Many farmers still have plenty of time to change their planting plans and so one analyst says don’t set USDA’s Prospective Plantings report numbers in stone. Joe Glauber is the chief economist at USDA and he says, “A lot can happen between now and when those crops get planted.”
The report was released late last week and already a lot could have changed from the time farmers were asked their planting intentions several weeks ago. Glauber says in some years we see big changes from intentions to actual planted acres and this could be one of those years because of very slow spring planting progress.
“Soil temperatures are still quite low,” he said. “You have to go pretty far south to find soil temperatures above 50 degrees and the forecast over the next week or so is still calling for cold weather with a lot of areas in the north still under snow cover.”
Last week’s report has corn growers increasing acres from last season and soybeans cutting acres, but it could be more than weather that changes those intentions as farmers know full well.
“Markets can shift a lot, so we’ll see.”
But we won’t see for sure until June when the agency releases the report on actual planted acres.
As for actual conditions, thanks to recent snows in the Central Rockies and Plains, there has been a slight decline in the percentage of the country in drought. USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey says there has been a slight decrease in the D4 or exceptional drought category in the latest drought monitor report.
“We saw one-third percentage point drop in D4 coverage to 5.10% and that puts us in the low end of what has been a 33 week run of D4 drought coverage of 5-7%. As a result the overall U.S. drought coverage dropped about a fifth of a percentage point to 51.64% of the contiguous U.S.”
Since the start of the year there has been steady improvement in the overall U.S. drought status.
“In addition to previous improvements that brings the overall U.S. drought coverage down 9.54 percentage points from the beginning of the year and nearly 14 percentage points from the record high in late September 2012.”
For the second week in a row there are no changes in the hay, cattle, and wheat in drought categories.