Evening Report (VIP) -- May 13, 2013

May 13, 2013 10:30 AM
 

CORN PLANTING PUSHES TO 28% COMPLETE... As of Sunday, USDA reports 28% of the U.S. corn crop was planted. While that's up 16 percentage points from the previous week, the pace remain well behind 85% last year and the five-year average of 65%. Corn planting is 15% complete in Iowa (79% on average), 17% in Illinois (64% on average), 30% in Indiana (54% on average), 18% in Minnesota (68% on average) and 43% in Nebraska (77% on average).

Corn is only 5% emerged, up just two percentage points from the previous week and well behind 52% last year at this time and the five-year average of 28%.

 

SOYBEAN PLANTING 6% COMPLETE... Only 6% of the U.S. soybean crop was seeded as of Sunday, according to USDA's weekly progress update. That compares to 2% last week, 43% last year and 24% on average for this date. Soybean planting is 1% complete in Iowa (30% on average), 0% in Illinois (19% on average), 6% in Indiana (26% on average), 2% in Minnesota (26% on average) and 7% in Nebraska (33% on average).

 

SPRING WHEAT PLANTING MOVES TO 43% DONE... Spring wheat planting improved 20 percentage points last week, pushing the pace to 43% complete as of Sunday. That's still well behind 92% done on this date last year and the five-year average of 63%. Planting in North Dakota is only 26% complete (53% on average) and Minnesota is only 19% seeded (65% on average).

 

COTTON PLANTING NEAR ONE-QUARTER COMPLETE... As of Sunday, only 23% of the U.S. cotton crop was planted, which is half the pace of year-ago and 15 percentage points behind the five-year average. Cotton planting is 20% complete in Texas (31% on average) and 23% done in Georgia (34% on average).

 

WINTER WHEAT CONDITION VIRTUALLY UNCHANGED... USDA reports 39% of the U.S. winter wheat crop is rated "poor" to "very poor" and 32% of the crop is rated "good" to "excellent" as of Sunday, unchanged from week-ago. But there was a one-percentage-point shift from the "poor" to "very poor" category.

Winter Wheat

very poor

poor

fair

good

excellent

This week

20

19

29

27

5

Last week

19

20

29

27

5

Year-ago

5

9

26

46

14

USDA reports 29% of the winter wheat crop was headed as of Sunday, up 9 percentage points from week-ago, but well behind 73% last year at this time and 51% on average. Only 9% of the Kansas wheat crop is headed compared to 52% on average.

 

NWS 6- TO 10-DAY OUTLOOK LESS FAVORABLE FOR PLANTING... The National Weather Service 6- to 10-day outlook for May 19-23 is a mixed bag for the Corn Belt. A band of below-normal temps are expected to stretch from the upper Midwest south to the Gulf, encompassing most of North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri as well as the eastern halves of South Dakota and Nebraska. Chilly temps are also expected along the western edges of Wisconsin and Illinois. The areas on either side of this band through the Corn Belt are expected to see normal temps.

The forecast calls for above-normal precip in the northern and eastern Corn Belt, as well as the northwest half of Iowa, while more southern and western regions of the Midwest are expected to see normal to below-normal precip. The wetter and cooler outlook for much of the Corn Belt puts added importance on substantial planting progress being made this week. See the temp and precip maps.

 

HOUSE FARM BILL OFFERS 'TRANSITION PAYMENTS' & STAX FOR 2014, 2015... The House farm bill includes a transition payment provision that attempts to bolster cotton producers' safety net for 2014 and 2015 crops should USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) not be able to implement the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) revenue-assurance program in a timely manner. The Senate bill does not include a similar transition payment, but relies on STAX as the cotton safety net program, with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) assuming the program would be implemented beginning with the 2014 crop (thus, Fiscal Year 2015 costs). The proposed House farm bill would offer "transition payments" via Title I to cotton producers for 2014 and 2015 crops, even if STAX is available those years.

The House farm bill proposal would alter the STAX revenue insurance program for cotton (via the crop insurance title) by removing the reference price opposed by Brazil and the U.S. National Cotton Council (NCC). (Brazil previously won a World Trade Organization (WTO) challenge to U.S. cotton subsidies.) Under the transition payment program included in the House Title I program, but not the Senate farm bill, cotton growers could garner 70% of their prior direct payment (6.667 cents per pound) in crop year 2014, and 60% of their direct payment in crop year 2015. These would not be called "direct payments" but "transition payments" even though they are based off the prior direct payment level.

Few farm bill watchers believe the farm bill will be signed into law by July 1, and if that date is not met, STAX would not be eligible for 2014 crop cotton. The Senate position and apparently now that of the CBO has been to simply deem that STAX will be up and running. The House, however, goes a step further in offering a phaseout of one element of current policy for a two-year period, a bridge to a radically altered and scaled down policy that may or may not be available in 2014. Learn more.

 

SUPREME COURT: PATENT EXHAUSTION DOESN'T PERMIT FARMER TO REPRODUCE PATENTED SEEDS... The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled unanimously in favor of Monsanto in the Bowman v. Monsanto case, ruling that Vernon Hugh Bowman, an Indiana farmer, had violated Monsanto's patent on Roundup-Ready soybeans when he planted a second generation of the company's soybean seed. He purchased the animal feed from a local grain elevator and used it as seed for his second annual crop. He then kept the seed generated from the successful crop and used it for the next year, repeating the pattern from 2000 to 2007.

The Court ruled that patent exhaustion does not permit a farmer to reproduce patented seeds through planting and harvesting without the patent holder's permission. In the opinion, Justice Elena Kegan says, "If simple copying were a protected use, a patent would plummet in value after the first sale of the first item containing the invention." She continues, "The undiluted patent monopoly, it might be said, would extend not for 20 years as the Patent Act promises, but for only one transaction. And that would result in less incentive for innovation than Congress wanted." The Court emphasized that the ruling was limited to Bowman's case and did not apply to other self-replicating products.

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