Mother Nature Still Challenging Harvest Progress

Mother Nature Still Challenging Harvest Progress

Thoughts turn to 2015 and how to make economics work

The harvest of 2014 is still challenging us to string more than a couple of work days together. However, a stiff breeze Monday morning allowed us an early start on our way to finish soybeans, despite four moves over 15 miles. Monday can be summed up as a disappointment, with our lowest field averages of the year. These were 3.0-3.2 maturity beans planted in the last week of May.

Even with August rains, July did quite a bit of damage on these average soils. Yields were off 12-18 bushels compared to anything else we harvested.

Thoughts turn to 2015 and how to make economics work

We have completed 55% of corn harvest. Moistures are still high. Corn may have matured, but something didn't go right. Though 2014 is a 'one of a kind', we are re-evaluating the maturity range and distribution of our corn seed. Grain quality also remains a concern. We are having trouble getting corn to meet exports specs. I've also heard of dry corn being brought to the elevator at 49 pounds.

Related: Expect to Take a Harder Look at Crop Inputs for 2015

Despite the challenge to keep harvest moving, I have logged quite a bit of seat time this week. I've had plenty of time to think. Most of it has focused around one central question: How are we going to make 2015 work? The economics are not rosy at all. 

Albeit undesired, Mother Nature has done farmers a favor this year. It appears she has tempered harvest. Farmers have locked away a lot a grain. The grain markets have stabilized. What price level will it take to get grain flowing again? Is there a magic price? Or will it simply be a function of when cash flow is needed?

Turning back to 2015, who wants to lay out the money to plant 2015 crop when it is so difficult to market the 2014 crop?

Related: Tight Farm Budgets May Call for P, K and Lime Adjustments

So what is going to happen? Can we all plant soybeans? Will we try? If that's the case, should I be the contrarian? It will take some careful evaluation to figure out a good plan for next year.

Here's my problem with the whole thing: Farmers are taking a hit, landlords are likely taking a hit, fertilizer is down -- why not seed and chemicals? It seems they think we should pat them on the back for holding the line. Outrageous! They weren't slow to raise prices when farm revenue went up. Why be slow to reduce prices now?

The opinions of Kyle Stackhouse are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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