Agriculture 2019: ‘The Year from Hell’ Finally Settles Down Some
I must admit – I was very glad to see my calendar-on-the-wall flip from June to July. Like most everyone else in agriculture these days, I needed the pause.
So far, 2019 has played out as a “perfect storm” for much of the country’s grower-customers and the ag retailers that service their needs. Extremely wet weather throughout much of the nation during the months of April, May, and June severely delayed (or completely derailed, in some cases) crop plantings across much of the U.S. Indeed, in my home state of Ohio, many of the crop fields near my home that are normally ripe with corn or soybeans by this time each year show nothing but a few patches of green across a brownish landscape. And these patches of green? They consist of ragweed and waterhemp from what I can tell. In fact, according to the most recent USDA statistics, corn acreage nationwide will be down approximately 5 million acres this year. Soybeans will be off by approximately 300,000 acres.
“It’s been a tough year, no doubt,” says Amy Asmus, Co-Owner of Asmus Farm Supply in Rake, IA. “In our part of Iowa, everything got planted okay. But this definitely wasn’t the case in many of the neighboring states.”
Of course, even before the weather became such an issue for grower-customers, the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China meant much of the soybean crop originally earmarked for export was looking for an alternative place to go. This kept commodity prices over the past few months at historic lows.
Luckily, with some more firm numbers in hand, things are finally beginning to look up for the agricultural marketplace. With plantings down – and yields expected to take a hit as well since much of the crop went into the ground later than normal – commodity prices for corn and soybeans are starting to creep up. So, for those areas where crop yields are close to normal, the outlook for stronger commodity prices come December is a very real possibility, which should translate into some busy fall application work across the nation. At this point, only time will tell . . .