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May 2011 Archive for Current Marketing Thoughts

RSS By: Kevin Van Trump, AgWeb.com

Kevin Van Trump has over 20 years of experience in the grain and livestock industry.

SPECIAL UPDATE - Russia

May 28, 2011

 I wanted to let everyone know that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced that the country will lift its ban on grain exports on July 1st. Remember, the Russian government banned exports of wheat, barley, rye, corn and flour last August after a severe drought and heat wave cut the country's grain production by almost 40%. In my opinion this was the first major domino to tumble in this recent bull-run...lets hope this latest statement to lift the ban isn't the last piece of the puzzle.  The Russians are claiming their spring planting is 10% higher than the previous year and that their winter wheat harvest was good enough to lift the bans. Russia’s Agriculture Ministry estimates the total grains harvest may be between 85 million and 90 million tons, up from 60.9 million tons last year.

 
You know my feelings, I think it is all political, but you have to respect the fact the market may not take kindly to the news of Russian wheat being available once again to the world market.  The bulls and bears will fight it out in Monday nights opening, with the bulls continuing to talk about crop production problems in the US, Canada, France, Germany, UK, China and possibly even Russia.  The bears on the other hand will be rejoicing in the fact that more global supplies will soon be available form a major producer such as Russia.
 
I still believe any major breaks this next week should be secured.  It may take a few days for the markets to digest the news so be cautious jumping in the waters with both feet early.  
 
Have a good weekend, just wanted to keep everyone updated,
 
 

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Trade Looking at the "Unknowns" in the Market

May 26, 2011

 With some key corn growing areas now reaching their "preventive planting" dates producers are certainly faced with some tough decisions.  Throw in the fact that spring wheat acres are in serious jeopardy, and the upcoming weather forecasts not boding well for those still waiting to plant, the trade is becoming a little more nervous.  The wheat trade in particular is getting extremely nervous.  With the funds having barely dipped their toe in the Chicago wheat market, you have to believe the upside potential in the next few weeks could be explosive.  Despite global wheat prices being high, I would not suggest being short any of the wheat markets at this venture.  Corn may lag a bit as there seems to be some speculation and thoughts that not only could old crop soybean sales be rolled forward into the new crop, but so could old crop corn sales that are still on the books.  This is certainly a possibility, but becoming harder for me to digest as I hear reports that a couple more ships bound for Asia have appeared at US ports in both the Gulf and Pacific Northwest.  From where I sit, it looks to me like exports are holding steady or if anything gaining some steam.  Obviously this could all change in a heartbeat, but for now the situation seems stable.  Prices have almost reached my short-term objectives in both corn and beans, and I am starting to feel the trade has almost entirely priced in the unknowns regarding the US acreage estimates.  Remember, it is the "unknowns" that increase valuations.  As the markets start to learn more about the realities, it will become more comfortable and some air will be taken out of its sails.  With this in mind I will be looking to pull the trigger on another small percentage (completing the % I allocated towards pricing on planting hype).  This leaves me trying to market my the final 30-40% of my corn and beans on extreme weather related runs or global supply and demand issues that may arise.  This is certainly an ample amount of production to be risking on weather and global issues.  I would urge you to follow my lead and start looking to lock in just a little more on the final phase of the acreage concerns.  My remaining chips will be left on the table split between betting on the yield and global supply/demand issues, as I anticipate domestic demand will stay somewhat intact.          

 
* Today's trade was all about poor weather with wheat leading the move.  Drought conditions in Europe, Russia and China being closely monitored on a global scale.  With US markets closed Monday for the Memorial Day holiday, traders were keen to catch any slight weather changes or developments in the forecast as they head into an extended holiday.  Some of the big boys seem to have scheduled an extended break and squared up positions at the end of today rather than waiting for tomorrow.  With old crop corn export sales continuing to look strong, you have to believe those short the corn basis will continue looking for opportunities to bull spread the July vs Sept corn.  My thoughts on Export Sales Numbers are in the rest of today's report.  
 
