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Crop getting planted or not?

The 2009 crop finally is getting closer to being planted, with 82% of the corn
planted as of yesterday, still well behind 'normal' of 93% planted, and even
behind last year's pathetically slow 86% complete (remember the reason corn ran
to $8???). However, we still are not out of the woods with the 2009 crop, as
the slow planting and cool weather to date has left the corn/soybean crop with a
very slow start in 2009. It leaves it vulnerable to other weather problems this
summer, and so far that has kept prices at near the year's highs.

Soybeans are 48% planted, with 23% done last week in the best week so far of
2009. Still, we're behind the 65% normally planted at this time, and that along
with unusually strong Chinese buying/US exports is keeping soybean prices at
yearly highs. US spring wheat prices also have soared, with prices topping
$7.50 this week as people wonder about the ability of HRS wheat producers to get
the acreage planted. We've only planted 79% of HRS US acreage, well behind
normal of 95% planted and with much of ND getting rain this week, we may have
ended any hope of planting in some areas (like NE ND, where heavier rains fell
over the weekend). The slow planting issues are finally getting the full
attention of the market, and have forced some premium into prices due to the
planting problems. Its likely that some of the intended HRS wheat acreage will
be planted to other crops, or simply prevent planted (nothing planted on wet
acres, and collecting 60% of insurance coverage).

Although we've got all these problems showing up statistically now, we are also
coming off our best week this year of planting progress, with 29% of HRS wheat
planted last week, 20% of US corn, and 23% of US soybeans. This was by far the
most planting done in any week this year, as many areas were able to plant
crops. The good progress last week might actually be bearish, yet the market is
continuing to rally this week on the still slow planting prospects.

But at what point is slow planting progress built into the market? Already, we
have prices at levels much higher than we started this spring. Certainly the
underlying inflationary environment is having some impact on ag commodity
prices, dragging them higher. The planting progress being slow helps that
process, but at some point we will hit levels that we will need to sell.

Have we hit those levels yet?

Pro Ag has started selling grains for 2009 again, making sales of wheat, corn,
and soybeans recently as prices keep improving. When to price everything will
be the one minute in history when markets top. Is that today, tomorrow, new
week, or next month? We're getting close, but as of today are still pushing
into new high territory.

What comes next is anybodies guess, but we are beginning pricing into this rally
from here as we are now hitting targets we set last winter for 2009 pricing
(some of which were openly questioned as to whether they would ever get hit).
Here we are at $4.50+ Dec corn, $10.50+ Nov. soybeans, and $7.50 Sept. Mnpls HRS
wheat futures - all acceptable prices for 2009 crop sales. Have you sold
something, or are you waiting for even higher prices???

Pick your price and your weapon (method of sale), or cry over spilled milk
later. Its crunch time not only for planting crops, but also for marketing
them. This might finally be the time to start considering sales, and from here
on out it's a matter of knowing "when to hold them, and when to fold them".

The information contained, while not guaranteed as to accuracy or
completeness, has been obtained from sources we believe to be reliable. The
opinions and recommendations contained are based on our judgement and do not
guarantee profits will be achieved or that losses will not be incurred.
Recommendations should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell
commodities. There is substantial risk of loss in trading futures and
options on futures.

Ray Grabanski is President of Progressive Ag, a marketing and risk
management firm for farmers located in Fargo, ND. For questions or
comments, or if you are interested in more information about Progressive Ag's
common sense marketing services, call 1-800-450-1404 or email
Kristi@progressiveag.com.

The 2009 crop finally is getting closer to being planted, with 82% of the corn planted as of yesterday, still well behind 'normal' of 93% planted, and even behind last year's pathetically slow 86% complete (remember the reason corn ran to $8???). However, we still are not out of the woods with the 2009 crop, as the slow planting and cool weather to date has left the corn/soybean crop with a very slow start in 2009. It leaves it vulnerable to other weather problems this summer, and so far that has kept prices at near the year's highs.

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