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Grain Marketing Highlights – September 21, 2012

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Carl German, Extension Crops Marketing Specialist; clgerman@udel.edu

Grain and Oilseeds Rally After Sharp Sell-Off
Grain and oilseed futures contracts continued to decline sharply during Monday’s session. However, commercial and non-commercial buying interest picked up in Tuesday’s overnight session, with a modest rally continuing through Wednesday’s day trade. The recent sell-off dropped near-by new crop corn and soybean futures prices by about $1.00 (+ or -) per bushel since their respective life-of-contract highs were hit on August 10 and September 4. Reasons given for the sell-off are attributed to corn and soybeans being over bought resulting in short covering on the part of non-commercials; new supplies coming on due to ‘harvest pressure’; and a lack of “fresh” news. The good news is that there may be reason to believe that the rally could push prices somewhat higher. Recent Fed action to invest $40 billion a month to buy mortgage backed securities is weakening the value of the dollar which should help U.S. exports. Time will tell regarding investor preferences for either the stock (equities) or commodity markets. Nevertheless, the Fed action was viewed as positive for both markets in the near term. Market volatility remains elevated as a result of the uncertainty in world geopolitics. There too remains uncertainty concerning the eventual impact on the overall economy from QE3.

Other price supporting factors that keep being mentioned by commodity news sources include: dry weather concerns in the Southwestern U.S. which could slow winter wheat planting; dry weather concerns for the Southern Hemisphere which could impact 2013 South American production potential; dry weather concerns in Australia and other wheat producing regions around the world; and China’s appetite for importing more U.S. soybeans. These concerns are currently helping to support the soybean, wheat, and corn futures markets.

Market Strategy
Although one attempts to shed light on expected price direction computer trading seems to be the order of the day. Computer trading is most likely the reason for today’s double digit gains across the board. When price algorithms are hit the computer programs tell the non-commercials (speculators) when to place buy or sell orders. The algorithms are driven by technical indicators. One might surmise then that the trick to determining whether one wants to hold or advance sell orders becomes a matter of following the money. However, it is often stated that eventually fundamentals will take precedence in determining price direction. The only thing known for sure at this point in time, fundamentally, is that the U.S. is harvesting short 2012 corn and soybean crops. The extent of the shortfall won’t be fully known until this year’s U.S. crop is harvested. In the meantime, the corn and wheat markets continue to depict no carry in the forward contract months with SRW wheat futures depicting only a 10 cent carry through the May ‘13 contract before becoming inverted. USDA’s next monthly Supply/Demand report will be released on Thursday, October 11.

The U.S. 2012 corn harvest is expected to hit the 50% mark in next Monday’s crop progress report with soybean harvest to be in the mid-twenties. Weekly U.S. corn and wheat export inspections were viewed as bullish. Soybean export inspections were bearish. The weekly export sales report will be issued by USDA tomorrow (Thursday) morning, September 19. Currently, the day trade closing futures prices for Wednesday afternoon September 18 were: Dec ‘12 corn futures $7.53; Nov ‘12 soybeans $16.70; and July ‘13 SRW wheat futures $8.60 per bushel.

For technical assistance on making grain marketing decisions contact Carl L. German, Extension Crops Marketing Specialist.

Harvest Aids for Soybeans

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Mark VanGessel, Extension Weed Specialist; mjv@udel.edu

A few herbicides are labeled as harvest aids for soybeans. Glyphosate and paraquat will have the broadest spectrum of control, with paraquat having quicker activity on the weeds. Aim is also labeled, but it has a very narrow spectrum of control. Be sure to read the label of the product you are considering for all the precautions and restrictions. Application of these products is after the pods begin to lose their green color. Applications made this late in the season means they will have little to no impact on reducing weed seed production.

Agronomic Crop Insects

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Joanne Whalen, Extension IPM Specialist; jwhalen@udel.edu

Small Grains
As you make plans to plant wheat, be sure to review our article on aphid and barley yellow dwarf management in the Aug 3, 2012 newsletter (http://agdev.anr.udel.edu/weeklycropupdate/?p=4595). The following link to the May 1, 2012 Kentucky’s Pest News also provides additional management information, especially as it relates to the weather conditions in the 2012 season (http://www.ca.uky.edu/agcollege/plantpathology/extension/KPN%20Site%20Files/kpn_12/pn_120501.html).

