Memorial Day weekend weather will help write the story of the 2022 planting season in the northern Plains

With planting dates near or already over for some crops in the northern Plains, all eyes will be on the forecast over Memorial Day weekend, according to this week's conversation on the Agweek Market Wrap between Randy Martinson of Martinson Ag Risk Management and Don Wick of the Red River Farm Network.

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Memorial Day weekend weather will likely determine what gets planted and what goes into prevented planting, Randy Martinson of Martinson Ag Risk Management said on this week's Agweek Market Wrap, sponsored by Gateway Building Systems.

Friday and Saturday forecasts had chances of thunderstorms, but Martinson told Don Wick of the Red River Farm Network that Sunday and Monday are the ones to watch.

"That's, I think, going to set the tone for what we get planted up here in the northern Plains for this year," Martinson said.

He expects that even as final planting dates for full crop insurance coverage for some crops have passed in some places, farmers are going to "push the envelope as much as they can" because of the prices. He doesn't know how far into the late planting period they get, as having less crop insurance coverage increases risk.

"This weekend, I think, will dictate a lot that happens as far as corn and wheat planted, because if we get two to three inches it might end the season for those two crops," he said.


Meanwhile, the rest of the Corn Belt, and the major corn states in particular, mostly have caught up or gotten close to their five-year averages for planting progress. While there is good emergence, the crop still is behind, but Martinson said that compared to progress in the northern Plains, "things look fairly good" in the Corn Belt.

Martinson and Wick also talked about Russia's offer to allow some grain exports out of Ukrainian ports and about moves to combat food insecurity. Wick brought up the U.S. Department of Agriculture's decision to allow landowners to opt out of their final Conservation Reserve Program year after the final nesting season ends for their area without penalty. That's Aug. 1 for this region.

Martinson said the move won't make much difference around the northern Plains, though some producers may hay it and get it ready for planting in 2023. Southern areas might use the opportunity to plant winter wheat, but overall, he sees it as more of a help for next year than this year.

President Joe Biden was in Asia discussing free trade agreements. Wick pointed out that many countries have taken protectionist stances and wondered what a free trade agreement would look like now. Martinson said it would be helpful for the U.s. to be the "buyer of first resort," which he believes could help wheat exports in the long run.

Boxed beef prices have been stronger, which Martinson said was a good sign for cattle, along with stronger performance by the Dow Jones.
"We did see gas prices continue to surge, but we're feeling a little bit better about the economy," he said.

With tight supplies and good exports, domestic demand is the main factor needed to keep the cattle market strong, he said. He doesn't see crude oil or gasoline prices coming down any time soon.

The Agweek Market Wrap is sponsored by Gateway Building Systems.

Jenny Schlecht is the editor of Agweek and Sugarbeet Grower Magazine. She lives on a farm and ranch near Medina, North Dakota, with her husband and two daughters. You can reach her at or 701-595-0425.
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