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June 2013 Archive for Farmland Forecast

RSS By: Marc Schober, AgWeb.com

Marc Schober is the editor of Farmland Forecast an educational blog devoted to investments in agriculture and farmland.

USDA Surprises with Increase in Corn Acreage

Jun 28, 2013

The USDA shocked the agriculture world and defied analyst estimates, real world data, and basic common sense in their annual acreage report. Despite the worst planting season in over 20 years, the USDA expects 2013 corn acreage to be the highest since 1936. Corn supplies as of June 1, 2013, declined to 2.76 billion bushels, the lowest since 1997 due to the devastating drought last year.

Acreage

US farmers are expected to plant 231.3 million acres of corn, soybeans, and wheat for the 2013 crop year, a roughly 1% increase from 2012's 229.8 million acres. High commodity prices and low supplies from last year’s drought are incentivizing farmers to plant as many acres as possible.

Corn planted acres for 2013 were estimated at 97.4 million acres, 200,000 acres higher than 2012 and 100,000 acres higher than last month’s WASDE estimate. The USDA corn acreage estimate was surprising as farmers across the Corn Belt have been unable to plant corn due to difficult wet weather during the planting season. Analysts’ expectations were for a two million acre reduction to roughly 95.0 million acres of corn.

Soybean planted acres were estimated at 77.7 million acres, the highest planted acreage on record and an increase of 1% from last year. Record breaking planted acreage is expected in New York, South Dakota, and Pennsylvania.

A large increase in soybean acres were noted in Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota, most likely due to farmers switching from corn to soybeans.

Wheat planted acres were estimated at 56.5 million acres, an increase of 1% from 2012's 56.0 million acres. 2013 winter wheat planted area is 42.7 million acres, a 3% increase from last year, and spring wheat acreage is estimated at 12.3 million acres, a slight increase from 2012. 

For the acreage report, the USDA surveyed more than 70,000 farmers by telephone, mail, internet, and personal interviews during the first two weeks of June. The questions covered 11,000 one square-mile randomly selected areas across the US.

Quarterly Stocks

Corn stocks as of June 1, 2013 were estimated at 2.76 billion bushels, a 12% decrease from last year. The quarterly stocks estimate was roughly 80 million bushels less than analysts’ estimates due to higher than expected feed usage.

1.26 billion bushels of corn are stored on farms, down 15% from 2012. Off-farm stocks, at 1.50 billion bushels, are down 10% from last year. Disappearance from March 2013 to May 2013 was 2.64 billion bushels, compared to 2.88 billion bushels a year ago.

Soybean stocks as of June 1, 2013 were estimated at 435 million bushels, a decrease of 35% from 2012 and the lowest level since 2004. On-farm stocks were 171 million bushels, a 4% decrease from a year prior. 263 million bushels were located in off-farm locations, a 46% decrease from last June. Disappearance from March 2013 to May 2013 was 564 million bushels, a 20% decrease from last year.

As of June 1, 2012, all wheat stocks were estimated at 718 million bushels, a 3% decrease from a year prior. 120 million bushels were held in on-farm locations, up 7% from last June. Off-farm stocks were estimated at 598 million bushels, a 5% drop from a year ago. Disappearance from March 2013 to May 2013 was 516 million bushels, an increase of 13% from last year.

Outlook

The USDA, known for their surprises and inconsistent data, didn’t disappoint today. Anyone who has spent a minute of time in the Corn Belt, would easily realize the USDA’s estimate of 97.4 million acres of corn is unrealistic. Based on our first hand experience of looking at farms from the Dakotas to Indiana, even 95.0 million acres of corn is a stretch.

For daily articles on farmland and agriculture, visit www.farmlandforecast.com.

 

Crop Progress: 2013 Planting Almost Complete

Jun 25, 2013

Corn planting progress in the top 18 corn producing states now finished, as farmers now fill their fields with soybeans. Farmers have done tremendous work catching up to this average due to the setback from the heavy rains. However winter wheat is in poor conditions.

As of June 23, 2013 corn that has emerged was at 96%, down 3% from the five year average and down 4% from the previous year. Corn conditions were 8% of the crop was in poor or very poor conditions, markedly better than 14% the previous year. And corn in good or excellent conditions was 65%, compared to 56% last year.


Soybeans planted were at 92%, behind the five year average of 95%. Last year at this time, 98% of soybeans had emerged, but only 81% have emerged as of June 23, 2013. Soybeans in poor or very poor conditions are 7%, compared to 15% last year. Soybeans in good or excellent condition are 65% compared to only 53% last year.

Winter wheat conditions were 43% of the crop in poor or very poor condition compared to only 17% at the same time last year. Winter wheat in good or excellent condition was 32%, compared to 54% last year. This year 95% of winter wheat has headed, close to the 97% that had headed at this time last year. Harvesting began two weeks ago, with 20% of wheat currently being harvested compared to 63% at the same time last year.

Spring wheat is 96% planted, compared to the five year average of 99% planted by this time. Of the planted wheat, 90% has emerged, compared to the five year average of 97%. Spring wheat conditions were 5% of the crop in poor or very poor condition compared to 4% at the same time last year. Spring wheat in good or excellent condition was 70%, compared to 77% last year.

The July corn contract decreased 2.25% over the past week ending at $6.53 per bushel, soybean prices remained the same over the past week ending at $15.12 per bushel, and wheat prices ended the week at $6.79 per bushel, a $0.01 decrease from last week. Year to year corn prices are up 3.5%, soybeans are up 2% and wheat is down 6.2%

For daily articles on farmland and agriculture, visit www.farmlandforecast.com.

Rural Economy Reaches Six Month High

Jun 25, 2013

Growth in the rural economy reached a six month high in the month of June, according to the June survey of rural bankers. Improving economic data and expectations for record farm income has increased confidence in respondents, despite over half of bankers expecting the Federal Reserve to reduce bond purchases over the next six months.

Dual Farmland Price and Rural Mainstreet Index June 2013

The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) increased to 60.5 in June from 58.8 in last month’s survey. The farmland price index decreased in June for the sixth time in the last seven months, but remains above growth neutral at 58.4. There are concerns from bankers farmland prices could be tapering.

Ernie Goss, the Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University, commented, "Our farmland price index has been above growth neutral since February 2010. However we are tracking a clear downward trend in farmland price growth."

Bankers were asked this month about the Federal Reserve's Quantitative Easing (QE) strategy. Roughly 55% of bankers suggest QE should be reduced over the next six months and for the reduction to be implemented immediately.

"Furthermore, almost one of five bankers, or 19.4 percent, think QE3 has been unsuccessful at stimulating economic growth and 43.3 percent of bankers indicated that the program has put excessive air in asset price bubbles such as farmland prices," said Goss.

Chart of RMI June 2013

Survey

This survey represents an early snapshot of the economy of rural, agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the nation. The RMI is a unique index covering 10 regional states, focusing on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300. It gives the most current real-time analysis of the rural economy.


This survey represents an early snapshot of the economy of rural, agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the nation. The RMI is a unique index covering 10 regional states, focusing on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300. It gives the most current real-time analysis of the rural economy.

For daily articles on farmland and argriculture, visit www.farmlandforecast.com.

Crop Progress: Corn Planting Complete and Conditions Improving

Jun 17, 2013

Corn planting in the top 18 corn producing states finished over the past week as farmers now look to complete soybean planting. A slow start to the planting season due to excessive rainfall will draw attention to crop conditions throughout the growing season.


As of June 16, 2013 corn that has emerged was at 92%, down 5% from the five year average and down 8% from the previous year. Corn conditions were 8% of the crop in poor or very poor condition, a percentage point lower than the previous year. Corn in good or excellent condition was 64%, compared to 63% last year.


Soybeans planted were at 85%, behind the five year average of 91%. Last year at this time, 94% of soybeans had emerged, but only 66% have emerged as of June 16, 2013. Soybeans in poor or very poor condition weas 6%, compared to 12% last year. Soybeans in good or excellent condition were 64%, compared to only 56% last year.

Winter wheat conditions were 43% of the crop in poor or very poor condition compared to only 17% at the same time last year. Winter wheat in good or excellent condition was 31%, compared to 54% last year. Last year at this time 94% of winter wheat had headed and 89% have headed so far this year. Harvesting just began last week, with 11% of the wheat being harvested compared to 51% last year at this time.

Spring wheat was 92% planted, compared to the five year average of 97%. Of the planted wheat, 84% has emerged, compared to the five year average of 94%. Spring wheat conditions were 5% of the crop in poor or very poor condition compared to 3% at the same time last year. Spring wheat in good or excellent condition was 68%, compared to 76% last year.

The July corn contract increased 2.8% over the past week ending at $6.68 per bushel, soybean prices increased by $0.01 over the past week ending at $15.12 per bushel, and wheat prices ended the week at $6.80 per bushel, a 1.3% decrease from last week. Year to year corn prices are up 11.5%, soybeans are up 9.2% and wheat is up 7.9%.
 

