Fast pace of corn plantings in U.S. South could result in export clash

Corn plantings

Compared to the previous year, farmers in Louisiana are planting corn at twice the speed and are two weeks ahead in Texas – which could bring in harvests that will clash with peak exports from South America.

The could potentially drag the global price of corn further down, depressing the farm economy in the U.S. that is already struggling due to net incomes likely being at their lowest levels since 2002 this year.

"A lot can change between now and August, but right now it sure looks like it's a buyer's market," a corn exporter in the U.S. said.

Farmers in the south capitalized on the unusually high temperatures in recent weeks that warmed up soils to work fields earlier.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Monday that corn in Louisiana was 90 percent planted as of Sunday, up from 45 percent during the same week the previous year and above the five-year average of 70 percent planted.

Meanwhile, 56 percent of corn was planted in Texas, up from last year’s 41 percent and above the five-year percentage of 43 percent.

The early plantings should see corn in these states harvested a few weeks early. Harvest usually starts late in July.

That would put corn exports from the U.S. toe-to-toe with South American exports which are busiest in August.

U.S. Gulf corn for shipment in August was available for $165 per ton on a free-on-board basis, the U.S. trader said. That is down from the previous year’s $170 per ton.

Meanwhile, Brazilian corn shipped for august was offered at $162.50 per ton.

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