Yes, U.S. corn and soybean planting is pacing with historical averages. As of May 21, 84% of the corn crop and 53% of the soybean crop is in the ground, which are only 1 percentage point different than the five-year averages for both crops.
But, that’s only part of the story, says Jerry Gulke, president of the Gulke Group.
Even with 84% of the potential 90-million-acres corn crop farmers intended to plant in the ground, around 14 million acres of corn is still left to plant. And it’s almost the end of May.
“We’re pretty close to the five-year corn planting average,” Gulke says. “But some farmers have been forced to replant their corn crop—some even replanting twice.”
Many major corn-growing states have been drenched with spring rains that have make the 2017 planting season a start-and-stop affair. This situation is causing potentially big market implications.
“We had so much left unplanted last week that it easy to lose 1 million acres of corn to water, prevent plant or soybeans,” Gulke says. “We only need 1 million or 2 million less corn acres of what was intended to suddenly have carryover at this time next year to be well below 2 billion bu. instead of well above.”
With corn acres in jeopardy, soybean prices have started trending lower. In fact, soybean prices hit new lows for the year.
“The bean market is saying, ‘I don’t have to tell you to plant them now because Mother Nature intervened,’” Gulke says. “This is not a good situation because the guys who are going to end up planting beans probably didn’t hedge them because they didn’t think they were going to have to plant them.”
Gulke encourages farmers to closely watch the next Crop Progress report, which issues Tuesday, May 30. How many acres will be planted this week? How many acres are under water? How many acres will get planted to beans instead of corn?
“Planting corn at the end of May is questionable,” he says. “Mother Nature is now making the decisions of what to plant and when.”