2016 has been a challenging year so far in agriculture. This spring was cold and wet, which limited the number of good planting days across the Eastern Corn Belt. Crops that are planted the last week of May will have a lower yield potential, and typically will have higher moisture which slows down harvest. The crops that did get planted in late April, during a bit of dry weather, started out in cold and wet soils. That environment stresses the crop and slows down plant emergence.
One positive in 2016 is an increase in grain prices. In the last 5 months soybeans increased $1.91 per bushel and corn increased $.31 per bushel. The increase in soybean price is largely related to the late and heavy rains in South America during their harvest. The large amounts of rainfall did not allow for a portion of their acres to be harvested in a timely manner and led to some crop loss. There has also been some increase in demand for corn and soybeans domestically.
In order to offset the early challenges the crops and farmers faced, there will need to be an average temperature summer with good periodic rains throughout. With the hybrids we plant today and the amount or research that goes into breeding the plants, I don’t count out this year’s crop yet, but it sure had a difficult start.