Timing Pumpkin Harvest

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Jerry Brust, IPM Vegetable Specialist, University of Maryland; jbrust@umd.edu

Many pumpkin fields in the mid-Atlantic have poor foliage cover and weak vines at this time due to foliar diseases such as powdery and downy mildews (Fig. 1). Some growers are looking at their pumpkin field wondering if they should harvest now and store the pumpkins or wait a little longer. Maintaining vine health through harvest is one of the most important considerations for good fruit and stem hardiness. Once the fruit is mature (you can test to see if the pumpkin is mature by pressing the end of your thumbnail into the flesh of the fruit, if little indentation is left in the fruit the pumpkin is mature) the pumpkins can be harvested at any time. The best time to harvest mature fruit is while foliage is still green and relatively healthy. If there is poor foliage cover before pumpkins reach full maturity the fruit and stem quality will be diminished leading to premature fruit breakdown. This includes fruit rotting in the field, sunscald and collapsed stems. Fruit can appear healthy, but the stems still collapse (Fig. 2).

Over the last 2 weeks I have seen a great deal of sunscald damage to pumpkins. Sunscald starts as a reddish area on the fruit that becomes sunken and appears flat (Fig. 3). Over time, this area usually becomes tan with secondary pathogens often invading the area oftentimes causing a black ‘mold’ to cover the damaged spot. If you do have reduced foliage due to disease or insect damage it is best to harvest the fruit and store. Although some growers use chlorine solutions as a post-harvest dip to protect pumpkins taken early from fields our research has shown no value from these dips. Pumpkins can be stored in a well-ventilated shaded area with temperatures between 50-70°F. In general, fully mature, disease free fruit can be stored for months under these conditions. I have kept healthy pumpkins (not jack-o-lanterns) in good shape on my front door step from mid-September until mid-December (yes I like pumpkins a bit too much). Pumpkins should not be stored around apples as the apples emit ethylene gases that accelerate the ripening process, which could lead to premature breakdown.

Figure 1. Loss of foliage due to downy mildew

Figure 2. Healthy looking fruit, but rotting stem

Figure 3. Sunscald damage to pumpkin fruit

Continuing Vegetable Sales in Fall and Winter

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Gordon Johnson, Extension Vegetable & Fruit Specialist; gcjohn@udel.edu

While most vegetable growers finish up with fall crops around Thanksgiving, there is potential to produce throughout the fall and winter. There are fall and winter sales potentials with schools, institutions, and restaurants; for CSA’s; and for specialty wholesale markets.

One strategy is using storage to have products available out of season. This has been a common practice on a large wholesale scale with potatoes and apples where large controlled environment storage facilities are used. On a smaller scale, there are many vegetables that can be stored in sheds, cold boxes, or greenhouses as long as products are kept above freezing and have adequate humidity. It should be noted that critical minimum temperatures will vary according to the type of produce.

Probably the easiest vegetables to store are hard shelled winter squash such as butternuts. If kept around 50°F, most of the hard shelled squashes can be kept for at least 3 months, some for over 6 months. Potatoes store best at 45°F in high humidity and sprouting can be a problem for longer storage. Sweet potatoes, once cured, can be stored for months as long as the storage temperature is kept around 60°F. Colder temperatures damage the roots. Onion storage depends on the type but longest storage is just above freezing in dry conditions. Cabbage can also be stored for long periods. The key is to grow storage varieties that are dense. Longest storage is at 32 F° in high humidity. Napa type chinese cabbage also stores well in refrigeration (several months). Other crops successfully stored include carrots, parsnips, rutabegas, and turnips. In fruits, long keeping apple varieties can be stored for months in cool temperatures.

Field storage is another way to extend sales of some vegetables. Root crops such as carrots, parsnips, and beets can be kept for extended periods in the field if kept from freezing with row covers or straw mulch. Certain cabbage varieties can field store into winter if protected from hard freezes with row covers. Green onions and leeks also field store well.

An alternative strategy is to make used of high tunnels, low tunnels, row covers, or a combination to grow cool season crops for fall and winter harvest. Greens crops in the mustard family (mustard, turnip, kale, collard, cress, many asian greens); spinach, chard, and beet greens; and lettuces and endive can be planted in the late summer or fall and harvested repeatedly through the fall and winter in these protected systems without additional heat. Some day neutral strawberries can be harvested into the late fall in high tunnels or low tunnel/row cover systems. The use of row covers can also extend harvest periods for crops such as broccoli where side shoot production can be maintained after main heads are harvested, often through Christmas, and Brussels sprouts where sprout production can be extended into winter.

