Bins and dryer

As the market inched toward Thanksgiving, it was not exactly giving farmers a lot to be thankful about as traders looked at various market deadlines.

The long-term market outlook remains a bit dismal, but there may be some opportunities in the coming weeks for farmers, according to Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines.

The harvest in the United States has been slow and late, Roose says, but that has at least opened the door for some localized market opportunities as farmers ship grain to areas that have had poor crops.

Farmers have generally been filling their bins on the farm instead of bringing it to town or marketing it, Roose says, and that adds to the possibility of localized market opportunities. Of course, it is not surprising that farmers are trying not to bring corn to town. With a wet crop and expensive drying costs, farmers are trying to save money.

Roose says he talked to at least one farmer in North Dakota who said there is still corn in the field that is at a 30% moisture level. At 7 cents per point to dry that corn, bringing it to 15% would cost $1.05 a bushel. That simply does not pencil out. It is possible some of that grain may just stay in the field.

The weather and crop scenario is not quite so bad for most producers, but it has not been pretty.

Adding to the problem is the fact that the weather in South America has been good and planting has progressed well there. That means international buyers know they can wait for a South American crop, which will actually be larger than the U.S. crop, Roose says.

For some farmers, that may mean the best opportunity is in the December to early January time period before any harvest begins in South America.

If there is good news, Roose says, it is that U.S. price levels are now basically at the world levels. That should put a bit of a floor under the market.

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Gene Lucht is public affairs editor for Iowa Farmer Today, Missouri Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.