Corn planting starts slowly

Apr 18, 2014
by WLJ

Last week saw the first of the 2014 Crop Reports, which come out every Monday from mid-April through the end of November, and corn plantings are roughly in line with last year’s delayed planting.

According to the report, 3 percent of the 2014/2015 corn crop is in the ground. This compares with 2 percent the same week last year, and the 5-year average of 6 percent. While warmer corn regions have already planted a good chunk of the crop—57 percent in Texas and 20 percent in North Carolina—cold soil temperatures and excessive soil moisture has reportedly kept tractors in the shed in the Corn Belt.

Steve Meyer and Len Steiner of the CME Daily Livestock Report pointed out that this isn’t necessarily an issue, however.

“Debate and speculation about the pace of corn plantings in April is a ritual of spring that makes for interesting conversation (at least among farmers and market participants) but it has been proved over time to offer little in terms of real implications for corn supplies come harvest time,” they noted. They went on to explain that years in which planting speed was less than usual did not necessarily translate to reduced yields. The opposite was also true; early plantings do not necessitate increased yields.

“Is this a risk for yields down the road? Of course, but much will depend on May rather than mid-April weather.”

This year’s Prospective Plantings report, issued March 31, showed corn planting intentions of surveyed U.S. farmers at 91.7 million acres. If realized, that acreage will be the fifth largest corn acreage since 1944, but also the lowest since 2010. — WLJ