Monthly grain crop review for September, 2019

Corn in the field

September had several warmer than normal days, breaking records in some parts of the state. The high temperatures helped the corn crop dry. However, harvest progress is trailing last year’s pace and the five-year average. The late-planted corn is still too wet to combine unless there are dryers available.

Nationally, 11 percent of corn has been harvested with North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Kentucky leading the way. In soybeans, 7 percent have been harvested, well behind historical pace. Winter wheat planting progress is only slightly behind average pace at 39 percent completed, as of Monday, September 30, 2019.

Some good news in the global trade came through this month with China buying U.S. soybeans, as Brazil supplies are running low and President Trump delayed some tariffs against China. The sharp increase in soybeans mid-month was due to the positive U.S./China trade, the friendly WASDE report, and positive export news. This month’s WASDE report showed a decrease in production, lower ethanol use, and marginally higher ending stocks.

Corn production was estimated at 13.799 billion bushels, a decrease of 102 million from August’s estimate due to a lower yield forecast. Corn yield was estimated at 168.2 bushels per acre, down 1.3 bushels from a month ago. U.S. soybean production is estimated at 3.6 billion bushels, reduced by 47 million bushels. The soybean yield estimate was decreased to 47.9 bushels per acre.

The jump in grain bids in the last part of September was largely due to the surprise from USDA with a decrease of their previous estimate by 331 million bushels of corn to estimated stocks. There was a larger than expected feed and residual use.

In soybeans, USDA reduced last year’s crop by 116 million bushels; harvested acreage and national yield were both decreased. Both numbers were below trade guesses.

Monday’s Quarterly Grain Stocks report showed corn stocks are down one percent and soybean stocks are up 108 percent. Old crop corn stocks in all positions totaled 2.11 billion bushels. 753 million bushels are stored on farms and 1.36 billion bushels are off-farm stocks. Old crop soybeans stocks in all positions totaled 913 million bushels with 265 million bushels stored on farms and 648 million bushels off-farm stocks. All wheat stored in all positions totaled 2.38 billion bushels with 776 million bushels stored on-farm and off-farm stocks at 1.61 billion bushels.

The latest drought monitor from September 26, 2019, shows that there is a small drought footprint, with 8.39 percent of the state affected, mostly in southeast Missouri. Looking back to a year ago, 63.35 percent of the state was impacted by some degree of drought. Nationwide, 39.01 percent of the nation has been affected by drought, compared to 48.64 percent last year. However, last year’s footprint had much more D3 Extreme Drought and D4 Exceptional Drought included on the map.