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View from the Cab: Christmas in July?

Christmas may have come early for farmers. I guess it fits in nicely with the whole Christmas in July thing.

USDA actually gave us a positive surprise for once in its most recent June 30 report. Planted corn acreage in the U.S. was down significantly from pre-report estimates. The government had a projection of 97 million acres in March while the most recent number was down to 92 million. This was enough to bump prices higher last week.

Corn stocks were up less than a percent from June 2019 with soybean stocks down 22 percent and all wheat stocks down three percent. Corn stocks in all positions June 1 totaled 5.22 billion bushels, up less than a percent from last year. Soybeans stored in all positions June 1 totaled 1.39 billion bushels, down 22 percent from last year.

An interesting observation for wheat as the all wheat planted area for 2020 is estimated at 44.3 million acres, which represents the lowest wheat planted area since records began in 1919.

When it comes to Illinois, the corn planted area is at almost 11 million acres, up four percent from last year. Harvested area for grain, at 10.7, is up five percent from 2019. Soybean planted area is at 10.40 million acres, up five percent from 2019 and harvested area is forecast at 10.35 million acres, also higher than the previous year.

The state’s winter wheat planted area for 2020 is estimated at 570,000 acres which is down 12 percent from the previous year. Area harvested for grain is expected to be 500,000 acres, down nine percent from 2019.

Following last Tuesday’s late morning release of the USDA report, prices were higher across the board with soybeans up 22 cents, corn up 17 and wheat up more than five. I am hoping this rally continues through harvest but we will see. Anything can happen in the meantime but it sure would be nice to have that price momentum carry us through 2020. Farmers everywhere deserve it.

I hope you had a great July 4th holiday. We had a fun time as always and find it hard to believe this is the unofficial halfway point of summer already. As of this writing, we could use some rain. The grass is brown and the corn looks dry.

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