Big Swings Ahead for Planting, Growing and Harvest Season

Source: Jim Noel

As El Niño continues to weaken in the eastern Pacific Ocean the “rapid change” often leads to a wetting up as we discussed last time for a part of spring. This wetting up has occurred across Ohio in the last month with some areas wetter than others and could continue into May but to a lesser extent. The years where strong El Niño events came to an end in spring include 2016, 1998, 1982, 1973 and 1958. However, as we go into summer and autumn, there is a growing chance of a  La Niña returning which is opposite of El Niño. This swing in the ocean pattern will likely put some stress on Ohio crops this year.

Above normal temperatures are expected from May to autumn harvest with the warmth favoring nighttime minimum temperatures more than daytime maximum temperatures. There will likely be some 95+ degree days this summer but there is more of a chance of 75+ overnight temperatures. You can see the official summer temperature outlook by NOAA attached.

Rainfall will see significant swings the rest of this year. We are in a normally wet time of the year currently averaging 0.8-1.0 inch per week. We expect this wetness to last into May. However, as growing season arrives it appears there will be growing variability in the rainfall patterns. In addition,  we expect some dryness to expand as summer progresses and La Niña develops with confidence higher for dryness in June and August/September timeframes at this point. The extent of any summer/early autumn drought development needs to be monitored in the coming weeks.

Even though it is typical to still see some light freezes/frosts in April, most data suggests this is not likely as we go into May meaning a near normal last freeze for most of the state.

You can get all the official climate outlooks from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center at https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov .

Ohio Crop Weather

Source: USDA

Sustained Wet Conditions

Heavy rains last week saturated fields and prevented any large-scale planting activities, according to Ben Torrance, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 31 percent adequate and 69 percent surplus. Statewide, the average temperature for the week ending on April 14 was 56.8 degrees, 9.4 degrees above normal. Weather stations recorded an average of 1.86 inches of precipitation, 0.98 inches above average. There were 0.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 14.
Farmers reported that with the excess rain, the only field work that could be done was applying herbicide and fertilizing wheat. Oats were 11 percent planted. Winter wheat was 51 percent jointed and winter wheat condition was 70 percent good to excellent. Warmer than normal conditions continued to push fruit crop development.

Weekly Commodity Market Update

Brownfield’s Weekly Commodity update featuring former OSU Extension Ag Economist Ben Brown.  This week Will and Ben discuss USDA’s updated acreage expectations.

This Week’s Topics:

  • Market recap
  • Sideways to lower commodity trading
  • Corn stocks estimates drop
  • Soybean stocks estimates rise
  • Soybean crush sets all-time record
  • Brazilian production shifts
  • Reports to watch

Market recap (Changes on week as of Monday’s close):

  • May 2024 corn down $.04 at $4.31
  • December 2024 corn down $.04 at $4.69
  • May 2024 soybeans down $.23 at $11.58
  • November 2024 soybeans down $.17 at $11.67
  • May soybean oil down 2.43 cents at 45.47 cents/lb
  • May soybean meal up $2.50 at $338.50/short ton
  • May 2024 wheat down $.14 at $5.51
  • July 2024 wheat down $.13 at $5.67
  • May WTI Crude Oil down $.73 at $84.88/barrel

