Are big yields in store this harvest season?

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Cindy was on the ladder removing an abandoned swallows’ nest from the porch light while I cleaned the big trash bin. She reminded me to spray it with disinfectant. She had a “birds-eye” view of my project. So when I fetched a bottle of spray she said, “That’s air freshener.” I shortly reappeared with bottle number two. As she descended the ladder, she said, “Doug, that’s also air freshener.” Who knew? She hands me the yellow bottle of disinfectant, which I immediately recognized. I was obviously on the “just get-er-done channel,” caught in the act! I have an appreciation for producers’ attention to detail and care as we prepare for the upcoming season of harvest. Patience matters!

It’s no secret that some Ohio corn producers are already anticipating a near record or new record corn yield in this growing season. The last week of August much of central and western Ohio was tremendously blessed with one huge unexpected rain with totals often reaching 1 to 2 inches. Producers are smiling as that rain will help fill out corn ears to the very tip while soybean plants could easily add more pods with the expectation of even higher soybean yields.

The 2018 Farm Bill will expire on Sept. 30. While discussions have already begun and agricultural committees in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives have met this summer, progress is slow. Don’t expect a new farm bill to have been approved in both Congressional houses by the end of the month. In fact, it looks most doubtful it will pass before the end of the year.

Expanding further on the farm bill, commodity groups, as well as crop insurance supporters have lots of work to do to educate Congress on the benefits of the farm bill and its upcoming new legislation. The cold, hard fact is that there are numerous complexities with the farm commodities it encompasses. It is not a quick overnight study, a challenge especially when you realize that less than half of the House of Representatives 435 members even voted on the 2018 Farm Bill.

The Pro Farmer Crop Tour for 2023 published their estimates for U.S. corn and soybean yields on Aug. 25, with a corn yield of 172 bushels per acre and a soybean yield at 49.7 bushels per acre. Those yields compared to the August 11 WASDE (supply and demand report) with a corn yield of 175.1 and a soybean yield of 50.9. In four days the tour traveled through the states of Ohio, South Dakota, Nebraska, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa.  

Corn and soybean harvest is just around the corner for Ohio and the Midwest. Producers are making final preparations to the combine as well as the corn and soybean heads. Some are expecting the fall harvest to be delayed as much as two weeks compared to normal. Wheat harvest for some Ohio producers was also as much as two weeks behind normal. But then, you ask — what is normal? The multiple days earlier this summer when much of the eastern U.S. was filled with smoke from Canada’s wildfires may have contributed to harvest delays.

Fall basis levels for Ohio’s corn and soybeans have been under pressure since mid-July. Prospects of record production by some Ohio producers has contributed to that weakness. Those basis levels are easily down 10 to 15 cents in numerous Ohio locations with isolated cases of basis declines approaching 20 cents taking place by early September. Numerous grain facilities around Ohio took in near record or even record wheat receipts this summer. With those huge inbound wheat receipts, facilities could be carrying above normal wheat bushels into fall harvest. With many areas of Ohio expecting fantastic yields for both corn and soybeans and their inbound volume to be strong, it is no wonder basis levels for fall delivery of corn and soybeans has already taken a huge hit.

Crop insurance premiums for corn and soybeans are normally due Sept. 30. The federal government in their infinite wisdom has once again delayed those payments. This year you have the opportunity to delay payment until Nov. 30 without an interest penalty. Unpaid bills will accrue interest beginning Dec. 1. In recent past years, unpaid bills on Dec. 1 had an interest penalty which began on Oct. 1. However, that is not the case this year.

Thought for the day, “Patience is when you refuse to get mad, but you choose to understand.” — Anonymous.

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