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"As agriculture evolves, it seems that the past few seasons have brought on an opportunity to crop plan, negotiate leases, buy inputs, and hedge grain sales earlier and earlier."

It sounds cliche, but it is that time of year again. It may still feel like summer in the midwest, but the soybeans are beginning to turn yellow and brown, and the corn is slowly reaching the dry-down period. Some harvest has already started with silage being chopped and seed corn harvest underway.  Let’s dive into what we have seen in the midwest this past month leading up to the harvest season.

August rainfall heavily impacts soybean yields and this year was great in most areas. Over the past few weeks, widespread rain across the corn belt should lead to better soybean yields. In Illinois, mild temperatures have helped slow corn’s maturing process and will help with test weight and final yield. Mild temperatures have prolonged the kernel fill process and will mean widespread harvest will be later than usual. 

Many yield estimates show considerable variability.  With scattered rainfalls and widespread planting dates, this is expected.  Pro Farmer came out with its estimates for yields in 2022 from their crop tour on 8-26. Their projected average corn yield is 168.1. This average is almost ten bu/acre lower than the USDA projected yield. It is not often that these two numbers are that far apart. The markets have been very volatile since this news came out. Harvesters will start in and begin turning estimates into actual results.  Actual yields and harvest progress will become the new focus for grain traders, farmers, and landowners.

As agriculture evolves, it seems that the past few seasons have brought on an opportunity to crop plan, negotiate leases, buy inputs, and hedge grain sales earlier and earlier.  With supply chain concerns and climbing costs of inputs, many operators are buying seed, chemical, and fertilizer in August and September more than ever before.  With that in mind, as a landowner, you may also consider entering into lease negotiations earlier. A grower who can lock in input costs and a projected margin will likely have more comfort negotiating now than post-harvest.  

We never know what yields will be until the combines hit the fields, but one thing guaranteed in 2022 is that there will be excessive variability as you travel from region to region. All we can do is enjoy the harvest season and hope for good conditions to cover every acre.

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