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What crop disaster?-Ray Grabanski

Ray Grabanski 06/08/2011 @ 7:47am President, Progressive Ag www.progressiveag.com

The past 10 days have been a huge turnaround for the eastern Corn Belt in planting conditions.  They went from virtually nothing planted in OH (only 19% of the corn to May 30) to a much improved outlook for production in the region.  

Basically, they have planted about 45% of their entire land area in the past 10 days, effectively averting what was a potential disaster in the making.  Indeed, more was planted in the eastern Corn Belt the past 10 days than was done in all of April and May - an astounding feat and turnaround for the year. Ten days ago, we could have had $9 corn for the first time in history if the established weather pattern continued for the eastern Corn Belt and northern Plains.  

Instead, a relatively dry period for about 10 days to two weeks emerged which allowed soggy soils to dry out in most areas, allowing at least some or in some cases nearly all of the acreage in an area to be planted.

What a huge turnaround the past 10 days that weather has caused!  Now, with warming weather and improving crop conditions, not only is an average crop possible, but it still is possible for an above average corn and soybean crop to be produced in 2011.  The second week that corn crop conditions are released, the Pro Ag yield model for corn has risen to near 160 bushel, now about 1 bushel above current USDA projections.  Crop conditions improved from last week's ratings a large 4% in the good/excellent category to 67%, getting closer to the long term average ratings.  

Remember, USDA is projecting corn yields 2 bu below trend at 158.7; but the first Pro Ag yield model of the year is suggesting a yield closer to 160, which is bearish corn based on the improving crop yield potential.  It might be that the shot of heat this week combined with high soil moisture is improving the crop condition and yield potential.  We just might have a good corn crop after all and in spite of the terrible spring planting conditions experienced.  One thing about excessive moisture vs. lack of moisture, the germination is usually good if the crop doesn't stand in water, and this spring's cool temps and frequent rains have led to pretty good stands across the Corn Belt.  That might serve to pressure corn once we can finally ensure we actually got the crop planted.  

While the Corn Belt yield prospects have improved on planted crops, and also it looks like more acreage will get planted to corn in the eastern Corn Belt (or has already been planted), things are looking up for corn production prospects in the US over the last 10 days.  Not only are corn crop conditions improving, but winter wheat conditions have also slowly improved or stayed steady the past few weeks (when normally they decline due to the dying off effect).  This has meant the US winter wheat crop is turning out better than expected. Just 10-15 days ago, heat, that was abated for the past month, allowed what little moisture there was in the HRW wheat area to fill grain heads well.  Test weights of harvested wheat thus far are heavy (60-62 lbs), indicating the crop that was there got a chance to fill out nicely to finish off the year.  

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