The following commentary does not necessarily reflect the views of AgWeb or Farm Journal Media. The opinions expressed below are the author's own.
Read the latest crop reports from the fields across America! Also, submit your own comments.
What's happening in your fields? When will you start planting? Will your crop mix be the same as last year? Send us your photos and video! (Please keep your comments crop-related.)
Here's a sampling of what some folks are saying:
3/31 - Kiowa County Kansas: Fertilizer prices are very high. I have been checking a web site (www.mpxaplus.com) that looks promising to me. If your inputs are to high check out this web site.
3/31 - North Central Iowa: Normal corn planting date around here is usually April 23-May 5. Last 4-5 years has been earlier, as early as the 16th. Last year planted one field on the 23rd and the rest went in the first week of May. Last year all the fertilizer was on in the fall. This year very little was fall applied. We need a week of good weather soon to get the Nh3 down. We will plant without potash on most ground and just use starter for phosphorus this year. Cutting nitrogen 15-20 pounds also. At $3.25 cash new crop it will take 25 to 30 bu. just to pay the $95/ acre potash bill. I guess its time to go back to the old Marginal Cost Charts from micro econ class.
3/31 - Near North Dakota Highways 3 and 11: Cows on an island of hay waiting for a blizzard to hit near North Dakota Highways 3 and 11. Picture taken on March 23, 2009. Photo submitted by Lawson Jones of Webster, N.D. This was on the Grand Forks Heald Web Site.
-- Photo submitted by Lawson Jones of Webster, N.D.
(Have any photos of the crops on your farm? Send them to AgWeb and have them posted on Crop Comments! Be sure to include a caption.)
3/31 - Johnson County, Iowa: Did custom harvesting for my neighbor last fall, triple stack was the lowest yield. The next lowest was bt, and the regular out yielded them all. I think they should charge more for the triple stack.
3/30 - Northeast Arkansas: I don't think a lot of corn will be planted here. No planters hooked to tractors yet, and this is primetime planting season here. Of course it is really wet here, so planters would be just sitting out in the rain. As far as cost goes, probably seed and fertilize is scarring a lot of producers from corn, because it looks a lot like cotton. Cotton is like saying a four letter word in church, here.
3/30 - Ransom County, Southeast North Dakota: On Monday or Tuesday of this week the entire state of North Dakota was in a flood warning. I'm sure I have never seen that before. In Ransom County we have lost a number of roads due to culverts being washed out. The number is far greater than in 1997. The big difference between this year and 1997 is that in 1997 we went 8 days without electricity. It's unusual if we're not farming by Good Friday or April 15th but I can't imagine a scenario where we'll be in the fields for at least a month.
3/30 - South Central Nebraska: Just was wondering how many are thinking about not putting on any K and P this year and if you think it will work. Going to cut total N by about 20% and hope for the best. If we don't get the top 5 bushel and every farmer is like that maybe we will get our price back up. So milo is going in this year in place of the corn and beans. Have fun!!!
3/27 - Bremer County, Iowa: The highest price per acre this year is seed. Oddly enough, even with attention on fertilizer, seed @ $250-$300 per bag is the highest cost per unit. Followed closely behind is N in any form (nh3, 28%, or uera) the price per unit is high.
3/27 - Cass County, North Dakota: Northeast Kansas, I called 701-318-0690 and they sent out info on Azos test results from the last 5 years. It showed it works for raising protein on wheat also. Best of luck this season.
3/26 - Douglas County, Washington: We normally get about 80% of our moisture from the winter snows, this year we maybe received about 15% from the snows. What we did have was real dry powder, it went away in early Jan. We have had very little moisture since. Going to need a lot of spring showers, that we normally don't get to make up the difference. We went into the winter very dry also, could be along hot summer and very short crop this year.
3/26 - Northeast Kansas: Cass County, North Dakota, Could you please tell me where to buy azos? I am very interested in it’s uses. What data did you utilize to help decide how, what, and where to use it? I am having trouble trying to find it in our area. Thanks.