Weekly Highlights

  • The Consumer Price Index, a measure of inflation, rose to 3.5% in March, higher than expectation and the third consecutive month of increasing inflation. Shelter and energy costs drove the increase. Following the report, traders pushed the first expected Federal Funds rate cut out to September compared to June moments before the report.
  • The Producer Price Index, another measure of inflation, rose 2.1% from March 2023, which was the largest monthly year over year gain in nearly a year. This was slightly down from an expectation of 2.2%. Month over month prices were up 0.2% compared to up 0.6% in February and pre-report expectations of up 0.3%.
  • US crude oil stocks excluding the strategic petroleum reserve were up 245 million gallons from the week prior. Similarly, US gasoline and distillate stocks were up on lower demand and higher imports. Crude oil prices have eased from their highs experienced last week on easing geopolitical tensions but the risk is still present.
  • Ethanol production pulled back 310 million gallons- down 5 million from the week prior. Ethanol margins decreased to end March but have started to move higher again despite near record ethanol stock levels. Margins remain positive for ethanol producers.
  • USDA lowered US corn ending stocks to 2.122 down 50 million bushels on the month but not as much as the 70-million-bushel drop expected. Demand was increased 25 million bushels for both corn exports and ethanol use.
  • USDA increased soybean ending stocks 25 million bushels on the month and 23 million more than what was expected after cuts to exports, seed and residual more than overcorrect for lower imports.
  • Brazil’s CONAB reduced both total corn production and soybean production for the country 1.8 and 0.5 million metric tons respectively. Both are noticeably lower than USDA’s April numbers.
  • Open interest of Chicago grains and oilseeds was down for wheats (-4.1%), corn (-2.8%), soybean oil (-1.8%), soybean meal (-2.0%), cotton (-11.1%) and rice (-5.9%) while being up slightly for soybeans (+1.0%).
  • Managed money traders continued to expand their short positions of corn (3,998) and soybeans (1,054). Corn and soybean managed money contracts pulled back from their record short positions but are rebuilding them again. Traders decreased their net short of Chicago Wheats 1,239 contracts.
  • Last week Bloomberg reported Chinese importers canceled “four or five cargos” of Ukrainian corn booked for delivery in an effort to support local prices ahead of planting.
  • Export sales for week ending March 4th were bearish and pulled the market lower. Corn sales of 12.8 million bushels were the lowest of the marketing year and fell well below expectations. Soybean and wheat sales were also on the low end of expectations.
  • Export inspections with the exception of wheats were flat to lower and uninspiring. The reported soybean volume was the lowest since Mid-September as volumes continue to move seasonally lower. Wheat exports exceeded all pre-report expectations.
  • The National Oilseed Processors Association reported their members crushed a record high 196.4 million bushels in March. This was 1.2 million bushels below the average trade estimate ahead of the report. The soybean oil stocks volume was on the top end of expectations and the fifth consecutive month of volumes exceeding the average trade estimate.
  • As expected, planting picked up in the western corn belt last week. Six percent of the US corn crop is planted compared to 3% last week and an average pace of 5%. The first soybean planting progress came in at 3% up from an average of 1%. Cotton and rice were 8% and 44% respectively.
  • The winter wheat conditions rating slipped just slightly to 346 down from 348 last week (a perfect score is 500). However, this remains well ahead of 273 last year.

Ohio Crop Weather – April 1, 2024

Source: USDA

This year’s weather has been temperamental, with temperatures fluctuating wildly between above average to below average over the past few months, according to Ben Torrance, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 32 percent adequate and 68 percent surplus. Statewide, the average temperature for the week ending on April 7 was 46.3 degrees, 0.3 degrees above normal. Weather stations recorded an average of 2.67 inches of precipitation, 1.8 inches above average. There were 0.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 7. Precipitation last week left fields saturated and brought fieldwork to a stop. Drier weather settled in towards the end of the week, but most fields remained too wet to hold heavy equipment. Oats were 7 percent planted. Winter wheat was 16 percent jointed and winter wheat condition was 67 percent good to excellent. Fruit trees began blossoming in the northern counties after last week’s light frost.

Battle for the Belt:

Season 2 Episode 2- Who Won 2023- Corn or Soybean?

Project Overview

Battle for the Belt aims to answer four questions:

  • Which crop should we plant first- corn or soybean?
  • Which crop has the smallest yield penalty for delayed planting?
  • Can we adjust management practices to mitigate losses due to late planting?
  • How are insects, diseases, weeds, and other factors affected by planting date?

Highlights:

  • Planting window is shrinking
    • Between April 17 and May 15 we have an average of 15 suitable field workdays.
  • Corn yield decrease of 1.75 bushel per day after April 30th.
  • Soybean yield decrease of .5 bushel per day after April 3oth.

Everyday Biosecurity Recommendations for Dairy and Beef Cattle Farm Personnel

Having a biosecurity plan with clear plans and protocols is crucial to protect your animals and farm personnel while also preventing the spread of disease to others or through outside visitors. With the recent outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in dairy cows, livestock producers should heighten their biosecurity practices on the farm. According to the latest announcements by American Veterinary Medical Association and American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP), the disease syndrome in cattle does not cause high morbidity and mortality as it does in birds. The AABP announced April 7, 2024 that it will call this emerging disease Bovine Influenza A Virus (BIAV) to better distinguish the disease syndrome in cattle from the pathogenesis observed in birds.

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Forage Weeds: Fall Forgotten and Spring Startups

Alyssa Essman, OSU Extension State Specialist, Weed Science, Christine Gelley, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Noble County, Kyle Verhoff, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Defiance County

Spring means rapid forage growth, but it also means rapid weed growth. Due to the variability of spring weather, there are often only a few opportunities to control emerging summer annual weeds, winter annuals missed in the fall, and biennials that are small enough to effectively control. To manage weeds before they become a problem in forages, it is important to scout and plan accordingly. Forage is a broad category, and the spring weed control plan can look very different between species and operations. The problem weeds and whether control is necessary are going to be different between permanent pasture systems and alfalfa fields, and highly dependent on the consequences of specific weeds.

