April 7, 2004 | By: Laura Skillman

Planting intention and stock reports issued last week by the United States Department of Agriculture bring the potential of continuing strong markets for grains.

“It means a very, very promising price outlook for Kentucky farmers,” said Steve Riggins, grain marketing specialist with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

The planting intentions report issued March 31 was very positive for corn and wheat, while somewhat less positive for soybeans. The 79 million acres of corn intended to be planted this spring across the country is less than the 80 million many people anticipated. In recent days the market looks to be encouraging farmers to switch more acreage to corn from soybeans based on prices being offered, Riggins said.

“It implies firm prices for a long time,” he said.

Corn prices likely will remain strong until there is some proof of a very big crop for 2004, Riggins said.

Soybean planting intentions are up 3 percent which takes some of the pressure off that market, but the extent of the damage to this year’s South American crop is unknown and remains a factor in the U.S.bean market.  Stocks on hand as of March 1 for soybeans also were somewhat more than expected, but still well below last year.

As for wheat, the market remains bullish thanks to lower planted acres and continued dry conditions in the Plains, Riggins said.

Overall the same fundamental picture exists as in recent months and likely will remain so until the world has several years of good growing conditions, he said.

Planting intentions show farmers in Kentuckyanticipating planting 1.19 million acres of corn, up 20,000 from a year ago and 1.25 million acres of soybeans, unchanged from 2003, according to the USDA Agricultural Statistics service. Some 480,000 acres of wheat has been planted in Kentucky for harvest this spring, also unchanged.



Writer: Laura Skillman 270-365-7541 ext. 278
Source: Steve Riggins 859-257-7256