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U.S. Corn, Soybean Planting Window Could Narrow

Stairstep crop maturity may be challenged in 2018.

With recent winter storm systems delivering additional cold temperatures and snow through the upper Midwest, it is likely there will be planting delays for the upcoming season.

Large amounts of acres may end up being planted in a narrow window of time. Typically about 40% of the U.S. corn crop is planted in April. That does not look likely this year.

Does it matter? If so, what are the consequences?

In recent years, we would say consequences are little. Yet, ask any veteran farmer and he will tell you that early planting provides the best chance for high yield. In recent years, late-planted crops have had the luxury of near-ideal weather. Is this something farmers should count on again this year? Only time will tell.

The ability to plant a corn crop has sped up dramatically over the last decade. Outstanding equipment, efficient tillage practices, and dedicated farmers can put most of the crop in the ground in about half the time, as compared with 20 years ago.

Recent years indicate more than 30% of the crop is able to be planted in a week.

During mid-May 2013, 43% was planted in one week, which was a record. The only problem we see is that this creates a boom-or-bust environment.

Most of the crop will mature in the same time window, and unless farmers switch varieties to shorter day maturity, most of the crop will be subject to the same weather.

Good weather during the growing season could see spring weather negated and high yield. However, poor weather during the growing season could set the stage for a significant downturn in yield.

An undercurrent of strong demand and a less-than-ideal start to the planting season could make for an exciting year of active price volatility.

A balancing act for producers is to market enough at levels that make sense for the farm, yet not too much if prices rally on a weather-related event.

Consider a balanced approach, which would suggest forward contracting up to a level you are comfortable with, and covering the remaining unpriced bushels through the use of put options. Cover forward sales through the use of call options.


If you would like a strategy for your farm, contact Top Farmer at 1-800-TOP-FARM, ext 129.

Futures trading is not for everyone. The risk of loss in trading is substantial. Therefore, carefully consider whether such trading is suitable for you in light of your financial condition. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

Carol Tillmann 
Front Desk Administrative Assistant | Stewart-Peterson
Office: 800.334.9779 | Fax: 262.334.6225

Futures and options trading involve significant risk of loss and may not be suitable for everyone. Therefore, carefully consider whether such trading is suitable for you in light of your financial condition. Hypothetical performance results have many inherent limitations. No representation is being made that any account will or is likely to achieve profits or losses similar to those shown. No representation is being made that scenario planning, strategy or discipline will guarantee success or profits. The data contained herein is believed to be drawn from reliable sources but cannot be guaranteed. Reproduction of this information without prior written permission is prohibited. This material has been prepared by a sales or trading employee or agent of Stewart-Peterson and is, or is in the nature of, a solicitation. Any decisions you may make to buy, sell or hold a futures or options position on such research are entirely your own and not in any way deemed to be endorsed by or attributed to Stewart-Peterson. Stewart-Peterson refers to Stewart-Peterson Group Inc. and Stewart-Peterson Inc. Stewart-Peterson Group Inc. is registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as an introducing broker and is a member of National Futures Association. Stewart-Peterson Inc. is a publishing company. A customer may have relationships with both companies. Accordingly this email is sent on behalf of the company or companies providing the services discussed in the email.

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