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Iowa soybean farmers prepared to plant

ANKENY — Iowa can’t seem to shake the cool, wet weather hovering over the state. The planting delay is causing ripples in the marketplace and frustrations with Iowa soybean farmers. 

Only 8 percent of Iowa’s corn crop was planted as of Sunday, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture crops and weather report. The five-year average is 56 percent. No soybean planting had been reported.

Grant Kimberley, Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) director of market development, farms with his father, Rick, in central Iowa. His fields are saturated and may prevent planting until mid-next week. 

“In Iowa, planting progress still seems to be a week away from even starting in over half of the state,” explains Kimberley.  “Market-wise, strong basis on soybeans are indicating strong commercial and export demand chasing after declining old crop supplies. With planting delays continuing, especially in central through eastern Iowa, yield is very much uncertain and the top end yield potential will soon be difficult to achieve.” 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s World Agriculture and Supply and Demand Estimates report released today predicts the nation’s grain reserves will dramatically increase by the end of the next marketing year despite planting delays.

The report estimates 2013/14 soybean ending stocks at 265 million bushels, up 140 million from current supply projections. Corn reserves are expected to increase to 2 billion bushels by the end of the next marketing year, up from 1.2 billion bushels. Ending stock projections for next year were both slightly lower than trade estimates.

Soybean production nationwide is projected at 3.39 billion bushels, up 375 million from last year since drought conditions have greatly dissipated in the Midwest, according to the report. Corn production is pegged at 14.14 billion bushels, up 3.4 billion from last year.

Yields predictions are also up for both soybeans and corn, though lower than initial estimates due to planting delays. Soybean productivity is pegged at 44.5 bushels per acre while corn is projected at 158 bushels per acre.

Mark Jackson, ISA president and a farmer from Rose Hill, took advantage of a three-day window at the end of April and beginning of May allowed him a chance to start planting corn. But continued cool temperatures and excess soil moisture have slowed his efforts.  

“Last week’s forecast called for dropping temps and snow across Iowa, add to that the cost of planting an acre of crop today and you quickly realize the dilemma many farmers had to deal with as to plant or wait for more favorable day,” says Jackson.  

Jackson is confident that with warmer temperatures and adequate moisture, optimum yields for corn and soybeans can still be attained through the third week in May. 

“Even though the clock is ticking, optimism is the farmer’s nature,” says Jackson. 

Soybean exports are expected to increase 100 million bushels next marketing year to 1.45 billion bushels. The U.S. season average soybean price for the 2013/14 marketing year will be $9.50 to $11.50 per bushel, according to the report, compared to $14.30 this year. For corn, a 2013/14 season-average price of $4.30 to $5.10 per bushel is projected, down drastically from a record $6.70 to $7.10 per bushel this year.

To learn more about ISA, visit its website at  

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