Planting Intentions Still Not Crystal Clear

Usually when I talk to a retailer near mid-April, they’ve got a pretty good handle on how many corn and soybean acres their grower-customers are planting. But this year’s story hasn’t been all that typical, and my conversation the other day with Mark Meyer of Crystal Valley Cooperative in Waldorf, MN, is a pretty good example of what we’re hearing this season.

Situated on some of best flat, heavy, black, and fertile soil in Minnesota, Crystal Valley growers will begin planting corn and soybeans as early as this week, weather permitting, but more likely the planters will rev up next week.

There are still some uncommitted acres, Meyer told me, growers watching the market closely before making their final decision. “Every day, you can usually tell when the corn market’s up because then they’re calling, wanting to know what the price of fertilizer is,” he explains. “Now that day they’re thinking corn, and then when it goes the other way, then it’s soybeans.”

Another concern this winter was how little fertilizer was put down in the fall as growers stalled on purchasing product, hoping for better, lower pricing from retailers. The outlet, which is located in south-central Minnesota, fared much better than most, putting down 75 percent of what they’d hoped for.

“A lot of our fertilizer goes on in the fall, and if they didn’t do that, then they still haven’t really committed to either crop,” he said.

It’s going to be another busy, exhilarating spring, isn’t it?
 

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