Wild June weather keeps farmers guessing
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. -- Favorable spring planting season wedged tightly between wet spells set the stage for another record corn crop. The June 30 USDA planted crop acreage report estimates U.S. corn acreage at 89.2 million acres, the highest level...
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. -- Favorable spring planting season wedged tightly between wet spells set the stage for another record corn crop. The June 30 USDA planted crop acreage report estimates U.S. corn acreage at 89.2 million acres, the highest level since 1945.
With irrigation equipment sitting idle, corn growers were optimistic that the net on the 2010 crop would be good.
Then Mother Nature unleashed her fury in the form of rain, wind, tornadoes, hail and floods. This is the critical point of the growing season, a time when the application of herbicides and fertilizer must be applied before corn stalks mature further. June was a banner month for weeds and many fields have been overrun by them.
For most of June, the saturated soil kept farmers out of the fields, caused depletion of nitrogen content, and stunted root growth necessary for corn to stand against high winds.
Recent drying winds and high temperatures have many farmers back in the field while most of the crop is greening up nicely.
As of the end of June, USDA report lists 81 percent of Nebraska's corn crop as good to excellent. Nationally, the crop is rated 75 percent good to excellent, down 1 to 3 percentage points from the previous week in the five states accounting for half the nation's corn crop -- Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska. Even with the dip, this is the highest condition rating in 30 years.
Unfortunately, commodity markets respond inversely to news of big crops. Because of high anticipated yields, market analysts have pinned corn prices lower. Growers with good crop prospects will have to use their best judgment in determining when to cash out in a bear market. Those suffering weather-related losses face risky late-season replanting options or seeking whatever financial relief they can get from crop insurance.
We hope Mother Nature gives farmers and ranchers a break in the coming weeks. We'll remember June 2010 as one for the record books.