 

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Chinese Lies & Corn Concerns

May 24, 2011

I hate to keep harping on it, but I find the way the USDA is handling the entire Chinese corn story a joke.  First of all, a sale of 1 million tons of US corn was reported as being sold to an "unknown" destination.  After the trade suspects it is China, the Chinese government denied they had purchased any US corn, and further confirmed they have no interest in corn.  Now all of a sudden we have actual ships being loaded with US corn set sail for China, and Sinograin, China's designated corn buyer admitting that they have in fact purchased some US corn, but won't reveal how much.  Why do we continue to listen to these people and buy into their lies?  I have no idea how much corn they will end up buying or the amount of corn they actually need, but do believe they have a definite corn problem brewing.  Maybe they make it through another year, who knows.  I am telling you now, there is no way they would be changing around corn limitations, adding additional taxes to corn based products, canceling bean shipments to make room for corn shipments, constantly lying about their stock levels if there was no problem or they were not worried about coming up short corn.  Like I have said in the past, you can't get caught up in the numbers, because they are all a joke...you have to try and get a feel for the big picture and how they are trying to manipulate the trade.  
 
* If you want to entertain yourself and further follow the Chinese propaganda, there was some data released yesterday by China's "CNGOIC" which has thrown out their initial estimates for this years Chinese crop production.  Guess what...it's a new record!  Imagine that, China announcing the projection of yet another record crop.  This time they are telling the world their 2011 corn acres have jumped 2% and their total crop will be at a new record of 181.5 million metric tons.  Their wheat crop should be around 115.5 million metric tons, and soybean crop right around 14 million metric tons.  If you have been watching most of the "private" estimates for corn, wheat and soy production in China they are almost all significantly lower.  Why does China even bother, these numbers are a complete joke.
 

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Bullish Fundamentals; Bearish Outside Markets

May 23, 2011

 Bullish Fundamentals vs Bearish Outside Markets!  The markets were quick to add additional weather premium as we opened the session Sunday night, but those premiums quickly faded as more bearish news and continued evidence of a global economic slowdown were unveiled.  The question has to be when will the "fundamentals" in the Ag markets prove to be too much.  When will the Ags bust free from "outside" pressures and take a leadership roll.  I have to believe we are getting extremely close, as several specific contracts have been able to gain ground despite the negative influence of the outside markets.  Just take a look at the July corn contract.  This contract has exploded higher the past few days despite the weight of the US Dollar.  You have to believe July corn would be even higher if it were not for the outsides weighing on the trade.  I believe the US corn market is questioning the USDA ending stock numbers right now.  The trade seems very content on building more premium into the price as many inside the industry contend that the strong domestic corn basis means that corn demand is still surging higher, and that we may actually be seeing first hand confirmation that last year’s corn crop was actually overstated by the USDA.  Extremely poor grazing conditions have now placed an abnormally high amount of cattle on feed also sending into question the USDA's assumption that corn being used for feed would fall substantially during the March-August time frame.  With wheat feeding no longer an option, you would have to think the USDA might be forced to rework a few numbers.  You also have to figure that with July corn trading within $0.25 cents of its highs and end-users willing to pay $0.50 to $0.60 over in some areas, that $8.00 corn in fact will pencil for many of them.  With that being the case you would think the July contract will try its darnedest to reach those levels.  A print of $8 might also prompt a little more selling by the producers and pressure the market some short-term.  Obviously, I have no crystal ball, but if you take the current flat price and add the basis premium being paid in most parts, you have to believe fair value is somewhere close by. 

 
* I would imagine soybeans may become extremely volatile these next couple of weeks as traders try and figure out if producers are going to take "preventive plant" or make the switch to more bean acres. 
 
* If rain is added to the forecast for Northern Europe or Russia you may see these grain markets set back, however I highly doubt we stay their very long considering the recent demand and surge in the both the corn and bean basis.  Short-term set backs from outside market pressure and weather adjustments should be anticipated, but the overall fundamental direction for corn still seems to be much higher.  Look for the "outsides" to have some bearing and effect on determining overall direction, however bullish fundamentals should eventually win out.  As long as the "cash" markets continue to pace the field I feel much more comfortable about longer-term price direction.  Remember, it is when the cash starts to drastically diverge from the futures that you have to start wondering about a "bubble." 
 
* Many in the trade now believe that "old crop" corn is undervalued at or below the $7.25 level, and "new crop" is undervalued at or below the $6.45 level.  Thoughts are that "wheat" may be undervalued or a hypothetical floor may be in place close to the $7.50 level based on current global weather conditions.  If weather issues continue a wheat run closer to $10 would not surprise me.  Aggressive producers may want to consider re-owning  at or below these levels mentioned above with some type of limited risk strategy.  I continue to preach not buying into the rallies.  Only use the rallies to buy puts if needed.  
 
