I-80 Harvest: Will There Be Enough for a Surplus Crop?

September 28, 2016 10:58 AM

USDA is forecasting a record corn and soybean crop in the U.S. this year. Now the question is whether farmers have a place to store the large crop, especially if t here is old crop in the bin.

For our first I-80 Harvest piece, we talk to some grain elevators around the country about what they're anticipating and we're even visiting a lock on the Mississippi River.

Harvest is still early. Record or not, U.S. farmers should see a large crop.  

"The bean crop has just been tremendous from what we're seen thus far," says Coggon, Iowa farmer, Mitch Zumbach.

Now the question remains: Where will it all go?

"A lot of guys didn't sell enough bushels {in this area.} So, the last third of harvest is going to be interesting where the corn is going to go," says Cedar Falls, Iowa farmer, Brent Judisch.

It all may depend on location.

"Storage will be tight in the state of Iowa. We are looking at a huge crop but I believe it will be manageable," says Farmers Win Cooperative Grain Division Manager, Dale Heimerdinger of his location in Fredericksburg, Iowa.

Heimerdinger says Farmers Win Cooperative is sitting on some old crop but he doesn't see that as a problem going into harvest.

"We are virtually empty going into harvest with beans. With corn, we do have some farmer owned corn at our facilities but it's probably comparable to last year. It's not too bad. We expect to handle all of our customer's crops this year," says Heimerdinger.

We visited the area just days before the torrential rain. Heimerdinger says the downpour didn't impact his whole trade territory. Therefore, it's too early to tell if there's a huge impact to business. He says  transportation travel is running 'OK' for now.

"We've been busy shipping but we're at the end of that now," says Heimerdinger.

Central Illinois is well into harvest. Mike Kuhns says Premier Cooperative in Thomasboro, Illinois moved a tremendous amount of grain since May. That's putting the elevator in better shape this harvest.

"Going into May, it was quite bothersome on my end that we weren't going to have much room the way things were going. As of now, we've moved a bunch of grain," says Premier Cooperative Manager, Mike Kuhns.

Additional storage to the facility is helping. Kuhns says so far, rail cars have been coming in earlier than normal as well.

"We're still moving grain," says Kuhns.

Again, it all depends on location. Richard Guse owns Waldorf Ag and Grain in Waldorf, Minnesota. He's moved little grain over the last couple of weeks.

"We're carrying more grain than we ever have before. Farmers haven't sold. So, we're holding it until they sell it," says Waldorf Ag and Grain Owner and Manager, RIchard Guse.

Guse says the area is blanketed out with rain. Roads and crops are washed out. He's worried about transportation and potential sprouting.

"There's too much around. We don't have enough exports for the market we're sitting on," says Guse.

However, some believe there could be a lot of traffic this fall with a potential record crop.

"We're going to be asking the system to move a huge amount of grain to exports during October, November, December unlike we've ever seen in our history," says Informa Economics Senior Vice President, Ken Eriksen.

Ericksen says he's projecting a move of roughly 146 Million bushels a week for thirteen weeks by river and rail October through December. He says the previous high was 127 Million bushels in 2014 during the same timeframe.

Lockmaster Gary Kilburg at Lock and Dam 11 in Dubuque, Iowa says he feels the river can accomodate. That's because a lot of grain has been moved down the Mississippi River already this year.

"We've moved almost {as much grain} up to September this year than we did all of last year," says U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lockmaster, Gary Kilburg.

Kilburg says he doesn't know why so much grain has been moved through Dubuque this early.

"I talked to some of our operators who have been here thirty plus years and they say it's one of the busiest years they've seen in their careers. There's a lot of grain moved down river," says Kilburg. 

While transportation, storage and weather are out of the farmer's control, the focus is getting this large crop out of the ground for now.

Both farmers and elevator operators told us there has been a lot of on-farm storage added over the last couple of years. That's helping with a surplus crop.

Heimerdinger says storage rates for corn and beans for his elevator will be the same as last fall in Iowa. 

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Spell Check

Elbow Lake, MN
9/28/2016 09:52 PM

  May have been a record crop but how much of it will mold on the stalk or fall when the water receeds. Already reports of mold impacting some big part or corn harvest(5-10%)in areas.

Dodge City, KS
9/28/2016 09:08 PM

  Come on you dumb farmers let's see if we can make it even larger next year. www.afairmarketprice.com


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