Grain Marketing Highlights – May 22, 2009

Carl German, Extension Crops Marketing Specialist; clgerman@udel.edu 

U.S. Corn Crop; Sixty-Two Percent Planted
One thing for certain, getting this year’s U.S. corn and soybean crop in the ground is a mixed bag. Overall, a quick glance at Table 1 tells us that 62% vs. the five-year-average planting progress of 85% doesn’t appear to be all that bad, just 8 points behind last year’s pace for the same date. What’s troubling is the rate of progress in the major corn producing states of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Illinois, typically the nation’s number two corn producer, reported only 20% of their corn crop planted, compared to the five year average of 92%. Indiana reported corn plantings at 24% as compared to the five year average of 83%. Both states are also well behind last year’s pace. Ohio is 39% planted compared to the average of 82%. Iowa, the nation’s number one corn producer, reported their planting progress to be equal to the average and slightly ahead of last year at 90%. Next week’s planting progress will be critically important to market participants.

Table 1. Corn: Percent Planted, Selected States1

State

Week Ending

2004-2008 Avg.

May 17 2009

May 10 2009

May 17 2008

Percent Planted

CO

63

44

78

74

IL

20

10

73

92

IN

24

11

67

83

IA

90

81

73

90

KS

73

48

84

90

KY

45

39

72

89

MI

41

18

82

77

MN

90

81

62

85

MO

54

39

52

84

NE

93

78

79

88

NC

100

95

97

98

ND

23

7

76

75

OH

39

22

52

82

PA

48

29

56

69

SD

63

29

51

71

TN

79

75

89

95

TX

94

80

93

95

WI

62

43

52

72

18 States

62

48

70

85

1These 18 states planted 92% of last year’s corn acreage.

Worth mentioning is the spring wheat planting progress, which is running well behind last year’s pace and the average (see Table 2). It has been suggested that delayed planting in spring wheat plantings could result in a reduction in ending stocks for all wheat. This in turn could prove to be beneficial to the winter wheat market.

Table 2. Spring Wheat Percent Planted, Selected States1

State

Week Ending

2004-2008 Avg.

May 17 2009

May 10 2009

May 17 2008

Percent Planted

ID

93

85

92

93

MN

34

24

88

90

MT

69

48

92

90

ND

31

13

92

87

SD

94

85

95

97

WA

96

85

97

99

6 States

50

35

92

90

These 6 states planted 98% of last year’s spring wheat acreage.

Market Strategy
The general economy continues to limit possible gains in the commodity markets by the skittishness reflected in economic reports recently coming to bear. Specifically, the U.S. economy is now projected to grow by about one-half the rate previously projected. Further, we are not out of the woods as yet regarding the weather for ’09 crop planting and development. However, we have experienced sizable gains in both old crop and new crop futures prices for corn, soybeans, and wheat since March, led by the soybean market and, more recently, non-commercial interests. USDA’s May projection for ending stocks of U.S. soybeans for the ’08/’09 marketing year was placed at 130 million bushels. That number was no sooner released when the trade started to speculate that U.S. soybean stocks could grow even tighter than the May projection. To some degree, that possibility may depend upon whether we see an acreage shift from corn to soybean production and/or from spring wheat to soybean production. With new crop Dec ’09 corn futures trading at $4.42 per bushel; new crop Nov ’09 soybean futures at $10.15 per bushel; and new crop July ’09 SRW wheat trading at $5.89 per bushel one has to consider advancing new crop pre-harvest sales.

For technical assistance on making grain marketing decisions contact Carl L. German, Extension Crops Marketing Specialist.

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