Harvest Progresses Slowly

Corn and soybean harvest is in full swing, but most farmers are behind schedule compared to usual. As of last Sunday, only 17% of the corn crop had been harvested, compared to a five-year average of 26%. Soybeans are on the slow side as well, with only 22% out of the field, compared to 26% normally. Despite the slower pace, the outlook for the crops is growing more optimistic, as the USDA continues to show better crop conditions.

Typically, as farmers sell their recently-harvested grain, they depress prices, making mid-October prices near the lowest of the year. To avoid the seasonal low, many producers invest in on-farm storage, like silos or large storage bags that can stretch longer than a football field. They then depend on the futures and options markets to help manage financial risk rather than selling at harvest.

Investors, on the other hand, often buy corn and soybeans at harvest time, attempting to catch a harvest bottom in prices.

As of midday Friday, November soybean futures traded for $9.70 per bushel, while December corn was worth $3.50.