Planting progress, HRW wheat declines again

Farm Forum

5/06/14 — We are finally starting to see some planting progress in corn over the past few days, with an open window of planting for much of the southern 2/3’s of the Corn Belt. That window is likely to stay open for at least a few more days for much of the central and eastern corn belt before a front this week that starts in the west and moves slowly eastward halts rapid planting progress again. In the next few days, though, it is likely that much of the southern 2/3’s of the Corn Belt will be complete with corn planting and will start soybean planting.

Thereafter, the most rainfall the next week will be in the northern states of S.D., N.D., and Minn. where planting delays are more serious, with .5-1.5” rains that will further delay planting in this region. However, for much of the rest of the corn belt, especially the southern 2/3’s, the delay will only be a day or two and then planters can get back into the fields as rainfall will only be .1-5”, locally 1” in an area where it’s already dried out enough for planters to be rolling. So the planting delay from the next rainstorm won’t be severe, and much of the Corn Belt will likely get planting completed in an orderly fashion. That will take some of the pressure off the market to add premium for late planting, as it’s likely only the Dakotas and Minn. will remain far behind normal planting by next week.

Currently, only 29% of the corn is planted as of 5/5 vs. 42% normally, but still well ahead of last year’s poor 11% completed at this time. Recall though that last year we planted 40% of the crop over the next week, a pace that will be hard to rival this year. But it’s likely with a good open window early this week that another 25-30% of the crop will be planted over the coming week. Once planters get completed with corn planting, then they can switch over to soybeans of which 5% is planted on 5/5 vs. 11% normally, and only 2% last year at this time.

The planting progress of other crops is still behind normal, with oats only 40% planted vs. 71% normally, and vs. 56% last year at this time. HRS wheat is 26% planted vs. 41% normally, but still ahead of last year’s dismal 21% planted. Barley is 46% planted vs. 44% normally and only 42% last year, but it’s the far western states of Idaho, Wash., and Mont. where planting progress is ahead of normal. Southern crops like cotton are 16% planted vs. 25% normally, with sorghum 28% planted vs. 29% normally. Sugarbeets are only 23% planted vs. 56% normally, with peanuts 14% planted vs. 15% normally. Rice is 57% planted vs. 65% normally. In the south, it has been cold temps that have kept planters at bay, but over the coming week temps will be above average, and that will encourage planting of remaining warm season crops.

Winter wheat is 29% headed vs. 35% normally, and compared to 19% last year at this time. Winter wheat conditions across the country declined again this week, mostly due to warm/dry weather in HRW wheat country. Ratings are now only 31% rated G/E, down 2% from last week. The Pro Ag winter wheat yield model declined another 0.34 bu/acre last week, another large decline, to 45.86 bu/acre which is now well below ‘trend’ at 47.68 bu/acre. The winter wheat crop continues to decline in Texas, Okla., and Kan. due to more hot/dry weather, indicating why winter wheat prices continue to rise to new highs for the year while corn and soybean prices languish below recent highs.

Its possible that with downside weekly reversals last week in corn and soybeans that they have topped for the 2014 year! This will be especially true if planting progress for corn and soybeans ‘catches up’ to normal progress over the coming few weeks. Given the improved weather forecasts, that might be likely to occur – especially in the southern 2/3’s of the U.S. Stay tuned, there could be more fireworks yet in wheat prices, but corn/soybeans may have seen their highs for 2014.