Rain Makes For a Tough Spring – Counting Our Blessings

WOW, just WOW! That pretty much sums up spring here in Central Illinois. We are finally putting to rest the spring planting season and once again we have been blessed in comparison to so many other areas of the Midwest. I do not want to give the impression that we have a record crop growing in the field, but at least it has all been planted (or we should finish this week).

Record rainfall in the area this year caused us to be record behind normal planting paces. May 2019 ranked as the third wettest May in the last 125 years! Unfortunately April and March were also wetter than normal. That all translated to intense worry, great frustration and certainly fear and depression with most of our farm operators. I have been managing farms for 31 crop seasons and never have I had such a time getting crops planted. Sure I have had areas that were extremely wet and late planted (even a field or two that were never planted), but this is the first time in 31 years that I ended May with only 45% of my corn fields planted and less than 10% of the soybeans planted.

Fortunately in central Illinois we had a string of good weather starting on about May 30th through today that allowed an incredible amount of planting progress across our acreage here in Central Illinois. Unfortunately for those in Northern and Southern Illinois, Northern/Southern Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, they received torrential rains last week causing many farmers to throw in the towel on corn planting. Some will take an insurance provision called prevented plant coverage; some may switch and plant soybeans, but those areas need a shot of dry weather to be able to do anything at this point.

I expect to have a record amount of unplanted (prevented planted) acres of corn in the US this season. I suspect that we may see an unusually high acreage of prevented plant soybeans as well. All of this lack of planting will be factored in with the very late start to the cropping season to determine an educated guess for the commodity markets the rest of the summer. We will continue to need rain to keep our yield prospects going and we will need heat to mature these crops along. The only sure thing at this point is that we can count our blessings in this area and we need to offer support and condolences to those in areas affected by flooding and prevented planting. Until next time, stay dry!