The USDA Soybean harvest progress report was out this afternoon and it showed some hefty progress was made last week. Bean harvest as of the past weekend was at 83% compared to 70% last week and 85% for the same week last year. The five year average is 83% so it is dead on schedule.
The story essentially remains the same as last week... harvest progress out in the western regions of the Belt was very, very strong.
Iowa is at 91% complete, compared to 81% last week and 94% last year but it is also now ahead of the five year average of 90%. Minnesota is essentially done at 98% compared to 94% last week and 95% last year. Its five year average is 91%.North and South Dakota, along with Nebraska, are wrapping up as well. In short, the western part of the Belt looks great.
Just like last week, it is the eastern part of the belt that is lagging. However, very good progress was made last week in Indiana, which jumped up to 70% complete compared to only 50% the previous week. The five year average there is 87%.
Ohio also made good progress jumping from 50% the previous week to 72%. That compares with last year at 90% and its five year average of 83%.
Illinois had a nice ramp up as well with 83% now harvested compared to only 63% last week. Last year it stood at 91%. The five year average is 84% so Illinois has really made up some ground and is now essentially right where it ought to be.
Based on these numbers I find it hard to believe that we are going to continue to hear issues about "meal shortages" much longer. The beans are going into the bins and the crop is very large. As the harvest winds down, more trucks should become available to move meal that is produced as crushers have incredible margins right now in the beans with the heavy buying jacking the crush to some quite profitable levels.
It would not surprise me one bit to hear talk going from "meal shortages" to "meal gluts" sooner rather than later. The tightness in transportation will eventually clear up and the product is going to move.
Switching ever so briefly to the corn... the harvest is 65% complete compared to 46% last week ( farmers have opted to go after the beans and leave the corn for later) but is catching up to last year's pace of 71%. The five year average stands at 73%.
There does not seem to be a standout feature in the report as to a clear cut difference between the eastern and western portions of the Belt. I should note that Illinois is essentially tracking its five year average of 78% with this week's 77% complete.
Iowa and Indiana are lagging with the former at 58% compared to its five year average of 75% with the latter at 58% compared to its five year average of 70%.
This is perhaps the reason that the funds have been able to jam corn prices off their worst levels right at the closing bell both last Friday and today. The trade is waiting for a larger percentage of the harvest to come in before they begin to get aggressive on the hedging but I look for that to pick up this week. Opposition to the hedge funds and other large specs is building between $3.80-$3.70.
The forecasts show some moisture in the belt but the amounts forecasted vary. Also, some regions look to see sunshine and clear weather, but colder temps on the way. Depending on location, farmers will have some open windows available to get some more done before next Monday's reports.
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