The vernal equinox occurs this weekend signaling the beginning of spring. Though normally a time to celebrate the lifting of winter's heavy mantle, the weather has been anything but inviting. High winds and power outages have already hit the East coast. And record low temperatures have been seen across the South.
According to USDA weather reports, rain and snow are already slowing early planting progress in the East. Inclement weather across much of the Western Corn Belt has put additional stress on livestock. With a wintery mix forecast for the Corn Belt, farmers are taking a moment to assess what may be ahead for planting season.
This week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported more than a third of the United States faces high to above average risk of flooding this spring.
The states at highest risk are the Dakota's, Minnesota, and Iowa which according to USDA account for 34 percent of corn production. President Barack Obama has already declared a state of emergency in North Dakota where it is expected the Red River will crest 20 feet above flood stage. Governor Tim Pawlenty has issued a state of emergency for 28 counties in Minnesota affected by flooding.
While the report led to higher corn prices earlier in the week, many traders believe it is still too early to push the market over planting concerns. Last year delays in planting due to wet weather pushed corn to above $4.70 a bushel. Despite the late start in 2009, corn and soybean farmers managed record harvests.