Corn continues to trade in a sideways channel as both the bulls and bears defend their case. The bulls continue to talk about planting delays down South caused by conditions that are too wet, while those in the northern Corn Belt are talking about conditions being too dry. In simple terms, the bulls are talking about the potential for fewer U.S. corn acres in the reports ahead.
There's also the continued talk from the bulls about lower corn production next year in South American and Ukraine. The bears, on the other hand, seem concerned about better-than-expected production coming out of South America and larger-than-expected acreage being planted here in the U.S. The bears are also more heavily questioning overall Chinese corn demand and their limited need for U.S. imports.
As you can see from the graphic below, the southern portion of the U.S. (in red) is running behind schedule in regard to planting corn. The only two states ahead of pace are AR and KS. The planting pace in Texas however jumped form 20% completed last week to 37% planted as of Sunday. Keep in mind this is still below their five-year average of 50%. Louisiana planting jumped from just 6% complete last week to a whopping 67% this week, but is still below their five-year average of 93%. Georgia is 36% planted vs. an average of 59%; Mississippi 34% planted vs. an average 57%.
Bottom line: The southern states are definitely running behind their traditional pace, but it's yet to be a game-changer and I'm still thinking we could see 80% of the entire U.S. crop seeded by mid-May, which traditionally leads the trade to believe yields will be trend-line or better. There's definitely a lot of time still on our side, so I don't want to get overly aggressive with making sales just yet, but any new-crop rally back above $4.20 will certainly pique my interest.