Another fish story... and acres are "back in play."

Published on: 14:29PM Jul 23, 2009
Chip Flory


Chore time for me isn't what it used to be when I was growing up on our eastern Iowa farm, but taking care of two horses in the morning before I head in for work gives me a little time to think about the day ahead. Each morning, stop at this spot to get a feeling for the "tone of the day" - and some attitude about agriculture and the markets.

I was thinking…

... about getting back in the office.

I was at the Pro Farmer Leading Edge Conference July 12-14, and then I took my 13-yr-old son Thomas and a buddy of his and his dad to Ontario for a few days of fishing. Some of you know how I do the Canadian fishing trip. I won't tell you the lake we visit... it's too good and too secluded to let out a lot of information. I'd hate to see this spot "spoiled" by too much fishing pressure. And it is secluded... if you don't know the way, you could stumble across this lake, but it takes a lot of effort to get there (even in a truck). But, there's no resort on this lake... we set up camp on an island in an attempt to stay clear of bears. The island is about 4 miles out into the lake, so it's possible for a bear to swim out to the island to take up residence... but it's not very likely.

My son Thomas has to be one of the luckiest fishermen I know -- either that, or he's got a really good guide :). More than a year ago, I told you about the 54-inch red fish he caught on a family vacation to Orlando. What I didn't tell you was he also caught a 12-inch bluegill out of a buddy's farm pond back in April of this year the day before he took his first tom Turkey. To some of you southerners, a 12-inch bluegill might not sound like much, but in Iowa -- let's just say it was the biggest bluegill I've ever seen.

And now... in his second trip to my favorite fishing spot that I've visited at least a dozen times in the last 18 years... he caught the biggest jack fish (northern pike) I've ever laid my hands on. I've caught more than a few in the 38- to 39-inch range... but I've never broken the 40-inch barrier. Thomas landed a 42-inch northern... and not only that, he saw the whole thing happen! He saw the fish come out of the weeds (we call it cabbage), hesitate, Tom stopped the spoon, pumped it once... and this fish smacked it from behind. And even though he saw the fish take it in, he waited until he felt some pressure on his line before he set the hook. Then... well... let's just say the water pretty much exploded. It ran up to the shore, back under the boat, around the motor... it was quite a battle. And in the end, he's got another fish checked off his list of "bigger fish than dad's!"

... about what happened in the markets while I was gone...

Pro Farmer Members at the 2009 Leading Edge Conference learned that when I'm out of the office, the grain markets typically rally. Well... that didn't happen over the last few trading days -- at least not until my first day back in the office. So the question is... why didn't the market rally while I was gone?

Number one... the weather sure didn't do much to threaten yield potential... unless you want to call record low temperatures in Iowa a "threat" to yields. Which, in the long run, it could turn out to be. Cooler-than-normal temps are usually a "good thing" for the corn crop after pollination. But when temps get too cool, the delay in crop development just increases the chances of getting nipped by an "early" frost. And because of the slow development of the corn crop in wide-spread areas of the eastern Corn Belt, odds are bigger-than-normal that some corn yield will be lost to an early frost. (That doesn't mean the odds are "high," just that odds are bigger-than-normal.) But... no immediate threat to yield was one of the big reasons corn failed to rally when I was out of the office.

Another reason... traders were still working to factor in bigger-than-expected corn and soybean plantings and the impacts on carryovers in the June Supply & Demand Report. While the market does move quickly, it still takes time to factor in new information. Price pressure last week was simply some hangover from the bigger-than-expected corn and soybean plantings.

So... why the rally today? Because acres are once again in question. USDA announced they'll resurvey for planted corn acres in seven key states to use in the August Crop Production Report. As we said immediately after the June Acreage Report, Pro Farmer believes the June planted acreage tallies for both corn and soybeans were likely the biggest we'll see this year. That means, very simply, the acreage resurvey will likely show planted acres below the June Acreage Report -- by a bit. I wouldn't count on a huge drop in planted corn acres, but acres will very likely be lower.

... about what makes the new different from other web sites. You know... why you should subscribe to Pro Farmer newsletter to maintain access to

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Daily services available to Pro Farmer Members on

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Marketing Toolbox: PF Sr. Market Analyst Brian Grete's daily blog has become one of my favorite spots to go every morning. He starts with "What Traders Are Talking About" where he details some of the things traders are talking about that might not be making headlines... yet. When you see something in this section of Toolbox, you know it's something Brian believes will become an important factor in grain and livestock price action. He wraps up Toolbox with "The Long and Short of it" -- a quick summary of where he sees prices headed for the day (maybe longer).

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Chip's Chore Time: You know about this one... but it's on as well as to give you easy access.

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