Soybean harvest started on many farms yesterday and today. However, half or more of the soybeans in this area are not quite ready yet. The big news this week is a major blast of cold weather, rain, wind and possibly light snow starting on Thursday. We are forecast to get down to 28F on Friday night, which would be the first killing frost this fall. Most years a frost on October 11th isn’t a big deal, but this year’s crops are behind and some may be killed prematurely reducing yield and quality. This is especially true in the Dakotas, Western Nebraska and Minnesota. The June planted corn in Northwest Iowa is mostly at ¾ milk line stage which not fully mature “black layer”.
Very little corn has been harvested for grain at this point. Even the early planted corn is still 24% moisture or higher. The later planted or full season corn is 30% moisture or higher and may not be fully mature yet. A killing frost must get down to 28F or less, we may or may not get that cold on Friday. The June planted corn that is at ½ to ¾ milk line could have a yield loss of 10% to 20% if we get a killing frost this week. In addition to yield loss from frost, test weights will be reduced. The majority of corn in this region will not be damaged by frost at this point. Corn harvest will be late this year. We need good drying weather in late-October, if not this corn will need to be harvested at very high moisture levels.
Soybeans that were planted on the early side this year are ready or nearly ready to be harvested. Most farmers have some beans ready to go this week, until the weather changes on Thursday or Friday. We don’t have a lot of yield information yet, but it’s safe to say the beans are running at least 10% worse than last year.
The grain markets are moving higher this week in part because of the weather forecast and potential yield reductions. This is an extension of higher markets following the September 30 USDA stocks report, which was well below trade estimates. Another round of USDA reports will be released tomorrow. Recent trade talk is also positive, supposedly China is open to the idea of a partial trade deal and the USMCA trade deal is still moving forward.