When will corn planting begin?

With both the USDA planting intentions report and the quarterly Hogs and Pigs report released today, an active day for those who follow markets and try and estimate impacts. The corn market responded to the report by ending limit up on near-by corn and $0.15-0.18 up for new crop corn. Bean were up even higher based on the lower than expected planted acreage estimate.

If you’ve been following the US corn market, this past week the trade took nearly $0.50 off of the price of bushel of corn. New crop corn bids at country elevator points that I routinely follow dropped below $5/bu earlier this week. The tight carry-out stocks estimate is making for some interesting bidding at country elevators and ethanol plants.

For example, the Farmers Cooperative Society in Sioux Center, Iowa, a major buyer of corn for livestock feed, is bidding -0.06 basis for April delivery and is $0.04 positive basis for August delivery. However, they drop to -$0.45 for October delivery, a basis closer to the historic basis for the region.

At the VitaPlus Swine Summit earlier this morning there was discussion of how ‘early’ corn would be planted in the corn belt. Many corn growers are waiting until April 11 in this region to begin planting, even if soil temperatures are warm already, because that is the first planting date allowed for Federal Crop Insurance. There were several industry advisors at the meeting who had seen corn already emerged in southeast Iowa and central and southern Illinois in a few fields. I’ve heard several producers speculate that if they wait to plant corn closer to historic time-frames, they expect it to emerge rapidly since 4” soil temperatures are in the mid to upper 50’s already for much of northern Iowa and southern Minnesota.

As a point of reference, the 4” soil temperature at the University of Minnesota Southern Outreach and Extension Center in Waseca is 54F this afternoon and already peaked at 68F on March 23. As of yesterday, the daily average 4” soil temperature for March is 44.1F. This compares to the 1976-2010 daily average on April 1 of 37.3F.

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