Beginning in April of each year, the National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) publishes a weekly report known as Crop Progress. While the methodology for the report is sometimes contested by onlookers, it is a consistent benchmark that helps us compare one crop year to other years. And by the numbers, the report published this afternoon suggests that planting across the United States is (believe it or not) ahead of normal. Now granted, this year 6% of the corn is planted as of the 3rd week of April while last year we were 5%. But it does put the conversation of a late planting season in perspective. A full view of the corn planting table is shown below.
States like Texas, Tennessee, and North Carolina are still lagging last year's pace, but further north, other states like Kentucky, Kansas, and Missouri are ahead. With a drier pattern for much of the Corn Belt in coming days, this should go a long way towards continuing the progress. However, in light of progress in the field, markets are struggling to suggest the same. Any reassurance of even remotely decent field conditions or planting pace will continue to tug prices lower. Monday was no different. See Charts
Corn and soybean markets have been channeling lower since late January. Monday's price action moved back towards the base of those channels. While this should excite technical traders to consider buying, funds have been no strangers to adding to their record short position as they did again on Monday. Producers are continually encouraged to take prudent action in selling rallies inside the current range and defending risk with put strategies. Contact us to sort through strategies appropriate to your situation.