As the new marketing year—and harvest season—begins, Jerry Gulke sees a handful of “encouraging” signs, particularly in corn.
“The big news is in corn,” said Gulke, who serves as president of the Gulke Group in Chicago and farms Illinois. “We closed up near the highs of the day (on Friday) and closed up smartly on Thursday after taking a pretty big hit on the downside. … December corn closed higher for the week, which is pretty good.”
What’s driving the current price movement? Gulke pointed to several factors, including profit-taking by managed money as the month ends. Analysts and growers alike are also handicapping the upcoming USDA report on Monday, Sept. 12, when many expect USDA to adjust their yield expectations downward for corn.
“In Northern Illinois, where I’m at, there’s some variability (and) fields that have some disease in them,” Gulke said. “The corn always looks good around the outside edges, but once (you) walk in … you’ll see a good stalk and a good ear, and then all of a sudden, you’ll see two or three stalks that are blank and didn’t produce an ear.”
He said he’s hearing similar reports from other farmers, who are scouting their fields or cutting silage and are “very disappointed in their yields.”
“It’s a good corn crop, but not a record crop,” Gulke said. “Maybe there’s a chance that it could be significantly lower than what USDA predicted at 175.1 bushels.”
The situation is different for soybeans. This year’s bean crop “looks as consistent as you can get,” said Gulke. “I looked at mine yesterday, and I have to admit it looks like the best crop I’ve ever raised. The pods are full to the top, and I’ve got mud on my shoes after I walked through the beans, so we don’t have a moisture problem.”
It leads him to believe that soybeans might just match or beat USDA’s estimate after all. “I think beans could surprise us,” said Gulke.
Listen to his full comments here: