Making the most of corn season, despite late planting and cool markets

Without a doubt, a late planting season is the last thing Minnesota corn and soybean producers want to see. And in 2018, they're dealing with just that. Adding to the nervousness is the fact that for the past five years, growers have endured slumping markets.

Meanwhile, other current events are not putting farmers at ease. There are big question marks on what will happen with the Farm Bill. And there are reports that thanks to the escalating tariff situation between the U.S. and China, some Chinese buyers of corn, soybeans and pork are looking to Argentina markets. On the other hand, the Wall Street Journa points out a couple of factors that could even things out in the end. There’s doubt on whether that South American country can accommodate everyone who wants to switch. Sellers may make up some of the losses to China by turning to Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey.

But here’s something that shows just how far we’ve come when it comes to technical advances in agriculture. Research completed in 2013 by the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca shows us that planting corn as late as late May and early June does not necessarily mean poor yields in the fall. Here’s what they learned from the three-year study, according to an article in Minnesota Farm Guide:

* Corn yields performed much better than expected despite late planting, producing bushels in the 170 to 200 range.

* June 10 is probably the absolute cut-off date for corn planting, so with the right seed, planting in May is not too late.

* Better corn genetics are driving the results. But the other factor is shifts in our climate patterns. July and August are traditionally hot and dry times of the year, which stresses plants when they are at the pollinating stage. But it turns out that more rain is falling during these summer months. That extra rain brings not-so-hot temperatures, which also helps.

We can’t control the weather, but it goes to show how better tools lend hope for decent yields. After all, agriculture is just another word for finding a way to thrive despite the challenges that Mother Nature — and the markets — throw our way.

We at Minnwest Bank understand the challenges of agriculture from the ground up. We are lending experts, and we're also producers in your community, which makes us uniquely qualified to help you get the right financial tools and lending solutions in your hands, so you can have the best year possible.

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