For daily articles on farmland and agriculture, visit www.farmlandforecast.com.


 

The Importance of Bees in Agriculture

Jun 17, 2013

Bees are one of the most helpful little creatures on our planet, although more commonly seen as a nuisance. In the United States, "Close to 100 crop species…rely to some degree on pollination services provided by this one species—collectively, these crops make up approximately 1/3 of the U. S. diet, including the majority of high-value crops that contribute to healthy diets," states May Berenbaum, professor at the University of Illinois. National Geographic estimates one in every three bites a person eats is from a bee pollinated nut or flower.


Types of bees


There are hundreds of different types of bees, all with different habits, nests and temperaments. The most commonly thought of bee is the honeybee, responsible for most of the honey that we eat. Honeybees have three different job occupations: workers, queens, and drones. Worker bees are all females and they are responsible for collecting nectar from flowers and provide pollination for various plants. Queens give birth to every bee within the hive and they eat the royal jelly, a secretion that is used in the nutrition of larvae that is left behind in the cells from worker bees. Drones are the male bees, responsible only for mating with the queen.


Honeybee hives can grow to hold up to 80,000 bees and they are known to have very easy temperament, only stinging when they or their hive is in danger. When a bee stings, its stinger is ripped out of its abdomen, causing the bee to die, that is why bees are so hesitant to sting a predator. Bumblebees, like honeybees, live in hives, but only house anywhere from few hundred bees to 2,000 bees and produce far less honey than a honeybee.


There are bees that live in solitary homes as well, such as the carpenter bee, mason bee and the ground bee. These bees are very peaceful, and most people do not even know that they exist. Mason bees do not create honey or beeswax, but they serve as the most effective pollinator. Mason bee’s vibrant blue-green color makes them easily identifiable and makes them a favorite for gardeners.

Mason Bees
Mason bee best
Pollination


Bees provide essential pollination for flowers that other winged insects cannot do as effectively. Bees collect pollen using a unique technique known as "floral fidelity," meaning they only collect from one species of flower at a time. This helps plants because it ensures the pollen the bees are carrying will be transported to the stigma, or female reproductive system, of the same plant species. Individual bees will collect from one particular flower species for a few days before changing to a new flower, which is why you will not see bees in a small garden with a variety of flowers.


In addition to agricultural crops, the honeybee pollinates many of the native plants that serve as habitat and food sources for our wildlife across the nation, helping sustain the vigor and diversity of the environment.  Food that is used in feeding livestock, such as soybeans and buckwheat, also must be pollinated by bees. In this way, bees are essential the meat industry.
Cotton is a bee-produced product as well. Each year the US produces about 21 million bales of cotton, with over a third of the production taking place in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. Business revenues average $100 billion from cotton alone, making bees incredibly profitable.


Perhaps the most noteworthy contribution bees bring is their work in almonds. In California each year, beekeepers bring their white box hives to pollinate California’s white blossomed almond trees. California is responsible for producing 90% of the world’s almonds, yielding an average of 1.5 billion pounds of nuts per year. Each acre of almond trees requires approximately two hives to pollinate, and to produce a single nut it takes about a dozen bee visits. People have tried different techniques to try and pollinate these almonds, such as using helicopters to spread the pollen. Yet the results are the same everywhere that bees are the most effective pollinators.


Pollinating Almond Fields


Honey

Bees and almonds 2
Honeybees use nectar to make honey. Nectar is almost 80% water with some complex sugars. They use their long, tube-like tongues like straws to suck the nectar out of the flowers and then stored in their "honey stomachs". Bees actually have two stomachs, their honey stomach which they use like a nectar backpack and their regular stomach. The honey stomach holds almost 70 milligrams of nectar and when full, it weighs almost as much as the bee does. Honeybees must visit between 100 and 1,500 flowers in order to fill their honey stomachs.


The honeybees return to the hive and pass the nectar onto other worker bees. These bees suck the nectar from the honeybee's stomach through their mouths. These "house bees" chew the nectar using enzymes to break down the complex sugars in the nectar into simple sugars so that it is both more digestible for the bees and less likely to be attacked by bacteria while it is stored within the hive. The bees then spread the nectar throughout the honeycombs where water evaporates from it, making it into a thicker syrup. The bees make the nectar dry even faster by fanning it with their wings. Once the honey has had enough water evaporate from it, the bees seal off the cell of the honeycomb with a plug of wax. The honey is stored until it is eaten. In one year, a colony of bees eats between 120 and 200 pounds of honey, the rest can be collected and used by beekeepers.


