After a dry start to winter, the weather pattern has gotten more active. Even though the La Nina pattern in the Pacfiic Ocean is weakening the effect will likely continue through spring. This favors a normal to wetter than normal pattern for Ohio. The western corn and soybean belt will likely continue with the normal to drier than normal pattern through spring.
The greatest chances for wetness appear to favor the southern half of Ohio with closer to normal conditions in northern Ohio. The spring temperatures continue to favor warmer than normal overall.
The profit margin outlook for corn, soybeans and wheat is relatively positive as planting season approaches. Prices of all three of our main commodity crops have moved higher since last summer and forward prices for this fall are currently at levels high enough to project positive returns for 2021 crop production. Recent increases in fertilizer prices have negatively affected projected returns. Higher crop insurance costs as well as moderately higher energy costs relative to last year will also add to overall costs for 2021.
The current weather outlook for early spring planting season is starting to sound like a broken record of the last few years – a wetter pattern than normal for Ohio and the Great Lakes region. Along with a warmer than average pattern. So, it is more important than ever to be ready to take full advantage of any short windows of opportunity we will get to be in the fields this spring. This is particularly important because most forages should be planted earlier rather than later, the exception being the warm-season grasses like sorghum-sudangrass.
We are at the point of the winter that daily average temperatures are rising and the days are getting noticeably longer. This freezing and thawing over the next few weeks is what gives frost seeding a great chance to work.
Water quality concerns continue to be at the forefront of environmental-impact discussions across many industries. Since agriculture occupies much of the land area in Ohio, adapting farming operations to include “best management practices” has been an area of focus for agricultural producers, governmental agencies and other stakeholders working to contribute to solutions. As water quality concerns remain, so do opportunities for reviewing the current research and considering adopting practices that work for your situation.