Big Crop Strong Exports an interview with Todd Hubbs

It is likely the export markets along with South American production prospects will drive only periodic price increases for corn and soybeans says University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Todd Hubbs in this interview with Todd Gleason.

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Just in Time Parenting

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USDA October Reports

University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Darrel Good reviews the October 12, 2016 Crop Production and WASDE reports including his thoughts on how it changes off-farm storage decisions.

Sell Soybeans for Cash Needs

The United States Department of Agriculture has reported the size of this year’s soybean crop and for the second month in a row it has increased the size of what was already a record breaker. That trend is likely to continue.

USDA, in its October Crop Production report, raised the average national soybean yield by eight-tenths of a bushel. It now stands at 51.4 bushels to the acre and about 4.3 billion bushels strong. It is already a serious record breaker, but not likely big enough, yet, says University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Darrel Good.

Well, I think, taking all the evidence together, saying now that we got bigger in September, and we got bigger in October on soybeans, and the crop is already very big…I think would point to another small increase in the yield forecast in November and perhaps in January as well. So, maybe not by a lot, but I certainly wouldn’t expect the number to come down from what we are looking at right now. –Darrel Good

However, even in the face of a record crop, the price of soybeans has remained fairly strong. This tells Darrel Good farmers should be a little patient as they contemplate when to sell. It might be worth waiting to see how the South American crop unfolds. Although, the U of I number cruncher does have a few caveats.

If I had to choose to sell one or the other, I would still be a seller of soybeans. –Darrel Good

For reference USDA has established, this month, the expected mid-point national cash price received for soybeans by farmers from now until next fall at $9.05, with corn at $3.25 and wheat at $3.70.

You may read Darrel Good’s thoughts on the markets each Monday afternoon on the FarmDocDaily website.

Harrington Seed Destructor Testing

The Harrington Seed Destructor is being tested by the University of Illinois for field level efficacy to control herbicide resistant weeds.

Green Infrastructure & Stress an interview with Bill Sullivan

If you are looking for an easy way to release some of the stress in your life, you might think about taking a walk in a park or just buying some house plants.

Grain Farm Working Capital Nearly Exhausted

Four consecutive years of lower commodity prices has nearly exhausted the financial resources of U.S. grain farmers. Todd Gleason looks into the problem with an agricultural economist from the University of Illinois.

Too Early to Sell the 2017 Soybean Crop

There’s a nagging question farmers are wondering about as they harvest what is quite likely to be their best soybean crop ever. Is it so good, so plentiful, that it might be time to consider selling some of next year’s crop.

Let’s start with some plain facts. The price of soybeans from April through August was higher, on average, than it was in the prior seven months. This says Darrel Good is because the trade expected there to be a whole lot of soybeans leftover from last years harvest by the time right now arrived. Something like 450 million bushels. That didn’t happen. The South American crop failed and U.S. exports jumped by 250 million bushels. Like most of the previous years, all but one since 2008, this left fewer than 200 bushels in the bin from the previous season’s soybean crop. Here’s how Good, a University of Illinois Agricultural Economist, says that should all play out in the coming months.

With consumption during the 2016–17 marketing already projected to be record large, an increase in the average yield forecast (without an unexpected decline in the estimate of harvested acreage) would likely result in an increase in the current projection of year-ending stocks of 365 million bushels. Two additional factors point to the potential for additional weakness in soybean prices during the 2016–17 marketing year. -Darrel Good

First, and you can read this on the Farm Doc Daily website, USDA expects a modest increase in soybean acreage for harvest in South America next year. While an increase of only 1.5 percent is currently projected (mostly in Brazil), normal yield levels result in a projected 3.5 percent (220 million bushels) year-over-year increase in soybeans from the southern hemisphere. If that large crop materializes, the pace of U.S. exports would be expected to experience the normal sharp seasonal decline beginning in the spring of 2017. A second factor that could contribute to lower soybean prices, says Darrel Good, is an increase in soybean acreage in the U.S. next year.

While it is too early to form solid expectations about U.S. acreage, low prices of other commodities relative to soybeans would be expected to result in some switch away from those crops to soybeans. In particular, the large increase in corn acreage in 2016, prospects for relatively large year-ending corn inventories, and the relatively high cost of producing corn would be expected to result in fewer corn acres in 2017. Futures prices for the 2017 corn and wheat crops are higher than prices for the 2016 crop, but those prices are still low relative to prices for the 2017 soybean crop. The USDA’s Winter Wheat Seedings report released in the second week of January 2017 will provide the first indication of acreage response to current price levels. The size of the 2017 soybean crop will still largely hinge on the average yield. It will be interesting to observe if three consecutive years of above trend U.S. average soybean yields will alter early expectations for the average yield in 2017.

Here’s what Darrel Good thinks this all means at the moment. With so much production uncertainty over the next 10 months, a strong pace of Chinese buying, and the recent history of smaller than expected year-ending stocks, it is not completely surprising that the market is not yet reflecting the potential for a growing surplus of soybeans during the 2017–18 marketing year. The question for producers, he says, is whether or not current prices offer a pricing opportunity for a portion of the 2017 crop.

The answer is more likely to be yes for those who intend to increase soybean acreage in response to the current corn, wheat, and soybean price relationships.

Not Much Chance USDA Will Change Corn Yield or Acreage

Early corn yield reports have been good, but pretty variable. There are more than few concerns about a disease called diplodia, too. Some are beginning to piece these items together to make a case for USDA to lower its corn yield estimate. This isn’t very likely thinks University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Darrel Good.

“The fact is”, says Darrel Good, “if you look at the last 20 years of history, there is a strong tendency of the corn yield estimate to get higher in January compared to what it was in September. This has happened 70% of the time in the last 20 years, and almost 70% of the time in the last 40 years. So, those looking for a lower estimate are bucking history, but you can’t rule it out.”

Maybe not, but even if the USDA yield changes it won’t be by much thinks Darrel Good. Certainly not enough to really alter the supply/demand balance sheet changing it from a surplus to a tight supply situation. He doesn’t expect USDA to change the acreage numbers much either. This is because the difference between the Farm Service Agency reported acreage figures released in August and then again in September was very small.

This tells Darrel Good reporting has occurred in a very timely fashion. Therefore, he doesn’t look for an FSA increase in subsequent reports. Historically when the dust settles on corn, NASS acreage is three to three-and-a-half percent higher than FSA, says the U of I number cruncher, and about two percent higher on soybeans. This is right in the range where the FSA numbers set today.

Consequently, Darrel Good does not expect NASS to change its corn acreage estimate very much going forward. If this is the case, it leaves the U.S. with record corn yield and production figures.