Farmers locked in acres last fall with fertilizer applications

chicago / reuters / Recent declines in U.S. corn futures prices have failed to dent growers’ enthusiasm for planting the feed grain this spring, even though soybean prices have outperformed corn, farmers and analysts said.

Crop insurance guarantees, money spent on fertilizer and recent rainy weather in key growing areas have cemented the acreage decisions that farmers made in the fall.

The Chicago Board of Trade December corn futures contract, which tracks the crop that will be harvested this fall, shed 7.1 per cent of its value over the first two months of 2013. The only bigger decline was in 2009, when new-crop prices dropped 13.4 per cent in the January-February time frame.

Farmers have already prepared most of their corn acreage by applying fertilizer, which is not necessary when planting soybeans.

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