Since our last report written April 28, our farm received just shy of seven inches of rain over 10 days. Of 175 acres of corn in the ground, 100 was planted before Easter, emerged before the rain, and is looking alright. The remaining 75 was planted a week later. It appears to be growing in the soil, but only patches in the field have emerged. The lower spots were completely saturated and remain bare. It’s too early to tell if any of the field will need to be replanted, but I would not be surprised if there are parts that we terminate and re-seed once we get a better look at the stand. Unlike last year, the corn isn’t going very fast anywhere I have traveled in Northeast Kansas. The weather forecast for this week looks promising for getting back in the field. We need five good days to finish corn — that may be asking too much for this week given how wet we have been.
While we have less than a quarter of our corn planted, I can’t help but be thinking often about planting beans. We have cereal rye cover crops growing on about 40 percent of our bean acres. It was planted in early October and had a good stand before winter came. Now, with ample rainfall and plenty of time to grow, it has headed out and is approximately 5 feet tall. Some grows across the road from the house, getting bigger every day. I have seen many stories about how that’s not an uncommon result for those who have used rye cover for many years, and have had few problems planting through it, but I’ll admit it’s a little intimidating.
Marketing has been a center of farmers’ attention lately with trade and supply concerns, and certainly is no different for us. Local basis levels weakened a nickel in the face of the selloff — corn is now +.06, beans are -0.65. Hard red wheat is holding at -.10, but the cash price of $3.72 still won’t cover variable cost inputs. Kansas is famous for wheat, but the economics of corn are vastly superior to wheat at current prices. — Ryan Johnson