Thanks to everyone who said hello and talked ag weather during last week's Commodity Classic convention and trade show in Kissimmee, Florida. I had the occasion to give two presentations on the ag weather outlook for this coming season--first, at the Corn Yield Contest award winners' breakfast last Friday March 1, and then during an Early Riser learning session Saturday March 2.
There are certainly a number of contrasting thoughts and impressions as we go into Spring 2013.
First of all, we do have some wet weather concerns in potentially key areas going on right now. I'm talking about the southeastern U.S., where in the last 30 days some 10-20 inches of rain has been recorded in central and southern Alabama through central and southern Georgia and the Florida Panhandle. That's over twice the normal rain total, and it's causing some delays in field work--along with providing drought relief. This area will command attention, because with the very tight supplies of old crop corn, the market is looking for that southern U.S. 2013 corn harvest to start as early as possible.
Elsewhere, a lack of soil moisture is still worrying producers, despite the comments from USDA's weather and economy experts at the Ag Outlook Forum in D.C. a couple weeks ago. Much of the concern focused on the idea that the USDA yield projection of almost 164 bushels an acre for the 2013 U.S. corn crop was based on a normal weather trend during the growing season. The general theme of contrary questioning was "We haven't had a 'normal' season for several years. Why should we expect one this year--and then what happens?"
Most of you who attended the DTN weather talks did seem to think, though, that a yield projection of 150-155 bushels an acre is certainly possible, considering that the Eastern Corn Belt has had some improvement on moisture over the past several months--and that it's a real challenge for the record drought of 2013 to put on a repeat performance. And, that still adds a fair amount of grain to the stockpile when this year's harvest is complete. Is there still some weather premium to be garnered this year? Yes, there is. But, the extent of a rally and its duration at this point both appear to have lower and shorter trajectories than we saw in 2012 when it comes to weather's influence on market thinking.
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