Daily Speculations

The Web Site of Victor Niederhoffer & Laurel Kenner

Dedicated to the scientific method, free markets, deflating ballyhoo, creating value, and laughter;  a forum for us to use our meager abilities to make the world of specinvestments a better place.

 

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7/6/04
Brad C.: Market Deceptions

I just drove across the whole US from Sunday to Wednesday June 30. As an investor in corn, I was especially interested in the crops I observed in the fields. I took route 80 across Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska. I was surprised on several fronts. The eastern corn states had good stands of lush corn plants. There were many fields that were not being used for anything. The lore I hear is that there is usually pollination on the 4th of July. But I saw no tasseling that would indicate that it is ready.

The car air conditioning was not working and I expected to be miserable, as weather in the 90s is normally the case. This was not the case, as I breezed along having no problem with the beautiful, mostly sunny, and cool 70s temperature. I asked about the weather to locals who said that the weather had been cooler than they had ever seen. The crop became shorter as I moved West. At about half way across Nebraska, the crop was only a foot tall in some fields, and showed stress of dryness. The western Nebraska dryness may not be serious for the crop because there may not be that much corn out there. I saw lots of cattle out there.

I am guessing that despite the early planting this year, the crop may be less developed due to the lower temperatures. My thought would be that the crop may not be as big a yield as the still positive crop conditions USDA reports are suggesting.

7/6/04
Comment by Russell Sears

Bud, I do not know where you get your "lore" from but it most certainly is not correct, here in central Indiana.

The farmers mantra here is you are OK if the corn "is knee high by the fourth of July." While the exact high is probably from the 40-50's. Because every year my Dad comes out to visit on the fourth, he is amazed at the height of the corn. Every year I have to explain that corn is much taller these days than when he was a kid. It's become a 4th of July tradition.

My father in law, a corn and bean framer, was talking about how his crop has "tassled" this year, by the fourth of July. Very rare here, but perhaps more common further south.

Yet, if you are looking for a market deception, and a bad crop report.

Almost all the corn look excellent, from the road. It is taller, greener and healthy, looking from the road. But if you looked at an aerial view things would be quite different. For in June we got too much rain, and large spots in the middle of many field are dead, where ponds lakes have formed, because the water pooled instead of drained. But most major roads have large ditches nearby, thus giving the corn by the edge of the road great drainage.