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Big in ag: Soggy, slow planting
It's been another largely cool, wet week that's kept corn planting at a standstill. The market is watching, but has yet to tune in 100%, some farmers say. But, there's a lot of spring left and a lot of acres to plant. It's the biggest of the big stories in ag this week.
The weather's kept things basically stalled on the farms of the nation's midsection in the last week. The good news: Over the last week, U.S. farmers have doubled the amount of this year's corn crop they've planted. The bad news: It's only gone from 2% a week ago to 4% Monday, according to USDA.
And, the weather worries might not be over; As rain and snow continue to fall in some locations, a new outlook confirms growing suspicions: Some areas are going to continue to fight wet, cool conditions well beyond the normal planting window.
But, the central and southeastern U.S. isn't the only part of the world fighting inclement crop weather right now. Farmers around the world -- from Europe to Australia -- are facing similar troubles. How do the U.S. weather issues compare to the rest of the world?
But, don't get too far ahead of yourself and think you already need to get out there and plant corn now. There's a lot more that goes into a a good corn yield, and trying to get your crop planted in conditions like the ones facing most Corn Belt farmers right now could do you more harm than good.
The weather's been just as rough on the wheat crop as it has been on corn and soybean farmers lately. Temperatures have sunk down to the lower- and mid-20s in the last week, and that's got some farmers in the central Plains worried that the crop may have incurred irreversible damage.
Another variable stemming from the poor planting weather thus far this spring has been the possibility that farmers may ultimately resort to soybeans if corn-planting is delayed too long. That's just one potentially bearish factor for beans right now (the other being bird flu in China), but the market's not yet flinched.
But, though it seems tough now, you eventually will be able to make it into the field to plant this spring. Just make sure you're not rushing things and doing your soils more harm than good through erosion and compaction, an expert said this week. See some ways to avoid the problems.
Livestock futures saw some sharp gains this week, though a higher cattle market has been in the works, some market-watchers say, for quite a while. So, why has it been delayed? There are several factors, though it all essentially boils down to supply and demand. See the moving parts of the equation here.