Michigan Farmer on Planting: “Can’t Be Any Worse Than Last Year”

Planting Underway in Michigan 051220

Planting progress is also moving along in Michigan where farmers say conditions are much better than last year. USDA says 37% of corn acres have been planted in Michigan, ahead of the 5-year average. As far as soybeans, 35% of soybeans have been planted, which is also more than the 5-year average.

A little bit more seed and an afternoon of work is what Daryl Griner and his son Avery are doing to finish up a field they are custom planting. Next, is corn planting for both their fields this week.

“As long as it’s dry, it can’t be any worse than last year,” says Cass County, Michigan farmer, Daryl Griner.

The two say conditions are some of the best in years for their area, especially if you consider all of the prevent plant last year.

“The year before, we had some wet issues,” says Griner. “The nice sunshine feels as if we should be planting more but it’s chilly today.”

Cooler temperatures arrived over the weekend.

According to AgDay affiliate WNDU, a temperature of 30 degrees was recorded at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Elkhart Municipal Airport, in Elkhart, Indiana, roughly three to four miles south of the Michigan/Indiana border.

South Bend International Airport in South Bend, Indiana is roughly 30 miles south of Cass County, Michigan. The low Saturday morning was 25 degrees, beating a record low of 27 degrees set in 1947.

Griner says he’s not too worried about the impact because seed has not emerged out of the ground yet in many fields.

“I don’t think the cold is going to bother anything,” says Griner. “Here we are [in] May and it has to be 70 [degrees] someday, right?”

While much of the corn belt continues to plant, Griner says there's still a worry about how to make a profit.

Griner says, “How depressing is it to know you’re losing money right now and it’s when you’re putting corn in the ground?”

Many farmers are thinking the same. USDA will release a slew of reports today. One of them is the World Agricultural Supply and Demand estimates (WASDE) report. It will show an update to corn ending stocks. It’s expected to be a large number due to decreased ethanol demand and other COVID-19 problems.

Chris Robinson, publisher of The Robinson Review, says the average trade guess for corn carryout for the 2020/2021 crop is 3.42 billion bushels. If realized, it could be the largest carry-out in 33 years, potentially 66% higher from the 2019/2020 timeframe.

Some wonder if trade will be shown too.

“I think that’s why the trade is generally expecting a 3.4 billion bushel corn carryout [estimate] versus something higher,” says Arlan Suderman with INTL FC Stone. “It’s still a high carryout and [it] just shows how we really need China to come in [and buy] 20 million metric tons of corn.”

“I think if it wasn’t for the trucking [company], us having another business and doing some other things like that, I think it would be really tough on us too,” says Griner.

While Griner says he’s fortunate to have a trucking business on the side, he may be even more thankful for the things he can control. Those things are working next to his son when he can in an industry they both love.