Winter weather threatens end of harvest; basis narrows between CBOT and local prices

Updated: Nov. 25, 2019 at 7:21 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — The winter weather headed this way not only changes plans for those traveling, but also those in the fields wrapping up the harvest.

A storm is brewing and the USDA Crop Progress Report for this week indicates nearly 100% of soybeans in Minnesota have been harvested, while corn sits just below 90%.

“I think you get north, up a little more into central Minnesota, some places had a little more rain, and then, of course, the propane situation, it’s eased up a little bit," said Kent Thiesse, farm management analyst at MinnStar Bank in Lake Crystal, "but a couple weeks ago it was pretty difficult, so some of those areas that were dealing with propane shortages still have quite a bit of corn left to harvest.”

Delayed harvest is also due to high moisture content, giving producers incentives to keep an eye on stored grains.

“And with the variation in temperatures in recent weeks, and probably going to get cold again now, it’s a good idea to check those bins and be running those aeration fans to stabilize the grain temperature, otherwise you can start having spoilage issues in grain bins,” said Thiesse.

It’s essential to monitor the bins for quality, but also for safety up the road.

“It is important that producers, either you’re going to recognize from prior experience or you’re going to learn about what needs to happen in tending grain, and we have good protocols for that so just be careful around large volumes of stored grain,” said Brad Schloesser, Dean of Agriculture at South Central College and director of the Southern Agricultural Center of Excellence.

It’s also necessary to be aware on the roads as producers wrap up harvest in a hurry.

Through the hassles presented by Mother Nature and low prices, there is a silver lining in the 2019 harvest season.

“Our basis level between the Chicago Board of Trade price and local prices for both corn and soybeans are probably the narrowest they’ve been in a number of years at harvest time. For farmers that need to get some grain moved to market for cash-flow purposes, certainly they’re getting a benefit from that improved basis,” said Thiesse.

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