Of course, there is potential for production of many crops in heated greenhouses. The choice of varieties becomes important for greenhouse production because of the lower light and reduced daylength conditions in fall and winter. Specific greenhouse varieties of crops such as tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers have been developed for fall and winter production.

Last Issue of Weekly Crop Update for 2012 and Weekly Crop Update User Survey

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Emmalea Ernest, Extension Associate – Vegetable Crops; emmalea@udel.edu

This is the last issue of Weekly Crop Update for the 2012 season. I hope that this newsletter has been a useful resource to you as you dealt with the challenges of this past growing season. My thanks to the Extension specialists and agents who have contributed articles this year — the WCU would obviously not be possible without them. My thanks as well to our office staff at the REC, who make sure the WCU gets to our fax and mail subscribers.

As I noted in the previous issue, it has been several years since we surveyed you, the Weekly Crop Update’s readers and subscribers, to see what you find useful about this publication and to try to get some ideas on how it could be improved. If you have not already done so please participate in our WCU User Survey and help us make this publication better. You can take the survey online at:  https://delaware.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_bmypKOsFJVVnkKp

Best wishes for a safe and prosperous fall harvest season. I look forward to seeing many of you at meetings this winter.

Kind regards,
Emmalea

Volume 20, Issue 26 – September 14, 2012

Friday, September 14th, 2012

PDF Version of WCU 20:26 – September 14, 2012

Weekly Crop Update User Survey - Please take the survey and help us improve WCU!

Vegetable Crops
Vegetable Crop Insects
Low Plant Tissue Potassium and Calcium
Excess Nitrogen and Vegetables and Fruits
Don’t Mix PVC Pipe and Polyethylene Greenhouse Film

Agronomic Crops
Agronomic Crop Insects
Thoughts on Planting Soft Red Winter Wheat Early
Grain Marketing Highlights

General
UD Extension Welcomes New Environmental Quality and Management Specialist

Announcements
Workshops for Farmers with Drought-Plagued Fields – September 17
University of Delaware Irrigation Field Day – September 19
2012 Delmarva Poultry Conference – September 26
Delaware Ag Week – January 14-18, 2013

Weather

UD Extension Welcomes New Environmental Quality and Management Specialist

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Jennifer Volk, Extension Environmental Quality and Management Specialist; jennvolk@udel.edu

My name is Jennifer Volk and I am the University of Delaware’s new Extension Specialist in Environmental Quality and Management. I am very excited to be joining the Cooperative Extension and the nutrient management team! I received my Bachelor’s Degree from UD in Environmental Chemistry and a Master’s from UD studying the impacts of land use on water quality. Previously, I worked at the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control in the Watershed Assessment Section. There, I primarily worked with stakeholder groups to develop plans to improve the quality of Delaware’s waters. I worked closely with colleagues at our local, state, and federal agricultural agencies to understand the most cost effective best management practices to minimize the loss of nutrients from agricultural lands. In my new role as an Extension Specialist, I look forward to working with Delaware’s agricultural industry to identify solutions to our State’s environmental challenges in a way that maintains agriculture’s economic viability. If you have questions or ideas about environmental issues impacting Delaware’s agriculture, I would love to discuss them with you! Please feel free to call (302-730-4000), email (jennvolk@udel.edu), or stop in to see me the Paradee Center in Dover (69 Transportation Circle, Dover, DE 19901).

Grain Marketing Highlights – September 14, 2012

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Carl German, Extension Crops Marketing Specialist; clgerman@udel.edu

USDA’s September 12 U.S. and World Supply and Demand Highlights
Trader reaction to the September report was apparently negative for the corn and soybean  markets with corn and wheat futures trading lower as of 1 p.m., Wednesday, September 12. Soybean futures were surging higher. Trader attention in the ensuing weeks will turn to the status of the 2012 crop harvest with both the U.S. corn and soybean 2012 average yield estimates being revised downward (.6 and .8 bushels per acre). There were no changes made in planted or harvested acreage estimates across the board.

Brazilian and Argentine corn production estimates for the ‘12/‘13 marketing year were unchanged from last month for a combined total of 98 MMT (million metric tons). Argentine corn production for the ‘11/‘12 marketing year was unchanged at 21 MMT. The estimate for Brazilian ‘11/‘12 marketing year corn was reduced slightly from 72.8 to 72.7 MMT.

