Slow Planting Progress and More Rain in the Forecast
Update for May 21st, 2019
Forecasters are still calling for the rainfall to continue through the end of May and some see this overly wet trend continuing for several more weeks. There is a lot of debate regarding what producers with unplanted acres will decide to do now that we are nearing the end of May and only 49% of the U.S. corn crop is planted. This is 1% less than the average trade estimate and 31% behind the 5 year average. In addition to the unplanted acres there are certainly many acres that will now need to be replanted and some analysts think that the actual acres lost to flooding is currently being underestimated by the trade. The Crop Progress report found 19% of the nation’s soybeans are planted, up 10% from last week but 3% below the average trade guess and 28% behind the 5 year average. Listed below are some of the states with 70% or less of their corn crop planted:
Ohio is 9% planted vs the 5 year average of 62%
Indiana has 14% planted vs the 5 year average of 73%
South Dakota is 19% planted vs the 5 year average of 76%
Illinois has 24% planted vs the 5 year average of 71%
Wisconsin has 35% of the crop planted vs the 5 year average of 65%
North Dakota is 42% planted vs the 5 year average of 63%
Minnesota is 56% planted vs the 5 year average of 83%
Kansas has 61% planted vs the 5 year average of 80%
Missouri is 62% planted vs 5 year average of 92%
Nebraska is 70% planted vs the 5 year average of 86%
Iowa has 70% planted vs the 5 year average of 89%
Findings published in the journal Global Change Biology, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, concluded that excessive rainfall can be as harmful to crop performance as extreme drought. In this study the team of researchers linked data from 1981 through 2016 for crop insurance, climate, soil and corn yield data. The group found that during some years when the U.S. received excessive rainfall the corn yield fell by as much as -34% from the expected yield. In some of the years of drought and excessive heat U.S. corn yields were reduced by -37% from the expected yield. More specifically they found that the impact of excessive rainfall varies by area and can affect crop yields in various ways. Including, “direct physical damage, delayed planting and harvesting, restricted root growth, oxygen deficiency and nutrient loss”. They also determined “It’s also very difficult to create a yield forecasting model based on the processes that occur after heavy rainfall.” Plant stress as a result of hot and dry conditions is much easier to predict.
The Trump Administration’s plan to provide U.S. farmers $15 billion to $20 billion in additional trade assistance is making its way quickly through the necessary government channels. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has been looking into how to change the format for calculating payments for the Market Facilitation Program that was used last year. Perdue stated, “We will look at the history of what happened with the program and try to learn from it.” Unconfirmed information today says the proposed MFP payments are $0.04 per bushel for corn and $2.00 per bushel for soybeans based on 2019 planted acres.
The photo below is from field south of Waterloo, Nebraska. March floodwaters dumped tons of unwanted sand onto farm ground all along the Platte and Elkhorn River’s.
Specialists from both the University of Nebraska and the USDA are working to solve an enormous problem created by this spring’s historical flooding. According to the Associated Press, “Mountains of sand” sediment, and other debris, some too deep to incorporate into the soil, was deposited upon farms and ranches along the eastern two-thirds of the state. Some of the dunes are 10 feet high and washed-out piles of cornstalks are 3 to 4 feet deep. Sand-sediment of 8 inches or less can usually be tilled into the soil but in areas where much larger amounts exist, it will require moving the unwanted debris and stockpiling it along the corners of the field. Unfortunately, in some extreme cases it may be too costly to do anything but leave it. Brad Schick, an extension educator in Nance County, NE said, “If you have 3 to 5 feet of sand that might be the new normal.” Specialists working on the situation have advised owners to think about their plans for the affected areas for both the short term of five years and beyond. While there is information regarding what was done following the floods of 2011 it does not cover all of the same issues facing landowners this year and will be a learning experience for everyone involved.
Ryan Ueberrhien, a 34 year old farmer in the affected area has sand, trash and cornstalks washed up on his land from the Platte and Elkhorn Rivers. He said, 5 to 10 acres on one 80 acre piece of land was covered in 2 to 4 feet of sand as well as, “Chairs, shelves, soccer balls, a sled, 2X4’s, 2X6’s…you name it and we can probably find it. It’s just a mess.” He hired a company to bulldoze the sand (which was deeper than expected) into piles so that he could plant the field. He does not have a final bill yet but says, “It’s not going to be cheap”. When “you have multiple trucks, a bulldozer and a loader it gets pricey in a hurry. It’s an extra expense you hadn’t planned on.” He also said that everyone he knows it approaching it with a positive attitude. “I tell you, it’s building some character. You get stressed out. You just have to take a step back and breathe. You can’t control Mother Nature. This is what it is, and you have to fight it head on. That’s what we are doing.”
WeatherTrends 360 forecast for the Memorial Day Weekend is shown below.
The week following Memorial Day (May 27th – June 2nd) shows a continuation in precipitation across a large portion of the country.