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Agriculture.com - Crops News

  • There are far fewer soybeans stored around the U.S. right now than the trade expected, if USDA's data Tuesday is any indication.In the agency's quarterly Grain Stocks report, USDA pegged old-crop soybean stocks as of September 1 at 92.0 million bushels, down 35% from a year ago. This falls well short of the average trade analyst estimate of 126 million heading into Tuesday's report. The range for soybean stock estimates was 100 to 150 million bushels, making USDA's 92 million-bushel number sharply bullish."Soybean stocks stored on farms totaled 21.3 million bushels, down 46% from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 70.6 million bushels, are down 30% from last September," according to Tuesday's report. "Indicated disappearance for June-August 2014 totaled 313 million bushels, up 6% from the same period a year earlier."See the latest farmer and trader reactionsSee more from Tuesday's report Get more trade reactions to Tuesday's dataIt's a different story for corn; the corn ending stocks number -- 1.24 billion bushels -- fell above the average analyst estimate ahead of Tuesday's report, but within the general estimate range. Last year at this time, the ending stocks number for corn was 821 million bushels. And a much bigger share of the corn supply right now is sitting physically in farmers' hands."Of the total stocks, 462 million bushels are stored on farms, up 68% from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 774 million bushels, are up 42% from a year ago. The June-August 2014 indicated disappearance is 2.62 billion bushels, compared with 1.95 billion bushels during the same period last year," according to Tuesday's report.Though immediate market reaction was fairly light and mostly bearish, there's some hope that soybeans could see a boost from Tuesday's data, which shows a smaller soybean stockpile than previously estimated. Those supplies come despite no change in last year's crop output. The numbers will likely be traded for a short while, but the focus will flip back soon to this fall's harvest and whether or not it will yield the kind of crop necessary to build up those stocks back to previously guessed levels, says Don Roose, analyst and broker with U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa."Now we've got a harvest that is real and big so far, so that is helping replenish supplies. It's being traded," he says of Tuesday's report. "It starts to mitigate the downside for soybeans. You've got almost 50 million bushels that has to be accounted for. On top of that, what it means is your huge stocks are going to be not as huge, but still huge."On the corn side, though, Tuesday's data hold no bullishness. In fact, it reinforces what the trade has been suspecting for some time: That it could take a crop calamity of some kind to give any bullish support to the corn trade."The cure for low prices is low prices. It looks like right now we're going to have to come up with some kind of weather problem somewhere in the world, or we're going to have to cut acres back," Roose says. "Demand isn't going to grow as much as it needs to."Another theme driven home by Tuesday's report is the growing likelihood of a larger soybean crop in 2015: "We're starting to move the corn-soybean ratio to soybeans. The justification is because it's taken a while to replenish these historically tight bean stocks. At some point in time, we'll come back in line," Roose adds. "Into 2015, we've already done it. It may take part of this year's crop in the U.S. and part of South America's crop. We're quickly going to go from historically tight supplies to record-large supplies."

  • As if fall wasn't busy enough...Putting down a herbicide application this fall could help you keep weeds knocked down better next spring in a lot of circumstances in no-till production systems, 2 Purdue University specialists say in a report released this week. The utility of fall herbicide applications isn't the most widely accepted practice, but in the right situation, applying something like glyphosate, 2,4-D or dicamba starting in a couple of weeks could go a long way to keeping down winter annual emergence prior to corn and soybean planting time next spring, say Travis Legleiter, weed scientist, and Bill Johnson, plant pathologist, both of Purdue University Extension."The necessity of a residual herbicide in the fall is always in debate amongst producers and weed scientists. A residual herbicide applied later in the fall can keep fields cleaner longer in the spring, and can in some years provide enough activity to keep fields clean up to planting. With the cold, harsh winter we experienced this past fall, residual herbicides persisted well into the spring planting season. There were several cases this year where residuals persisted too long and soybean injury occurred because of additive effects from the remnant fall residual and a spring residual that was applied," according to a university report from Legleiter and Johnson. :The success of this past years fall residual herbicides will not occur every year, it all depends on the weather and we all know it’s improbable to predict what the winter and next spring will bring."There are a few specific circumstances under which a fall application is critical; if you're no-tilling soybeans and have a marestail problem, for example, Legleiter and Johnson say a fall application's "a must." More generally, though, think immediate control first, not residual, and target what you can see now, not what you think you might have a problem with later on."The recommendation from Purdue has been and will remain to be that fall applications should consist of products that will control the weeds that are present and to save the use of a residual herbicide until as close to planting as possible in the spring. This eliminates the guessing game of what the winter and spring will bring and whether of not an additional residual application will be needed. A planned fall burndown without residual followed by a spring burndown with residual assures that the residual will still be present into the growing season. However, given our continual struggle to control marestail throughout much of the state, we are revising this recommendation in areas where additional horsepower is needed for marestail control," according to Legleiter and Johnson's university report. "The use of a fall application, regardless of whether or not it includes a residual, is a must if you are trying to control marestail in no-till soybean. The emergence pattern of marestail in fall as well as in the spring and summer means that multiple herbicide applications are needed and these applications need to start in the fall. Again the fall application needs to focus primarily on controlling the marestail rosettes that emerged in the fall and we will like to see a low-cost residual component added to the foliar product. The residual component should not be expected to provide residual control of marestail in the spring for more than 2 weeks. A program like this will make the spring burndown more effective as there will be less marestail plants to control and the plants present will be the smaller spring emerged rosettes, rather than large bolting fall-emerged plants."Though it's not the only weed that's problematic this time of year and holds the potential to jump into next spring easily without treatment now, marestail is just one weed that you need to watch for and treat in a fall application if early-spring weed pressures concern you. Just make sure you're selecting what you put down carefully and how you approach your whole herbicide program with attention to what your specific fields need."The treatments that included 2 burndown applications with a residual included in at least one of those applications not only had the highest control of marestail, but also the most consistent. The treatments that included fall residuals were the highest and most consistent, again this is due to the delayed spring and extended persistence that will vary from year to year," according to Legleiter and Johnson. "The treatment that did not include any residual herbicides had the lowest amount of control and was the least consistent. This again solidifies the need not only for multiple burndown applications, but also for the use of residual herbicides to manage marestail in no-till soybeans."

