Final spring planting decisions in the U.S. Corn Belt are being affected by lower-than-average corn prices and the strong dollar, especially with respect to exports.
In northeast South Dakota, Ryan Wagner’s family has been no-till farming corn, soybeans and spring wheat for three generations.
“The strong U.S. dollar has definitely had an impact on our ability to compete in the export market, but I wouldn’t say it’s something most farmers think of every day or has much of an impact on planting decisions,” Wagner said. “Margins are tight to non-existent in pretty much every crop at the moment, so farmers will be looking to cut costs and closely examine every input that goes into production.”
In the Texas Panhandle, Braden Gruhlkey grows corn, sorghum, wheat and cotton with his family. Their main focus is to conserve water and manage irrigated acres conservatively by planting corn and sorghum in fields with more water.
“Farming is all I’ve ever wanted to do,” said Gruhlkey. “It’s in my blood, and I would like to provide for my kids and my brothers’ kids for them to have the opportunity to do what I’m able to do.”
In northwest Ohio, Dennis Vennekotter farms corn, soybeans and wheat. He says his biggest factor in making decisions for spring planting is crop rotation, but he will be planting less corn because of its price.
“Right now, I market my corn at a local market, and I can still make more on corn than soybeans,” Vennekotter said. “There are two ethanol plants in a 15-mile radius near me as well as a lot of livestock production. So markets are good in my area, as well as a good, strong basis.”