Crops look good; prices don’t

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 20, 2000

It’s as simple as this: cash crops look good, prices don’t.

Sunday, August 20, 2000

It’s as simple as this: cash crops look good, prices don’t.

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Today, observers are predicting a bin buster of a harvest this fall. Corn and soybean fields have recovered so well from the cool temperatures in spring and the summer’s flooding that yields are expected to be good to excellent.

However, grain prices aren’t. Closing grain prices continue to hover at the $1.30 per bushel level for corn and $4.30 per bushel level for soybeans.

Even talk of a record corn and soybean harvest lowers prices and stirs discussion of storage problems.

A week ago, actual field surveys resulted in the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasting a 10.4 billion bushel corn harvest this fall. The previous record was 10.1 billion bushels in 1994.

The USDA’s field surveys also project a record soybean harvest of 2.9 billion bushels.

In Minnesota, the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service said this week that 80 percent of the state’s corn crop has reached or surpassed milk stage. Corn in the dough or beyond is at the 38 percent mark, while 7 percent is dented.

Continued timely rains, such as those that fell on Mower County fields this week, will be needed, because corn ears and soybean pods are still filling. Also, corn growing degree days are essential.

"I would say the crops in Mower County are at the normal stage of development and things look real good at this time for a good harvest," said Dave Quinlan, Mower County Extension Service educator.

"The prices are still depressing, but the prospects for a good harvest look good," Quinlan said.

Quinlan estimated 1 percent of the acres planted are lost because of summer flooding and the lack of time to replant crops.

One soybean field near the Iowa border reportedly has an infestation of white grubs, but mold has not yet surfaced to be a concern.

In eastern Mower County, Rick Bohlman, assistant manager at the LeRoy Cooperative Elevator, predicted an "excellent yield" for growers in that area.

According to Bohlman, only 1 percent to 2 percent of the fields appear to have any leftover flooding damage.

As far as concerns for an early frost, Bohlman admits, "Anything can happen, when you consider that old wives tale about the first locusts bringing a frost within six weeks."

Quinlan points to another bit of weather lore about walnuts falling early, as they are now, indicating a possible early frost.

However, the word he used to assess weather prospects for the fall was "erratic."

Until then, Quinlan said he hopes for continued heat and humidity through August and a warm and dry September to ensure the final maturity of farm crops in Mower County.