Minding Ag's Business

Weather Anxiety Changes Trend in Corn, Soybean Markets as Planting Stalls in Early May

Katie Micik Dehlinger
By  Katie Micik Dehlinger , Farm Business Editor
With surplus topsoil moisture estimates climbing, concerns are growing about planting delays. (DTN map)

MT. JULIET, Tenn. (DTN) -- More rain is in the forecast for the Corn Belt in early May, and that could cascade into more planting delays.

DTN Ag Meteorologist John Baranick and DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman discussed the nuances of this situation with me in our latest "Conversations with DTN" video, recorded May 7. You can watch or listen to the full discussion here: https://www.dtnpf.com/….

Here's a synopsis:

Lingering El Nino impacts have kept an active weather pattern across most of the Corn Belt, and with more rain on tap for the first full week of May, it could lead to more planting delays.

"It just seems that system after system keeps moving through," said Baranick, adding that a ridge in the East keeps pulling moisture from the Gulf of Mexico to fuel those systems. That's led to a lot of severe weather and heavy rain across the country. "We've just seen massive amounts of water falling on ground that frankly really needed it. We've been eliminating drought left and right, and it's been a really good thing for a lot of folks."

But for others, it's too much of a good thing. While rain replenished a lot of depleted subsoil moisture, it's also delayed planting. According to USDA's Crop Progress report, corn planting is running about 3 percentage points behind the five-year average at 36% complete, while soybeans are 4 percentage points ahead of the average pace at 25% planted.

Some areas will be hit multiple times and receive heavy precipitation totals. But Baranick said others should be able to sneak some planting into windows starting this weekend when a split in the jet stream changes the pattern.

"I'm optimistic that this little change in pattern we're going to get is going to help out more folks than it hurts," he said.

Hultman said there's been enough concern about weather, both in the U.S. and Brazil, to force noncommercial traders holding short positions out of the market. As much as 3 feet of rain has fallen in southern Brazil with more in the forecast.

"Soybeans do not do well in wet environments for harvest, and if they're even able to harvest the soybeans, they could still be looking at a lot of damaged beans and quality issues," he said.

Officially, the weather situation has changed the market trend for both corn and soybeans. Soybeans are now trading above $12, and corn is flirting with $5.

Hultman said those prices looked a long way off back in February.

"But that's often what happens this time of year. You get out of those kind of gloomy winter months when all we can think about is how big these crops are going to be. But now we get into the reality of both the harvest season down South and the planting season, and we find out things aren't so perfect, and there are going to be some difficulties to deal with. So, it raises the anxiety level."

USDA will release its first new-crop estimates for U.S. corn and soybeans as well as update its South American forecasts in Friday's Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand (WASDE) reports. Hultman discusses more about his thoughts on the upcoming WASDE in our conversation, or you can read his thoughts here: https://www.dtnpf.com/….

Katie Dehlinger can be reached at katie.dehlinger@dtn.com

Follow her on social platform X at @KatieD_DTN

Katie Dehlinger can be reached at katie.dehlinger@dtn.com

Follow her on social platform X @KatieD_DTN


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