We Will Get It Planted

In Texas a large portion of Plant ’22 has already happened. Central Texas corn emergence is already knee high, green, and waiting for the rains to continue this week. Other parts of the country have struggled to get seed in the ground either due to low soil temps, too much precipitation or no rain to speak of.

This past week or so as rains and storms, some wreaking tornado havoc, have doused the land in various agriculturally important regions. There have been many, many farmers rushing to get seed in the ground so that the harvest come off will at least happen in a somewhat usual manner. This has lead to some crazy videos on social media of guys running big iron John Deeres at 15mph with what looked like an 18 row planter. That is insane most plant speeds are half that, and even that is a bit too high for some. I prefer a low and slow approach to some tasks and coal roasted meats. High gear and fast is reserved for getting somewhere, or throwing as much dirt up with the disc or cultivator that I can. Planters are complex and easily broken, low and slow is how I would roll, but we do everything by hand, usually. The tractor will be fine though, much to the credit of the JD build team in the Midwest. The moral of that story is ‘Never fear, the farmers are on it…we will get it done.’ And I have all the confidence they will.

Why the immediacy? That take broke on Monday as the USDA NASS reported consequential numbers on the planted report. Here is a general breakdown of highlights as of May 1st.

  • Corn 14% planted, five year average 33
  • Soy 8% planted, five year average 13%
  • Sugar beets 18% planted, five year average 47%
  • Spring wheat 19% planted, five year average 28%

Down, ues, but not out. Weather seems to be the biggest contributing factor with snow storms in Nebraska, the Dakota’s getting crazy storms, or certain parts of Kansas getting dumped on har creating mud pits. In between breaks of unpredictable, climate change fueled weather events, planters have been running night and day. ‘We will get it done.’

One thing I like to look at, specific to the narrative that media has bitten into regarding Ukraine is the wheat crop. Recently the Biden administration had announced the USDA would be granting millions for wheat farmers to grow more in light of Ukraine maybe not able to export to the US. Ukraine exports to Egypt. We get our import wheat from Canada. And this year, we might be leaning heavy on our neighbors. The winter wheat condition has taken a turn. The amount of winter wheat in very poor to fair condition is 73% l this year, with an average over the past five years of 52%. This means that the overwhelming majority of winter wheat is not in good or excellent condition.

Surpringly, the commodities markets have yet to respond.

Summer wheat futures are lower this afternoon. Sugar beets are also flat.

But why? The market also indicates an issue where there is one. Specifically if there is going to be a shortage, the market responds, and to that I say yes. We have been here before. Slow, behind the curve planting has happened in the past and modern mechanization allows us to close the planted gaps rather quickly. This again is why I am forecasting ag commodities to moderate this year, albeit high and above the norms, but stabilize.