Grain prices fall as seed hits the ground

Talk to the farmers in northeast Ohio — those who will take time to answer the phone right now — and they will tell you how far behind everything is. Yes, we are gaining on corn planting, but the beans are behind. Now we have to worry about late development of crops, and the slow start to maturity.

Except — it is not true!

On pace

USDA reported Monday, June 2, that we are on pace with planting and the crop conditions are above average. In fact, prices are lower this morning, Tuesday, on the idea that the crops are looking darn good.

The only real negative is that continued heavy rains in the northwest section of the Corn Belt have left maybe 2 million corn acres unplanted, with the prevented planting date now passed.

Nationally we are 95 percent planted on corn, just ahead of the 94 percent five-year average. Ohio is at 88 percent, but that is ahead of the 85 percent average.

Soybeans are now 78 percent planted this week versus an average 70 percent. We gained 19 percent this week. Ohio lags, at 66 percent planted. Last year we were at 86 percent the first of June, but average is 70. So, we are a little behind on beans, a little ahead on corn.

Reality check

So, maybe the crop is late in development? Not according to USDA. The corn is 80 percent emerged, and this is exactly the average for this time of year, and 76 percent of the corn is rated good or excellent.

No, there is nothing to hang your marketing hat on if you want to be bullish, except for the late acres in Minnesota.

The reality is that we caught up this week in good weather, and if the sun shines and we get a little rain on time, we will continue to expect big crops.

Market reaction

As a result, prices for the corn crop have been ugly.

In the last month we have lost over 62 cents on July futures. We were down most days for the last week. The December futures are similar, with a 63 1/2 cent loss from high to low. The low was 4.51 1/2 Monday, June 2, but there was some recovery after that. We are currently trading December futures at 4.54 3/4, down 3 3/4.

Wheat got ugly

The big drop is actually in Chicago soft red winter wheat. There the high was back on May 6 at 7.44. The really ugly low was Monday, at 6.16 1/4. We are slightly above that right now (Tuesday morning), but that represents a loss of $1.28.

There just is not any good news for wheat prices. Some rains in the Plains have improved the crop and hurt the prices, but the rain was too late in the south where combines have been running since the first week of May.

Put it on your calendar for next year — there will be wheat harvested in Dalhart, Texas, the first week of May.

Meanwhile, the world supply just seems to be getting better.

So, most farmers have used planting as an excuse to not sell corn. They say they cannot sell what they do not have in the ground. Now it is planted but not sold.

The next chance to sell it comes with hot, dry weather for the next month. It remains to be seen if that is what we get.

About the Author

Marlin Clark trades producer and elevator grain from an office near Andover, Ohio for Town & Country Co-op. You can reach him for comment at 440-293-4055. More Stories by Marlin Clark

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