March 1, 2016
Spring Planting May Start Early in the Western Corn Belt
Now that the calendar has turned to March and the Outlook Conference is behind us, the market's attention will start to turn toward planting conditions in the U.S. The way it looks now, it could be an early start to spring planting especially in the western Corn Belt. The western Corn Belt is getting near record high temperatures and there is little snow pack to melt. Without a snow pack, the soil temperatures should start to warm up quickly and it doesn't look like there will be major spring flooding. Therefore, it could be an early start in the western Corn Belt.
The scenario is not quite as optimistic for the eastern Corn Belt where it is currently on the wet side. There was a bout of heavy snow last week in Indiana and Illinois and more snow/rain in the forecast for this week in Indiana and Ohio followed again by warmer temperatures next week.
No one knows what the summer weather will be like in the U.S., but there is more talk that a La Nina might be in place by the time we reach the heart of the U.S. growing season. Several weeks ago, many meteorologists estimated that there was a 30-40% chance of a weak or moderate La Nina by mid-summer and now they say there is a 40-50% chance. If there is a moderate or strong La Nina, the summer weather would likely be hotter and dryer than normal and the corn and soybean yields would likely be below trend. If there is a weak La Nina or no La Nina at all, then the weather would likely be "average" and the corn and soybean yields should be close to trend.