Beeswax and honey offer a wide range of uses in everyday life. Beeswax can be used in candles, cosmetics, lubricants, and even dental floss. Honey is used in a lot of cosmetics, including lip balms and moisturizers.

Honeycomb


DisappearanceHoneycomb2

Over the past few years, beekeepers have noticed a startling phenomenon that is happening to bees. They’re disappearing. Entire populations of bees have vanished from mid-air, leaving no signs of a struggle, and no bee corpses behind. They simply just disappear. Researchers are examining possible causes for the disappearance, but no definite conclusion has been found. Some suspect it is a pesticide problem, others are not so sure. One thing is for certain though, if the United States were to lose its entire bee population tomorrow, we would lose $15 billion in the foregone foods such as almonds and cucumbers that require honey bees for pollination.


Conclusion


Bees are nature’s pollinators and the key to providing the world with many different crops. People should not fear bees (so long as you do not have an allergy!) because bees are calm insects that do not wish to harm us, and only sting when they feel threatened. If a bee comes around you, then it is most likely attracted to the food you have or the smell of your perfume. The best thing to do when bees are around is to remain calm and move slowly; swatting at them will only stress them out and make them more likely to sting. Without bees, every part of the world’s ecosystem would decline, which is why they are so important to agriculture.

 

For daily article on farmland and agricutlure, visit www.farmlandforecast.com.

WASDE: World to Offset U.S. Corn Loss

Jun 12, 2013

The June WASDE offered minor changes to the May WASDE report. Corn prices have taken the biggest hit this month, as major rainfalls have stalled planting and put a strain on farmers. We expect reductions to the 2013/14 corn balance as the worse planting season in over 20 years isreflected by the USDA. 

Increased competition from Brazil has caused the U.S. market to decrease its soybean exports. A decrease in wheat production have increased the price for wheat.


Corn

 

U.S. corn production for 2013/14 was estimated 135 million bushels lower to 14.0 billion bushels. Corn yields for the upcoming year were projected at 156.5 bushels per acre, a 1.5 bushel decrease from May's estimate. The decrease in yields is due to delays in planting in some of the highest producing corn states.


Planted acres were unchanged at 97.3 million acres and harvested acres at 89.5 million for the 2013/14 year. U.S. corn production for 2013/14 were estimated at 14.7 billion bushels, an increase of 2.6 billion from last year's drought stricken crop. The season average price for 2013/14 is projected at $4.40 to $5.20.

Feed and residual use was expected to decrease 125 million bushels year over year. Corn use for ethanol was increased by 50 million bushels for the 2013/14 marketing year. Exports for 2012/13 U.S. corn are projected at 50 million bushels lower due to the slow shipment and sales pace this year. The rainy weather in the Corn Belt has given South American competitors an advantage for early sales.

Global course grain supplies for 2013/14 were estimated to decrease 4.3 million metric tons from 2012/13, due to a reduction in U.S. and Chinese corn production. Brazil’s corn production was raised by 1.0 mmt, helping to offset the deficiency made by the U.S. and China.

Soybeans

U.S. 2013/14 soybean balance sheets remain unchanged this month. Changes for the U.S. in the 2012/13 year include increased soybean imports and crush, and a reduction in exports. An increase of 5 million bushels in imported soybeans brings the total soybean imports to 25 million bushels.

Exported soybeans were down 20 million bushels to 1.3 billion bushels in 2012/13. These low sales are due to increases in competition from Brazil. The projected season average price range for 2013/14 was $9.75 to $11.75 per bushel.

Global oilseed production in 2013/14 was decreased by 0.5 mmt from last month, to 490.8 mmt, due mainly to a decrease in soybean production from the Ukraine.  
Wheat 

U.S. wheat supplies in 2013/14 were estimated at 2.956 billion bushels, a 5.7% decrease from 2012/13. U.S. wheat production was decreased by 8.3% compared to last year, to 2.08 billion bushels. Yields for the 2013/14 crop year were projected at 44.6 bushels per acre, a drop of 1.7 bushels from 2012/13. The season average wheat price for 2013/14 was estimated at $6.25 to $7.55 per bushel.
Total U.S. wheat use for 2013/14 was increased by 50 million bushels from last month's estimate, due to strong early season sales and a reduced foreign production outlook.