3/26 - Fayette County, Northeast Iowa: I'm not sure if spring will be late or not. We had just a scant quarter inch of rain through this past front moving thru, and while not dry, we've missed several predicted moisture events the past couple of months. That either means that the weather forecasters are idiots or it's going to get really dry and I wouldn't want to bet on either. Like allot of producers, I am frustrated with fertilizer prices that should have gone down. The retailers are better at organizing than farmers, and I have heard that a major bank that finances co-ops threatened against retailers that started to drop prices although I don't know that for certain. I think a good growing season is in store and I think soybean prices will average in the 8.00-8.50 range and corn, 4.25 to 5.00, depending what is on USDA's crystal ball. Demand is still there, the end users are just putting off purchases until absolutely necessary. That's what I think, but what do I know, I'm just a dumb farmer.
-- Nueces County, South Texas
3/25 - Cass County, North Dakota: Once the water drains off, field work will be two weeks away assuming it doesn’t rain or snow anymore, and the sun shines. (Yeah I know, 100% chance that won’t happen) To help control my fertilizer costs I’m going to try this new bacteria that produces N for corn. Azo..something, but they say it can produce 20# of N for the crop.
3/25 - West Central Kansas: Checked crops in Scott, Wichita, Greeley and Kearny counties in the last week. Without rain soon, harvest will be questionable on many acres. Wheat is dying, brown areas ranging from a few feet across to several acres. Everyone says these spots are expanding. Experiment Station at Tribune lists total moisture for 2009 at 0.76 inches. Weather reporter for Scott City lists only 0.20 inches for 2009. Scott County has been presented as a drought disaster area by the Kansas Governor. Wheat has broke dormancy and cannot grow fast enough to tap the declining subsoil moisture. Last rain was end of September, over 6 months ago. Most wheat still has a good stand, but the drought clock is ticking faster with 60-80 degree days and winds gusting to 45 mph.
3/24 - Buena Vista County Iowa: Fertilizer prices still high $950 ton anhydrous. The local dealers made a mistake and bought fertilizer when prices were high. Now they want us to bail them out a buy their mistake. I told my salesman, I would buy it at those prices if they would take $6.00 corn I did not get sold to pay for it. I will eat my mistake but I will not eat theirs. Will just skip the P & K this year if prices do not come down.
3/23 - Northeast North Dakota, Devils Lake Basin: Not looking good here for any type of planting this spring. We had so much rain last fall and the snow kept piling on so much that this area may not dry out until June. Especially with the rain coming now and predictions of up to a foot of snow this week. Maybe next year.
3/23 - North Central Iowa: Getting our first spring rains this morning, heavy at times. The forecast is wet and cold for this week. There was very little fertilizer or NH3 applied last fall. How much corn we plant will depend on when we can get in and start to fertilize. When you look at April you generally get a short span of nice days in the first two weeks to get on some fertilizer. After that any good weather days better be devoted to corn planting. If we have to apply NH3 as we are planting it will slow down the whole process and limit corn acres. The coops also need a lot of time to get dry spread. They cannot be at everyone's field at the same time. If we can't get our dry spread in a timely manner we will plant without it and save the money.
-- Pam Smith, Farm Journal Seeds & Production Editor
3/19 - Massac County, Illinois: Most of the land I'll be planting is pretty good as far as ph and major nutrients - if I plant any corn at all, I will only use a little starter fertilizer. I may just go with all soybeans and not use any - there is too much risk. Time to take a little back from the soil, as I've spent a lifetime trying to build it up anyway.
3/18 - Stearns County, Minnesota: Planting corn where I have enough manure and soybeans where I don't. Might buy a small amount of 10-34-0 starter, say 3 gallons/acre for my corn, otherwise not using any commercial fertilizer. My P and K levels are good for my soybeans so I should be fine. Snow is almost all melted, standing water everywhere. Expect the frost to go out around April 5th, though a warm thunderstorm would help it go out even earlier.
3/17 - St. Clair County, Southwest Illinois: March has been a bit drier than normal, though I wouldn’t classify our area as dry. However, with a few sunny days ahead and only limited chances for rain I expect to see some field work start mid-week. A bit a wheat around that needs top dressed and still a good deal of fertilizer to be spread. I’ve seen a few NH3 toolbars out of the sheds as well. Most growers I know are planning a near 50/50 rotation with some thinking about maybe 60% corn. We may see some mild changes in that, but it just seems that no matter what the talk, when the planters roll we see a lot of 50/50 rotation around here. Fertilizer prices at the coop level running in the 400-450 range for DAP, 800-850 for Pot and 600-700 for NH3, depending on who you talk to. In general most think prices are probably about as low as we’ll see for the next couple months.
3/16 - Northeast Arkansas: I don't think I have ever talked to so many farmers that haven't got a clue on what to plant yet.
