Soybeans in wagon

It’s harvest time, and if there is one message the market is sending to farmers it is that it wants soybeans now and corn later.

Of course, there are complicating factors. Everyone will be watching harvest numbers in the United States and around the globe. The USDA reports could push the market one way or another, with harvest acreage figures that may shift and yields that may surprise. All of those things are possible, according to Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines. But the basic message seems clear.

“It’s harvest time,” Roose says of the market.

On the soybean front, he says, prices are just off a two and a half year high. In addition, there is really no carry in the market, meaning there is little market incentive to store beans till next spring or summer. The market is telling farmers that selling beans now is the thing to do.

That is fueled by a couple items, Roose says. One is the fact that the soybean market shifts back and forth between the South American harvest season and the North American harvest season. South America has sold most of its beans from the last harvest and won’t have any more until January.

The other driving factor in the soybean market is the continued buying by China. The assumption is that once beans are available from South America the Chinese will buy South American beans, meaning the demand for U.S. beans is from now until Christmas.

The outlook for corn is different. Corn prices have improved, but not as much as beans. And the market is clear that it would rather have farmers store corn for a few months.

Meanwhile, all eyes will be on the harvest and on the planting season in South America. At the moment northern Brazil is dry, Roose says. And it is a La Niña year, which usually means dryer conditions in southern Brazil.

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