US soy futures post slight gains; corn, wheat flat

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This year, the wet conditions in some areas of the upper Midwest, the forecast for a potentially wet spring, and the fact that the forecasts have leaned wetter for the last couple of weeks have all instilled in traders the idea that US corn planting could be slow - which it has been to start. "So this spring we thought we better plant corn when the sun shines".

The most active Corn contract for May delivery fell 4.75 cents, or 1.30%, to 3.6175 bu. Of the nine years where corn planting was slower than the 20-year average by May 21, the June report only twice reflected lower soybean acres than what had been printed in March - and this ended up being the case at the end of the season. Continued rain in many areas points to delays in corn planting in many states and merits investigation into the possibilities associated with late planting on acreage decisions. USDA's estimate of days suitable for fieldwork shows many states in these areas had fewer days, over the prior seven days, to make significant planting progress.

Wheat crop condition is now better than average, while the corn crop plant is around average. We know from our N tracking that most of the N was in the nitrate form by the time crop uptake started in late May; we can see here that in the absence of N loss (wet) conditions, nitrate stays in the soil and is available for plant uptake just like ammonium.

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Spring wheat planting is 13% done nationwide, compared with 25% a year ago and the 21% average.

USDA now projects US farmers to plant four million fewer corn acres in 2017/18 at 89.996 million acres. Weather will continue to play a critical role in the coming weeks as farmers seek to plant the remaining 83 million acres.

The complete weekly crop and weather report is at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and USDA NASS. The old adage that "Corn Doesn't Like to Get Its Feet Wet" is true.

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That is unless US farmers have fallen well behind schedule and remain there late in the planting window - which historically introduces yield risk. In 2013, growers planted 43% of the corn crop between May 19 and May 26.

Importantly, any reductions in corn acreage due to weather complications could pave the way for additional soybean acres due to their later planting window.

The crop reporting season has opened in the United States, with crop condition and progress being reported weekly. In 2012 crop condition started out at very high levels, but dry weather saw it decline. Previous year the crop went in quickly, and good growing conditions resulted in a large crop.

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