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Planting weather not critical

Agriculture.com Staff 04/24/2009 @ 2:03pm

Wet and cool conditions had many farmers throughout the Midwest struggling the last one to two weeks to get a good start on planting progress. It may be a disappointment that you cannot get into the field after getting all of your equipment and seed ready over the last month. Yet, in some regards, it may be a blessing in disguise. Early planting typically suggests higher yield potential, but on the other hand, what really counts is the weather after the crop is planted.

Last year, many farmers struggled for weeks to get corn planted and yet yield figures were still at or near record levels. It could be the anxiety of not making progress that has most farmers concerned. In some years, however, very early planted crop does not yield well either, as it may struggle with cool conditions or possibly a late frost.

It is not time to panic. If you are not making progress, it generally means conditions are wet. "Rain makes grain" is the old saying, and although you have to get the crop in the ground, a charged subsoil moisture can go a long way versus planting a crop with little or no subsoil moisture and then hoping for timely rains the rest of the season. For the moment, we encourage farmers to not get overly concerned.

However, we will also argue that, once mid-May rolls around, if planting progress remains well behind schedule, then it is likelier to pencil in lower yield potential for the entire crop. The implication of a lower projected yield than, let's say, 155 bushels per acre would argue one of two things. One, farmers may switch corn to bean acres in earnest as an attempt to maximize dollars per acre. The second argument is that prices would reflect this growing concern of a late crop and shrinking carryout through price rationing, which means higher prices.

It is too early for either of these to occur. However, the next two weeks will be critical. Keep a close eye on weather. If prices rally on wet condition concerns, but there is not a strong consensus that this weather pattern will hold, then look to take advantage of selling. Yet, if cool and wet conditions surface next week, and prices move upward and forecasts for these conditions continue, hold off making sales. Follow the market with a trigger point underneath prices so that, if and when they begin to fall back, you are a seller. The idea is to leave the top side open, letting the trend be your friend. Stay tuned! The weather market is just beginning.

If you have questions or comments, contact Bryan Doherty at Top Farmer, 1-800-TOP-FARM ext. 129.

Wet and cool conditions had many farmers throughout the Midwest struggling the last one to two weeks to get a good start on planting progress. It may be a disappointment that you cannot get into the field after getting all of your equipment and seed ready over the last month. Yet, in some regards, it may be a blessing in disguise. Early planting typically suggests higher yield potential, but on the other hand, what really counts is the weather after the crop is planted.

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