Posted by: usset001 | May 21, 2009

The Illinois corn crop is late. Should we be concerned?

Southern Illinois, June 26, 1990

Southern Illinois, June 26, 1990

The current chatter about planting progress problems in Illinois brought back a memory and sent me in search of an old photograph in my files (see above). In 1990, the Southern Illinois corn crop was late getting planted and far behind in development. John Harrington, an old friend and colleague of mine at The Pillsbury Company, went on a day trip in late June to assess the damage. He sent me this photograph. On the backside of the photo I scribbled this note; “75% of [the] corn crop was 6 inches high or less in Southern IL [on] 6-26-90 (feet courtesy of John H.)”

(FYI, John stayed with Pillsbury, which was subsequently purchased by Grand Met and then General Mills. He remains with the company and, today, I believe he is responsible for more wheat flour purchases than any other individual in the world)

A crop this far behind in development is sure to create a stir in the market, and the record shows that the new crop Dec’90 futures contract trended higher, from $2.50/bu.  in March to a high of over $2.90 in early July, 1990. On a percentage basis, this is a greater rise in prices than we have seen in the Dec’09 contract over the past month.

By the way, the record shows that the state of Illinois enjoyed an average corn yield of 127 bushels per acre in 1990. This was not a record but it was certainly close to a trend-line expectation. And do I need to remind everyone that today is May 21, and not June 26?


Responses

  1. Didn’t prices in that year also end up being lower from the start of Juen to the end of August….by about 10%????


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