Resowings talk takes shine from US corn planting catch-up

03.05.2017

The prospect of significant US corn resowings - after heavy rains, of which more are expected – undermined optimism at a faster-than-expected pace of plantings, which saw growers catch-up with the average pace.

US farmers planted 17% of their corn crop in the week to Sunday - equivalent to more than 15m acres, or an area twice the size of Belgium – the US Department of Agriculture said.

The drive took total sowings to 34%, catching up with the average pace, and ahead of the 31% figure expected, with farmers in the major Corn Belt states of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio faring particularly well at exploiting drier conditions at the start of last week.

"The week started out ideal for planting before spotty rains delayed field activity," USDA scouts in Ohio said.

'Showers should return'

However, further wetness looks like dogging farmers in some areas of the Midwest this week, with MDA forecasting that "showers should return to south western areas Wednesday, then spread into central and eastern areas Thursday and Friday", bringing rains of up to 3 inches, with 90% coverage.

Selected corn sowings progress by state, April 30, change on week, and (difference from five-year average)

Missouri: 67%,+21 points, (+11 points)

Illinois: 63%,+29 points, (+16 points)

Indiana: 45%,+30 points, (+19 points)

Ohio: 42%,+33 points, (+21 points)

Iowa: 28%, +20 points, (-7 points)

Minnesota: 12%,+6 points, (-24 points)

South Dakota: 7%,+4 points, (-13 points)

US total (includes other states): 34%,+17 points, (in line)

Sources: USDA, Agrimoney.com

Broker Benson Quinn Commodities said that the market "focus has turned to a system moving through the heart of the Corn Belt on Wednesday and Thursday.

"If this system verifies, progress will be limited until a window of better weather opens up through the weekend and continues through most of next week."

MDA added that the outlook for next week had turned drier in the eastern Midwest.

'Replanting inevitable'

And crop damage over the weekend from cold temperatures and heavy rains may force farmers to resow some of what they have seeded.

"I don't doubt there will have to be some replant due to the heavy rains through Arkansas, Missouri, southern Illinois and southern Indiana," Benson Quinn Commodities said.

"The prospects of getting additional acreage planted in these areas this week is also limited."

At Chicago-based Futures International, Terry Reilly, noting "heavy rains across Missouri into Illinois, southern Indiana into south western Ohio", said that "replanting of some corn will be inevitable".

Corn vs soybeans

The prospect of reseedings has raised the potential that US soybean plantings, which have a slightly later window than corn, could set an even higher record than has been expected this year.

"The market probably retains nascent concerns that some of the corn which requiring replanting may be switched to soybeans," said Tobin Gorey at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.  

US farmers have started soybean seedings at a strong pace, thanks to benign conditions in the US South, with 10% planted as of Sunday, 3 points ahead of the average pace.

'Too wet for field equipment'

Plantings of spring wheat, meanwhile, which is grown in the northern US, last week fell further behind the typical pace, with 31% seeded, compared with the 46% of the crop typically in the ground by now.

Selected spring wheat sowings progress by state, April 30, change on week, and (on five-year average)

South Dakota: 84%,+9 points, (+16 points)

Idaho: 49%,+1 point, (-33 points)

Washington: 49%,+11 points, (-33 points)

Montana: 33%, +16 points, (-7 points)

Minnesota: 21%, +7 points, (-28 points

North Dakota: 18%,+9 points, (-15 points)

US total: 31%,+9 points, (-15 points)

Sources: USDA, Agrimoney.com

In Idaho - where farmers managed to sow just 1% of their spring wheat last week - "northern areas were still very wet", while much of western Washington "still remained too wet for field equipment", meaning sowing delays of 2-5 weeks, "with only a select few on higher and drier grounds capable of planting".

In North Dakota, the top spring wheat-growing state, "colder temperatures, along with rain and snow during the middle of the week, halted most fieldwork".

And across the border in Canada, Manitoba officials pegged the province's overall spring crop sowings at "less than 5%", compared with a figure of 10% as of a year ago.

Better times ahead?

However, spring wheat farmers are expected to see improved sowing weather.

"Look for spring wheat planting in the US and Canada to expand quickly this weekm" Benson Quinn Commodities said.

"Western areas have seen relatively favourable conditions, which are expected to continue this week."


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