Less than 30% of the corn remained to be harvested in most areas of south-central and southwest Minnesota as of Nov. 3, which is about normal harvest progress for early November. The dry weather pattern that existed during the last few days of October and early part of November has allowed for most producers to show significant harvest progress, with several producers completing their 2008 corn harvest in recent days. There is still over half of the corn remaining to be harvested in some parts of southeastern and central Minnesota, which received more rainfall this fall and had later planting dates last spring.

Harvest kernel moisture has dropped moderately during the recent stretch of above-normal temperatures, with most recent corn being harvested at 17-21% moisture in south-central Minnesota. This has allowed growers to place corn into storage with a minimal amount of drying, or to sell corn directly out of the field with limited moisture deductions. Ideally corn should be at 15-16% moisture to be safely stored until next spring or summer. Corn moisture levels have remained higher in areas of Minnesota with later planting dates and slower maturing corn. Corn drying costs in 2008 have been the highest in several years, due to a combination of higher propane and natural gas costs, and corn with a higher harvest moisture content than experienced in the past few years.

Final Crop Insurance Price Estimates
Many farm operators in Minnesota and surrounding states will be facing reduced yields on some farm units in 2008, due to late planting, floods, drought and severe storms. Many growers purchased upgraded levels of federal crop insurance for the 2008 growing season, because of the excellent revenue guarantees that were available at the crop insurance sign-up deadline on March 15, 2008. Producers with yield reductions in 2008, even minor yield reductions or no yield reductions in soybeans, are likely to gain some crop insurance benefits for 2008. Here is an analysis of potential 2008 crop loss scenarios, and the likely crop insurance indemnity payments at the estimated harvest prices with RA-HP and CRC policies:

  • Soybeans – The base price was $13.36/bu. at the 2008 crop insurance enrollment deadline on March 15, which was the price used to establish the revenue guarantee for CRC and RA insurance policies for 2008. The RA-HP harvest price for soybeans has a final estimate of $9.22/bu., as of Oct. 31. For a soybean producer who has an 80% RA-HP policy and a 45-bu. APH yield, and an actual soybean yield of 40 bu./acre, there would be an RA-HP insurance indemnity payment of around $100/acre at the estimated harvest price level. There would be some indemnity payment for yields up to around 50 bu./acre. Payments for CRC policies would be somewhat less, because the harvest price is limited to a low of $10.36/bu. Standard APH crop insurance policies are yield only and would not be affected by the drop in harvest price.
  • Corn --- The base price was $5.40/bu. at the 2008 crop insurance enrollment deadline on March 15, which was used to establish the revenue guarantee for CRC and RA insurance policies. The final CRC harvest price for corn is estimated at $4.13/bu., as of Oct. 31. For a corn producer who has an 80% CRC policy and a 170-bu. APH yield, and an actual corn yield of 140 bu./acre, there would be a CRC insurance indemnity payment of near $90/acre at the current estimated harvest price level. There would be some indemnity payment for yields up to around 160 bu./acre. The final corn harvest price for RA-HP policies will be based on the average CBOT closing corn price for December futures during the month of November.
Editor’s note: Kent Thiesse is a former University of Minnesota Extension educator and now is Vice President of MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. You can contact him at 507-726-2137 or via e-mail at kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com.