* Despite the recent rally, many of the big boys are still deeply concerned that most recent US macro numbers have suggested a significant deceleration in US growth, further confirming a belief that the flow of "new" capital into the commodity markets maybe start to ease in the months ahead.  There is also further confirmation that this may be happening as well in the emerging economies.
 
 

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Caution Being Short The July Corn

May 19, 2011

 Caution Being Short The July Corn

I have been telling you for weeks to be careful 'bear" spreading or shorting the "old crop vs the "new crop" corn and or beans for that matter, and I think we are starting to see why.  To add more confirmation, I urge you to remember we will still have close to 20 million more acres of corn to plant even after next week's USDA crop planting report.  Throw in the fact that most producers have already marketed a large majority of their "old crop" corn, and the fact that the USDA may have simply been "hoping" that higher prices would curtail ending stocks to the level they have forecasted, is reason enough to heed serious warning to the recent basis explosion.  This has been and continues to be a "demand" driven market...period.  If the Eastern rail market continues to feel as if it may not be able to get enough corn to satisfy demand then watch out.  As I mentioned in the opening comments, this market is not 2008 all over again.  This market is more demand driven.  If the Eastern rail market feels as if they will be unable to obtain the corn needed to fill demand they will continue to pressure and bid up the basis.  I have producers in several areas of the Midwest that say they have never seen corn being loaded in the mass it has been lately on to rail and heading out of town.  Many in the Midwest are starting to become a little more concerned that higher coastal premiums may eventually leave the midwest short corn later in the summer.  With thes South somewhat hampered due to heavy rains you have to wonder just how much of the new crop will arrive early, how much will it need to be dried down, how will the quality be in comparison.  With so many unknowns, more end users seem content on paying up now rather than risking the consequences of finding "NO" corn down the road, or having to pay huge premiums to get their hands on it.  If the USDA was wrong in their estimates we could very well see one of the biggest short squeezes ever in the history of the corn market coming down the pipe in the July contract.  I am not going to guarantee anything, but I urge you to be very careful listening to anyone that wants you to get short that July contract at this stage of the game.  They may end up being right and the market fizzles out, but I simply see too much risk to try and prove your point at this stage.  You may actually start to see "longs" in the marketplace starting to play for keeps.  My thoughts are west end-users have become more concerned that they may not be able to secure corn later down the road.  With this in mind they are willing to pay up aggressively now for the corn to secure their needs.  Throw in the fact that poor pasture conditions in Kanas, Oklahoma and Texas have prompted many farmers to move cattle to the feedlots early, now forcing the feedlots to secure more feed which is also pressuring the bid.  If some of the end users start to have trouble securing the bushels they need locally or from their regular sources it could become a very real possibility that you see longs actually try and take delivery of their July futures contract.  Simply stated, "shorts" who are waiting for the "longs" to buy back their positions may be faced with the more realistic chance of having to deliver on their short positions.  If you don't have the physical bushels to play this game and cover your short position I would simply steer clear.  If you actually have the bushels and are looking to play the basis then that is whole different game.  Remember, June options expire on this Friday, all I can say is keep your head on a swivel and start looking for the volatility in the markets to heat up even further.  
 
 

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Not Giving Up On Soybeans...Just Taking A Little Break

May 17, 2011

 

