Jerry Gulke provides a special analysis of this week’s record-breaking jump in corn planting progress.
After nearly two months of being dramatically behind schedule for corn planting, U.S. farmers are nearly back to average.
According to USDA’s May 20 Crop Progress report, 71% of the U.S. corn crop is in the ground. A record-high 43% of the corn crop was planted last week. The five-year average for this time of year is 79% planted.
Jerry Gulke, president of the Gulke Group, says traders were expecting a large jump and current prices show it. "The market handled the big jump in planting progress pretty well," he says. "But, the market still realizes there is corn to plant and the weather doesn’t look very good in the short-term."
Gulke says the good news is that most of the crop should be in good condition. "It looks like we’re getting off to a really good start. It is hard to find any real dry areas in the country. Last year we already had dry areas creeping into southern Illinois by this time."
He says that once you have a wet atmosphere, it is really hard to develop a drought, at least in the next 30 days. "What is in the ground, I think, has an above-average chance of yielding well."
The Case for Corn
Even though the end of May is almost here, Gulke doesn’t expect to see many farmers switch corn acres to soybeans. According to a recent AgWeb Poll, of the nearly 500 respondents, 64% have no intention of changing their corn acres. Around 20% said they would.
"Because of the economic difference between corn and soybeans, most guys will continue to plant corn," Gulke says. "Some people are saying you can take a reasonable reduction in corn yields from planting it late and still make more money than you can with beans, based on today’s prices."
Additionally, prices are supporting the decision to stick with corn. "Unless corn would really fall out of bed here, I think we’ll plant more corn," he says. "The market is giving us an incentive to go ahead and finish the rest of the corn acres."
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