CORN HARVEST 69% COMPLETE... As of Sunday, USDA reports 69% of the nation's corn crop was harvested compared to 54% the previous week and 28% on average -- at least two weeks ahead of normal. Illinois has 80% harvested (44% on average); Indiana is at 49% (32% on average); Iowa is at 76% (17% on average), Nebraska is at 67% (17% on average) and Minnesota is at 78% (11% on average). Missouri should be wrapping up soon, as 92% is harvested (58% on average). Of the major Corn Belt states, Ohio is lagging at 22% harvested, but that is still ahead of the five-year average of 17%.
SOYBEAN HARVEST 58% COMPLETE... USDA reports 58% of the nation's soybean crop was harvested as of Sunday compared to 41% last week and 40% on average -- about a week ahead of normal. Illinois has 47% harvested (42% on average); Indiana is at 30% (40% on average); and Iowa is at 80% (49% on average). Minnesota leads the way in major Corn Belt states with 95% harvested (55% on average), with Missouri lagging at 20% (22% on average). With harvest crossing the halfway point, the bulk of hedge-related pressure should ease, especially since demand remains strong.
WINTER WHEAT PLANTING 57% COMPLETE... USDA reports 57% of the nation's winter wheat crop was planted as of Sunday compared to 40% last week and 59% on average. Kansas has 65% seeded (61% on average); Oklahoma is at 59% (55% on average); and Texas is at 55% (53% on average). USDA reports 23% of the crop has emerged compared to 12% last week and 30% on average.
COTTON HARVEST 21% COMPLETE... While the pace of the cotton harvest continues to inch along, at 21% as of Sunday, harvest is just one percentage point behind the five-year average. Leading the way is Louisiana at 68% complete (56% on average), followed by Arkansas at 50% (32% on average) and Missouri at 38% (36% on average).
SOYBEAN PLANTING PACE SLOWS IN BRAZIL... After a quicker-than-usual start to soybean planting in Brazil, planting has slowed to about average, with 3% to 5% of the crop seeded nationwide. Last year at this time around 5% was planted, says South American crop consultant Dr. Michael Cordonnier. While the recent drier pattern is drawing attention, Dr. Cordonnier says it's not unusual to get a flush of showers in late September only to be followed by several weeks of dry weather in early October before the rainy season takes hold.
Meanwhile, Dr. Cordonnier reports corn planting in southern Brazil continues at a slower-than-usual pace, with 35% to 40% of the crop planted and some of it already in need of being replanted. "Heavy rainfall in Rio Grande do Sul has resulted in saturated conditions and a lot of the rainfall was accompanied by strong winds, hail and even some freezing temps," he says.
In Argentina, Dr. Cordonnier reports about 17% of the corn has been planted, which is slower than 25% last year at this time. "Even though September was relatively dry, the flood waters from late August are still causing problems in Buenos Aires," he says, suggesting if farmers aren't able to plant corn in affected acres, they may opt to increase soybean acres.
CONSULTANT RAISES U.S. CROP ESTIMATES... Dr. Cordonnier raised his U.S. corn and soybean yield estimates by 1 bu. per acre to 120 bu. per acre and 36 bu. per acre, respectively. He now estimates the corn crop at 9.96 billion bu. and the soybean crop at 2.63 billion bushels. "The trend thus far this harvest season has been for the soybean yields to be better than expected, especially in the northern and eastern Corn Belt," he says. "There certainly have not been as many better-than-expected corn yields reported, but I felt I was a little low on the corn yield."
ROMNEY GIVES MAJOR AG POLICY SPEECH IN IOWA... Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney today delivered remarks on an Iowa farm near Van Meter regarding farm and rural policy. He criticized the Obama administration for its regulations on dust, rain water and child labor. He also said that President Obama plans to raise the estate tax significantly -- which he deemed a "death tax" -- and said, "My own view is we ought to kill the death tax. You paid for that farm once. You shouldn’t have to pay for it again."
The Romney campaign also unveiled its Iowa Farmers for Romney coalition. It will be led by Iowa GOP Ag Secretary Bill Northey and former Farm Bureau leaders Dean Kleckner and Craig Lang, Senator Charles Grassley, U.S. Representatives Steve King and Tom Latham and an advisory panel made up of more than 70 rural activists and spouses.
In a press release distributed ahead of the event, Romney criticized the president's "disregard" for the concerns and needs of of rural America as illustrated by "tax increases and onerous regulations, to a stalled trade agenda, to efforts to drive up the cost of energy." In it, he also laid out his own agenda for rural America. It includes the following:
- Implement effective tax policies to support family farms and strong agribusiness.
- Pursue trade policies that expand upon the success of the agriculture sector, not limit it.
- Create a regulatory environment that is commonsense and cost effective.
- Achieve North American energy independence by 2020.