I am not sure if Mother Nature is listening, but if so, could you stop with the near daily rainfall, wet soil conditions, and cool temperatures already. I dumped a .5″ from the gauge again this morning. That makes just over 5″ dumped from the gauge at the plot since May 1. Add to the that the copious rainfall totals during April, and we can see why planting is such a challenge for local producers.
I’ve heard from our producers who have been stuck, have already switched to Urea to lessen the interval from nitrogen application to planting, to some folks that still have anhydrous ammonia yet to apply. It isn’t too hard to find someone who still have unplanted acres, with some areas, especially to our east much further behind than West Central Illinois. When the conditions did briefly allow field operations late last week, thru the weekend and into last evening, lots of progress got made, but there is still a lot of corn and beans to plant yet.
This morning, I put together some comments for an upcoming taped radio program that will air later this week, and in the process of planning for the interview, looked at the May 19th numbers from both the Heartland (Illinois) office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service as well as the national numbers for corn and soybean planting. The numbers are quite sobering. As of Sunday evening’s cut-off for Monday’s release, only 24% of the corn was in ground state-wide and 9% of the soybeans. Nationwide, the numbers aren’t a whole lot better, especially for Indiana and Ohio, which lag behind Illinois. One statistic I saw that was interesting was the progress made in Iowa, which was well ahead of Illinois at 70% planted for corn and 20% planted for beans, both numbers well ahead of Illinois. It seems hard to believe, but hat just shows how fickle the weather can be, and how just a few days of fieldwork can make a difference. We’ll get done, just going to take longer this year.
In my comments I mentioned above, I also looked at what is going on with grain prices. If there is any bright spot, it does seem to be in grain prices, especially corn for remaining old crop sales, as well as pricing new crop bushels. For the first time in a long time, it is nice to hear the grain buyer call or email me with prospects to book new crop corn with a “4” in front. Now if we can just get beans with a “9” in front again.