Outlook

 

The June WASDE was relatively uneventful and markets will be turning to the USDA acreage and grain reports due for release at the end of June. The late planting season could be a precursor for poor corn pollination. We are closely monitoring the weather in the Corn Belt moving forward. 

 

For daily article on farmland and agriculture, visit www.farmlandforecast.com.

 

 

Crop Progress: Farmers Fight the Wet Weather to Plant 95% of the Corn Crop

Jun 10, 2013

Planting progress in the top 18 corn producing states progressed by 4% this past week and is only 3% behind the five year average of 98%. Farmers have done tremendous work catching up to the average due to the setback from heavy rains the last few months. With almost the entire corn crop planted at 95% and improved weather forecasts for this upcoming week, corn planting looks to be completely finished within the next couple of weeks. 

As of June 9, 2013, 95% of the U.S. corn crop has been planted. Corn that has emerged was at 85%, down 7% from the five year average and down 14% from the previous year. Corn conditions were 8% of the crop in poor or very poor condition, compared to 7% last year. Corn in good or excellent condition was 63%, compared to 66% last year.
 
Soybeans planted were at 71%, behind the five year average of 84%. Last year at this time, 88% of soybeans had emerged, but only 48% have emerged as of June 9, 2013.  
 
Winter wheat conditions were 42% of the crop in poor or very poor condition compared to only 17% at the same time last year. Winter wheat in good or excellent condition was 31%, compared to 53% last year. Last year at this time, 91% of winter wheat had headed, but only 82% has headed this year. Harvesting has just began this week, with 5% of the winter wheat being harvested, compared to 37% last year at this time. 
 
Spring wheat was 87% planted, compared to the five year average of 96% planted by this time. Of the planted wheat, 71% has emerged, compared to the five year average of 89%. Spring wheat conditions were 7% of the crop in poor or very poor condition compared to 4% at the same time last year. Spring wheat in good or excellent condition was 62%, compared to 75% last year. 
 
The July corn contract decreased 0.8% over the past week ending at $6.50 per bushel, soybean prices decreased by 1.4% over the past week ending at $15.11 per bushel, and wheat prices ended the week at $6.89 per bushel, a 2.7% decrease from last week. Year to year corn prices are up 9.8%, soybeans are up 6.1% and wheat is up 9.4%.
 
For daily articles on farmland and agriculture, visit www.farmlandforecast.com.
 

Crop Progress: Weather Slows Corn Planting in Late May

Jun 03, 2013

Planting progress in the top 18 corn producing states progressed by a leisurely 5% as wet weather continued to prevent farmers from finishing the planting of the 2013 corn crop. If further delays continue, soybeans and preventative planting will take the place of corn acres.

As of June 2, 2013 91% of the U.S. corn crop has been planted. Corn that has emerged was at 74%, down 8% from the five year average and down 22% from the previous year. Corn conditions were 7% of the crop in poor or very poor conditions, compared to 5% last year. And corn in good or excellent conditions was 63%, compared to 72% last year.

Soybeans planted were at 57%, behind the five year average of 74%. Last year at this time, 76% of soybeans had emerged, but only 31% have emerged as of June 2, 2013.

Winter wheat conditions were 43% of the crop in poor or very poor condition compared to only 18% at the same time last year. Winter wheat in good or excellent condition was 32%, compared to 52% last year. Last year at this time, 88% of winter wheat had headed, but only 73% has headed this year.

As of June 2, 2013 80% of the spring wheat has been planted, lagging the 100% planted last year. Of the spring wheat crop, 61% has emerged compared to the five year average of 80%.

The July corn contract decreased 1.6% over the past week ending at $6.55 per bushel, soybean prices increased by 1.5% over the past week ending at $15.32 per bushel, and wheat prices ended the week at $7.08 per bushel, a 2.2% increase from last week. Year to year corn prices are up 18.9%, soybeans are up 14% and wheat is up 15.7%.

For daily articles on farmland and agriculture, visit www.farmlandforecast.com.

Wet Weather Causing Havoc for Farmers

Jun 03, 2013

Extremely wet and abnormally cold weather has led to farmers now pondering if planting a corn crop in 2013 economically makes sense. Planting corn, farmers would experience significant yield loss due to such a late plant date and a short time to fully mature in the fields. Crop insurance agencies offer prevented planting coverage which allows farmers to submit an insurance claim due to poor planting weather and the inability to plant their crop in the allotted time frame crop insurance agencies require. Many farmers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois are now making decisions on whether to submit for prevented planting or switch to planting soybeans instead of corn. 

