Market Matters Blog
Katie Micik DTN Markets Editor

Monday 06/23/14

Spring Rains Forced Some Regions to Switch Acres to Soybeans

OMAHA (DTN) -- A rainy spring made planting difficult for some farmers this year, but for the most part, growers stuck with their original planting plans, a recent DTN 360 Poll shows.

(DTN graphic)

The poll highlighted the regional nature of this spring's rain, but it also showed that a majority of farmers prefer to stick to their typical crop rotation.

More than 400 farmers responded to the question "Have you altered your planting from your early spring plans?" between June 5 and June 17. The most popular response, at 62%, was "No, I stuck with my typical rotation."

Spring weather forced 15% of respondents to switch to soybeans. Some farmers said they stuck to their plan, but that plan included increased soybean (10%) or corn (6%) acres this year. Three percent of respondents said planting weather was great for corn, so they planted more of it.

Clarks Grove, Minn., farmer Jerry Demmer watched the economics swing toward soybeans throughout the winter, but he stuck with his rotation because he put down fertilizer in the fall.

"I don't think there was a lot switched from corn to beans because in our area 80 miles south of the Twin Cities, farmers like to put their N on in the fall," Demmer said.

The grain markets are focused on USDA's upcoming Acreage report, which will be released on Monday, June 30, at 11 a.m. CDT. Private analytical firm Informa Economics said earlier this month that it sees USDA increasing soybean acreage by 285,000 acres to 81.78 million acres. Informa trimmed corn acres projections slightly to 91.58 ma.

The second most popular response to DTN's poll was "Yes, rain delays made corn planting tough, switched some acres to beans," with 15% of all responses.

Broken down by state, 50% of the responses from North Dakota indicated a switch to soybeans. North Dakota was followed by Michigan (38%), Ohio (23%), Minnesota (19%), Wisconsin (15%) and South Dakota (14%).

Adam Spelhaug, agronomy manager at Peterson Farm Seed in Kindred, N.D., said just about everyone switched some of their acres to soybeans or another crop or took prevented planting.

The snow melted off pretty well this spring, "but it was such a cold winter the soil was really frozen. We were waiting for it warm up before it could dry down," Spelhaug said.

Some corn acres were planted around April 21, but that was pushing it on soil temperature. "Then it rained for three weeks."

Many farmers pushed planting all the way to the May 25 deadline for crop insurance, and then started switching to beans. If it was still too wet in early June, they took prevented planting. On Spelhaug's family farm, 120 acres didn't get planted this year.

"A majority of people didn't get everything planted they were planning on back in March," Spelhaug said.

In Harbor Beach, Mich., farmer Brian Roggenbuck was glad most of his tiling is spaced 25 feet apart instead of the more typical 60 feet. He'd already planned to grow more acres of edible beans because the prices for corn and sugarbeets were so low.

He struggled to get his sugarbeets in the ground in late April because it was wet, and ended up planting corn, sugarbeets, soybeans and navy beans all in the same week.

"When we had to go, we went around the clock. And then we'd get rained out," he said. "It wasn't terribly wet, but just before we were ready to get back in, it'd rain again."

Rain wasn't an issue on Demmer's south-central Minnesota farm until this past week. The crop was off to one of the best starts he's seen, and even though it was planted a little later than ideal, good conditions and the right amount of heat helped the corn crop catch up.

Then it started raining. His farm got 2 inches last weekend, which was followed by a 2-inch-per-hour storm last Monday night, putting his total for this past week above 6 inches.

He estimates about 10% of his fields have been drowned out.

"It's tough to look out our window and say the market has to go up because of our loss, but it doesn't have to do anything," he said, noting that so many economists are calling for a record crop and he keeps reading about great crop conditions in the "I" states. "We have to stop sometimes and say it could be worse. All in all, we have a good crop coming, the remainder of what's out there, anyways."

Katie Micik can be reached at

Follow Katie Micik on Twitter @KatieMDTN


Posted at 11:14AM CDT 06/23/14 by Katie Micik
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