Major corn increases must contend with the endless 2023 winter

Randy Koenen of Red River Farm Network and Randy Martinson of Martinson Ag Risk Management discuss the latest USDA report and can't help but talk weather during the Agweek Market Wrap on Friday, March 31.

United States corn acres are set to increase despite what looks like a challenging start to spring planting, according to Randy Martinson of Martinson Ag Risk Management.

The USDA’s Prospective Planting report and weather were hot topics during the Agweek Market Wrap on Friday, March 31, with Martinson who was joined by Randy Koenen of the Red River Farm Network.

The Prospective Planting Report on Friday, showed U.S. corn and soybean acres are planned to increase in 2023.

What really stood out to Koenen was an expected 27% increase in corn in North Dakota.

“When you look at the report, North Dakota was the limelight,” Martinson said. “I mean it looks like we’re going to increase corn acres by a huge amount, we’re increasing soybean acres, I think that was a 15% increase. You gotta wonder where all those acres are coming from.”


Prospective Plantings 03/31/2023 by Michael Johnson on Scribd

He said the report does not seem to assume prevented planting as producers were surveyed in the first part of March for the data.

“You know with flipping the calendar to April tomorrow and we're still looking at two to three more storms potential,” Martinson said. “It’s looking a little less likely that we’re going to be in the field in April. Hopefully it’s going to be the first part of May.”

Koenen suggested planting could be later than last year.

Speaking of weather, Martinson explained that the much needed Argentina rains won’t be enough to help the suffering crops.

“That means that they’re going to have to import about 10 million metric tons, is the estimate that’s out there,” Martinson said. Some of that may come from the U.S. and some from Brazil. The question remains whether Brazil’s big haul can make up for Argentina’s losses, Koenen said.

Looking forward, Martinson said corn can’t lose acres, but other crops must also be very successful or stocks will be very tight.

Elevators need to secure product but that continues to be an issue as travel conditions are not great for large parts of the northern Plains and once the thaw begins, it’s going to get worse.

Martinson said he believes there is significant corn still being stored.


Livestock highs

Thursday and Friday showed contract highs for live cattle. Feeder cattle was pushing close to its contract high as well. Martinson said cash jumped tremendously. It shows that packers are in short supply of product and came in buying heavy to support the cattle market.

Martinson referenced that hog numbers have shown little change from a year ago.

“This is the first increase or steady number seen in 11 quarters,” Martinson said. “It’s not that we’re expanding the herd, but we’re not shrinking it anymore.”

Koenen pointed to the need for demand in the pork market. Martinson said China’s imports are down 60%. That’s a big share of the loss.

Martinson believes that if the economy can continue to calm following banking concerns, barbecue season may bring the push needed to help the market take off.

Looking ahead, the southern Plains will soon be showing crop progress reports. Martinson is looking forward to the day where crop progress reports can start to show things moving forward in the northern Plains, too.

(The Agweek Market Wrap is sponsored by Gateway Building Systems.)

Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in rural Deer Creek, Minn., where he is starting to homestead with his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at or 218-640-2312.
What To Read Next
Get Local