Crop Report

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For the Monthly Report Ending September 21, 2023

GENERAL COMMENTS & WEATHER:  Harvest has begun in Southwest Minnesota!  There have been a few fields of early maturity soybeans that have or will be harvested by the end of this week, but most beans will not be ready to harvest until the last week of September/first week of October.  Corn silage was cut in the area around Labor Day weekend and some producers have combined a little high moisture corn the past couple of weeks.  While harvest data is still limited, it appears that yields will be extremely variable across southern Minnesota and even individual fields. 

Weather conditions remain fairly warm and dry.  There have been wide spread rain events but again highly variable conditions remain the norm. From August 22nd to September 18th, daytime high temperatures have ranged from 69 to 98 degrees with overnight low temperatures from 40 to 79 degrees.  Total cumulative Growing Degree Days (GDD) are at 2,602 units, which is above the historical average of 2,418 GDD (Southwest Research and Outreach Center-SWROC).  Abnormally dry conditions persist in the area, but we are hoping for some rainfall into this coming weekend.  Dry, windy field conditions at harvest raises the chances of combine fires significantly, so some precipitation would be welcome.                   

Figure 1 –  A familiar scene this time of the year in southwest Minnesota.  This is a late model John Deere combine harvesting soybeans

SOYBEANS:  As previously stated, some of the early maturing hybrids have been harvested and yields will be variable.  Beans planted on lighter soil will be impacted by the dry conditions this summer, so expectations are low for these areas. We are probably a week away from the bulk of soybean harvesting.  Plants continue to turn yellow and drop leaves.

In the September USDA Supply & Demand Report, the average soybean yield in Minnesota was estimated to be 48.0 bushels per acre, which is 1 bushel per acre lower than the August report.  Nationally, the USDA has projected soybean yields at 50.1 bushels per acre, down 0.8 bushels per acre from last month.    Nationally, the soybean crop is rated as 52% good to excellent.  This is down 7% from last month’s report. In Minnesota, soybeans are rated as 46% good to excellent.  This is a significant decrease of 7% from last month’s August report.  Last year at this time, soybeans in Minnesota were rated 63% good to excellent.

We probably sprayed more soybean acres for aphids this year as compared to 2022.  We never saw bug population reach economic threshold in the western portion of the Fairland territory. Weed control in the soybeans was a bit more difficult this year.  Soybean rows were slow to canopy leading to continued flushes of primarily waterhemp.  A third application of herbicide was necessary on many fields.

Figure 2 – This field of soybeans shows the inconsistency of yellowing of the plant.  The golden beans in the background are a few days away from harvest and the beans in the bottom of the picture have a ways to go.

CORN:  It has been difficult this year to estimate the size of the 2023 corn crop.  Some areas will produce decent yields while other areas will be a disappointment. As of September 19, we are at 2,602 Growing Degree Units.  Most, if not all, corn hybrids have achieved physiological maturity and are starting the process of shedding moisture.  As previously reported, some producers have begun harvesting corn with moistures in the 19-26 percent range.  While I personally would wait for the corn moisture to continue to decline, since it is early, some producers like to take corn from 22-24 percent to try to capture some more potential yield.

In the monthly USDA Supply & Demand Report released on September 12th, the average national corn yield was estimated to be 173.8 bushels per acre, which is 1.3 bushels per acre less than August 2023 report.  In Minnesota, the USDA yield estimate decreased 3.0 bushels to 180.0 bushels per acre from August.  Total harvest acres are pegged at 8.20 million acres in Minnesota

The national corn crop is rated at 51% good to excellent, which is down 7% from last month’s report.  Minnesota’s corn crop is rated 41% good to excellent which is down from 63% last year.  Most (93%) of the Minnesota corn crop is dented which is above the historical five year average of 86%.  Overall, the corn crop in SWMN has declined in the past month.

Figure 3 –  This is a picture of what we are seeing in the corn.  These ears were taken from one field and you can see the variety of size between the three of them.  Most have filled to the tip but you do not have to look too hard to find ears with tip back.

REMARKS: In the most recent report, the USDA is predicting a domestic corn crop of 15.13 billion bushels, up 23 million bushels from the August report.  Ending stocks are forecasted to be 1.45 billion bushels, down 6 million bushels from August’s estimate.  World ending corn stocks have been increased to 299.5 million metric tons from 297.9 million metric tons in August.  The USDA is projecting a soybean harvest of 4.15 billion bushels, down 59 million bushels from the August report.  Ending stocks are estimated to be 250 million bushels, which was decreased from 260 million bushels last month.  Worldwide ending stocks of soybeans in the September report is 103 million metric tons, basically the same as the August report of 103.1 million metric tons.  New crop, fall delivery corn prices are now around $4.50 per bushel with soybeans at about $12.50 per bushel.  As the market sees more real harvest data throughout the U.S., the markets will digest the information and respond according.  We are watching those bids closely for an opportunity to sell some more 2023 crop.  

After two years of steady increases, we are seeing fertilizer prices decline significantly.  The price of fertilizer in 2023 was $300 plus per acre for the basic inputs of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. For the 2024 crop, we can anticipate reductions of $50-$75 less.  At this time, supplies appear to be stable.

We are currently keeping a close eye on the potential government shutdown at the end of the month.  Like most of the country, this would be a burden on the ag sector.  We are pushing through government related business as quickly as possible before any shutdown.  For example, we are organizing mowing for Mid-Contract Maintenance (MCM) requirements for processing data for cost-sharing for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Unfortunately, even if the government funding is extended past September 30th, unless the current Farm Bill is extended, funding would run out for USDA/FSA on 10/1.

Figure 4 – This is a tracked tractor and stalk chopper that is mowing CRP for MCM requirements. We are completing the mowing and processing the paperwork with FSA for cost-sharing before month-end in case of a government shutdown at the USDA/FSA office.

As an office, we are busy communicating harvest and fall fertilizer plans to our tenants.  We are wrapping up crop input billing, prepaying some fertilizer, discussing proposed wind projects/easements, working on financial projections, completed estimated tax payments, working on plans for tile/improvement projects yet this fall, and preparing for year-end. 

Growing-Degree Days

September 19, 2023    2,602 +184

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 (September 20, 2023)

  New Vision-Windom Magnolia POET Ethanol-Bingham Lake Minnesota Soybean Processors- Brewster
Cash-Corn   4.84   4.51 4.82 N/A
Cash-Soybeans 12.56 12.70 N/A 12.95
October-Corn   4.52 4.51 4.62 N/A
October -Soybeans  12.56 12.70 N/A 12.95


Rainfall (Inches):

County City August 25 –            September 20, 2023 March 15 to date-2023 March 15 to date-2022
Cottonwood Jeffers   0.3   19.9   20.9
Cottonwood Windom   0.5   13.2   17.0
Jackson Heron Lake   1.1   19.8   24.2
Jackson Jackson   0.6   13.3   18.4
Martin Trimont   0.7   18.4   20.3
Murray Fulda   0.6   20.4   20.7
Murray Slayton


  14.1   16.6
Nobles Round Lake   1.1   16.9   21.4
Nobles Rushmore   1.0   15.7   21.3
Redwood Redwood Falls


  16.9   14.6
Rock Magnolia   0.7   13.6   22.0


Charles P. Dewanz

Farm Management Advisor

Real Estate Salesperson