My weekend crop tour was ugly


I put in 750 miles in Ohio and Michigan over the weekend, and I was amazed how far behind we are in reality.

Yes, the Planting Progress Report from USDA said Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois are the problem with the U.S. being so far behind, but looking at miles of northwest Ohio bare as far as the eye can see, which is several miles in the Black Swamp area, was startling.

Sunday I drove east from Maumee and didn’t see a field planted until I got to the Ottawa County line. Even the light soils south of Castalia only had some fields planted. It was then I remembered that going out Friday, I saw only three tractors moving between Cherry Valley, Ohio, and Dundee, Mich. None of them was bringing up dust.

We were going to a nephew’s graduation at Spring Arbor University, which means you stay overnight in Dundee. That left Squeeze two hours at Silver Bell Christmas shop and two hours for me at Cabela’s. Sure, I am willing to drive that far for a graduation — just let me stop at Cabela’s! (I resisted the $10,000 shot gun and bought a belt and a laser boresighter. You can tell how the grain business is going by how much I buy here.)

$4 corn

Actually, business has gotten busy as corn got above the magic $4 mark. We dropped back, then went through it again.

Meanwhile, the soybeans are making new highs right through the Sunday-Monday overnight session. July futures hit 11.61 overnight, even with talk about switching acres to beans.

Exports are driving the beans right now, as the market ignores the unknown acre change and looks at a weekly export of 15.7 million bushels, when they expected 10 to 14. We needed only 12.9 million bushels to maintain the projected pace, so we remain ahead and gaining.

Planting panic?

This is the week when the acres come into question, as now we are into reduced yields from delayed corn planting.

The country as a whole is only 62 percent planted, up from 48 last week, but well off the 85 percent average. Even the slow pace of last year had us at 70 percent. Last year we still raised a big crop. This year it is getting smaller.

Ohio is at 39 percent planted, up from 22 last week. We should be in the 80s. Indiana and Illinois are in the 20s, and should be nearly done. Michigan (I don’t give a darn, but the stats matter) has doubled acres planted to 41 this week, half of normal.

The market was defensive Monday, with good weather for the week projected. Corn was sharply lower overnight, but traded up 4 cents by the close.

More rain

The reality is that the wet areas need this week to dry, and wet weather is returning next week. Ohio will get a lot in this week, but Pa. and Illinois will get dried out just in time for more rain.

So, this is a critical week for marketing, but more critical for planting.


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