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Here we go again

Agriculture.com Staff 05/17/2010 @ 9:29am

Midway through the second week of May there is a growing potential that some corn acres will not be planted. This mirrors last year when May turned cold and wet. In parts of the Midwest, (especially in the regions of South and North Dakota) wet conditions remain prevalent. Planting concerns are growing. We will outline some variables that are affecting planting progress.

One is fall field work. Wet conditions throughout most of October and November did not allow for field work. Many corn fields remained covered with cornstalks which almost formed a blanket over the ground, locking in moisture. Therefore, saturated soils during the second week in May (mixed with cool temperatures and a lack of drying) suggests it may take at least two weeks to dry fields enough to allow farmers to prepare their soil. Any additional rain from this point backs up the planting window. It does not take a lot of math to figure that May 30th (the prevent plant date for some) may come quickly.

Another potential problem may be due to higher seed count as well as better genetics. Better crops equal more stalks per acre and harder plant material that needs to be worked up and/or decayed to allow for proper soil drainage and seed bed preparation. Therefore, despite better equipment and more precise farming methods to prepare soil, the offset is more material to work through. Wet conditions compound the problem.

So what does it mean? Maybe not a lot compared to this year's crop progress which indicates over 80% of the corn crop is planted. However, with a strong demand base for corn and corn products, the need for a 13 billion bushel corn crop suggests there is not a lot of room for error with this year's production. It is expected in most years there will be some issues with a portion of the corn crop. While we are not predicting less than trend-like yields at this time, recent weather developments such as heavy rains this week suggest the potential (at least in some areas of the Midwest) that bin-busting yields may be in jeopardy. Replanting could suggest a drag on yield.

As with any year, weather will be the dominant factor dictating price direction. Corn futures appear to be content to trade in a sideways pattern. Price activity suggests it is too early to push prices lower, yet there is not enough urgency or concern that this year's crop is in serious jeopardy. It is likely that corn will continue to trade in a sideways pattern for another two to four weeks before pushing through support or resistance. Prevent planting (mixed with replant and late plant) increases the need for ideal summer weather.

If you have questions, contact Top Farmer at 1-800-Top-Farm, Ext. 129. Please ask for Bryan Doherty.

Midway through the second week of May there is a growing potential that some corn acres will not be planted. This mirrors last year when May turned cold and wet. In parts of the Midwest, (especially in the regions of South and North Dakota) wet conditions remain prevalent. Planting concerns are growing. We will outline some variables that are affecting planting progress.

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