Watch the Sky for a Corn Trade

I came across this chart in my travels. It’s quite an interesting one. It shows the relationship between the time a corn crop is planted and the subsequent yield. Contrary to popular thought, it shows early planting (i.e. early April) has little effect on yield, but late planting (i.e. May or after) has a dramatically negative impact.

 

Chart source: Emerson Nafziger, Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois.

 

For CBOT corn futures, of course harvest time can provide some volatility, but so can planting season. USDA numbers show ‘late plantings’ average around 15% of total plantings per year.

Right now, the market is not expecting any delay to the planting process over the next month or so, so the unfactored risk to the market is weather delaying planting in a few weeks. That could flow through to expectations of lower yields hence a run up in prices.

Note the current corn market shows prices have been ranging for some time. That makes it ripe for a strong reaction to unexpected news. Not a prediction, just something to watch.