ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU)- The continuing government shutdown is a cause of concern for agricultural markets. That's because commodity traders aren't getting any daily or weekly export sales reports from the USDA . And those traders use that information to buy and sell commodities on a daily basis. The shutdown is also putting some important upcoming reports in jeopardy-like the Annual Crops Summary for the 2018 corn and soybean crops as well as the Grain Stocks and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates-scheduled to be released on January 11th.
Grain traders want those numbers because of reports China is getting back into the U.S. soybean market. Reports indicate China started buying our beans again about the first of December as trade tensions between the countries eased. And now that the holidays are over, Chinese food companies are asking for prices for February and March delivery of U.S. soybeans. In December, China bought about 2 and three quarter million metric tons of our beans for delivery later this year. But so far the Chinese haven't shown much interest in buying any other U.S. crops like corn or sorghum.
The government shutdown also means farmers will not receive any direct payments if they haven't already certified their 2018 crop production. USDA officials say that also means no money for farm loans or disaster assistance payments will be sent out until the government reopens. Food stamp benefits will go out to eligible users through the end of January and school lunch programs will be funded through February.
If someone was going to set a record for growing corn, you'd think it would be somewhere in the corn belt. But that's not the case. The National Corn Growers announced this week that a new record corn yield was set this past season in Charles City, Virginia. David Hula used a Pioneer hybrid to grow his record yield of 542 bushels per acre. Hula broke his own record of 532 bushels per acre that he set in 2015.
Wisconsin's top growers in the contest was Betty Steiger of Bloomington who produced yields of just over 304 bushels an acre in the no till, strip till, irrigated portion of the contest. Jeff Laskowski of Plover got just over 294 bushels an acre on his irrigated plot in the Central Sands area of the state.