Source: US Department of Agriculture

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Concerns about an early frost sent grain and oilseed futures higher on Sept. 8, only to retreat after the weekend as the frost threat abated. Weather concerns were heightened by the late development of corn and soybean crops across northern states.

“There may be a little bit of frost in Montana and the northernmost areas of North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin, but there’s not going to be a hard freeze in the Corn Belt,” said David Salmon, owner of Weather Derivatives, a Belton, Mo.-based energy and agricultural weather consulting service. He expects temperatures in northern areas may dip to around 30 degrees this week, but probably not to the key threshold of 28 degrees that will damage plants.

Salmon said there will be a brief warm-up and then another bout of cold, wet weather around Sept. 22-24, but still no hard freeze. It’s not unusual for the northern Corn Belt to get its first freeze in the third week of September, he noted.

The US Department of Agriculture in its weekly Crop Progress report Monday afternoon rated none of the corn in Minnesota and North Dakota mature as of Sept. 7 compared with 13 percent as the five-year average for the date for both states, with South Dakota at 5 percent (12 percent average), Wisconsin at 3 percent (10 percent average) and Michigan at 6 percent (13 percent average). Corn mature in Iowa, the top-producing state, was 6 percent (27 percent average) and in No. 2 Illinois was 17 percent (36 percent average).

Source: US Department of Agriculture

Soybeans dropping leaves (thus mature) were 3 percent in Minnesota (15 percent as the five-year average), 19 percent in North Dakota (25 percent average), 12 percent in South Dakota (39 percent average), 2 percent in Wisconsin (7 percent average), 10 percent in Michigan (8 percent average), 3 percent in Iowa (10 percent average) and 7 percent in Illinois (11 percent).

“Warmer and drier conditions were needed to help row crops reach maturity,” the North Dakota state USDA field office said in its weekly crop update on Sept. 8.

The weather threat sent grain and oilseed futures higher on Friday, with corn futures advancing as much as 10 cents a bushel and soybean as much as 21 cents a bushel. On Monday, corn futures dropped about 7 cents a bushel and soybeans were down as much as 13 cents except for old crop September, which rose due to tight nearby supplies.

Instead, the market turned its attention back to the Sept. 11 USDA Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates reports, which most analysts expect will show corn and soybean production estimates revised higher from the department’s initial August forecasts. A survey of analysts by Dow Jones Newswires showed an average corn production expectation of 14,310 million bushels, up 2 percent from August and up 3 percent from 2013, and an average soybean expectation of 3,882 million bushels, up 2 percent from August and up 18 percent from last year. Both production numbers would be record high if realized.

Salmon said weather models indicate a wetter-than-normal October, which may string out the corn and soybean harvests as intermittent rainfall keeps combines out of fields. The wet weather may create some quality concerns in corn, as it has for spring wheat and durum, but probably won’t hurt production totals, he said.