Corn remains king for ND growers | TSLN.com

Corn remains king for ND growers

Marcia Zarley Taylor
DTN Executive Editor

Photo by Sarah HardieNorth Dakotans Wallie Hardie and son Josh expect more profit in corn, thanks in part to smart input shopping.

HADDONFIELD, NJ (DTN) – It’s a late-March day in North Dakota. A blizzard dumps more snow, school kids sandbag along the Red River and country roads are being washed out. Most of the 250,000 acres of corn that remained in fields last fall only got harvested this month.

Though it seems like Mother Nature is conspiring against the state, corn and soybean grower Wallie Hardie of Fairmount, ND, remains hopeful that weather will improve by his May 1 planting launch. This year could reward him for delays and patience.

“We don’t need to be down in the dumps. It’s in our hands to have an okay year,” the former college economics teacher said. “Our costs are coming in line and with $4 futures, we can hang in there.” Any spring price rally will only sweeten his outlook.

In the last decade, North Dakota’s planted corn acres more than doubled to 2.55 million acres last season. Given deluged soils, farmers could plant at least 10 percent fewer corn acres there in 2009, according to USDA’s March 31 Prospective Plantings report.

Hardie lives near a string of ethanol and corn fructose plants that have boosted their basis in the last decade. Still optimistic about corn’s prospects, Wallie and his 27-year-old son, Josh, expect to stick with their normal two-thirds corn, one-third soybeans split on the 4,000 acres they operate together.

The Hardies farm the beach front property of what was once the prehistoric lake underlying the Red River Valley; it drains better than other parts of the Valley and its high pH consistently produces decent corn yields of 150 bushels per acre, even when they received only two-tenths of an inch of rain from June 11 to August 11 last year. Soybeans, however, are more likely to struggle for a profit. They harvested 300 acres on frozen ground last November, which triggered a claim on their 75 percent Revenue Assurance policy. With cash rents that run $100 to $150 per acre in their area, corn offers good profit potential.

Recommended Stories For You

Procrastination in pricing inputs this year gave Hardie confidence that corn remains king in the southeastern corner of the state. “I didn’t buy a thing last fall when I normally would, because the bubble was bursting in commodity prices,” he said. He surmised that input costs would have to align, too.

HADDONFIELD, NJ (DTN) – It’s a late-March day in North Dakota. A blizzard dumps more snow, school kids sandbag along the Red River and country roads are being washed out. Most of the 250,000 acres of corn that remained in fields last fall only got harvested this month.

Though it seems like Mother Nature is conspiring against the state, corn and soybean grower Wallie Hardie of Fairmount, ND, remains hopeful that weather will improve by his May 1 planting launch. This year could reward him for delays and patience.

“We don’t need to be down in the dumps. It’s in our hands to have an okay year,” the former college economics teacher said. “Our costs are coming in line and with $4 futures, we can hang in there.” Any spring price rally will only sweeten his outlook.

In the last decade, North Dakota’s planted corn acres more than doubled to 2.55 million acres last season. Given deluged soils, farmers could plant at least 10 percent fewer corn acres there in 2009, according to USDA’s March 31 Prospective Plantings report.

Hardie lives near a string of ethanol and corn fructose plants that have boosted their basis in the last decade. Still optimistic about corn’s prospects, Wallie and his 27-year-old son, Josh, expect to stick with their normal two-thirds corn, one-third soybeans split on the 4,000 acres they operate together.

The Hardies farm the beach front property of what was once the prehistoric lake underlying the Red River Valley; it drains better than other parts of the Valley and its high pH consistently produces decent corn yields of 150 bushels per acre, even when they received only two-tenths of an inch of rain from June 11 to August 11 last year. Soybeans, however, are more likely to struggle for a profit. They harvested 300 acres on frozen ground last November, which triggered a claim on their 75 percent Revenue Assurance policy. With cash rents that run $100 to $150 per acre in their area, corn offers good profit potential.

Procrastination in pricing inputs this year gave Hardie confidence that corn remains king in the southeastern corner of the state. “I didn’t buy a thing last fall when I normally would, because the bubble was bursting in commodity prices,” he said. He surmised that input costs would have to align, too.

marcia zarley taylor can be reached at marcia.taylor@dtn.com