Commodities & Metals

Corn Planting Off to a Bumpy Start

Corn Field
Source: Thinkstock
It’s that time of year again. Yup, U.S. farmers are getting started on planting corn, but cool weather and wet ground are slowing down an early start, at least in some states.

Louisiana and Texas, neither known for large corn production, have completed planting 95% and 54%, respectively, of their corn crops. And in Illinois, the second-largest corn producing state, planting was to have begun in some areas this week as eligibility for crop insurance kicks in. The weather is not cooperating.

Corn prices have fallen 13% in the past two trading sessions, going back to last week, both because current U.S. stocks are higher than normal for this time of year and because the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that a record number of acres will be planted in corn this year.

If farmers hold back on planting corn in an effort to boost prices — or if the weather delays planting significantly — that drop in price can quickly reverse. It’s a bit too early to make predictions, but unless most of the crop is in the ground by mid-May, yields will likely be lower and even with record acreage planted the crop may not be as large as we might believe.

Corn prices affect everything from candy prices to automobile fuel prices. Consumer prices and profits at many companies are influenced by corn prices, making the commodity one worth keeping an eye on.

Corn futures are off another nickel or so today, currently at $6.37 a bushel, down from a high near $7.35 just last week and down 0.8% from yesterday.

The Teucrium Corn ETF (NYSEMKT: CORN) is down 1.1% today at $39.75 in a 52-week range of $35.23 to $52.71.

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