As most of you have seen, I have been scaling back my soybean ratings for the past several weeks.  If you aren't signed up for the report, you can click the link and receive the free trial so you can catch up on where I am at with this.  Since mid-February prices have fallen from the $14.74 high back down closer to the $13 dollar level.  Am I bearish longer-term? Certainly not, but as my sources had indicated supplies were drastically backing up at the ports and the Chinese government was starting to subsidize the processors with below market price beans, along with selling cooking oil below import values to hold food inflation down. With China being the driving force behind global soybean demand there are really very few bullish cards left in the deck right now.  Especially now that the South American crop appears to be safe and larger than originally anticipated. The bad part is this pattern could certainly continue for several more weeks and or even several more months with demand for the South American crop backing up and possibly pressuring US beans well past harvest.  Fear in the trade continues to mount regarding Chinese bean cancellations and thoughts that Chinese demand may continue to slow. There are also several analyst now predicting US producers will have no choice but to plant more bean acres than originally anticipated. With bearish news mounting, you have to believe beans may continue to fall under  pressure, at least until China starts to replenish their  "reserves".  When this happens demand will once again escalate and could potentially push exports to new all-time highs.  Throw in some type of possible production glitch and you have the recipe for skyrocketing prices. When this will occur seems to be the magic question. You have to believe as prices fall and eventually make it more feasible for them to import, they’ll begin to consider refilling their strategic reserves.  Remember, they were able to hold down domestic prices by throwing their state owned soybean reserves on the market at much cheaper prices than anyone could import them for, eventually they have to restock. Knowing this, and understanding how they operate I urge you to be careful getting bearish soybeans longer-term.  Look for beans to have some nice potential down the road, just not right now. There are a few "bullish" cards in the deck right now that you should keep your eye on, but not many.  One pertains to some recent rumors floating around that "quality" issues in the South American bean crop may force China to cancel more South American bean purchases and look for more high quality US beans.  Another thought is that recent forecast are now calling for later than normal dry hot weather which could adversely affect soybean yields.  One more is the fact the Chinese government has made a calculated decision to plant fewer soybean acres this year. One has to believe few acres planted by the Chinese farmers means more beans will be needed in order to replenish domestic supplies. I continue to like being aggressive "cash" sellers above the $13.00 level (simply too good of a price to let slip by), choosing rather to re-own on any substantial break of $1 or $2.  I just believe China has no choice but to step back in on a break to $11 or $12. Trust me, they understand the need to replenish their reserves in a big bad way if they are to have any hopes of battling the next round of inflationary food prices.  I think we are still a ways off, but as bean prices continue to drift lower be on the lookout for China to crank back up the bean buying bonanza. It may not occur for some time, but you have to believe it eventually comes back around.  
 

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My "Big Picture" Thoughts on the Grains

May 16, 2011

 I wanted to catch up with the folks and share a piece of this morning's report.  If you aren't receiving the full report, click the link below and get it for free.  If there's anytime that you need to be closely watching or have someone on your team closely watching the markets for you, it's now.  

from this morning's report:  Just in case you didn't believe me when I told you a few weeks back that the larger hedge funds and a big portion of the managed money would start cutting their bullish bets on the commodity markets, the CFTC has now confirmed my thoughts by releasing data that shows over $17 billion in positions have been liquidated as of late. Reuters is going as far as to say the the so-called "managed money" funds have cut their overall net long holdings in the major US futures markets by all most 250,000 contracts or close to 15% in just the past couple of weeks. Supposedly the value of total fund holdings has now fallen to around $116 billion. If this number is correct it would indicate that less than 1/3 of the total amount of money being held by the funds are actually at risk or invested in the commodity markets at this time.  Don't think for a second this liquidation has been exclusive to Silver and Crude Oil as they have been garnering most of the attention in the media.  The Chicago corn contract has seen the bottom fall out of "Open Interest" the past few weeks. It is estimated that bullish fund managers have taken over $1 billion of long positions out of the corn market reducing their bullish stance closer to levels seen during the middle of last year. The problem is they are still in a huge number of long positions, and if the "outsides" continue to crumble you can almost bet we will see even more liquidation. The good news is with only a 1/3 of their resources invested they certainly have plenty of available funds to pour back into these markets when they believe the timing is right. Now it becomes our job to figure out when the bleeding will stop and when the "money-flow" will turn back around. 

 
Fundamentally, with continued wet weather forecast for portions of the Eastern Corn Belt and areas to the North who are all ready way behind schedule I feel you have to continue exclusively play the corn market from the bullish side.  Factor in the number of acres being lost to flooded areas in the Delta and Southern regions and you would think it is a no-brainer.  The only problem is the funds are still backing out of some positions in the "outside" markets and pressuring every rally.  With Crude Oil down again today I doubt the results will be much different.  We need the "outside" to stabilize in order to gain extended traction. We should come out of the gates higher, but I anticipate our fate will continue to ride on the ultimate direction of crude oil, and the US Dollar.  
 
 

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A Look Inside Today’s USDA Crop Report and “Risk-Off” Day in the Trade

