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Iowa: Ready, Set – Go Plant Corn

Less corn in the state depends on planting weather.

DES MOINES, Iowa -- “It’s time to plant corn! It’s that time of the year,” Iowa Governor Terry Branstad told Successful Farming reporters this week.

Indeed, the crop insurance date that gives Iowa farmers the go-ahead to plant corn is April 11.

So, it’s ready, set, go!!

And some eastern Iowa farmers have been reporting that they are in the field, with their tractors bloin’ and goin’.

However, economics and Mother Nature will have their say about corn planting progress, as prices trade in a narrow range and more rain is expected for many days during the next two-week period.

After all, what’s the hurry? Iowa farmers will plant 600,000 acres less corn than they did last year, according to the recent USDA March Prospective Planting Report.

In its report, USDA pegged Iowa’s 21017 corn acreage at 13.3 million, off 4% from a year ago. Iowa’s soybean acreage is estimated at an 18-year high of 10.1 million.

Successful Farming continues to break down the major soybean-producing state’s corn and soybean acreage split, highlighting the economic choice for farmers to grow the less cost-prohibitive crop.

Illinois: Acreage Shifts Have Occurred For a Decade

Indiana: In Tough Economy, Soybeans Are King

Doug Hartwig, deputy regional director for Upper Midwest Region, agrees that the continued below-cost-of-production commodities prices, along with the temperatures and the wet conditions are factoring into Iowa farmers leaning toward more soybean acres.

“Rotating crops may be the new decision for some farmers, with soybeans taking less inputs to raise,” Hartwig says. “Producers are measuring what their profitability could be, knowing that their lenders are requesting that kind of decision-making.”

Hartwig pointed out that corn still has the majority of the acres in Iowa.

“Farmers are switching hay and oats acres to soybeans, too,” Hartwig says. The real storyteller will be the June USDA Acreage Report. The weather is going to dictate what that June report tells us. It’s still too early to tell Iowa’s corn story.”

Minnesota Leans On Beans

For the Land of 10,000 Lakes, the USDA estimates 2017 corn acreage at 8.0 million, down 450,000 from last year. Also, Minnesota’s soybean acres are pegged at 8.25 million, up 700,000 over a year ago and a record-high, if realized.

Hartwig says that while Minnesota farmers have a wide variety of crops to switch to soybeans, the bigger factor playing into record-large soybean acreage is the regaining of prevented-planting ground.

Prevented planting is defined as a failure to plant an insured crop with the proper equipment by the final planting date designated in the insurance policy’s actuarial documents or during the late-planting period.

“Minnesota has a lot of prevented-planting acres,” Hartwig says. In 2013, Minnesota recorded 900,000 acres of prevented-planting acres, dropping soybean acres to 6.7 million. So, this year’s projection of 8.25 million is large, but the state will need a normal planting season to get all of these acres planted.”


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