There were surprises and even analyst declarations of nonsense when USDA released the prospective planting report this week, but the numbers aren’t written in stone. Lance Honig with USDA’s statistics service said don’t forget the agency started asking farmers for planting intentions as early as late February and those acreage numbers could end up being quite a bit different from what farmers actually plant.
“These are intentions,” he said. “Obviously the goal is to determine how many acres are going to be planted this year, but when you’re still in many cases a good month away from even getting into the field, there’s a lot of factors that can change between now and when those crops get into the ground. So we know from looking back over time that there are some changes that occur, and in fact this very report can be one of the tools that producers use to change from what their intentions are to what they actually plant, and obviously what the market does is going to have a big impact on those decisions as well.”
And speaking of planting, USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey agrees with our report last week that there could be planting delays in the Midwest.
“In the next few weeks I expect that some of those delays will reach up into the lower Midwest, but it’s a different story across the upper Midwest. Obviously it’s way too early to be talking about planting there, but soils are much drier there as you move into the northwestern half of the Corn Belt, so we could well see that dichotomy across the Midwest this spring where we have some delayed planting across the southern and eastern parts of the belt, but we may well eventually see rapid planting in the upper Midwest unless weather patterns change in the next few weeks.”
Most crops from southern and eastern Texas through the Mississippi Delta region have experienced significant planting delays this spring.