In established alfalfa, the decision for weed control of some winter annuals like henbit and field pennycress will depend on the severity of the weed presence, the age of the stand, and the end purpose of the forage. If the weed pressure is high, the stand is young, or the lower forage quality of the weeds interferes with the goal of producing dairy-quality hay, the weed control treatment may be worth the associated cost. In a grazing system, it may be more pertinent to control weeds in the spring to ensure weeds that aren’t grazed don’t go to seed. Numerous weeds can be a problem in forage systems. Reference the 2024 Weed Control Guide for specific recommendations following this general overview.

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Ohio Victory Garden Program

News Release from The Ohio Department of Agriculture, April 10, 2024

It’s time to get growing!
We’re officially kicking off our Ohio Victory Gardens program!
Free sample seed kits are available in 64 counties thanks to our partners at Ohio State University Extension!
See where and when you can get your seeds!

Weekly Commodity Market Update

Brownfield’s Weekly Commodity update featuring former OSU Extension Ag Economist Ben Brown.  This week Will and Ben discuss USDA’s updated acreage expectations.

This Week’s Topics:

  • Market recap
  • Sideways commodity trading
  • U.S. Jobs & job openings report updates
  • Crude oil stocks building
  • April WASDE pre-report expectations
  • Planting progress
  • Reports to watch

Market recap (Changes on week as of Monday’s close):

  • May 2024 corn flat at $4.35
  • December 2024 corn down $.01 at $4.73
  • May 2024 soybeans down $.04 at $11.81
  • November 2024 soybeans up $.02 at $11.84
  • May soybean oil down 0.34 cents at 47.90 cents/lb
  • May soybean meal up $2.60 at $336.00/short ton
  • May 2024 wheat up $.08 at $5.65
  • July 2024 wheat up $.08 at $5.80
  • May WTI Crude Oil up $2.43 at $85.61/barrel

Weekly Highlights

  • The February JOLTS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) report showed job opening in February totaled 8.8 million matching expectations, while the number of people quitting jobs rose slightly to 3.5 million.
  • US crude oil stocks excluding the strategic petroleum reserve increased 135 million gallons last week after being up 133 million gallons the week prior. Conversely gasoline stocks declined 179 million gallons and distillate stocks decreased 43 million gallons. Crude Oil prices broke above $90/ barrel last week on middle east tensions but broke lower to start the week on reports of de-escalation.
  • Ethanol production increased to 315 million gallons on the week- up from 310 the week prior and 295 the same week in 2023. Ethanol production continues to run at historically high levels. Gasoline demand was up 6%. Ethanol stocks rose 14 million gallons.
  • Open interest of Chicago grains and oilseeds was up for wheats (+3.6%), Corn (+1.9%), soybeans (+3.1%), Soybean Oil (+2.5%), soybean meal (+2.6%), and Cotton (+0.8%), while being down for rough rice (-0.7%).
  • Managed money traders reduced their net shorts in Chicago wheats 2,322 contracts while increasing their net shorts of corn- 7,826 contracts and soybeans 3,476 contracts. Money managers do not seem concerned about being historically short in corn and soybeans.
  • Export sales of US grains and oilseeds were rather weak for the week ending March 28th. Corn, soybean, soybean oil, grain sorghum, and wheats were all down week over week. Soybean sales of 7.1 million bushels were below all pre-report estimates.
  • Export inspections were mixed. Corn export inspections of 55.9 million bushels exceed all expectations, wheat inspections of 18.3 million bushels were on the top end of expectations while soybean inspections of 17.8 million bushels were the lowest since early September.
  • Planting progress was slow with several broad storms moving through the Midwest. Corn planting increased 1% to 3%, which is slightly ahead of the 3-year average of 2%. Rice planting was up 9% to 23% while cotton planting was reported at 4% up from 3%.
  • The winter wheat conditions rating was unchanged at 348 (a perfect score is 500). Up from 276 last year. Kansas at 338 was up from 220 last year. Oklahoma at 365 was up from 260 last year and Test at 324 was up from 250 last year.
  • The March Job Reports showed nonfarm payroll in the US at 303,000 up from 270,000 in February and analyst expectations of 200,000.
  • The US unemployment rate also fell to 3.8% down from 3.9% and stayed below 26th month in a row, the longest stretch since the 1960s.