So far this spring, observers have suggested the Corn Belt can be split down the middle thanks to dry conditions conducive to planting out west and wet conditions out east.
Yet this early in the season, Peter Meyer of PIRA Energy Group says planting progress is a non-story.
“For Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota, the heart of the belt there, [things are] fine,” Meyer says during the “AgDay” Agribusiness Update segment. “Nebraska’s got some problems, east’s got some problems, but the heart of the belt, I think there’s not a story there.”
The eastern Corn Belt has indeed faced wet conditions, but there’s no need to get nervous just yet.
“If I looked at the date and we were two or three weeks further down, I’d be a little bit worried about the eastern belt,” Meyer explains. “I haven’t gone through the eastern belt yet, just on [Interstate] 80. I don’t like a windshield tour. I’ll go through there on the way back through Indiana, Ohio. I know it’s wet. But the western belt is going pretty well. They understand the importance of getting the crop in in a timely basis, and a lot of farmers have said you know what, I know what the calendar says. It might still be a little bit early, but I also know what my field is telling me, and when conditions are right, I’m going in. Conditions are right in the west, they’re not right in the east. We’ll see how long that lasts.”
Elsewhere in the country, farmers are well on their way with planting.
“[In] southeast Minnesota, [I’ve] talked to a lot of farmers there that are done,” Meyer notes. “Central Illinois, yep, we’re done. Northern Illinois, getting going, progress is going well. And the farmers in Iowa [are] really starting to move along here a little bit.”
Producers who follow market news should remember that while planting is critical, it’s only part of the larger crop-cycle story.
“Let’s see what the weather brings. The weather’s the wild card. Anybody that tells you that yields are going to be below 160 or above 170 at this point, they’re throwing a needle at a dartboard because we just don’t know with the way the weather is going to be. The long-range forecasts, I don’t put much stock in them. I’ll put them out two weeks, and even then I get a little bit nervous about it.”