Crop Market Update: April 15, 2014

The latest USDA crop progress report is the first of the year to report U.S. planting progress for corn. Corn planting is slightly behind normal with 3% of the U.S. crop currently planted compared to a 5-year average of 6%. Mississippi is also behind with 56% planted compared to an average of 77 percent. With wet weather in Mississippi and cold, wet conditions in the Corn Belt, it is likely that we will remain behind schedule this week. Corn exports are remaining strong, with just under 1.45 million metric tons inspected for export this week.

Soybean planting is slowly progressing in Mississippi with 6% of the crop planted this week. This compares to 4% last week and is behind the 5-year average of 15%. Soybeans have been strong since the release of last Wednesday’s supply and demand report. Old crop soybeans are in short supply, while demand remains strong. There is, however, a difference of more than $2.60/bu between the nearby futures contract and the harvest time November contract. The difference is being driven by what is expected to be a very large soybean crop this year that will provide relief to the tight supplies.

Mississippi’s winter wheat crop is beginning to head, with 2% of the crop headed out as of Sunday. This is significantly behind the 5-year average of 41% at this time of the year. Despite slow progress in the Mississippi wheat crop, 68% of the crop is in good or excellent condition, far better than the U.S. winter wheat crop, which is rated 34% good or excellent. While wheat prices have come down from their late-March highs, they have steadied over the last week or so. Concerns about the crop’s condition are helping to support prices, as is the cold weather across much of the country.