  • The next few days should allow some good harvest progress, but mid-week rains moving through the Midwest will likely keep the combines parked up to the weekend when frost is expected to creep into parts of the region.The rain will start in the Plains in the middle of the week, eventually moving eastward through the Corn Belt before tapering off Saturday, forecasters say. It's the start of what could become a two-week period of stop-and-go harvest progress, according to Monday's Commodity Weather Group (CWG) Ag QUICKsheet report."Midwest corn/soy harvest will continue to make good progress over the next two days in all but the western quarter of the belt. Showers then move west to east across the belt, ending Saturday," according to CWG. "This will slow harvest, but a mainly dry six- to 10-day will allow a return to a normal pace before more showers late in the 11- to 15-day."Those showers will open the door to frost chances in the northern portions of the Plains and Corn Belt this weekend, but damage from this round will likely be minimal, adds MDA Weather Services senior ag meteorologist Don Keeney. However, as in the rainfall's return later on in the current two-week outlook, the chances of more widespread frost are greater further along in the forecast."Temperatures should cool a bit by the weekend, and some frost is currently expected in central and northern Minnesota, northwestern Wisconsin, and eastern North Dakota by Saturday morning," Keeney says. "However, much more widespread frost is currently showing up in the forecast for later next week, around October 9, across much of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, northern Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. Crops should be too far advanced to see any damage from the frost, however."Despite this relatively frost-damage-free outlook, some may have already been inflicted. Agriculture.com Marketing Talk veteran adviser and weather specialist jennys_mn says that during a recent trip through part of the western Corn Belt, she saw some frost damage in northern parts of the region, which could mean soybean yields may have already taken a hit."I was watching the frost issue on the way north on I-35. I didn't see a lot of leaves hanging on the beans as I came north. To me, along I-35, without going in the fields, I didn't see frost damage from the road, like leaves hanging on the brown bean plants. There was noticeable frost damage to the top 2 feet or so on a lot of the cornfields, especially as I crossed the Iowa border northbound [into Minnesota]. The low areas of the cornfields were not just frosted. In many of these fields, the cold was a kill," she says. "The best beans I saw? Again, from the road, it was right here by Cannon Falls, Minnesota. Most of the beans I saw today were short, and I saw very little filling in of the 30-inch rows. It looked like mainly the stem in most of these fields. But beans can surprise you."The prognosis isn't as shaky for others, especially when it comes to soybeans. Marketing Talk contributor rockhill17, who farms in western Minnesota, says his area's soybean crop is as good as it's been in a long time, but his corn may struggle to break out of "average" territory, yield-wise."Started cutting beans yesterday. Yields are coming in way above average. Lots of beans in the 50s when we usually are happy with mid-40s. I'm coming around to the idea of there being a huge bean crop out there," he says. "I've gotten many yield reports and haven't heard of one yet under 50, and many of these are late-planted beans that were put in under less-than-ideal conditions."What's the soybean outlook in your area? Chime in here.Markets-wise, overnight trading was higher for corn but remained lower for soybeans. The latter crop's got a lot of room for downside risk, analysts say, as harvest will likely move into double-digit completion for both crops when USDA releases its weekly Crop Progress report Monday afternoon."The USDA Crop Progress report today should show corn harvest at about 13% complete and soybean harvest at about 15% complete when it is released at 3:00 p.m. today," says Al Kluis, analyst and broker with Kluis Commodities.Adds Mark Bowman, analyst with The Hightower Report, in an email to clients Monday morning: "Traders went home expecting near-perfect weather for harvest during the next seven days, but a system could bring .5 to 1 inch for much of the Midwest for the Tuesday-through-Friday time frame. With the recent dryness and a warmer and drier six- to 10-day, harvest disruptions could be small. Idea that producers will continue to sell soybeans right out of the field is also seen as a bearish factor. With supply building in the U.S. and an expected 5% increase in South American acreage, there is ample evidence to suggest plenty of downside risk still left in the soybean market. Be careful of the short-term oversold condition."