Raleigh they’re off 30%,” Matthews adds. “They’re pretty bad and needed the same good yields we did.”
On his irrigated farms, harvested just before Hurricane Epsilon made landfall, corn yield averaged about 295, and soybeans averaged 100 bushels per acre. He also has dryland upland, and dryland river bottom soils. The upland averages 175 bushels per acre, while bottomland expectations are greater than 200 bushels per acre. “Our whole farm average should between 180 and 190 bushels per acre,” he says.
Matt Miles farms near McGehee Arkansas, near the corner of Mississippi and Louisiana. “We’ve been pounded with bad weather from tropical storms,” says Miles, who adds that this spring is the wettest he’s ever endured. Hurricane Laura decimated his rice crop.
Preemptively, he built up his machinery lineup to get crops planted as timely as possible.
“Corn yield was average or a little better, averaging 225 bushels per acre. That’s pretty respectable. Soybeans were on the high side, averaging 77 bushels per acre. That’s in the top five of our yields,” he says. “We were blessed with good yields on the soybeans this year.”
Al Kluis, managing partner at Kluis Commodity Advisors, says the corn price has soared 89¢ in the last 10 weeks, while soybeans have jumped $2.10.
Why? Lower production for both corn and soybeans, plus incredible demand from China, Kluis says.
“Man, has China been on a buying spree,” he says. “They have bought 510 million bushels of corn over the last three months. They’ve purchased a record 1.2 billion bushels of soybeans. It’s mind-boggling.”
Plus, there are potential dry weather problems in both Brazil and Argentina, affecting price.
Kluis says growers must stay disciplined when marketing their 2020 crop.