May 11, 2011


As anticipated a "Bearish" report from the USDA is set to send the markets spiraling lower.  I have been telling you for the past couple of weeks to be extremely cautious of the bearish implications that could be in this report for soybeans, where as the bearish corn data came as a bit of surprise.  Front months in corn were big losers with the July and Sep contracts going limit down ending @ 6.77 and 6.51 respectively.  New crop corn Dec ended down .26 cents @ 6.27.  Some of the more surprising bearish news in corn was raising old crop ending stocks to 730 million from 635 million.  Basically they took out 50 million in exports and added 5 million in imports to get this number.  The trade didn’t seem to yet care that they lowered corn yield estimates from 161.7 to 158.7, which is obviously bullish corn.  In terms of soybeans, it was quite bearish as has been the norm for beans lately.  The trade really didn’t react that strongly, July soybeans held together pretty well going down .05 cents ending @ 13.32 and new crop Nov. down a half @ 13.22.  I was thinking that the trade may actually dismiss any bearish implications from the USDA winter wheat numbers on thoughts that the crop has seen significantly more damage and stress in just the past couple of days.  100 degree temperatures, no rain and extremely windy conditions are all weather extremes the USDA was not able to account for in this report.  This was not the case as July wheat ended down .40 cents @ 7.59.  I still believe that once the market has a chance to digest these numbers the trade will start to refocus attention on the total number of corn acres lost to poor planting conditions (which I believe could be 2 million plus) as well as lower yield estimates.  Maintain composure and look for a bounce in both corn and wheat once the market is able to gather its bearings.  The only real chance soybeans have at this point is by being pulled higher by the other two.  

 

Just to let you know that I am not the only one who still thinks we have a chance to move higher during the next few months despite this bearish USDA report, I have include the latest numbers Goldman Sachs just released. I am not even this bullish...lol!  Hang in there. 

 

  • 3 month wheat forecast $8 vs. previous $7.75
  • 6 month wheat forecast $8.35 vs. previous of $7.50
  • 3 month corn forecast $8.60
  • 6 month corn forecast $7.80
  • 3 month bean forecast $15
  • 6 month bean forecast $15.75

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Wheat In A Make-It Or Break-It State

May 09, 2011

With the Kansas Wheat Tour wrapping up it's survey there seems to be more concern over the weekend that the wheat crop is truly at a make or break crossroads.  Most now confirming that if rain doesn't fall in the next few days the US wheat crop could be in serious trouble.  Many producers that I have spoke with have already abandoned their wheat fields and several have already signed off on the insurance.  Many others are borderline and their fate will be determined in the next two weeks at the latest.  The tour determined that that average estimated Kansas wheat yields would be somewhere around 37 bushels per acre.  That is down almost 4 bushels per acre from last years estimate.  I have heard several rumors that many of the guys in the tour feel they have the average number three or four bushels too high, and that Kansas will actually come in below 35 bushels per acre before it is all said and done.  There has been some recent criticism going around that the Tour generally estimates the crop too low, so maybe they are erring to the high side this time around.  All I know is that the crop is at a very critical stage and rainfall is going to be highly critical.  The trade will certainly be watching intently as the temps really start to heat up.  Don't forget the USDA will take their first stab at winter wheat production on Wednesday, and as far as I am concerned all bets are off in regards to final production numbers.  There are just too many variables in the air right now concerning abandoned acres, drought conditions, excess rainfall in some areas, planting delays, etc...  I am worried that if the rains come, traders will be very quick to take premium away in a real hurry.  The fears that Russia, India, Argentina, and Australia will all be back in the exporting game is certainly weighing on the market.  Without the weather concerns, I have to believe we would be significantly lower... If you like gambling on the weather then this is your market for the next few days.  If your a producer and have very little sold you may want to take advantage of any rallies that come our way during the next couple of weeks. 
 

Check wheat prices.

 
 

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How Long Will This Pull-Back in the Grains Last?

May 06, 2011

 I thought it was fitting to start the morning wire off with an old trade adage, "Remember, commodities tend to take the stairs higher when going up, but like to use the elevator when going down..."  Once again, we have seen just how true this statement is.  During Thursday’s day session and throughout the overnight session, Gold went down almost $50 in one day, Silver down almost $15 dollars in the past sessions, Crude down over $10 on extended limits... it was just a complete mass exodus from the funds, ETF's and small speculators.  It seems like the first domino to fall was the metals market, then we moved into the energies and have in the overnight spilled over into the Ags.  Friday was shaping up to be just as volatile as recent days and did not disappoint.  In the overnights Crude, Metals and finally Ags, rallied right before the open of the Friday day session.  Corn, Beans and wheat were all up through half of the morning.  The market seemed on track to take back a good chunk of what we had lost yesterday.  That is, until Greece came out in the middle of the morning and said that they are thinking of abandoning the Euro.  This sent the markets reeling with the Dollar getting a substantial boost and commodities taking a good hit.  Corn looked to go limit down, but hung on to the end of the day with July ending at $6.86 and both wheat and beans ending in the positive.  The grains seemed to get a little shot in the arm from the Informa numbers released in the morning.  Overall they were fairly bullish numbers with corn acreage down 300k to 91.9 million.  Soybeans dow 600k to 76.0 million and spring Wheat down 360k to 14.0 million. 

