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Corn Planting Screams Toward Completion || Sensors, Drones & More
As May ends and June begins, most of the 2014 corn crop has been planted and crop progress is suddenly at or beyond the normal pace for this time of year after a slow start. It's one of the big stories you need to know this week.
After a rain-slowed previous week, farmers took major corn- and soybean-planting strides leading up to Memorial Day weekend, and now both crops are generally off to a solid start, according to data released Tuesday.
That progress came in spite of a few rain showers and storms that moved through the Midwest early in the week. That rain was much better news for farmers in the central and southwestern Plains; up to 3 inches fell in parts of that region. While it's likely not going to help the region's wheat crop, it will boost cotton conditions.
The markets have responded to that rain by pushing lower earlier in the week, only to seesaw back higher toward week's end. The improving crop conditions are one factor driving market bears, but planting estimates -- a common market "football" this time of the year -- are also weighing on prices. So, are the latest guesses accurate?
The corn and soybean markets aren't just driven by fundamentals like planted acres. Stocks, bonds and other outside markets and factors are just as influential these days. "Why do I pay attention to so many indicators that don't have a direct relationship to agriculture?" asks veteran trader and market analyst Scott Shellady. Get Scott's tips and the latest data!
Getting your crop into the ground in the spring, all the while monitoring complex market factors and conditions like these, can create a lot of stress. Check out what Roy "SoyRoy" Smith is watching these days and try to trim some of the stress from your busy spring with his tips!
Another way to trim that early-season stress on the farm is by keeping up with the latest tools and products out there that can help your crop get off on the right foot. This week, companies have rolled out new tools for corn rootworm, weed control and more. See what's the latest off the line!
And, speaking of cool new products, sensors are one of the latest classes of technology that can mean big things to your farm's productivity in the not-so-distant future, whether you're a crop or livestock farmer. The functionality of sensor technology on the way to market has vast potential, experts say.
One way you might use sensors down the road is in monitoring and keeping up conservation practices, something that got a boost this week with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's announcement that $400 million will become available soon for groups targeting new and improved water and soil conservation practices.
And, if the potential gains in productivity and efficiency on your farm from technology like sensors, drones and wearable computers isn't enough, they're just flat-out "awesome," Agriculture.com's David Ekstrom says. See what he means here!
As farmers near the end of corn planting, attention turns to early-season crop performance. And, we look ahead to new technology for your farm!