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Dust is kicking up on gravel roads and in fields along the Missouri River bottoms – a sure sign of the start of the corn and soybean harvest.
About 5 percent of area soybeans and 15 percent corn have been harvested, according to John Graverson, Ray-Carroll grain department manager.
Early indications lean toward an average yield for both crops – not a bad forecast considering crops are three to four weeks behind schedule.
“We are very fortunate for the yields we are getting,” said Wade Mertensmeyer, area manager for Ray-Carroll Elevator in Hardin. “I think everyone is going to be fairly pleased.”
Nathan Moyer of Orrick Farm Service agrees and says, “everything is looking pretty good.”
At the Hardin elevator this weekend, the first corn shuttle was loaded and sent on its way to California. The shuttle, a 110-car Burlington Northern train, contained 440,000 bushels of corn. In the course of the year, 30 grain trains will ship from the region.
Both Moyer and Mertensmeyer said that much of the corn is still wet, and farmers have switched to harvesting beans.
Prices of corn and soybeans dropped considerably Monday and Tuesday, due to the tumultuous financial markets, supply forecasts and seasonal market conditions. According to Gary Vandiver, owner of Orrick Farm Service, soybean prices are historically low from Oct. 1 to 7. Wall Street woes also came into play, as investment companies were selling off commodities.
Tuesday in Orrick, soybeans dropped $1.10 to $9.32, and corn was $4.37–50 cents down from the previous day. Today, however, prices have made around a 6-cent bounce.
“With the financial situation, a lot of the previously bought commodities are selling out. They are getting out of the way. It’s fear,” said Graverson.
Vandiver also attributes yesterday’s price declines to information in yesterday’s USDA crop report. The report stated that nationally more beans and corn were produced than previously forecasted in their June 1 summary, which brought prices down. Nationally, 83 million more of bushels of corn were produced, along with 60 million more bushels of beans.
Typical end-of-the-month selling of commodities also occurred.
“We’ve experienced end-of-month selling for years and they repurchase at the beginning of the month to re-situate themselves,” Vandiver said.
Lower prices weren’t a negative for everyone. End users, such as ethanol plants, could buy their needs for the next six to eight months at a smaller cost.
With high global demand and a weak dollar, Vandiver said he is optimistic for a good harvest at a good price. He does have some concerns that Mother Nature will continue to cooperate with area producers.
“We have a little bit of concern with frost. I think we can live with it here [in Orrick], but others north of us can’t. It does seem to be a little unseasonably cool.”
Photo: A transport truck gets loaded with corn late last week in Henrietta. (Photo by Brenda Jensen/The Daily News)