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From the Editor

RSS By: Brian Grete, Pro Farmer

Pro Farmer Editor Brian Grete takes time to talk with Pro Farmer Members about some of the key issues in each week's Pro Farmer newsletter.

Does anybody miss the USDA data?

Oct 04, 2013

Hello Pro Farmer Members!

I had a chance to get up and fly over eastern Iowa again this week. It's really shocking how the drainage issues from this spring are still clearly evident in corn and soybean fields.

And there are some concerning issues out there with the corn crop, specifically how well (or poorly) some of the earliest-emerging corn is standing. Most likely, corn that was first up was planted in lighter soils that drained first. Now some of that corn - which probably went from dough to dead in early September - is still trying to stand while the rest of the field dries down. I don't know how practical it is to harvest spots of fields that are ready to go, but it might beat battling tangled-up corn when you do get back in the field after this weekend's rains.

There's the threat for some pretty rough weather around the Midwest this afternoon and into tonight. It's going to rain - that's clear. But it would sure be nice if the rain would come without any wind, but that's starting to look less likely, too. The first-to-emerge (and mature) corn that's having trouble standing now might really have trouble standing after this rain event.

Does anybody miss the USDA data?

I do! And I suspect more and more will miss USDA data early next week when we don't get a Crop Progress Report... and even more will miss USDA data by Thursday of next week if we don't get a Weekly Export Sales Report. By Friday, most everybody will be missing USDA data if the Crop Production and Supply & Demand Reports aren't released.

I'm really going to miss the Crop Production Report. The October update should be when USDA's NASS taps into the FSA certified acreage data and makes some adjustments to the planted and harvested acreage estimates. Those adjustments are crucial to getting a better picture of actual corn and soybean crop potential. Many of the crop estimates that are circulating the markets now (with more to come next week) are using USDA's acreage estimates. If corn harvested acres are cut about 1.5 million and bean harvested acres are cut about 400,000 acres, that makes a significant difference in the crop estimates. Those are our current expectations - and are why our corn crop estimate is at 13.5 billion bu. with the bean crop estimate at 3.097 billion bushels.

Also, the lack of a fresh flow of information to the grain and livestock markets could start to drain activity and trading volume out of the markets. That's not normal at this time of the year. And as volume drains from trade, the markets then become vulnerable to wild, unexplainable price moves. Hopefully, that won't start to happen. But, the longer the markets go without a fresh flow of information, the more likely a drop in trading volume will be.

Perhaps most vulnerable are the livestock markets. Without daily slaughter, price and demand info, traders are left "guessing" what's happening in the cash markets. Well... that's an overstatement. Most aren't "guessing." There is private-industry information that seems to be providing sufficient info to the futures markets for now. Which is awesome! (Wouldn't it be something if the markets discovered we really don't need the USDA info?)

 

That's it for now...

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