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It's a matter of weather

Agriculture.com Staff 04/03/2009 @ 11:56am

The much-anticipated March 31 USDA Acreage and Stocks report was released. There were some surprises, but from this point forward, the market will now focus on weather and how much progress farmers are making toward planting the 2009 crop. Other variables that could potentially affect acreage are price for corn or beans, as well as input costs.

This week's report estimated corn acreage at 84.99 million acres, above the average estimate of 84.548 but below last year's 85.99. In essence, there were no big surprises or major gains or losses for corn acreage. Beans, on the other hand, had a favorable report, coming in at 76 million, compared to pre-report estimates of 79.3 million. Seedings last year were 75.71. Even though the 76 million is less than the pre-report estimate by over 3 million, it is still a record large number. Wheat acreage came in at a total of 58.64 million. Pre-report for estimates came in at 58.86 million, and last year's figure came in at 63.2 million. When adding those major row crops, what jumps out is that there are missing acres. Some of this may come from the idea that a 5 million acre reduction in wheat could imply less double crop wheat to beans. Therefore, the bean acreage number is reduced. Others are suggesting that, when farmers were surveyed, they simply chose to answer that they are not planting all of their ground. The rationale may have been it simply did not pencil out financially. The reality, however, is that this ground will get planted, and increased acreage numbers may be in store for the June report.

As mentioned in the previous Perspective, the biggest variable to affect corn and bean acres may still be weather. A cool and wet pattern continues to surround the Midwest, and this raises ideas of last year's delayed plantings. One could argue that delayed plantings in 2008 were partly (if not mostly) responsible for lower yield than had the crop gotten off to a better start. With higher input structure this year, if farmers do not get a strong start to planting corn, we would not be surprised to see more of a shift to beans. At this point, one can only look at the near term forecast for the next 6-10 days, which suggests mostly cool and wet. This would argue a less than desirable start for many to the corn planting season. Yet, keep in mind that it is still early and only the first week of April.

If you have questions, comments or would like a marketing strategy developed for your farm operation for 2009, contact Bryan Doherty at Top Farmer, 1-800-TOP-FARM ext. 129.

The much-anticipated March 31 USDA Acreage and Stocks report was released. There were some surprises, but from this point forward, the market will now focus on weather and how much progress farmers are making toward planting the 2009 crop. Other variables that could potentially affect acreage are price for corn or beans, as well as input costs.

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