Agricultural news roundup

Planting still far ahead of past springs

SPRINGFIELD — Corn and soybean planting continues to run way ahead of recent years, according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

As of Monday, about 89 percent of the state's corn crop had been planted, and 64 percent of the crop has emerged.

That's well above the five-year average of 47 percent having been planted by that time and 18 percent having emerged.

Statewide, 21 percent of the soybean crop had been planted as of last weekend, compared with the five-year average of 7 percent.

In eastern Illinois, which includes the Champaign-Urbana and Danville areas, 97 percent of the corn crop had been planted, as had 24 percent of the soybean crop.

Sixty-two percent of reports from eastern Illinois indicated adequate moisture in the topsoil, while 17 percent indicated surplus moisture and 21 percent showed a shortage.

About 72 percent of the subsoil in eastern Illinois had adequate moisture, while 27 percent was short and 1 percent had surplus moisture.

Expectations pushing down corn prices

URBANA — Expectation of a huge corn crop is one of several factors pushing down corn prices, University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good said.

In a UI news release, Good noted that futures prices for both new-crop and old-crop corn have fallen over the last eight months.

Early planting and fair weather have created expectations for good yields, he said.

"In combination with large acreage, yield expectations point to a crop well above 14 billion bushels," Good said.

At the same time, there are concerns about demand. Slow implementation of 15 percent ethanol blends has led some to expect stagnating corn consumption for that use, he said.

Also dampening expectations for consumption: the European debt crisis, a slower pace of economic growth in China and the slow pace of job creation in the United States.

"Conditions currently point to a substantial buildup of U.S. corn inventories next year and increasing expectations that prices will return to lower averages" like those from the 2007-08 to 2009-10 marketing years, he said.

Average prices received by farmers during those three years, averaged just under $4 a bushel.

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