3/13 - West Central Texas: RAIN – 3-4” across the area. Too late for wheat as we only had 1” since August. Lifesaver for all the cow-calf guys. Failed wheat acres will either go to sorghum, feed, or may just be fallowed. Too far west for corn here, and cotton won’t work either.
-- Jacob Faist, Faist Farms, Inc.
3/12 - South Central North Dakota: We are undecided what to plant. Today’s report doesn't help matters. We received 12" of snow the last 2 days along with 40 MPH winds, snow is piled up where it doesn't belong. Calving is a nightmare with the temps at -20 and the winds blowing. This morning we had 6 calves born in the barn and every calf had frozen ears. Spring will be very late here. The roads are blocked, soon load limits will be in effect.
3/11 - Linn County, Iowa: 3+ in rain in 3 days. Having calves. Trying to feed cattle. Lots of frost still in the ground. "How's the weather"? It sucks.
-- Lincoln County, Harrington, Washington
3/10 - Fayette County, Pennsylvania: No-till drilled 20 acres of grass, alfalfa and clover seed with oats on Saturday for my neighbor. Field conditions were perfect at least for us. The other neighbors say we were jumping the gun, I say that we were just prepared. Few guys spreading potash, and lime is being spread daily.
3/9 - Dodge County, Minnesota: This is my first year in MN, and I have never seen a spring that has been so wet; water standing in fields, and running out of tile lines. This is not my first dealing with mud and rain. Last year I had to deal with June floods of Southwest Wisconsin. All of this weather is just holding off people to get plans in place for spring. I have read that 40% of farmers don’t have any final plans, and up to a million acre swing in planting intentions. If things are turn out like last year, I don’t know what could happen to the final corn numbers. God Bless for a little relief of the wet, muddy conditions. Hope the planters start rolling soon.
3/6 - Howard County, Texas: Dryland wheat has been taken out with 90 degree temps and 45 mph wind. Bring on the insurance, this crop of wheat is finished. Irrigated wheat is growing at warp speed. Field work started for the cotton crop. This is the slowest start in my 35 years of farming in my area. Just not any excitement for a loan price crop. The cattle feedlots around here are losing $100 per head.
3/5 - Lincoln County, Washington: Wheat was very spotty last fall due to persisting drought. Aortic blast in Dec. didn't help things but the snow we received a week after that persists from here to the north of the county. Snow mold is a real possibility at this point. Most of the snow to the south melted in a day or so with plenty of erosion in some areas. To the north we have been spared so far, depending on whether the farmers were using good or bad farming practices. Around the area some of the wheat looks pretty good, some not so good. Time will tell.
3/4 - Jackson County, Michigan: The snow is pretty much gone and many farmers are starting to think about putting some urea on the wheat before the ground gets too soft. It seems like everyone around here is going to plant more soybeans this year than last. Our farm on the other hand is planning on planting very few beans and concentrating mostly on corn. Also many people have gotten out and seeded clover in the wheat fields already. The tiles are sure running lately; we have gotten a lot of water this winter and many low spots are flooded. Most of the wheat looks good up here and I hope were done with snow so we can get in the field sometime in the next three to four weeks and finish up any tillage that we couldn't get done in the fall.
3/4 - Charles Mix County, Southeastern South Dakota: We have been to Texas via Hwy 281, wheat looks tough in western Nebraska, Colorado, western Kansas, western Oklahoma, and western Texas. We came home on I35 and same poor look in all states, yet wheat price keeps inching down, where is their a good crop? Unless weather changes, we will be tearing ours out for corn and beans. She looks like the toughest year in the last 25.
-- Pam Smith, Farm Journal Seeds & Production Editor
(Photo from spring 2008. Send us your photos of spring.)
3/3 - South Texas: Most of the corn is planted in the Lower Rio Grande Valley irrigated) Grain sorghum at probably 60% planted. Cotton will start going in next week. All the dryland is very dry on top with some moisture deep, not a significant rain since October '08. Some dryland planted to grain looks like ground was rebedded. It’s going to be a tough year getting our crop up and growing.
-- Mike Escue, Lauderdale County, Tennessee
3/2 - Northeast Arkansas: Topdressed wheat with urea $400/ton. Land leveling with $1.75/gal fuel. Soybean seed $45/unit. Corn seed $175/unit. Cotton seed $400/unit. Finished signup at FSA office...priceless!!!!!