Crop Report

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For the Monthly Report Ending October 27, 2023

GENERAL COMMENTS & WEATHER: There has been a lot of progress in the fields since our last report.  Most of the soybeans were taken out by mid-October and the majority of cornfields are already harvested as well.  However, combining has slowed to a stop this week with cool, wet conditions throughout Southwestern Minnesota (SWMN). There are still some crops left in the field and a significant amount of tillage that needs to be completed before winter. Hopefully producers can finish up the fieldwork in the coming weeks and are able to breathe a sigh of relief after the 2023 harvest is in the rearview mirror.            

Figure 1: A John Deere combine harvesting soybeans. This soybean head uses air to assist feeding the plants into the machine. By using air in tandem with the reel, you lose less yield to shatter which is important when harvesting low moisture soybeans.

Weather conditions have changed into a typical Minnesota fall including wide ranging temperatures, significant wind and rain, and now there is even a chance of snow in the forecast. According to the Southwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC), daily high temperatures have ranged from as high as 95 degrees to as low as 46. Daily low temps have gone from 68 to below freezing at 27.7. The area has finally seen some relief to the drought conditions that have lingered all year. We saw a few small systems that brought a few tenths of moisture in late September into early October. The real relief came over a two-day period beginning on October 12th that brought 1.5 to 5+ inches of rain to most of the area. Thankfully, the rain was spread out and allowed the ground to have enough time to absorb it all with minimum runoff. This is not typical with a rain total that high, but not surprising given the overall deficit in the soil profile. Since that event, we have received intermittent showers that have currently stopped harvest and tillage progress, but that will not last long as farmers are eager to finish fieldwork. 

SOYBEANS:  Soybean harvest began in late September and wrapped up this past week. For the most part, farmers were somewhat satisfied with how well the soybeans yielded given the tough conditions during the growing season. Drought conditions did take a toll on many soybeans that were planted on lighter ground, but the effect was not as severe as some were expecting. A majority of fields have yields coming in between 50-55 bushels per acre with an overall range of 35-65+ bushels per acre. Overall, yields are 3 to 5 bushels less than last year.  One trend that we are seeing this year is that earlier planted soybeans are showing an initial yield advantage over later planted fields. Drought conditions did affect harvestability as we saw moisture content drop as low as 8% during the driest stretch in late September.

Figure 2 – Tillage equipment waiting for fertilizer to be applied. Once applied, the farmer will work the soil to incorporate the nutrients.

According to the USDA, as of October 22nd, Minnesota soybeans are 93% harvested, which is 5% ahead of last year and 13% ahead of the five year average. As a whole, the US soybeans are 78% harvested, which is well ahead of the five-year average of 67% at this time.

CORN:  If the soybean yields satisfied farmers, then many were blown away by the corn performance. We knew corn could handle dry weather better than soybeans due to their more extensive root system, but we did not know how well it would handle the conditions that we saw in 2023. There are some farms with lighter sandier soils that still struggled, but overall Southwest Minnesota has to be pleased with where the corn yields are coming in. Initial reports show most yields between 190 and 220+ bushels per acre, with a broader range of 150 to 250 bushels per acre.  One of the upsides to a dry year is the lower than anticipated drying cost, as a lot of fields are harvested with moisture under 18%. We will know more after the remaining fields are combined, but we are very happy with the initial information.

According to the USDA as of October 22nd, Minnesota corn is 57% harvested, which is 5% behind last year’s pace, but still 8% ahead of the five year average. U.S. corn is currently 59% harvested, which is 5% ahead of the five-year average of 54%.

Figure 3 –  Corn is combined quickly these days. The tracks you see on harvest equipment are mainly used for decreasing compaction instead of increasing traction, like in tillage.

REMARKS:  The USDA Monthly Supply and Demand Report was released on October 12th.  The 2023 U.S. corn production estimate is 15.064 billion bushels, which is 70 million bushels lower than the September report. The estimated national corn yield was decreased by eight tenths of a bushel to 173.0 bushels per acre.  U.S. carryout was lowered to about 1.361 billion bushels, down from 1.452 billion bushels as estimated in September.  The USDA estimate of global ending stocks is 298.13 Million Metric Tons (MMT), also declined from September’s reported figure of 299.47 MMT.  Overall, the world corn supply appears to be getting smaller, which will provide price support going into 2024.

U.S. Soybean yield estimates also declined, down half a bushel from 50.1 bushels per acre in September to 49.6 bushels per acre. Soybean production is estimated at 4.104 billion bushels domestically, a decrease of 42 million bushels from September.  U.S. carryover lowered to 1.761 billion bushels down 100 million from September.  Worldwide soybean ending stocks are projected at 119.25 MMT as compared to September’s estimate of 119.40. MMT.  Overall world supplies are projected to increase slightly.

Figure 4 – Manure application happening on a harvested soybean field. We continue to see yield benefits from farms that receive manure as a fertilizer source.

As crop production is finalized for 2023, we are finding ourselves doing some calculations to see if there are any crop insurance claims for our clients. As alluded to earlier in this report, the yields were better than expected, but they are still below average especially for soybeans. When you combine this with the decrease in market price from the spring guaranteed price some farms will be close to making a claim. The established spring price was $5.91 for corn and $13.76 for soybeans. The fall harvest price will be finalized on November 1st, but it is currently at $5.37 for corn and $12.30 for beans. If a claim seems likely for your farm, we will work with the insurance agent to make sure it is processed accordingly.

We have started looking at projections for input costs into 2024. Corn production costs will see some softening as fertilizer prices came down from their highs a year ago. Crop inputs for soybeans will continue to be even to up, as we anticipate herbicide cost increases with the need for extra applications to control problem weeds.

At Fairland, we have been busy with monitoring and coordinating harvest as well as processing all of the production data that accompanies it. At the same time, fertilizer and other input costs are being prepaid for 2024. We are scheduling meetings with different seed companies to go over this year’s performance as well as discussing variety options for next year. The second half of your real estate taxes are being paid, the cash rent is being collected and rental rates negotiated for next year. This is the last Crop and Weather Report for the year.  We hope you have a great rest of 2023 and will see you again in 2024!  

Growing-Degree Days

September 30, 2023    2,790 +245

Corn Growing Degree Days are calculated by subtracting a 50 degree base temperature from the average of the maximum and minimum temperature for the day. The daily maximum is limited to 86 degrees and the minimum is 50 degrees.

Grain Markets (October 26, 2023)

  New Vision-Windom Magnolia POET Ethanol-Bingham Lake Minnesota Soybean Processors- Brewster
Cash-Corn   4.59   4.50 4.59 N/A
Cash-Soybeans 12.46 12.47 N/A 12.69
October-Corn   4.65 N/A N/A N/A
October -Soybeans  11.89 N/A N/A N/A


Rainfall (Inches):

County City September 21 –            October 25, 2023 March 15 to date-2023 March 15 to date-2022
Cottonwood Jeffers   4.7   24.6   21.1
Cottonwood Windom   3.3   16.5   17.5
Jackson Heron Lake   4.6   24.4   25.1
Jackson Jackson   5.3   18.6   18.6
Martin Trimont   4.9   23.3   20.4
Murray Fulda   5.5   25.9   21.9
Murray Slayton


  19.4   17.3
Nobles Round Lake   4.5   21.4   21.9
Nobles Rushmore   3.7   19.3   22.5
Redwood Redwood Falls


  22.8   15.0
Rock Magnolia   4.1   17.7   22.4


Cody I. Adrian

Farm Management Advisor

Real Estate Salesperson