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Planting Holding Pattern Supports Prices

April 13, 2013
By: Sara Schafer, Farm Journal Media Business and Crops Editor
4 11 13 ice planter

Long-awaited precipitation is finally falling, right when farmers wished it was sunny. Jerry Gulke provides insight to the new weather market.

Typically by mid-April, Jerry Gulke likes to be in the field planting corn on his Illinois farm. But, he, like the majority of Midwestern corn farmers, isn’t anywhere close to getting seed in the ground.

According to the current Farm Journal Poll, nearly 40% of the more than 2,100 respondents are three weeks away from planting corn. Another 25% are more than four weeks away from starting.

"This is the 12th of April and by April 30 I’d like to be done planting," Gulke, president of Gulke Group, says. "But, I haven’t even got the planter out yet because of rain, and even snow, in some places. Our window of opportunity for timely planting is slowly going away."

Gulke says the return of moisture to many parts of the Corn Belt has changed the mentality of the market. "The market was so fixated on the drought, but, how times changed." He says it will be hard for many to change their thinking from hot-and-dry weather to cool-and-wet."

Now that the April 10 Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates reports are in the past, Gulke says the focus of the market is planting progress.

"There’s nothing major now from the government, so weather is definitely the focus," he says.

The Weather Forecast Ahead
Gulke reminds that the grain markets are futures markets, meaning they are looking ahead. So, what’s ahead?

Luckily, corn planting is by no means behind. Typically only a few percentage points of corn are planted by mid-April. Unfortunately, the forecast doesn’t look favorable for helping farmers get back on track.

According to USDA’s Joint Ag Weather Facility, the influence of a sprawling storm system currently centered over the lower Great Lakes region will continue to wane. Meanwhile, a disturbance will arrive in the Northwest later today and help to spark the development of a new low-pressure system over the north-central U.S. during the weekend.

Rain and snow showers will accompany the storm, primarily across the nation’s northern tier. Early next week, yet another storm will begin to take shape across the central Rockies. Eventually, this storm will produce another round of drought-easing precipitation across the nation’s mid-section.

Although many parts of the country will experience a warming trend in advance of next week’s storm system, very cold weather will persist across the northern Plains and upper Midwest.

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