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Corn bull rages-Ray Grabanski
Corn prices are within striking distance of their new-crop December highs, as we move into the final stages of what has been a late planted crop for 2011.
The eastern Corn Belt states of OH and PA are struggling mightily with their planting season, barely getting started to date in the progress which is starting to get the trade worried with another wet five-day forecast.
Another area of concern is the Northern Plains. Last week, planting progress was rapid, but once again was held back by weekend rains. That rain will keep planters out of fields until the weekend, when more rain is forecast to fall that could keep the planting window fairly tight. Even the typically drought infested MT is too wet this spring, leaving farmers there not sure what to think of the 2011 season. Have they become the Louisiana bayou?
The northern Plains states of ND and MT lag the most in planting progress, and so far they have suffered from very wet weather which once again is forecast the coming week. This will likely keep the planting window pretty narrow. A key question is how long these farmers will continue to try to plant these crops, even with good soil moisture, once they dry up?
Already we are passed the final planting date for MT barley (some final planting dates as early as May 20), and have passed as of today the final planting date for northern ND corn counties. We may already have some prevented planting in the state, and it's likely it could rise up to be the no. 2 or no. 3 cash crop for ND farmers in 2011. It's just been a terrible spring for producers in the Northern Plains, and no where has it been as bad as in ND or MT.
On the eastern Corn Belt, OH and PA are actually even further behind normal planting progress than ND, especially in corn. Ohio barely has 10% of their corn in the ground. That's a pathetic progress report for OH, and one which shows a state that is continually struggling with completion (or even getting a good start) on corn and soybean planting. It could be another 4-5 days before these areas get back in the field - even with no rain - as a soggy week so far has occurred or is forecast for this area. It's likely little progress will be done this week as well.
Other than these 2 areas, much of the corn belt is right on schedule or is ahead of normal planting schedules, with IA, NE, KS, MO, and ILL right on, or ahead of normal planting progress. These states are likely to see some benefit from these rains as it aids in the germination of the recently planted fields. However, all states continue to suffer from mostly cooler than average temperatures, a trend that started early this spring and has never really been changed. That is one reason why we are so late in planting progress in 2011, as the temps never warmed up enough to push the drying process along.
That might be good news for winter wheat producers, especially those out in the western HRW wheat country, where rain left soils parched and very little yield potential in place. But cool temps all spring has kept the crop alive, and in areas that did receive rain, it's likely the actual yield might turn out much better than expected. Of course, with crop ratings rated the lowest ever, not much yield potential is expected. So, it might be easier to beat these expectations!
Overall, weather is anxiously awaited by the market for the next 2-3 weeks, which will have a great influence on the final acreage that gets planted in 2011. Remember, we have very little margin for smaller acreage of any crop, so it could get very interesting as we close out these last few weeks of planting, with a wet forecast for the coming seven days in most of the Corn Belt and northern Plains. Could corn test their highs in the new crop, and help propel the other markets with it?
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