Mark's Market Talk

Aug 28, 2023

Last week the markets were almost quiet compared with most weeks this summer. However, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any news. A large weather dome settled in over the Midwest turning the heat up to triple digits in many areas. The same system pushed any possible moisture out of the way and left the bean crop crying for rain. Corn damage may have been less, but tip back has occurred in many areas. The Pro Farmer tour took place last week and they released their end results after the market closed Friday. They put the corn yield at 172 versus the USDA’s number of 175.1. Their bean estimate came in at 49.7 versus the USDA’s 50.9. Right away some have argued the bean yield may decline more due to last week’s heat and lack of rain. However, we are mostly done with the preharvest estimates, and the trade will be anxious to get some real harvest data in the next 30 days. There were some export sales last week for both corn and beans which means our prices have become competitive in the world. At the end of the week December corn was a nickel lower while November beans were up 14 cents. Old crop basis levels held steady, and some corn terminals were bidding a little more by weeks end as we look at a holiday week next week. There may be a little corn harvested next week in the area, but it will probably be the week of the 18th before we see much activity. While driving from here to Utah and back I made note of crop conditions. One thing I have always questioned is why do they attempt to raise dryland corn in western Nebraska? Evidently, they occasionally raise a crop because they continue to try it. This year the dryland did not work and there were some places along I 80 where it appears they may have shut the water off instead of fighting the heat the past 6 or 8 weeks. A lot of this area used to be wheat country but every time we go through there it seems there is more corn. With the current demand for alfalfa the smart farmers are raising it under their pivots. With the price of fuel making irrigation more costly, along with high inputs and lower grain prices, perhaps we will see a change in their crop rotation in the future. Far eastern Nebraska into southwest Iowa the crops looked good. And they look headed to a normal or better crop. The yards were green and that is always a good sign this time of the year. One last comment on prices. I like the term “the oat knows”. Friday December oats closed 12 cents higher at a contract high of 5.01. That was 13 cents higher than December corn. It will be interesting to find out what the oat knew.