Wet conditions at planting have already reduced corn acreage in the western Midwest. David Streit, crop meteorologist with CropCast says the wet weather could continue through the rest of April and into early May.

Areas affected include the Dakotas and to a lesser extent Minnesota and Iowa. “Those are the areas where we would expect to see the biggest delays as far as corn planting activity is concerned and we expect plantings to slip even further from intended acreage.

“In the eastern Midwest, we don't believe there will be any significant wetness problems affecting the overall planting situation, and we believe they should get all of their intended corn acreage planted.”

Rainfall during May, when the bulk of soybean planting is taking place in the Midwest, “will fall back to more seasonable levels,” Streit said, “especially as we get into the latter part of May and early June. So, if farmers do want to increase soybean planted acreage, it doesn't look like weather will stand in their way.”

Strait says weather models predict below-normal temperatures in July in the Midwest. “With that, we believe that the corn crop will have an above-trend yield due to wetter- and cooler-than-normal conditions.”

For this August, “we had anticipated some dryness developing in the eastern Midwest that could have had some negative impact on pod development in the soybean crop. But during the last three months, our models have backed away from those forecasts and we now have that situation confined primarily to Ohio.”

The Midwest soybean crop is looking at at least trend yields, if not slightly above, according to Streit.

Streit said that recent reports that of a declining La Niña/El Niño weather phenomenon are true. “We are going out of the La Niña phase and into a neutral phase at this point. Under this neutral phase, not a lot of areas around the world run into problems. The biggest factor is in western Europe where there is the potential for a wet and fairly cool late spring and summer season which could impact their winter grain harvest and their spring grain planting activity.”

Stocks report

In its April 10 supply/demand estimate, USDA reduced ending stocks of old crop soybeans by 30 million bushels from last month, to 300 million bushels. Also, U.S. soybean exports for 2000/01 were projected at 990 million bushels, up 15 million bushels from last month. The increase is based largely on increased import prospects for China. However, a record large crop for South America, which was increased by 1 million metric tons from last month, will slow the pace of U.S. soybean shipments for the remainder of the marketing year, according to USDA.

USDA, lowered ending stocks of old crop wheat by 5 million bushels from last month, to 829 million bushels, due to lower imports.

Projected ending stocks of old crop corn are up 10 million bushels from last month, to 1.951 billion bushels, due to reduced export prospects. On the other hand, USDA projected higher domestic use for corn.


e-mail: elton_robinson@intertec.com