The corn crop in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa has been planted in near-record fashion during a seven-day period from April 17 to 23. Nearly ideal planting weather during that period resulted in 80-90% of the corn being planted as of April 23 in most portions of south-central Minnesota. Many producers finished their corn planting by that date, and were waiting a bit to begin planting soybeans. Based on university and seed company research, the ideal window to plant corn in for optimum yield potential in southern Minnesota is April 15-May 5, so most corn in that region will likely be planted in that window for the 2010 growing season. Corn planting has progressed quite rapidly in most areas of the Upper Midwest. Some early planted corn has already started to emerge, as we have already accumulated approximately 150 growing degree units (GDUs) in southern Minnesota since April 5, due to the much warmer-than-normal temperatures throughout most of April.

One concern in some areas late last week, especially portions of western Minnesota, was the rapid depletion of topsoil moisture, due to the very strong winds and the limited rainfall during the month of April in most areas. The dry topsoil concern in many areas of southern Minnesota and northern Iowa was alleviated for the time being this past weekend, when some rainfall occurred across the region. This will be very beneficial to the newly planted corn for good germination and early seedling growth. It should also provide good seedbed moisture for the remainder of corn planting and for soybean planting. Many farmers will likely begin soybean planting around May 1, provided that soil temperatures remain adequate for good seed germination. Soybeans can be planted up until about May 20-25 in order to maintain optimum yield potential. In general, soybean yields are much less sensitive to planting dates than corn.

2009 ACRE Payment Potential


Following is a summary of the potential for Average Crop Revenue Election(ACRE) payments for 2009 corn, soybeans and wheat in Minnesota as of April 1, 2010:

  • CORN – The 2009 ACRE benchmark state yield for corn in Minnesota was 161 bu./acre, and the estimated NASS benchmark price was $4.13/bu., resulting in an estimated statewide ACRE revenue guarantee for 2009 of $598.44/acre (161 bu./A x $4.13/bu. x 0.90 = $598.44/A). According to the latest USDA projections, the 2009 statewide corn yield in Minnesota was 174 bu./acre, and the 12-month national average corn market price for 2009 is estimated at $3.55/bu. Based on the current USDA numbers, there would not be a 2009 ACRE payment for corn in Minnesota. The 2009 national average corn price needs to drop below $3.43 in order to trigger an ACRE payment.

  • SOYBEANS – The 2009 ACRE benchmark state yield for soybeans in Minnesota was 41 bu./acre and the estimated NASS benchmark price was $10.04/bu., resulting in an estimated statewide ACRE revenue guarantee of $370.48/acre (41 bu./A x $10.04/bu. x 0.90 = $370.48/A). According to the latest USDA projections, the 2009 statewide soybean yield in Minnesota was 40 bu./acre and the 12-month national average soybean price for 2009 is estimated at $9.42/bu. Based on the current USDA numbers, there would not be a 2009 ACRE payment for soybeans in Minnesota. The 2009 national average soybean price needs to drop below $9.26/bu., in order to trigger an ACRE payment.
  • WHEAT – The 2009 ACRE benchmark state yield for wheat in Minnesota was 49.9 bu./acre and the estimated NASS benchmark price was $6.63/bu., resulting in an estimated statewide ACRE revenue guarantee of $297.75/acre (49.9 bu./A x $6.63/bu. x 0.90 = $297.75/A). According to the latest USDA projections, the estimated 12-month national average wheat price for 2009 at $4.95/bu. Based on those projections, the estimated 2009 ACRE payment for wheat in Minnesota would be about $29.77/eligible ACRE wheat base acre, plus any additional payment for farm-level average yields that exceed state benchmark yields.

2010 ACRE Program Signup

Eligible farm operators and landowners have until June 1, 2010, to enroll in the ACRE Program for 2010 at county Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices. Producers who enrolled in ACRE for the 2009 crop year are automatically enrolled in ACRE for 2010, 2011 and 2012 when they annually sign up for the farm program at county FSA offices. Other producers can enroll in ACRE for 2010 when they sign up for the 2010 farm program at anytime until June 1, 2010. All producers must sign up for the 2010 Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program (DCP) at their county FSA office, in order to receive their 2010 direct payments on eligible crops, including corn, soybeans and small grains. For more information on the ACRE program or 2010 DCP signup, producers should contact their county FSA Office, or go to the USDA FSA Web site.

ACRE enrollment does require a signature from landlords on cash rental farm units. Producers are encouraged to analyze situations and scenarios that are more favorable for ACRE enrollment for 2010, as well as situations where the best option may be continuing with the traditional DCP. To receive copies of updated ACRE program information and a listing of Web Sites with good ACRE information, please contact Kent Thiesse via e-mail at kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com.

Editor’s note: Kent Thiesse is a former University of Minnesota Extension educator and now is Vice President of MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. You can contact him at 507-726-2137 or via e-mail at kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com.