Crop Report

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For the Monthly Report Ending May 15, 2024

GENERAL COMMENTS & WEATHER: Welcome to the 2024 cropping season!  We look forward to continuing to provide you monthly updates during the growing season and another successful year.  We had a conversation not that long ago about why farmers have historically been fixated with weather.  There is no doubt that their livelihood was literally determined by the weather and adverse weather conditions had lasting impacts on their health, wealth, and family.  The technology that they used consisted of signs from nature, such as “plant corn when the oak leaves are the size of squirrels ears” and “Red sky at night, sailors’ delight.  Red sky at morning, sailors take warning” when predicting rain the next day.  Today we have a lot of technology with satellite imagery, computer weather models, computerized weather stations, and forecasts/radar at our finger-tips on our cell phones, yet the weather still can change.  Crop production is still greatly dependent upon Mother Nature, regardless of how we try to control our environment with drainage tile, precision farm equipment, enhanced plant genetics, and other technological advances. 

We had 1 to 2+ inches of rain at Christmas and about 4-inches of snow around the middle of the month in January, February, and March.  Most of the frost was out of the soil by mid-to-late February.  The U.S. Drought Monitor showed Southwestern Minnesota in a Moderate Drought in mid-March.  We started to receive rainfall weakly in late March through early May.  Drought conditions have subsided, soil moisture has replenished, and sub-surface moisture increased to above historical saturation levels.  Streams, rivers, and lakes have risen in volume as field tile started to flow.  It appears that the drought that began last summer in Southwestern Minnesota (SWMN) is officially over for now. 

Figure 1. – This is a quad-track tractor pulling a field cultivator through the field to till the field prior to planting.  Today’s tillage equipment makes the soil structure similar to working up a garden. 

Daily high temperatures were normal in January but about 14 degrees above average in February, and 7 degrees above average in March (Southwestern Minnesota Research & Outreach Center-SWROC).  It has been a typical spring in SWMN, with daily high temperatures in April through mid-May fluctuating from 40 to 88 degrees. One additional thing to note about the weather in SWMN this spring is the amount of wind!  We have experienced both consistent windy conditions and some strong winds as well.  It sounds like wind energy production is above average here this spring.    

Fortunately, almost all of the corn on our clients land has been planted.  Quite a few acres were completed on April 13-15th, the majority of the corn acres in late April, and most of the rest around mid-May.  The range of planting dates has spread out development as well. The early-planted corn has emerged.  Some soybeans were planted in late April, especially in eastern Jackson and Martin Counties.  However, with the recent wet conditions, it will likely be mid-to-late May before the balance of the soybeans are done.

CORN:  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Prospective Planting Report, released on March 31st, indicated that producers intend to plant 90 million acres of corn in the U.S. in 2024, which is down 4.6 million from last year.  As of May 13th, about 49% of the projected corn acres in the U.S. were completed.  This was down 11% compared to this time last year and 5% behind the 5-year average.  In Minnesota, 56% of the intended corn acres were planted, which is 2% higher than last year and right at the 5-year average.  One thing we are watching is progress in Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska, which are down 14%, 13%, and 11%, respectively, from their 5-year average.

Figure 2 – Here is a picture of corn planted in mid-April that is just emerging from the soil and it appears to be an even stand.  We are monitoring emergence/plant stands, as there has been a little concern about some crusting of the topsoil and delayed emergence for a few cornfields.  A gentle rain or rotary hoe can help alleviate this concern.

The USDA monthly Supply & Demand Report just released on May 10th projected that there could be 2.102 billion bushels of U.S. corn ending stocks for the 2024 crop.  This is a slight increase from the 2.022 billion bushels as estimated for the 2023 crop.  Fortunately, corn prices have increased during the past 3 months.  We have been making incremental sales over the past 2 months to reach 50% sold and will continue to monitor and sell the balance of the 2023 corn in the coming 6-8 weeks.  We also recently made our first sale of 2024 corn and will continue to add to those sales as well.

