Thiesse’s Thoughts

Most of south central Minnesota has received some welcome rainfall this past weekend, May 5-7, with many areas reporting one inch or more of rainfall. Much of the region had been relatively dry since mid-April, resulting in very dry topsoil conditions in some areas. The recent rainfall should be quite beneficial to newly planted corn and soybeans, and should provide adequate topsoil moisture for good germination of newly planted soybeans. The only bad news with the weekend rainfall was some strong winds on Sunday, May 6, that caused some minor building damage, and several downed trees in portions of southern Minnesota.

As of May 7, over 90% the corn was planted in south central Minnesota, with most of the corn planted by April 25 now emerged. The early planted stands of corn look good to excellent across the region. Soybean planting progress varies across the region, with 80-90% of the soybeans planted in the central and northern portions of south central Minnesota, and less than 30% of the soybeans planted in the southern segments of south central Minnesota and adjoining areas of northern Iowa. The latter area has been much wetter through the early portion of the 2007 growing season. Planting progress for both corn and soybeans remains very slow in parts of Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana, due to continued wet field conditions.

Late Corn Planting
Some crop production and grain marketing experts are now questioning whether or not U.S. farmers will be able to get the full 90 million acres of corn planted that was projected in the USDA Planting Intentions Report in late March. If there is a reduction in the 90 million acres of planted corn in the U.S., it could cause concerns over already tight corn supplies for the coming year, and could lead to increases in corn market prices. According to USDA and grain marketing experts, a U.S. corn production of approximately 12.5 billion bushels is needed in 2007 to meet corn usage demands, and to maintain the projected corn carryover at current estimated levels. To achieve this level of U.S. corn production in 2007 will require that approximately 90 million acres of corn is planted, and that we have a national average corn yield in 2007 of slightly over 150 bu./acre. Both the planted acreage, and the 2007 yield targets, may be lofty goals for 2007, given the delayed corn planting that exists in many areas of the Midwest.

Of course, any shift in corn acreage due to late planting will likely result in added soybean acreage for 2007, which could put downward pressure on soybean prices in the coming months. Most crop production experts feel that Midwest farm operators will stay with planting their intended corn acres at least until May 15-20, before switching planned 2007 corn acres to extra 2007 soybean acres. There may be some grain marketing opportunities in the next few weeks resulting from the planting delays in portions of the Midwest.

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.