The weather this Spring has not been kind to U.S. farmers, many of whom still remain on the sidelines. Saturated conditions continue to plague most key growing areas which has impacted normal planting, a trend that is not likely to ease any time soon.
The numbers tell the story… and it’s not pretty. The table above is a summary of this past Monday’s USDA/NASS Crop Planting and Progress Report. With the exception of Texas and Louisiana, both of which benefited from a warm, dry start, the remainder of the U.S. top corn and soybean producing states are behind the five year average, some significantly.
In fact, double-digit deficits are in place across the entirety of the Mid-South and southern Corn Belt states. Further, while this is the week when Corn Belt states typically have 5% or more planted, there has literally been no planted corn. The Soybean pace has also slowed considerably across the South with double-digit deficits already in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. And this is not just affecting corn and beans… other spring crops, such as cotton, rice, spring wheat, sorghum and barley are also all lagging their 5-year average.
And the near term forecast isn’t going to help the situation very much. The next 2 weeks are expected to bring continued storms for the Plains and Corn Belt states, with several inches of rain likely on top of already saturated ground.
Any windows of dry conditions will be brief for most, and producers, consultants and suppliers should take advantage of any opportunities that they can, provided that they don’t have to worry about getting equipment stuck in fields. Overall, however, looking at the country as a whole, a cooler trend to end April for areas north of I-80 combined with a forecast of snow this weekend from the Dakotas to Michigan, isn’t likely to change the situation very much anytime soon.
Since the catastrophic mid-March event in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, flooding has expanded into the Red River Valley of the Dakotas and south along the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa and Missouri. Most tributaries over this large area are now cresting or soon will be. That may be good news for many municipalities, but not much comfort for farmers whose fields have been left with the resulting gravel, silt and sand. For them, the season was over before it even started.
While periods of heavy rain could slow the receding waters in those northern areas, the big concern now shifts to the lower Mississippi River basin. The combination of very heavy rainfall, overly saturated soils, and flood waters flowing south into the region will create problems for another group of producers and agribusiness firms. While most streams and rivers are currently reported at minor or moderate flood stage, most are expected to continue to rise, with many expected to reach major flood stage in the days to come.
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