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Planting delay talk already?

Agriculture.com Staff 04/03/2009 @ 1:57pm

Last spring, the ground was soggy and cool in many parts of corn and soybean country, keeping a lot of farmers from getting planting underway until it was uncomfortably late in the season.

A year later, with forecasters seeing cool, wet weather dominating the region for the next couple of weeks, planting delays are already creeping into the back of many farmers' minds. And on the CBOT trading floor, traders see Mother Nature taking the reins in the corn and soybean trade fairly soon.

Looking to the sky, the weekend is going to be a rough one, weather-wise, for the northern Plains and Corn Belt, where conditions are already well on the wet side, according to Freese-Notis Weather, Inc.

"Melted precipitation totals from the storm will be on the order of 0.75 to 1.50 inches for Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois, southern Michigan, northern Indiana, and northern Ohio; easily enough to keep soils quite wet in all of those areas," Friday's Freese-Notis Weather/Market commentary says about weekend weather, adding high winds will create some blizzard conditions in those areas.

This will clearly keep wheels from turning for the near future, as below-normal temperatures will sustain that fallen moisture and prevent quick soil drying. "Very cold weather is still forecast for next week, with temperatures averaging 8 to 15 degrees below normal in the Midwest for the week ending April 11," according to Freese-Notis. "Temperatures should moderate after that, but likely averaging no better than normal for the week starting April 12."

It's the continuation of a trend that really got underway months ago, and one that's compounding the problem of a potential late spring. Winter closed in quick in 2008, leaving some fall fieldwork undone. And, that's got farmers like Paul Beiser, a a Farmers for the Future (FFF) social network member, feeling some early spring anxiety.

"I hope to get everything in the ground by April 10 in southern Minnesota, but we didn't get much dirt work done last fall, and we need lots of sunshine," Beiser says in a FFF network forum.

Fellow network member Marc Smith says, at least on his farm, that kind of planting timeframe won't be in the cards. "There's plenty of moisture in the soil, and it is just too cold. We haven't had too many days above 65 degrees yet," Smith, a farmer near Griswold, Iowa, says in the FFF network forum. "They are calling for freezing rain and maybe snow tomorrow and into Sunday here in southwest Iowa. We usually start (planting) the 15th of April, but Dad and I both agree that it might be the end of the month before we get going. We need 10 days of sunny, warm weather!"

Last spring, the ground was soggy and cool in many parts of corn and soybean country, keeping a lot of farmers from getting planting underway until it was uncomfortably late in the season.

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