Planting progress still slightly lagging

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Corn planting
Corn planting. (Farm and Dairy file photo)

Planting Progress dominates a market that needs news. It is the last week in April, so the USDA is now tracking planting progress and we are tracking USDA.

With the Prospective Plantings Report behind us, the market will now trade the nuances of the planting season.

Are we fast, slow, wet, dry, indifferent? So far, corn planting caught up a little this week, to get close to normal progress. Ohio farmers now have 9 percent planted, better than the seven percent this time last year.

Corn progress

However, ten percent is average. The U.S. is at 17 percent, just one off the 18 percent average. However, last year we were at a fast pace, at 28 percent planted in the U.S.

What little soybean planting we have seen puts us right at the six percent mark for the nation, double the average and the same as last year at this time. Ohio is at a token one percent, which is actually ahead of normal.

Locally, ground is being stirred, but I have seen no planting. One farmer told me yesterday that he would probably start on beans today April 25. Here we are ready on the calendar, but have had some significant rain here and there to hold us up.

The soil is just a little squishy yet. Also inhibiting the drive to plant is the forecast that cold weather is moving across the northern regions, with below-normal temperatures and snow is some areas. As for prices, we are currently engaged in the corn market in proving the old saw that ‘the cure for cheap prices is cheap prices.”

The May and December corn futures contracts on the Chicago Board of Trade have returned to their recent lows, or close. At the same time, our exports are excellent. Monday, April 25, it was reported that exports for the week represented the fifth best rate of the year.

We have shipped out more than a million tons for 12 straight weeks. We are now only 7 million bushels behind the USDA projection rate. Prices have started the day, Tuesday, April 25, lower, but still at $3.56 3/4.

Planting rate

Maybe blame this on the planting rate, which was expected by the traders to lag. Still, it was yesterday that saw the May low of $3.54 1/4. This equaled the 3/27 low. It was as recent as April 13 that we were at $3.73.

The December corn contract is now at $3.81, down two and a quarter cents for the day so far. Friday, we touched $3.79 1/2, and the recent low was $3.78 1/4 on March 27. We actually had a high on Feb. 28 at $4.04.

If cheap prices are going to cure cheap prices, the good exports will continue, especially with the drop in the dollar value. We are now at $99.03 versus the Euro, the lowest since Nov. 11. Cheap corn, cheap dollar may mean better days ahead.

A little delay in corn planting would help, but we don’t want to bet against ourselves. A good crop is always best for us. May soybean futures have bounced 20 cents off the $9.29 3/4 low of April 11. The beans dropped almost $1.60 between the high of $10.88 1/4 in January and that low.

The November range has not been that much. We lost most of a buck from the $10.38 1/4 high in early December to the low of $9.41 1/2 on April 11. The next couple of weeks could make a lot of difference to prices.

More beans

Delayed planting could change the mix to more beans. The yields themselves will not suffer for two or three weeks. A lot of the spring market is psychological, so normal planting gives us little volatility. Remember, at this time of year the market always assumes great weather and a huge crop. It is last year’s huge crops that got us in this mess.

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