Projected Brazilian and Argentine soybean production was unchanged from last month for the ‘12/‘13 marketing year for a combined total of 136 MMT, a projected increase of 28.5 MMT from the drought stressed ‘11/‘12 Southern Hemisphere crop. Argentine soybean production for the ‘11/‘12 marketing year was left unchanged at 41 MMT while Brazilian production was revised upward from 65.6 to 66.5 MMT, for a combined total of 107.5 MMT.

U.S. S&D Summary, 9/12/12, Million Bushels

 

Corn

Soybeans

Wheat

Crop Year

11-12

12-13

12-13

11-12

12-13

12-13

11-12

12-13

12-13

Report Date

09/12

08/10

09/12

09/12

08/10

09/12

09/12

08/10

09/12

Carryin

1,128

1,021

1,181

215

145

130

862

743

743

Production

12,358

10,779

10,727

3,056

2,692

2,634

1,999

2,268

2,268

Imports

25

75

75

16

20

20

112

130

130

Tot Supply

13,511

11,875

11,983

3,287

2,857

2,785

2,974

3,141

3,141

 

Feed

4,400

4,075

4,150

163

220

220

Crush/Mill*

1,360

1,320

1,320

1,705

1,515

1,500

941

950

950

Ethanol Prod

5,000

4,500

4,500

Seed/Other

30

30

30

101

116

114

77

73

73

Exports

1,540

1,300

1,250

1,360

1,110

1,055

1,050

1,200

1,200

Total Use

12,330

11,225

11,250

3,157

2,742

2,670

2,231

2,443

2,443

Carryout

1,181

650

733

130

115

115

743

698

698

Stocks/Use Rate

9.6%

5.8%

6.5%

4.1%

4.2%

4.3%

33.3%

28.6%

28.6%

Avg Price

$6.25

$8.20

$7.90

$12.45

$16.00

$16.00

$7.24

$8.30

$8.10

*Excludes corn for ethanol

● Projected corn ending stocks for the ‘12/‘13 marketing year were increased by 83 million bushels from last month (650 to 733 million bushels), largely attributed to reductions in demand/use categories for the ‘11/‘12 and ‘12/‘13 marketing years.

● Ending stocks-to-use estimates for ‘12/‘13 marketing year corn increased from 5.8% last month to 6.5% in the September report.

● Ending stocks for U.S. soybeans were essentially unchanged from last month at 4.3%.

● Ending stocks for all U.S. wheat and stocks-to-use were left unchanged at 698 million bushels and 28.6%, respectively.

● USDA’s projection for the season average price for U.S. corn was reduced from $8.20 to $7.90 per bushel (ranging from a low of $7.20 to a high of $8.60 per bushel).

● The season average price for U.S. soybeans was unchanged from last month at $16.00 per bushel (ranging from $15.00 to $17.00 per bushel).

● The season average price for all U.S. wheat was lowered 20 cents to $8.10 per bushel (ranging from $7.50 to $8.70 per bushel).

World S& D Summary, 8/10/12, Million Metric Tons

 

Corn

Soybeans

Wheat

Crop Year

11-12

12-13

12-13

11-12

12-13

12-13

11-12

12-13

12-13

Report Date

09/12

08/10

09/12

09/12

08/10

09/12

09/12

08/10

09/12

Carryin

876.68

849.01

841.06

237.09

260.46

258.13

695.04

662.83

658.73

Production

1004.20

984.98

980.66

307.35

312.40

311.78

892.99

860.42

857.37

Total Supply

 

504.47

508.74

508.84

144.80

134.09

132.09

Feed

225.43

227.03

226.91

Crush

360.19

352.90

347.86

29.03

29.89

29.82

549.55

549.16

548.57

Other

864.66

861.64

856.70

254.46

256.92

256.73

694.35

683.25

680.66

Total Use

 

139.60

123.33

123.95

53.65

53.38

53.10

198.64

177.17

176.71

End Carryout

16.1%

14.3%

14.5%

21.1%

20.8%

20.7%

28.6%

25.9%

26.0%

Stocks/Use Rat

876.68

849.01

841.06

237.09

260.46

258.13

695.04

662.83

658.73

● Projected world ending stock estimates for corn were increased from 123.33 last month to 123.95 (+.62) MMT in the September report for the ‘11/‘12 marketing year.

● World ending stock estimates were also increased by 3.63 MMT for the ‘11/‘12 marketing year corn.

● World ending stocks for ‘12/‘13 marketing year soybeans were reduced slightly from last month.

