Wet, cool weather continues to slow the corn harvest, pushing futures prices higher, says Doane economist Marty Foreman. Speaking with Drovers and food360 editors today, Foreman noted that with 17 percent of the U.S. corn crop harvested compared with a five-year average of 46 percent for this time, this harvest is shaping up as the slowest since the mid 1970s. Current forecasts call for rain on and off for at least the next week across much of the Corn Belt, which will keep upward pressure on corn prices. An overall rally in stocks and commodities markets also has contributed to the rally in corn futures.

In the cattle markets, Foreman notes that wholesale beef prices have improved by about $3 per hundredweight over the past week, helping pull fed-cattle prices up by about $1 per hundredweight and driving some optimism in the futures market. He expects gains to continue over the next month or so as supplies of market-ready cattle tighten. He cautions, though, that summer placements of heavier cattle point toward more abundant supplies and heavier out-weights this winter. Cash prices are likely to com under pressure during the December through February time period, and Foreman is advising Doane’s cattle-feeder clients to watch for opportunities in the current upturn in futures prices to hedge cattle they plan to market during those months.  

For more on this week’s crop progress and condition, see “Crop maturing but harvest lags.”