While corn and soybean yields appear to be holding up this fall, 2013 is still turning out to be another frustrating year for many growers. Not only is harvest dragging on well into November; prices are also disappointing.
Weakness in cash, basis and futures is not unusual in years with late harvest, according to a Farm Futures study of trends across the Midwest. But charts show differences between corn and soybeans, if only because the soybean harvest usually is wrapped up first.
Both corn and soybeans turn in lows on average in early October. July soybean futures on average trend higher into early November, but not in late harvest years, when the market retests October holds before trending higher into mid-December. However, cash soybean prices and basis tend to make new lows in November, on the final flush of harvest that farmers can't store on farm.
Corn futures, by contrast, tend to make new lows in late October when harvest is delayed, then weaken again in late November, before making a final bottom in early December. That mirrors the trend in cash prices and basis, which also bottom in early December on average in late harvest years.
If that trend persists this fall it means the market's ability to rally in November is limited, until the end of harvest dries up supplies moving into the pipeline.