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Challenges continue

Agriculture.com Staff 05/04/2007 @ 6:33am

Corn planting is slow enough that it will be hard to catch up to a normal pace. Will the number by the 10th or 15th of May be small enough to continue to worry the market? In general, the pre-report estimates of planting progress have badly missed for the past two Mondays.

Besides the general slow planting pace, farmers in the wettest areas have been so eager to return to the fields that they may be pushing it -- doing fieldwork or planting when it is too wet.

So the effect of this spring's weather has been to plant a seed of doubt regarding corn yields. Unfortunately, the effect of late, wet planting is not always readily visible, except when ragged looking corn fields point to compaction issues. Even then, it is not as clear cut as evaluating yield reductions due to drought.

Here's an update on the situation with Australian and European wheat which was discussed last week. Good rain was received in some parts of Australia. It has also rained in southern France. Rains are also forecast for Italy. Don't think all the problems are solved -- it has not rained in northern Europe, with areas such as Germany and the Ukraine still very dry. Plus Ukrainian wheat apparently suffered a hard freeze on Tuesday and low temperatures were forecast to continue for a few days.

In the U.S., there is a Wheat Quality Council tour of Kansas wheat which wrapped up yesterday with a Kansas crop estimate of 392.7 million bushels. Last year, the tour estimated the crop size at 319.2 million bushels and the USDA's final production number was 291 million bushels. The yield was estimated at 41 bushels, versus 37.3 bushels last year. The market has been on the defensive somewhat as crop conditions this week were better than expected.

The risk of loss in trading commodities can be substantial. You should therefore carefully consider whether such trading is suitable for you in light of your financial situation.

Corn planting is slow enough that it will be hard to catch up to a normal pace. Will the number by the 10th or 15th of May be small enough to continue to worry the market? In general, the pre-report estimates of planting progress have badly missed for the past two Mondays.

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