● World ending stocks for ‘11/‘12 marketing year soybeans were increased from last month’s estimates by 1.71 MMT.

● World ending stock projections for all wheat for the ‘12/‘13 marketing year were reduced .46 MMT.

● World ending stock estimates for all wheat for the ‘11/‘12 marketing year were increased by 1.05 MMT.

● World stocks-to-use projections for the ‘12/‘13 marketing year were increased slightly for corn, reduced slightly for soybeans, and increased slightly for wheat.

Market Strategy
Advancing new crop harvest sales for 2012 corn and soybeans continues to make sense considering price level and the lack of carry being reflected in these markets. The July ‘13 SRW wheat futures contract is currently bidding within 11 cents per bushel of the life-of-contract high. Currently, in e-trade Dec ‘12 corn futures are $7.71; Nov ‘12 soybeans are $17.48; and July ‘13 SRW wheat futures are bidding at $8.64 per bushel.

For technical assistance on making grain marketing decisions contact Carl L. German, Extension Crops Marketing Specialist.

Thoughts on Planting Soft Red Winter Wheat Early

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Richard Taylor, Extension Agronomist; rtaylor@udel.edu

With corn harvest proceeding much earlier than in ‘normal’ years, many growers could be considering whether to go ahead and plant their wheat or barley crop in the next few weeks. The recommended or suggested planting date varies from county to county based on the Hessian fly-free date. (For more information on Hessian fly see the article by Joanne Whalen “Agronomic Crop Insects – September 7, 2012” in issue 20:25 of the Weekly Crop Update) The fly free dates are Oct. 3 for New Castle County, Oct. 8 for Kent County, and Oct. 10 for Sussex County.

For barley, we have conducted planting date studies in Sussex County comparing early-planted (September 26) barley with a close to suggested planting date (October 7). Our results indicated a fairly consistent 5 percent reduction in yield with September planted barley as compared with the October 7 planting date. Winter weather in the years the study was conducted did not result in significant visual winter injury to the barley so the impact appeared to be more of a general nature. Barley planting was dramatically affected by late planting unlike wheat. Delaying barley planting by just one week to October 15 resulted in a (four year average) yield reduction of over 15 percent and delaying two weeks to October 25 resulted in an over 20 percent yield reduction. Delaying planting barley until November increased the yield potential reduction to over 40 percent.

For winter wheat, experience has to be our guide with respect to planting date. We have evaluated the ideal planting date versus later planting dates but not against a September planting date for wheat. However, we can use both past experiences and basic agronomic knowledge to evaluate the risk involved with early planting wheat.

Since September planting dates are before the Hessian fly-free date for all our counties, we can surmise that the risk of lodging during grain fill will be increased versus planting after the fly-free date. You do need to keep in mind that the fly-free date is based on temperature averages and during warmer than normal falls fly emergence and egg-laying activity can extend past the listed dates. Larval activity can cause lodging, stunting, and yield loss since wheat tillers can be severely injured. In past variety trials, we have seen significant injury and yield reductions on susceptible varieties. Early planting of wheat can increase your risk of an infestation especially if wheat is planted in fields with wheat stubble or in fields next to one with wheat stubble.

For wheat that is planted following dryland corn, the greatest risk this year likely is due to excessive soil residual nitrogen (N); or, if the fall weather is warm and moist, to fall N mineralization from the high levels of nitrate in the dryland corn residue. High fall N availability can lead to excessive growth that will be more susceptible to winter kill or injury if we have a cold, open winter. In past years, we have had many growers asking what they could do about all the excessive top growth that occurs when wheat is planted in September and fertility levels are high. In some areas of the country, the extra foliage is used to graze cattle or sheep but most Delaware farmers do not have this option. The option tried has been to mow off and sometimes remove the excessive top growth. This has at least in part been successful in reducing winter injury but there are significant costs associated with the practice.

Another concern that again depends on fall weather conditions as well as insect populations and a residue of disease inoculum is the development in September planted wheat of disease or insect problems. In particular, barley yellow dwarf virus, which is transmitted in the fall by aphids feeding on the lush growth, can cause more severe injury than spring infections. The lush growth of early planted wheat could be more of an attractant for aphids but certainly will have a longer exposure to the risk of infestation.

All these cautions are not to say that you should never plant wheat or barley before the fly-free date only that you should be aware of the possible consequences and make a decision on when to plant and how many acres to plant from a position of knowledge.