The Grain Gab
Neal Tacke, Grain Division Manager
Fall harvest is winding down and it is shaping up to be about a 20% increase over last year for our corn intake and about 25% less for milo. The corn increase would have been greater had it not been for a lot of wind caused ear drop during the early part of harvest. Other than the wind issues, it was a smooth harvest with little down time for weather. Crop quality is good and a little drier than normal.
Speaking of dry, we seem to have hit an abrupt weather change. Summer was very wet and this fall has been dry. Winter wheat is poking out of the ground but is lacking growth going into the winter. How many fewer acres of winter wheat got seeded this fall has been debated locally. Some of the ground intended for winter wheat got put into corn as the corn market was working its way up late in the spring. Spring planting for row crops was hampered in the north and eastern corn belt due to wet conditions. Many acres not seeded and late planted corn and soybeans have made for a smaller crop overall. We have been through a few months’ worth of USDA reports that were disputed for their lack of correction of the stressed crop. Right or wrong, markets are trading off report figures and there are some that feel markets are unfairly being affected by incorrect crop reports.
Grain markets continue to be on the low side. Seasonally the average tells us that this should be the higher time of year for wheat prices. So far our highs were in May and June and other than a bump in October and another short lived one in November we have yet to get close to those numbers since. Aggressive selling out of the Black Sea countries and our high dollar are keeping a lid on wheat. Corn is a similar story with the highs so far reached in June and July which was a little behind the seasonal normal highs in May and June. This is a seasonally low time of year for corn prices and if they follow the norm, they should begin to work their way up to highs again next May but of course every year is unique. Look for spring rallies to sell what is left of old crop and to contract 2020 crop. Between now and then we can hope for some bullish China trade talk news but that cry of wolf has lost most of its effect.