The United States could be headed for its smallest corn crop – 13 billion bushels – since the scorching 2012 drought, according to estimates circulated ahead of USDA projections due today at noon ET. One of every six acres intended for corn, or 15.7 million acres, is yet to be planted because of a cold and persistently rainy spring, and yields per acre drop precipitously for late-planted corn.
USDA lawyers may have an answer this week on whether Trump tariff payments, intended to mitigate the impact of the trade war, can be given to farmers unable to plant a crop this year, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Monday.
Normally, the corn-planting season is over by the first week of June, but this year, 31 million acres — one-third of the intended corn land nationwide — have yet to be sown due to a persistently rainy spring. Soybean planting is also far behind schedule.
Corn and soybean planting is running roughly 30 percentage points behind normal in a cold and rainy spring, said the weekly Crop Progress report on Monday. "Delayed planting has set the stage for potential corn yield reductions at the national level," but not guaranteed them, wrote economist David Widmar in a blog about the implications of one of the five slowest corn planting seasons on record.
Wet weather is holding corn and soybean planting far behind usual rates for the first week in May, the USDA said Monday. Economist Scott Irwin of the University of Illinois said on social media that half of the corn crop must be planted in the next two weeks to avoid the large yield losses that accompany later-than-optimal seeding.
Dicamba-tolerant corn seeds aren’t available yet. But if the seeds reach the market, and tens of millions more acres are sprayed with dicamba, there’s good reason to expect a repeat of the soybean disaster, in which the highly volatile weedkiller drifted off-target and damaged 5 million acres of conventional soybeans and an untold number of other crops.(No paywall)
Midwestern farmers are likely to see “very low returns” from corn and soybean crops this year, said economist Gary Schnitkey of the University of Illinois as spring planting gets under way. When overhead costs such as seed, fertilizer, equipment and insurance are counted, returns …
The Trump administration, with the weight of a WTO ruling behind it, called on China on Thursday to eliminate trade-distorting wheat and rice subsidies that cost U.S. farmers hundreds of millions of dollars a year in export sales. The WTO panel report may provide impetus to negotiations to resolve the Sino-U.S. trade war.
The United States is awash in soybeans, the result of the trade war with China and a string of bumper crops. But although farmers were expected to respond by planting more corn this year while cutting back sharply on soybeans, it's no longer clear that this rush to corn will actually occur.
More than one-fifth of U.S. corn area is planted with drought-tolerant varieties, a remarkable rate of adoption considering the trait has only been available for a few years. Drought is a menace to farmers everywhere. In 2012, the U.S. corn yield plunged by 16 percent, or 24 bushels an acre, due to drought.