Market analyst: Spring planting

Ray Grabanski
Special to the Farm Forum

It is warming up and the snow has melted, which means that it’s planting time in the corn belt!

We’ve already seen some growers working fields or spreading fertilizer in March, and its going to be “go time” for farmers in the next few weeks. At this point, it looks like it is going to be an early spring.

Weather is forecast warm and wet for the U.S. for the next week, and then turns drier but still warm in the 8-14 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, South American weather forecasts are now turning warm and dry as production areas seasonally start to see the rainfall spigot dry up this time of year. So harvest will accelerate in South America, 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 Mar. 31 USDA acreage intentions; so far they are higher than USDA February numbers for corn, lower for soybeans, and about the same for wheat. Overall expectations are for 7 million acres less PP, 1-2 million less CRP and 2-3 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 February USDA guesses. Now we’ll see what the actual survey shows.

Frankly, given the state of America today, its hard not to agree with the assessment of the Chinese that America is in decline today — maybe even rapid decline. Someone needs to step forward and say enough is enough, or it will not stop. With China the largest by far of American agriculture importers, we need to quickly come to some satisfactory solution — or we risk losing our largest customer to a new Cold War. We can’t counter China if America isn’t strong; and if we aren’t strong, we will have no choice but to sever ties to China — and that won’t be good for U.S. agriculture.