Currently, 2% of the U.S. corn crop has been planted, according to USDA’s April 13 Crop Progress and Condition Rating report. That compares with a five-year average of 5% planted. Texas and Kansas are ahead of schedule, with 46% and 14% planted, respectively.
Even with just a fraction of this year’s corn crop in the ground, Ted Seifried, of Zander Ag Hedge, is already analyzing 2015 corn yield estimates.
USDA projected a 2015 U.S. average corn yield of 166.8 bu./acre at its February 2015 Outlook Forum.
“That seems really high,” Seifried says. “I’m a little bit uncomfortable with that number since we’ve heard guys are spending less on inputs this year.” While reducing input costs makes sense in the current environment, he says, it doesn’t make him confident yields will exceed expectations.
Seifried says his current yield estimate is around 161 bu./acre, but he wouldn’t be surprised if it comes in closer to the high 150s.
“Weather will become a major driving factor in the months to come,” he says. “For the moment the trade is looking at early season planting weather as bearish, with all of the rain in the eastern half of the Corn Belt and the dryness in the western half.”
If these weather patterns continue, Seifried says, the trade may get concerned about yield potentials. “If we have a less-than-perfect growing season, we’ll start knocking that yield down very quickly,” he says. “That will have a significant effect on the tightening balance sheet for next year.”
How is your planting season going? Submit your crop plans to email@example.com or share your weather report here: Spring 2015
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