Weekly Crop Commentary - 9/1/2023

Sep 01, 2023

Wes Bahan
Vice President, Grain Division

Well, Labor Day weekend is here, the unofficial end of summer. Not going to feel like it, as we are supposed to be headed into the mid 90’s the middle of next week. Honestly, the heat is still needed as crops are still a long way from maturity. The southern harvest however has continued to gain momentum working its way north every day, and the yields have continued to be impressive.

The ethanol folks in Ohio sure could use some of that, as basis levels continued to be red-hot this week. I’m not sure what the number has to be to entice the farmer to go shell some really wet corn, but I imagine we are going to find that out in a few weeks.

There just can’t be many bullets left in the old crop gun to fire at this thing. Bean basis seems to be the polar opposite as they continue to keep coming out of the woodwork. With bean harvest typically taking precedence over corn harvest the gap to bridge is smaller and they aren’t going to have one extra bean in inventory when that moment comes. We did have an active week in the export market. The USDA flashed sales every day this week, something we have not seen in quite some time. Of that, we did see sales of 1.138 MMT of new crop beans, 100k MT of new crop bean meal, and 132k MT of new crop corn. So, hooray we are seeing some business again, but hold on just one second. We are once again seeing low water levels on the Mississippi River driving up the cost of transportation. I have not seen a forecast that calls for any relief, so we just may see it go back to those emergency low levels once again. Time will tell as it always does.

Speaking of time, if you're holding DP bushels you are running out of it. The month of September typically brings a lot of basis volatility and this year will likely be no different as no corn or bean processor wants to have one single bushel of old crop as the combines start rolling. Something to keep in the back of your mind.

Enjoy the extended weekend as it won’t be too much longer that we will be working through them.

Haylee VanScoy
Director of Grain Purchasing

Welcome to the 1st of September. Kids are back to school, fair season is ramping up, and football is back! Crazy how quickly summer always seems to fly by. The forecast however is still calling for hot and sunny over the next week, so I’ll enjoy the warm weather while it lasts.

Markets have been relatively quiet today. Not a whole lot of headline news shaking things up. CZ23 corn has been range bound over the last month between that 4.80-5.00 mark. Beans on the other hand have traded well over a dollar range this past month with concerns on supply, weather, and increased export demand.

Here in Ohio, corn was rated 79% gd/ex compared to a 58% average and beans were 76% gd/ex in this week’s crop progress with 59% being the average. After seeing strong wheat yields this summer, I’m curious to see if we’ll have the same luck going into fall for corn and beans. IN and IL have made quite the comeback on their crop progress ratings, but after a cross-country midwestern road trip this past week to the Half Century of Progress show, I was not overly impressed with the corn and beans out there. Time will tell once the combines start rolling though.

I’ll be at the Hardin County fair on Tuesday serving up pork tenderloin sandwiches. Stop by and say hello if you’re in that neck of the woods! Hope you all have a safe and fun Labor Day weekend! Go Bucks!

Lou Baughman
Grain Merchandiser, Kenton (Region 1)

Another month bites the dust, and we move closer to harvest. I have seen a couple of bean fields start to change. Markets seem to be range bound as the basis weakens. Weather for the next seven days will be hot and dry, because of this the debate on US yields continue. More than likely, drought conditions will increase next week. Right now, the U.S. has 45% of corn country and 40% of bean country in a drought. We have had some flash sales, but export sales are very low for this time of year.

Have a safe Labor Day weekend and enjoy the Hardin County Fair.

Will Gase
Grain Merchandiser, Upper Sandusky (Region 2)

Good afternoon and happy Friday… it’s been a couple of weeks since I have written anything. The calendar has turned to September which typically means bean harvest is right around the corner. This year, however, it seems that crops are every bit of 2 weeks behind. We might not see bean harvest get into full swing until the last couple days of the month. For the month of August, cash and new crop corn both lost roughly 30¢ each. Cash beans lost 22¢; however new crop beans picked up nearly 40¢. Wheat is down big as cash has lost 60+ cents and the 2024 crop has lost 50+.

Here in Northwest Ohio, we have been very fortunate with rainfall in the month of August. It seems that everybody had received at least 5 inches of rainfall over the course of the month, which should help to finish it out. Outside the State of Ohio, rains have been nonexistent. This quote is from Arlan Suderman with StoneX, “The last half of August was quite dry across the center of the country, including prime corn and soybean growing areas of the central and western Midwest. The period was either the driest of the past 131 years, or in the top 5 driest on record through much of the center of the country.” How much damage the little rainfall and above average temperatures did to the crop is something we won’t totally know until combines are running, and yields are taken. My gut instinct tells me ears will not be filled out or as big this year and there will be less pods because of the August rains. As for Ohio, and more specifically Northwest Ohio, I think we will be raising above-average yielding corn and slightly above-average yielding beans. We’ve had favorable weather so far, fingers crossed it remains that way.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Steve Bricher
Grain Operation Manager, Urbana (Region 3)

It is Labor Day weekend already. I can see the crops starting to change so we know that harvest is just around the corner. For the most part, I think the farmer has his bins cleaned out as inbound activity has slowed to a crawl. My wife and I took a ride on the motorcycles last weekend and went to Rantoul for the half century farm show. The crops from here to there look very similar. While we were eating lunch we talked with a couple of farmers from north of there. They believed that their crops were going to be slightly below normal. Being who I am, I did ask what slightly below normal was. He responded that his APH was 220. So slightly below normal is still a good crop.

Crop prices are just treading water waiting to see what harvest is going to bring.

Do you have a plan for what you are going to do with the crops you don’t have sold? If you look at prices today it looks like the market is giving us carry. However, with an interest rate approaching 8 percent if you have borrowed money it is going to cost you 7 cents a month to carry soybeans and close to 3 cents per month to carry corn. Money matters today as the cost of borrowing has gone up.

It is going to be a struggle to get prices to move when export demand is poor at best. If we do not see exports improve, we are going to see prices pressured through the winter. Let’s have a talk with your merchandiser and get some targets in if we see prices move to better levels this fall and winter.


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