It's about to be planting time, analyst says

USDA’s March report and April weather will be market’s focus, analyst says.

It is warming up and snow is melted - it’s planting time in the Corn Belt! 

We’ve already seen some growers working fields or spreading fertilizer in March – it’s go time for farmers in the next few weeks. At this point, it looks like it will be an early spring.  

Weather is forecast warm and wet for the U.S. the next week, and then turns drier but still warm in the eight- to 14-day forecast; that means an early start to planting in most of the Corn Belt. Overall, this is probably a negative forecast for grain prices based on U.S. weather.  

However, SAM forecasts are now turning warm and dry as production areas seasonally start to see the rainfall spigot dry up this time of year. Harvest will accelerate in SAM, but the late-planted second-crop corn may not fare so well when it starts to need moisture.   

Private forecasts for acreage are now coming out for the March 31 USDA acreage intentions; so far they are higher than USDA Feb numbers for corn, lower for soybeans, and about the same for wheat. Overall expectations are for 7 million acres less prevented planting, 1 million to 2 million less CRP, and 2 million to 3 million more double-crop soybean acres to account for the additional acres of nearly everything. We’ll see if USDA agrees with these assessments, but basically it looks like most numbers are near the Feb USDA guesses. Now we’ll see what the actual survey shows.

In good news for the nation, former FDA leaders indicate herd immunity is near arriving with about 55% of the population immune. That included about 120 million people that have already had the virus (one-third of the United States), and another 70 million who have been vaccinated. While estimates that up to one-third of those vaccinated had the virus (likely an unnecessary step since they already would have immunity), that still gives us about 55% immunity, which means a surge of infections is probably not possible.  

Ray can be reached at raygrabanski@progressiveag.com.  
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Ray is president of Progressive Ag Marketing, Inc., a top-ranked marketing firm in the country.   

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