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Will July Crop Weather Continue to Be a Head-Scratcher?

As weather goes, so likely will prices.

This year’s weather has either been close to ideal or it has made for a stressful spring and start to summer. A very challenging spring (due to copious rains in parts of the Midwest) forced many farmers to replant corn and in some instances abandon acreage or switch to other crops. “Rain makes grain” is the old saying, and as July 4 approaches, it’s hard to complain if you’re lucky enough to have had a few rain events. For many, however, rain this year is something they could do without, at least for a while. If you planted early and your crop looks good, rain is welcome, in particular the western corn-producing states. For about a third of all corn producers, too much rain this year has created many challenges. Late planting and poor field conditions for spraying crops are two concerns, as more rains this past week suggest nitrogen leaching and shallow roots, both which could suggest lower yield.  

The most recent crop ratings figures released by the USDA this past Monday indicated this year’s corn crop is rated as 67% good to excellent, down from last year’s 75%. With lower acreage (4 million less than last year) as indicated on the March 31 Acreage report and a higher amount of corn rated in the poor to very poor category compared with a year ago, it’s been a head-scratcher why corn prices lately have been on the defensive, losing more than 25¢. The “rain makes grain” mentality, along with increased farmer selling of old crop, are the likely two variables pressuring prices. As the end of the month approaches and cash contracts come due, farmers are determining whether to move inventory or roll contracts to another month. A limited amount of time to empty bins between now and harvest has created an environment where producers are likely deciding to get rid of old crop.  

Despite recent downward price pressure, it’s too early in the growing season to be overly pessimistic on price. The chances that corn prices will move substantially lower, with what could be a less-than-ideal crop, are probably not good. End users will likely view the recent pulldown in corn prices as an opportunity to lock in longer-term needs. As weather goes, so likely will prices, and lately weather has not been ideal. The chances of price recovery are good. The critical months for crop growth and maturity are July and August. Attitude, as well as perceptions in the marketplace, could change in a hurry over the next 60 days.  

If you have questions or comments, contact Top Farmer at 1-800-TOPFARM, ext. 129.  

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