Mid Week Comments

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Warm Weather to the Rescue! - 09/17/19

Today as I write this column its 84 degrees at noon in Fargo - a very nice
summer day. When you consider its Sept. 17, and we have a very delayed maturity
corn and soybean crop in the field and its an absolute "Hallelujah" day!!! We
couldn't of asked for better weather up and down the corn belt than hot weather
for mid-September. It serves a dual purpose of providing growing degree days
while also staving off any threat of an early frost. There will not be an early
frost in Fargo as our average frost is Sept. 23 - and there is no sign of a
frost in the next 6 days. Thank God that so far we have dodged a frost bullet.
We still do need a lot of growing degree days to bring this crop to maturity,
but then again almost no one expected all crop to reach maturity - after all - a
lot of corn was planted in June. But at least we'll have something to harvest,
and if this heat can last a while, maybe even a decent crop to harvest.

Weather forecasts have been warmed up the past few days and included more rain
for the next 2 weeks. Temps are forecast to be warm for all of the corn belt
the next 2 weeks, which will take us beyond the normal frost date for northern
regions. That is great news for producers who are in susceptible areas with
late developing crops (most northern and eastern areas), but it also will mean
more bushels for the market. We could see some price pressure from the
favorable weather in the next 2 weeks.

Crop conditions out yesterday afternoon were little changed, with corn unchanged
at 55% rated G/E, with our yield model up slightly to 173.4 bu/acre (up 0.28
bu). Soybean conditions declined 1% to 54% rated G/E, with the yield model
declining as well to 47.7 bu/acre (down 0.39 bu). That is a relatively large
yield decline in one week, and puts our yield estimate below USDA's recently
revised downward yield of 47.9 bu/acre on Sept. 12th.

Development is still well behind normal, with soybeans 95% setting pods (5%
behind normal) and only 15% dropping leaves (23% behind normal). Corn is 93% in
the dough stage (5% behind normal), with 68% dented (19% behind normal) and 18%
mature (21% behind normal). Corn harvest is 4% complete, 3% behind normal.
This is still quite late, and the corn belt states of ILL, IND, and OH seem to
be lagging the most in maturity. They may need a frost free month of September
and October to reach full maturity (which seems unlikely). But this recent heat
surge in the weather has to be encouraging for those producers.

Other crops are faring similar, with sorghum 79% coloring (5% behind normal),
and 34% mature (10% behind) and 24% harvested (3% behind normal). Sorghum
conditions dropped 3% this week but is still highly rated at 65% G/E (vs. last
year's 53%). HRS wheat is 76% harvested, 17% behind normal while barley is 87%
harvested (9% behind normal). Oats is 92% harvested, 5% behind normal but is
nearing completion. Probably the worst situation is the HRS wheat, which has
horrible falling numbers after a late, wet year that apparently reduced the
available milling quality wheat. Sugarbeets are 8% harvested, 1% behind normal.
It is a very late crop in development in almost all areas, so it's a great
blessing to have warm weather to end the season. We just might avoid a
catastrophe yet!!!

There is still too much rain in the forecast, with some extremely heavy rains
recently reported. Some producers are looking at a difficult time to get the
harvest out of the field, with some fields too wet to support heavy equipment.
Sugarbeet and potato farmers could have especially difficult times if things
don't dry out a bit during their harvest. Combines and heavy trucks are also
difficult to maneuver in soft fields, so things could get dicey during harvest
2019.

But considering the horrible start this year had, weather has been almost
perfect from late June until now. Thankfully, weather has been cooperative so
far this far in bring relatively warm weather. Now we need that to be
accompanied by dry weather as well to make this harvest a relatively pleasant
one.

It has been encouraging to say the least to see progress between China and the
US regarding trade. Hopefully, both sides can see the benefit of solving at
least some of the trade problems when they meet in early October with high level
officials. Chinese lower level delegations are in the US this week trying to
make some logistical breakthroughs in the negotiations. China would like to
break the issues into 3 categories, 1 that can be settled quickly, 1 that will
take more extended negotiations, and 1 that may never get resolved.
Fortunately, agricultural trade is in the first category, which is optimistic
because that means a settlement could be reached relatively quickly if both
sides agree to that structure.

Pro Ag can see a bullish side to the markets developing this fall. We just need
to get past this excellent fall weather that is likely adding bushels to the US
production total.

Ray can be reached at raygrabanski@progressiveag.com.
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Ray is President of Progressive Ag Marketing, Inc., a top Ranked marketing firm
in the country. See http://www.progressiveag.com for rankings and link to data
from Top Producer Magazine and Agweb.com.

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