Good Morning,

The USDA released their first corn planting data yesterday afternoon that showed only 3% of the 2020 crop was estimated to have been planted as of Sunday, equal to the same time last year and only 1% lower than the 5-year average . Corn seedings in Illinois and Indiana were each 1% complete, relatively in line with their 5-year averages. A wet spring has kept farmers from making early planting progress; however, there is still plenty of time to get corn in the ground. The USDA will release soybean planting data in next week’s Crop Progress report.

Over the weekend that Smithfield Foods said it was closing its Sioux Falls, SD pork processing plant indefinitely after 238 workers tested positive for coronavirus. The plant cases amount for 55% of total South Dakota COVID-19 cases. According to Smithfield, the plant accounts for 4% to 5% of the country’s pork production as they slaughter nearly 19,500 pigs per day. It supplies nearly 130M servings of food per week, or about 18M servings per day.

In Greeley, Colorado a JBS beef plant announced it will remain closed for 10 days after a county health department investigation found 43 confirmed COVID-19 cases at the plant. Health officials required the beef plant to close until this morning, JBS made the decision to shutter the plant until April 24 and required all employees to self-quarantine to stop the spread of the virus. A report found that at least 32 workers continued working at the plant while symptomatic, due in large part to a strict absenteeism policy of the plant operators. Of the confirmed cases, 14 workers were hospitalized, 8 employees were intubated, and 2 employees had died from complications from the virus.

The USDA will likely announce the first round of aid for farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic this week. The first phase of relief will likely distribute $15.5 billion into the food economy in coming weeks from the $23.5 billion earmarked by Congress for the agricultural industry.
Producers with old crop corn should be getting this crop moved! Elevators and end users across the country are seeing quality issues from producers that are delivering every day. As we have stated all along, this is not a crop you want to store into late summer regardless of how good you think you are doing with maintaining quality. While the basis and cash price may not be what you want, you need to move it while it is still marketable. Demand for old crop corn has dropped dramatically with ethanol plants slowing down or shutting down. I would advise locking in basis contracts to move the grain and plan to price it sometime before the July 4th weekend.
Give us a call to find out what delivery slots we are still buying for before they are filled up.
Have a Safe Day!

Garry Gard