Fund Liquidation Hits the Grains: Are the Fundamentals Gone?

May 05, 2011
A WILD Ride in the markets today as the larger funds continue to close out long positions in massive amounts.  You have to believe spill over pressures and rebalancing has certainly made its way into the agricultural markets.  During the past 10 days alone, I have heard open interest in corn has dropped by close to 150,000 contracts (equal to about 750 million bushels).  I am telling you now it is tough for any market to mount a rally with this type of liquidation taking place.  Just take a look at what the liquidation has done to the silver market the past couple of days...unbelievable!  In similarly astonishing fashion, crude oil had almost a 10% drop, down close to 10$...WOW!  Ever since Bernanke and the Fed made their post-game announcement last Wednesday, and the end of QE2 becomes more of a reality the big boys have started taking their chips off the table.  You can say what you like, the numbers don't lie.   Despite this strong liquidation, I truly believe corn and perhaps even wheat have a strong enough story to carry them through this storm.  Adding more weight to the downside, are thoughts inside the trade that consumers who will not be able to trim gasoline usage will be forced to make cuts to their budgets in other areas.  Several now thinking the areas that may see the first cuts could be the higher end protein foods such as beef and pork.  Copper, cotton and sugar are also seeing concerns arising in terms of demand.  If you haven't signed-up for my daily commentary, you need to.  I have been writing in the report for the past two weeks and will continue to say it... "Money-flow is coming out of the commodity markets!"  There is uncertainty in the air in regards to what happens to commodity prices in the short-term.  I suspect money flow to pour back in at some point, the question now becomes how long does the exodus last and how long will the big boys who have left the trade sit on the sideline?  This is exactly why I wanted you to get yourself 50-60% sold, and into a more risk adverse and manageable position.  Now we can hunker down and patiently wait for money-flow to return or another bullish scenario to unveil itself.  All I can say is try and hold on while the big boys play the game and move the money.     
 
*Until money-flow, rebalancing and fund liquidation eases you absolutely should not be buying strength or adding to any types of rallies. The big boys are currently using the rallies to exit...not to add!

 

 

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Is Nitrogen Loss a Major Issue With All Of The Current Heavy Rainfall

May 02, 2011

 

I was sent a great article last night that was written by our friends on the "Agronomic Crop Team" over at Ohio State University.  It addresses the current heavy rainfall and more specifically, if we should be concerned about nitrogen loss this early in the year.  Robert Mullen and Ed Lentz point out that the difference between last year (when concerns really became evident in mid-May) and this year are soil temperatures.  Weather monitoring stations located at OARDC research locations across the state are revealing that we have not reached soil temperatures above 53 F for any extended periods.  This is especially true for the northern half of the state.  Additionally, water logged soils that may be warming are not likely to experience much in the way of nitrification of the applied ammonia.  Remember, anhydrous applied during that very small window two weeks ago or even earlier has not really been subject to nitrification thanks to the cool, water logged soils.  So, should you be concerned?  At this point, you should not be.  This is especially true if you used a nitrification inhibitor.  Something needs to be mentioned about this compressed time frame for corn planting this spring.  If you have yet to apply your N, and you were planning on using anhydrous ammonia, you must allow adequate time between application and planting and the anhydrous must be injected deep enough to prevent contact with the seed.  Mismanagement of anhydrous ammonia applications close to planting can dramatically reduce stand and a thin stand is the easiest way to decrease yield potential.  Lentz and Mullen really want to caution growers who are in in no-till systems that are considering the use of the new anhydrous toolbars that apply ammonia shallower.  These toolbars do reduce surface disturbance, and they do require less draft power to make the applications, but they can cause issues on corn germination.  These toolbars are designed to apply N shallower in the soil, and planting to soon after application can cause some emergence issues.  We are not running down the toolbars themselves as they do what they are marketed to do quite effectively.  They allow no-till producers to supply anhydrous ammonia with minimal disturbance with less power.  Shallower applications of anhydrous are a greater risk for germinating plants, so if you are going to be using these toolbars be prepared to wait at least a week (maybe longer) to plant, or apply the N diagonal to the direction of planting.
 

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