SOYBEANS: About 35% of the U.S. soybeans and 26% of the soybeans in Minnesota were planted as of May 13th.  In Minnesota, that is 1% more than last year, but still 8% behind the 5-year average.  The USDA Prospective Planting Report estimated that producers in the U.S. intend to plant approximately 86.5 million acres of soybeans in 2024, which would be up 2.9 million acres from last year.  The USDA monthly Supply & Demand Report released last week estimated a carryout in the U.S. of 340 million bushels for the 2023 crop and 445 million bushels for the 2024 crop, which is another significant increase in supply. Cash soybeans are currently around $11.50 per bushel and 2024 soybeans for harvest are also at about $11.50 per bushel.  We recently made another 2023 soybean sale we will continue to make sales as we hit our price targets.   

Figure 3 – This is a center-fill planter (seed is in the two yellow tanks in back) with liquid starter fertilizer (in the yellow tank in front of the planter).  The starter fertilizer can help seed germination, especially in the cool/wet conditions we’ve had during the past month.

REMARKS:  There continues to be a lot of variables throughout the world effecting the grain markets.  Wet conditions in the eastern Corn Belt in the U.S. is causing some concern about planting delays/lower yield potential for U.S. corn this year.  Flooding in southern Brazil is having an impact on the overall soybean production in South America.  Frost in Russia is causing concern about a significant reduction in wheat production.  The U.S. dollar continues to be high, which causes U.S. corn and soybeans to be more expensive in the world market, which reduces exports of these commodities.  Ethanol production has been running above average, which has created some additional demand for corn.  There has been some optimism about corn and soybean producers benefitting from tax credits for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).  However, initial requirements for no-till planting, cover crops, and reduced nitrogen use do not appear to make it very practical, especially here in SWMN.  Soybean oil has recently decreased in price since the U.S. did not impose any tariffs on used cooking oil from China.  These are just a few of the variables effecting corn and soybean prices, but as you can see, these variables are creating a lot of volatility in the markets.    

It has been a busy spring.  We processed income tax paperwork and payments, collected cash rent and made distributions, finalized crop insurance policies, and paid the first half of the 2024 real estate taxes.  We are finalizing projections/tax estimates and processing crop input invoices.  The Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) forms are being prepared and will be sent out to those of you who need to certify that you are eligible for any potential future farm program payments.  We have been able to complete tile repairs and projects this spring and have some on the books into this summer and fall.  Tile continues to be one of these most important investments in land that helps stabilize income/manage risk.

We are looking forward to another successful cropping season in 2024!  We will continue to provide this monthly report to keep you informed about crop production, grain marketing, government programs, land valuation, tax information, and the weather, all with respect to farmland in Southwestern Minnesota. 

Figure 4 – This is a tile plow (white) that is installing a tile main.  It is wet enough that they have to use a bulldozer (yellow) to pull the tile plow. 


Growing-Degree Days

May 13, 2024    127 +13

Corn Growing Degree Days are calculated by subtracting a 50 degree base temperature from the average of the maximum and minimum temperature for the day. The daily maximum is limited to 86 degrees and the minimum is 50 degrees.

Grain Markets (May 15, 2024)

  New Vision-Windom Magnolia POET Ethanol-Bingham Lake Minnesota Soybean Processors- Brewster
Cash-Corn   4.47   4.40 4.41 N/A
Cash-Soybeans 11.35 11.38 N/A 11.68
October-Corn   4.47 4.42 4.52 N/A
October -Soybeans  11.37 11.39 N/A 11.66


Rainfall (Inches):

County City April 11 –            May 14, 2024 March 15 to date-2024 March 15 to date-2023
Cottonwood Jeffers   4.2   7.3   6.6
Cottonwood Windom   4.5   7.2   4.8
Jackson Heron Lake   5.8   9.2   7.3
Jackson Jackson   6.2   9.4   3.3
Martin Trimont   5.5   8.7   5.1
Murray Fulda   6.0   9.0   5.3
Murray Slayton


  7.2   3.1
Nobles Round Lake   6.7   10.9   5.0
Nobles Rushmore   7.3   10.8   3.7
Rock Magnolia   6.8   10.3   3.6
Watonwan Darfur   5.4     9.0  13.3


Klay D. Walinga

President, General Manager

Real Estate Broker

Accredited Farm Manager