Last week I found our first mature corn field, so the countdown to harvest has now begun. We look to start on corn probably around Sept. 20, perhaps later if the cooler weather persists. The soybeans are looking great, with just a few bugs so far. Lots of pods are coming on. If we get a full growing season the beans should do just fine this year, in spite of being planted in mid-June. Of course, having never been truly dry since planting, the beans should have everything they need to make it. Our farm has received 39 inches of rain year-to-date, and 21 inches since Memorial Day weekend.
This last rain event prior to Labor Day weekend finally managed to flood some of our ground along the river bottom. The Wakarusa River has been high a few times this season but never quite enough to get out of its banks. Last week it finally couldn’t hold it all. Locations up the watershed had 6 or more inches of rain in only a few hours, and we had 4 inches locally.
The result was floodwaters moving into farm ground on both sides of the river. Fortunately, the flooding lasted only about 12 hours. We have not yet assessed how much damage was caused, but it will not resemble what our fellow producers in many other areas suffered this year, and in some places have yet to even begin recovering from.
Looking toward next year, I began hedging a significant percentage of next year’s production starting early this spring. Prices looked good relative to our expected costs. It won’t be a cover-of-the-ball year at those prices, but it’s a start to setting a base at a profitable average price. It will ensure that if prices drop significantly, we won’t suffer too badly, and we have room for the average to go up if prices do.
Local basis levels changed as corn and wheat each rolled to the December futures contract: corn dropped to even money, soybeans improved to -.70, and hard red wheat fell to -.25. — Ryan Johnson