Evening Report (VIP) -- May 6, 2013

May 6, 2013 09:34 AM

CORN PLANTING 12% COMPLETE... USDA reports that corn producers were able to increase plantings 7 percentage points last week, with planting now at 12% complete. This is close to the record-slow pace of 10% in 1984 and compares to 69% last year and 47% on average. Illinois has just 7% planted (48% on average), with Indiana and Iowa each at 8% planted (41% and 56% on average, respectively). Minnesota is 2% planted (51% on avearge) and Nebraska is 14% complete (53% on average).

Traders expected around 15% of the crop to have been planted by Sunday, and look for an acceleration of planting this week. But the weather forecast turns wet again Wednesday evening (see Martell weather forecast below).

Just 3% of the corn crop had emerged as of Sunday, which is just a one-percentage-point improvement from last week and compares to 29% last year and 15% on average. Cooler-than-normal temps last week kept soil temps too low across most of the Corn Belt for active germination.



SOYBEAN PLANTING 2% COMPLETE... USDA reports that as of Sunday just 2% of the nation's soybean crop was planted, which compares to 22% last year and 12% on average. None of the crop has been planted in Illinois, Indiana or Iowa, which compares to 8%, 16% and 10% on average, respectively. Traders expected 4% of beans to have been seeded.



CONDITION OF WINTER WHEAT CROP SLIPS AGAIN... The condition of the winter wheat crop declined again, with 32% rated "good" to "excellent," which is down one percentage point from last week. USDA now rates 39% of the crop in "poor" to "very poor" shape, which is up four percentage points from last week.

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USDA reports as of Sunday that 20% of the winter wheat crop was headed, which compares to 14% last week and 64% last year and 39% on average. Kansas has just 3% headed (32% on average); Oklahoma is at 42% (83% on average); and Texas is at 53% (71% on average).



COTTON PLANTING 17% COMPLETE... As of Sunday, USDA reports that cotton planting advanced by just three percentage points from the previous week to 17%, which compares to 35% last year and 27% on average. While California and Arizona are on their final leg of planting, just 16% has been planted in Texas (24% on average).



LESS THAN ONE-QUARTER OF SPRING WHEAT PLANTING COMPLETE... USDA reports that as of Sunday, only 23% of the nation's spring wheat crop was planted, which compares to 12% last week, 82% a year-ago and 50% on average. Washington and Idaho will be wrapping up planting efforts soon, as 94% and 92% of the crop in those states is planted, respectively. Meanwhile, South Dakota saw more favorable conditions last week to get to 46% planted (74% on average). But just 7% of the crop is planted in North Dakota (40% on average) and 2% in Minnesota (50% on average).

USDA reports 5% of the spring wheat crop has emerged, which compares to 3% last week, 43% a year-ago and 19% on average.



NWS 6-10 DAY FORECAST: BELOW-NORMAL PRECIP FOR CORN BELT... The National Weather Service (NWS) forecast for May 12-16 calls for below-normal precip from eastern Nebraska to Ohio, with most of the Corn Belt expected to see normal temps. Above-normal temps are expected across the West, including the Northern Plains and the western two-thirds of Nebraska, signaling warmer conditions may be on their way later this month. Click here for related maps.



MARTELL: WET CONDITIONS TO RETURN WEDNESDAY... Meteorologist Gail Martell of MartellCropProjections.com says after a few sunny days, showers are expected to return to the Corn Belt by Wednesday night and Thursday morning when a large, slow-moving system develops. "Heavy rainfall is predicted in key winter wheat farms in Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma, where 1-2 inch rains are likely. West Texas and southwest Oklahoma would receive less rainfall, under .50 inch," she says. "Top corn-producing areas of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa are expecting .75 to 1.25 inch of rainfall. Similar rains are anticipated in central and southern Illinois, the southern half of Indiana and southern Ohio. The slow moving storm would be a big rain maker in the Mid-South too." Click here for related maps.



DRIER WEATHER BOOSTS BRAZILIAN SOYBEAN EXPORTS IN APRIL... South American crop consultant Dr. Michael Cordonnier says drier weather during April allowed for near-record soybean exports from Brazil's two main southern ports in Paranagua and Santos. Soybean exports of 7.15 MMT were nearly double the previous month's total and were just short of the record set in May 2012.

"At the Port of Paranagua, loading operations were suspended due to wet weather for 310 hours during March (13 days), while during the month of April, wet weather caused loading operations to be suspended for only 90 hours (3.75 days)," says Dr. Cordonnier.

But the forecast for the next two weeks is wetter for the region, which could slow exports. "The fronts won't result in continuous rainfall, but there will be enough precipitation to cause loading disruptions. If this forecast verifies, soybean exports during May and June could end up being less than what they were during April," says Dr. Cordonnier.



ARGENTINE GOVERNMENT TO ISSUE REBATES ON WHEAT EXPORT TAX TO FARMERS... The Argentine government will give tax rebates to farmers to compensate for a 23% levy on wheat exports in hopes it will encourage an increase in planted acreage, according to a Reuters report. The wheat export taxes contributed $200 to $300 million to the struggling government, according to private estimates, but the rebate is a positive sign the government is willing to work with farmers.



ATTACHE SAYS AUSTRALIAN PRODUCERS WAITING ON RAIN... The U.S. ag attache in Australia says due to hot and dry conditions over the summer, many producers are waiting on rain before seeding winter wheat. The attache says early estimates are for a 3% drop in wheat plantings in New South Wales, while canola plantings are expected to be down by around 30% from last year. "These patterns are expected to be repeated across most growing areas with further reductions expected in Victoria where spring and summer rainfall was the third lowest on record," says the attache.

However, the attache says the exception could be in the Western Australia wheat belt, where soil moisture profiles are much better. But the attache notes financial troubles due to rising input costs and declining land values, coupled with a high Australian dollar, have made many banks reluctant to extend financing to allow winter planting to occur.

Additionally, the attache says total Australian wheat exports for 2012-13 are nearly 20% below last year.



CONSERVATION LINKAGE TO CROP INSURANCE NOT EXPECTED IN HOUSE MARKUP... In "First Thing Today" we reported that draft language submitted to the Senate Ag Committee this weekend deals with the controversial subject of linking conservation compliance with crop insurance programs. The coming House farm bill draft, reportedly to be released as text as early as May 8, and to be marked up tentatively on May 15, is not expected to contain similar language. However, some observers expect efforts on this topic in the House -- either or both in Committee and floor action. The likely inclusion of the conservation compliance linkage to crop insurance programs in the Senate farm bill mark, apparently backed by the nation's largest farm organization and perhaps by key commodity groups, will be noted by some House members when the farm bill gets to that chamber's floor.

A veteran farm policy contact said, "Conservation compliance tied to crop insurance has been way overhyped by some. A very high percentage of program crop acreage is already covered. And, the administration can be handled by giving farmers out of compliance time to comply and then if not, the following year crop insurance subsidy lost. I think some version will be in the final farm bill." Get more details about the compromise paper worked out by the American Farm Bureau Federation and others.


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