CORN HARVEST 39% COMPLETE... USDA reports as of Sunday that 39% of the corn crop was harvested compared to 26% last week and 13% on average. Traders expected harvest to be 41% complete, but it's still record fast.
Illinois has 54% harvested (23% on average), Indiana is at 26% (14% on average), Iowa is at 37% (4% on average), Minnesota is at 30% (2% on average), Nebraska is at 36% (5% on average) and Ohio is at 8% (6% on average). The fast harvest clip has resulted in an earlier-than-usual start to harvest-related hedge pressure, but harvest should cross the halfway point sometime this week. Once half of the crop is harvested, hedge pressure typically starts to ease.
SOYBEAN HARVEST 22% COMPLETE... USDA reports as of Sunday that 22% of the soybean crop was harvested compared to 10% last week and 8% on average -- impressive work for one week. Traders expected harvest near 20% complete, but the quick drydown of the soybean crop has turned focus to getting this crop out of the fields.
Illinois has 8% harvested (9% on average), Indiana is at 10% (11% on average), Iowa is at 23% (5% on average), Minnesota is at 45% (5% on average), Nebraska is at 19% (3% on average) and Ohio is at 8% (7% on average). The quicker-then-usual start to soybean harvest has resulted in stepped-up, hedge-related pressure.
WINTER WHEAT PLANTING ONE-QUARTER COMPLETE... USDA reports as of Sunday that 25% of the winter wheat crop was planted compared to 11% last week. The planting pace is now nearly caught up with the five-year average of 27% on this date. Kansas and Oklahoma are now caught up with the average at 17% and 21% complete, respectively, with Texas now running ahead of the 25% average at 30% complete. The planting pace is more aggressive than traders expected given the low soil moisture profile in the Central and Southern Plains, but given strong prices, producers remain hopeful rains will come this fall. If not, there are strong revenue assurance price guarantees as insurance.
COTTON HARVEST 10% COMPLETE... USDA reports as of Sunday that cotton harvest is 10% done compared to 6% last week and 11% on average. Leading the way is Louisiana at 41% (29% on average), followed by Missouri at 16% (13% on average). USDA reports 69% of the crop has bolls open compared to 59% last week and 62% on average.
MARTELL: SEVERE DROUGHT A WORRY FOR 2013 CROPS... Meteorologist Gail Martell of MartellCropProjections.com says the dry weather that is promoting a swift harvest pace across the Midwest is perpetuating the serious drought situation. "Soil moisture deficits of 6 to 9 inches have built up in the recent 90 days (across the Corn Belt)," she says. To put this into perspective, Martell says Iowa would need 50% above-normal rainfall in the seven months through April to completely restore field moisture for spring planting in 2013. Click here for related maps.
HSUS FILES LAWSUIT CLAIMING "OTHER WHITE MEAT' SLOGAN UNLAWFUL... The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) along with an independent pig farmer filed a lawsuit in federal district court charging the National Pork Board struck an unlawful deal with a D.C. lobbying organization for the purchase of the slogan: "Pork: The Other White Meat." HSUS claims the deal allowed $60 million in pork producers' money collected for marketing and promotion purposes to be diverted into industry lobbying efforts aimed at "harming animal welfare and small farmers."
"The plaintiffs are asking the court to cancel the unlawful purchase and ensure that the remaining balance -- tens of millions of dollars -- will benefit the producers who fund the checkoff instead of NPPC's anti-animal, anti-farmer lobbying agenda," states HSUS. "The complaint does not challenge the constitutionality of the checkoff program but alleges a gross misuse of a massive amount of federally-compelled check-off payments funneled into lobbying purposes."
PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES RESPOND TO AFBF QUESTIONNAIRE... President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney recently detailed their positions regarding agriculture issues in response to a questionnaire from the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). The candidates spelled out their positions on energy policy, environmental regulations, farm policy, farm labor, trade, taxes and more. Click here for a summary of their positions and plans regarding these issues.
LOWEST ELECTION-YEAR CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL RATING EVER... Congress hit the exits for the campaign trail this week, making it the earliest pre-election exit by Congress since 1960. A Gallup Poll earlier this month showed the country's approval rating for Congress sank to 13% -- the lowest ever for an election year.
Washington Consultant Jim Wiesemeyer shares in the public's disapproval of a Congress that he says "has been the most frustrating one to cover in my over three-decade career, largely because of a lack of bipartisan leadership in Congress, a White House that refuses to seek cooperation with both parties and a host of issues with both sides wanting their way, with very little (if any) give to reach an end zone." Even the farm bill saga was laced with politics, he says.
Regarding the farm bill timeline, sources indicate House Ag Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) will work to complete the bill before year's end, but if that doesn't happen, he would would mark up a bill immediately upon commencement of a new Congress.