Crop sizes grow, but frost threatens

Farm Forum

09/09/14 — The growing season to this point has been nearly ideal, and crop sizes as estimated by the Pro Ag yield models has grown to a large 175.5 bu/acre corn crop and 47.86 bu/acre soybean crop. These are record shattering yields, and are the reason that prices have sagged to new multi-year lows on futures. There is a chance that crop sizes could be trimmed the coming few weeks as frost is threatening the northern Corn Belt this week, with the western HRS wheat area and far western Corn Belt likely to see some freezing temps later this week.

Weather includes still cold temps the next 2 weeks that will plague the grains at a time when we need more heat to finish out the crops of corn and soybeans. However, the cold temps are only forecast to be below freezing in the far western Corn Belt (western Neb., Wyo., Mont., and western N.D.) Thursday and Friday and will miss most of the Corn Belt for now. But the highs this week in the 50’s for much of the northern Corn Belt will also not do much for crop maturity. Rain is still forecast for the central and eastern Corn Belt the next 7 days, and that will keep low temps from dipping into the freezing market where the moisture falls.

While a freeze could trim the top end of this crop, 95% is in the dough stage vs. 94% normally, and 69% is dented vs. 74% normally in corn, with 15% mature vs. 26% normally. In frost susceptible states, N.D. is only 37% dented vs. 56% normally, with Wis. only 41% dented vs. 53% normally, Minn. 61% dented vs. 67% normally, and Mich. is 45% dented vs. 57% normally. These are the states where a frost is likely to trim some yield potential by the end of this year. The problem is that the crop is so large in central and southern states (perfect cooler than normal weather during July and August) that we still will have record large crops even with frost damage in northern states.

Corn crop conditions on 9/8 were unchanged from last week at 74% rated G/E, with the Pro Ag yield model rising slightly to 175.5 bu/acre, up 0.17 bu/acre from last week. The Soybean conditions improved 1% from G to E, now at 72% G/E (the same as last week) so the Pro Ag yield model rose 0.25 bu/acre to 47.86 bu/acre, another large yield increase for soybeans as late August and Sept. weather have been ideal to date. Soybeans also are likely to see some trimming of northern states yield potential with a frost this week, but 12% is dropping leaves vs. 17% normally, with Minn. 3% dropping leaves (vs. 15% normally), N.D. 19% dropping leaves vs. 25% normally, Wis. 2% dropping leaves vs. 7% normally, Mich. 10% dropping leaves vs. 8% normally, and S.D. 12% dropping leaves vs. 39% normally. Overall, soybean development in northern areas is also slightly behind normal so an early frost in northern states would trim yield potential. But central and southern areas will see monstrous yields, and that means a bumper crop in 2014.

Cotton conditions dropped 1% to 49% G/E, still above last year’s 45% G/E, with sorghum conditions steady at 57% rated G/E, up from 54% last year. Both sorghum and cotton development are at about normal stages this year, with 26% of sorghum harvested vs. 25% normally, and 40% mature vs. 33% normally. Cotton has 39% of bolls opening vs. 37% normally.

Small grain harvest has accelerated, with barley now 81% harvested (with 23% done last week) vs. 82% normally, and HRS wheat 58% harvested (with 20% done last week) vs. 78% normally. HRS wheat conditions dropped another 3% due to the harvest delays with conditions now at 60% rated G/E. We’ve lost test weight, color, and quality due to the rain delays that have occurred this harvest. Winter wheat is now 3% planted vs. 4% normally, with recent rains making an excellent seedbed for winter wheat planters.

We remain 100% hedged for multiple years as the trend is down and we are going to have record shattering, mammoth large yields of grains in 2014. Let’s revise lower our objectives of expected lows to $8.40 soybeans and $3.05 corn for lows if frost stays away this fall until crop maturity.