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View from the Cab: Delayed already?

By: Kent Casson

As much of the nation fights cold temperatures and frozen precipitation, it is hard to believe growers in the southern United States are usually starting spring fieldwork about this time.

While we look out across our frozen fields here in Illinois, growers in the warmer climates normally start venturing out to the fields in February. That’s not really the case so far this year as snow and ice storms barreled down on the Plains and Deep South. In fact, these areas could stay wet during the next week or two.

Much of the Midwest also has a wet weather outlook, although moisture is typically considered beneficial for the growing season. Unfortunately, if that moisture falls on top of frozen ground, you don’t get quite the benefit. Any excess moisture may cause planting delays, but it is welcome in many parts of the country as drought conditions have plagued certain regions.

Many of the southern farmers like to get a jump on planting in order to harvest early and take advantage of what looks to be a tight supply situation heading into summer.

“I think there are going to be some areas of the U.S. run out of soybeans and I think that’s going to be about the time when China will come back after emptying Brazil’s bins,” Arlan Suderman with StoneX told me last week.

Suderman said he cannot emphasize enough how much money flow matters in these markets. We do have supportive fundamentals but we have so much money in this market that this amplifies the move. Come March 15, Suderman notes the CME will increase position limits on traders and how many positions they can hold by about two-thirds.

“That means bigger positions will probably see higher highs and lower lows in markets down the road and even more volatility.”

My thanks to Suderman, the chief commodities economist with StoneX Financial, for visiting with me a few minutes on the Central Illinois Farm Network.

We finally experienced a bit of a thaw around here and I am not complaining. That recent Polar Vortex was enough to make anyone want to move to a tropical climate. Even the traditionally mild winter weather states like Texas received plenty of winter weather during the past two weeks. I’m afraid that old groundhog was right on.


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