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UPDATE for March 24th 2023

More Corn Sold to China, Talk of Planting Delays & Northern Lights

China just keeps coming back for more. The USDA reported yesterday another sale of U.S. old crop corn, this buying spree has occurred in 7 out of the last 8 business days which has added up to around 100 million bushels. As we approach next Friday’s USDA Planting Intentions and Stocks reports more estimates for this year’s acreage are being released. Yesterday AgMarket.Net announced their initial estimate for corn and soybean acres. Corn acres came in at 91.35 million an increase of 2.75 million from last year’s final number of 88.6 million. Soybean acres were also up, this season they expect to see 87.9 million soy acres compared to the final number from last season of 87.5 million.

There are some concerns that late planting could become an issue for some areas of the northern Plains and northwestern Corn Belt due to snow cover. Large amounts of snow remain in parts of North and South Dakota and Minnesota accompanied by cold temps that aren’t expected to climb above freezing in most areas until at least the 2nd week of April. This has raised speculations regarding what producers will do if conditions remain unfavorable for too long. Will farmers switch crops or opt for prevent plant. Today a late season snow storm is headed for southeastern Iowa and large sections of Illinois and Wisconsin. This system has a very dynamic setup with plenty of moisture available and air flow out from the Rockies which may combine to delay producers in those areas, primarily in Wisconsin depending on how much snowfall they receive and the temps that follow.

It seems to be a tale of The Have’s and The Have Not’s as drought remains a problem for much of the Southern Plains and western Corn Belt. Not really sure where the happy medium sits….

Russia agreed over the weekend to extend the grain corridor agreement with Ukraine but only for 60 days, half as long as the previous agreements. The fact it was extended has been bearish to our prices but the reduction in the length of the agreement has not been factored into the news. So far much of the current circumstances facing agricultural production in Ukraine really has not been factored into the market which could develop into a big problem over time.

New-crop NOV23 soybean prices have closed lower for 13 trading sessions in a row and have now fallen off to levels not seen since late-July of last year. MAY23 old crop beans have also experienced a similar decline and prices are now near those of late-October of last year. The normal concerns regarding Chinese demand, production totals from Brazil, etc. are all still there. Now add onto that list- wet/snowy/cold conditions in several northern states -this is now concerning the market that some intended corn acres will be forced to plant soybeans instead.

According to a survey by Ag Access of 390 producers from South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio, farmers intend to plant more corn and wheat in 2023. In a survey. This falls in-line with the February USDA estimate of 91.0 corn acres up from 88.6 million in 2022, wheat acres up to 49.5 million vs 45.7 last season and unchanged soybean acres.

USDA Chief Economist, Seth Meyers believes that the forecasted increase in wheat acres is in response to prices brought on by the war in Ukraine. Meyers also believes corn and soybeans will also see an increase in acreage. “The initial expectations for 2023 planted area indicate growth in total planted are of corn, wheat, and soybeans relative to the previous year. Combined acreage for the three crops is projected at 228 million acres a nearly 3% increase from 2022 when acres were constrained by unfavorable planting weather in the spring.”

The survey also asked farmers what concerns them most about the 2023 crop season as well as what, if any, new technology they are going to begin using this year. When asked to list their top 3 concerns for 2023 the responses were:

1. 93% high input costs

2. 69% market volatility

3. 60% operation costs

4. 27% input availability and shortages

5. 24% equipment parts and machine availability

6. 16% worker or labor shortage

Responses regarding new technology that they plan to implement this season revealed:

• Finding ways to boost yields by meeting specific needs on the farm.

• Looking for ways to reduce costs.

• Preserving environment and resources.

• Planting upgrades including precision equipment, row guidance, and new seed treatments.

Many also said they upgraded their used tractors, added more precision ag monitors as well as trying some new varieties and implementing the use of variable rate applicators to reduce input costs and boost yields. Some producers also shared results regarding the use of biologicals. “We are seeing some exciting results with biologicals trials improving soil fertility through targeted application and plan to continue.” Another farmer commented, “We are using biologicals to help make nutrients more available to the plant, which should translate to more yield wit the same or less fertilizer.” (

The Iowa House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday that would greatly restrict the use of eminent domain by liquified carbon pipeline companies. The bill would require pipeline companies to acquire 90% of the needed easements on their own before the use of eminent domain can be enacted for the remaining 10% and expands the rights of landowners to receive payments for crop damage/yield loss. Currently there is no state law requiring a certain percentage of voluntary easements be obtained.

This bill does not pertain to any other use of eminent domain by companies that are working on projects deemed for “public use” like powerlines, propane gas or highways. The pipelines are important for ethanol and Iowa agriculture but according to this bill that does not qualify them. Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says this legislation will effectively ban carbon dioxide pipelines in the state which will ultimately hurt our ethanol industry. Monte Shaw, executive director of the association said, “Singling out (carbon capture and sequestration projects) is a mistake for Iowa’s future. This bill will hurt Iowa ethanol production, which hurts Iowa corn prices, which hurts Iowa farmers and the economy.”

Several Iowa lawmakers have said that they are unsure if this bill will even be brought up for consideration by the state Senate or if Governor Reynolds would sign it if it made it to her desk. A spokesperson for the governor has not commented on the bill but Reynolds has expressed support for the permitting procedures already in place.

Get outside this evening to enjoy the northern lights/polar lights/aurora borealis which are expected to be visible for a large stretch of the northern U.S. A forecast issued by The Space Weather Prediction Center says that a giant “hole” on the sun will allow the electrically charged particles called “solar wind” to light up the night sky much further south than typically seen.

Last night the lights were also visible, and they are expected to continue through the weekend. Tonight’s show is predicted to be the most spectacular, reaching the highest Level of 10. The remainder of the weekend the lights are expected to range around Level 7.

Expected precipitation over the next 7 days.

Unseasonably wet and cool temps are forecast to remain for a large section of the U.S. through the end of next week.

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