Trade sees planting edging higher

by Ron Sterk
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KANSAS CITY — Traders expect the U.S. Department of Agriculture to report modest gains in corn and soybean planting, although the market’s attention will be shifting more to crop condition ratings and specifically this week, to the U.S.D.A. Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, both of which will be released June 12.

Traders indicated they expect this afternoon’s U.S.D.A. Crop Progress report to show corn planting around 95% completed as of June 9, compared with 100% at this time last year. Expectations for soybean planting ranged from 70% to 75% compared with 57% a week earlier, 97% a year ago and 87% as the recent five-year average for the date.

Last week’s initial corn condition ratings were 63% good to excellent (72% a year earlier), 30% fair (23%) and 7% poor to very poor (5%).

Corn futures were trading about 8@10c a bu lower and soybeans about 10@18c a bu lower through the January 2014 contract at around 7:30 a.m. Central Time June 10. Corn futures prices were down about 1@9c a bu last week, with the exception of nearby July, which was up 4¼c a bu due to tight old-crop supplies. Soybean futures prices last week advanced about 18@27c a bu on concerns delayed planting may result in lower soybean yields.

One trade report said the last “prevent plant” date for corn was June 5 in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Missouri while that date had passed in other major Corn Belt states, but some market participants have said planting may go as late as June 15 if shorter-maturity corn was planted.

Trade reports also indicated some market analysts forecast from 1 million to 3 million acres of expected corn area may not be planted due to the wet weather. The U.S.D.A. earlier in the year said farmers intended to plant 97.3 million acres of corn.

Meteorologists indicate improved drying conditions in much of the Midwest this week and much warmer temperatures, which will be especially good for already-planted crops. Some rainfall over the past weekend will continue to delay planting, though.

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