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.
The trade war with China and low commodity prices will combine to slash U.S. farm exports by 4.5 percent this fiscal year, said the USDA on Thursday in a quarterly forecast. Exports of $137 billion would be the smallest since 2016, when exports bottomed out following the collapse of the commodity boom.
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.
In a sign that their patience is waning, soybean leaders called for talks, not tariffs, in the Sino-U.S. trade war. “With depressed prices and unsold stocks expected to double by the 2019 harvest, soybean farmers are not willing to be collateral damage in an endless tariff war,” …
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)
U.S.-China negotiations to resolve the trade war are “moving along quite well,” said President Trump on Wednesday. Meanwhile, published reports said two rounds of talks were scheduled for late April and early May.
U.S. and Chinese officials opened their second consecutive week of negotiations to resolve the countries' trade war on Tuesday with President Trump saying the "very complex talks...are going very well." Trump told reporters at the White House, "We're asking for everything that anybody has ever even suggested. These are not just, you know, 'let's sell corn or let's do this.' It's going to be selling corn, but a lot of it, a lot more than anyone thought possible."