 
On May 29th, it was announced that the largest U.S. pork producer, Smithfield Foods, was acquired by Shuanghui International, confirming that the Chinese growing demand for protein is insatiable. Rising incomes in China have led to a fast growing demand for a protein based diet consisting of pork and other meats. We forecast that emerging market demand for protein will continue to increase leading to a long-term bull market for agriculture. 
 
Grain Prices 
 
Corn prices decreased by 3% this month, closing at $6.62 per bushel on the July contract. A few dry days in early May led to a decrease in corn prices as farmers were able to plant a record amount of corn in one week during May. The average corn yield in the U.S. was pegged at 158.0 bushels per acre according to the USDA in this month's WASDE Report, a 5.6 bushel decrease from the USDA's Agriculture Outlook Forum in February. USDA estimated planted corn acres at 97.3 million acres which will increase production to 14.1 billion bushels, compared to 10.7 billion bushels last year. A change from corn to other crops or an election of prevented planting by farmers due to the wet spring could lead to building optimism among the corn market over the next few weeks. The USDA will provide an updated acreage report on June 28th. 
 
Soybean prices increased by 2.9% this month to close at $15.10 per bushel. Commercial buying led to higher prices in early May and renewed interest from the Chinese purchasing U.S. soybeans helped spark increased prices in late May. The supply of old crop soybeans remains very tight, as with corn. The USDA estimated the current soybean crop to yield 44.5 bushels per acres in the May WASDE Report; a 4.9 bushel increase from last year's drought stricken crop. Total U.S. soybean production was 375 million bushels higher year over year due to the increased yield and harvested area. 
 
Wheat prices decreased by 2.2% this month, closing at $7.05 per bushel. The USDA estimated U.S. wheat production 9% lower this year at 2.057 billion bushels due to the poor growing conditions over the past few months. An unapproved GMO variety of wheat was found in a field in Oregon this month, leading some foreign buyers to cancel their orders of U.S. wheat which put downward pressure on wheat prices in late May. 
 
Farmland Values 
 
The value of, "good" farmland increased by 4% in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the fourth quarter of 2012, and year over year prices have increased 15% in the Federal Reserve Bank's Seventh District which includes Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. 'Good" farmland in the Tenth District increased 20% year over year with non-irrigated farmland increasing 3.4% in the first quarter of 2013 and irrigated farmland increasing 2.9% in the first quarter of 2013. Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado are included in the Tenth District. Both Federal Reserves stated that farmer debt levels are in stable condition and increased farmer income led to such an increase in farmland values. 
 
The Creighton University farmland price index decreased to a still strong 62.1 from 66.9 in April, but has decrease five of the last six months. We expect farmland values to remain strong and track back to historical average appreciation levels of 7% to 10% annually as demand for corn, soybeans, and wheat will continue to rise on a global scale. 
 
Planting Progress 
 
Throughout May, corn and soybean planting was severely delayed due to the soggy fields across much of the Corn Belt. Upwards of ten inches of rain fell over a 24-hour span in isolated areas of the Midwest. As of May 12th, only 28% of the U.S. corn crop had been planted, according to the USDA, which was 37% behind the historical average. Mid month, farmers were able to sow a record amount of corn acres in one week with over 41 million acres planted during the third week in May. Still, corn planting is at 86% complete compared to the historical average of 90% by May 27th. Soybean planting has also been behind schedule at 44%, trailing the historical average of 61%. 
 
Farmland Forecast   Flooded Farmland Freeborn County Minnesota Schober Colvin Cheney
 
Winter wheat conditions were at 42% of the crop in poor or very poor condition compared to only 17% at the same time last year, due to the unseasonably cold weather causing frost damage in early May. Winter wheat in good or excellent condition was 31%, compared to 54% last year. Last year at this time, 85% of winter wheat had headed, but only 60% has headed this year as of May 27th. 
 
Outlook 
 
We will closely monitor the outcome of farmers weighing their options of either planting late corn, switching to soybeans, or opting for prevented planting claims as the forecast for much of the Corn Belt still calls for more wet weather to come. If many farmers elect to switch to soybeans or make insurance claims, expect the USDA to have a slight lag before decreasing the amount of planted acres and total U.S. corn production. Any further weather issues will severely impact the price of new crop corn this fall. 
 
For daily articles on farmland and agriculture, visit www.farmlandforecast.com 
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